Digital State

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Digital State

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ERA Drum Undergoing Magnetic Oxide Coating
Manufacturing computer memory drum, 1952. ERA and 3M jointly developed spray-on magnetic oxide coatings for computer memory units.

Bell Labs Model V, circa 1947
Bell relay computer Model V, circa 1947. Bell Laboratories built- and patented- a series of sophisticated relay-based computers between 1940 and 1947. Here is the room-sized installation of a fully programmable Model V. Bell's patent interferences…

ENIAC and Successor Army Computers
ENIAC and successor Army computers, 1946-62. From left: Patsy Simmers, holding ENIAC board (1946); Gail Taylor, holding EDVAC board (1949); Milly Beck, holding ORDVAC board (1951); Norma Stec, holding BRLESC borad (1962).

ENIAC Patent
Eckert and Mauchly's patent on ENIAC, filed June 26, 1947, was overturned in Honeywell v. Sperry Rand (1971-73); see chapter 5. This top-down view shows ENIAC's twenty accumulators and control units.

Military Officials and Men of the ENIAC Team
Military officials and men of the ENIAC team, 1946. From left: J. Presper Eckert Jr., chief engineer; J. G. Brainerd, supervisor; Sam Feltman, chief engineer for ballistics, Ordnance Department; Captain H. H. Goldstine, liaison officer; John W.…

Programming ENIAC
Programming ENIAC at the Moore School. The two women working on ENIAC were cropped out for a 1946 army recruiting advertisement, in which only Corporal Irwin Goldstine (foreground) remained after the man in the back was also removed.

IBM Rochester Assembly Line
IBM Rochester first gained fame for its modern and efficient assembly line (here circa 1960) as well as its development of new lines of computers. Source: IBM.

IBM Watson Supercomputer on Jeopardy!
Rochester-built Power 750 servers formed the "Watson" supercomputer on quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011.

IBM Blue Gene /L
Blue Gene /L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was the world's fastest supercomputer for more than three years (from November 2004 until June 2008), bringing Lawrence Livermore, IBM, and Rochester significant bragging rights.

IBM Blue Gene Rack Assembly
Hand assembly of one "rack" of Blue Gene /L at IBM Rochester, circa 2004. Supercomputers ever since Seymour Cray's were a mix of high-tech engineering and one-at-a-time craft assembly.

IBM Rochester Blue Gene Development Team, circa 2004
Blue Gene development team at IBM Rochester, circa 2004. This group was responsible for the design, development, and testing of Blue Gene and manufactured sixty-four "racks" for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

IBM Application System /400 Family
IBM Rochester designed and developed the Application System/ 400 family of midsize computers. Sales of these units brought hefty revenues to IBM's bottom line, including $14 billion in 1990 alone.

IBM Rochester Building
Was IBM Rochester's large blue building the source for the company's "Big Blue" nickname?

IBM Rochester Site, 1956
IBM built its new facility on the outskirts of Rochester, Minnesota, in 1956, where previously farmers fields had existed for several generations.

IBM Corporate Logo, 1925
IBM corporate logos. The "world" graphic in 1925 signified the global ambitions of the newly named International Business Machines.

Honeywell "Literate Laser," 1967
Honeywell's civilian-sector "literate laser" for data storage, 1967. Honeywell worked on military lasers for years, then sought publicity for its Minneapolis-based research in 1967, even before the Honeywell Project sought to convert the company to…

Honeywell Building, circa 1955
Honeywell building, Twenty-seventh Street and Fourth Avenue South, Minneapolis, circa 1955. In 1942, Honeywell expanded its nort addition to the main plant (here at far left) to ten stories. This complex can be seen today next to the Wells Fargo Home…

Datamatic 1000, circa 1960
A joint venture between Honeywell and Raytheon resulted in the sprawling Datamatic 1000, circa 1960. The thirty-five-ton machine (with 3,600 vacuum tubes, 500 transistors, and 60,000 crystal diodes) was installed at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the…

Honeywell Spacecraft Simulation Platform, 1964
Engineer Leonard Aske demonstrates the sensitivity of Honeywell's nine-ton spacecraaft simulation platform in 1964. Honeywell built control systems for airplanes, missiles, spacecraft, and other high-tech applications.

Honeywell Precision Manufacturing, 1945
Precision mass-manufacturing at Honeywell plant, Minneapolis, 1945.

Honeywell relay Department, circa 1930
Interior of Honeywell Relay Department, circa 1930. Precision manufacturing begun by Swiss technicians augmented the metro's high-tech industrial district.

Honeywell "Round" Thermostat, 1955
Manufacturing Honeywell's signature "round" thermostat, circa 1955. Honeywell created a major industrial district in South Minneapolis. The "round" thermostat was among the 150 Minnesota icons recognized by the Minnesota Historical Society.

William Norris, 1963
Control Data's debut as "CDA" on the New York Stock Exchange, March 6, 1963. From left: Edward C. Gray, NYSE vice president; William C. Norris; Robert J. Silver, specialist trader.

SAGE computer, 1961
The mammoth SAGE computer (circa 1961) required fifty-five thousand vacuum tubes. Univac engineers built a transistprized substitute for it with the NTDS system.

Univac NTDS system
Univac NTDS system configuration, 1961. The NTDS computer was designed "to remove from the [human] operator, to the maximum practicable extent, tiring and repetitive operations in order to concentrate his effort in areas requiring judgement and…

Univac II
St. Paul was assigned the engineering for the second-generation Univac II, an expensive transistor-tube hybrid that failed in the commercial market. Here is an installation at the U.S. Navy Electronics Supply Office in Great LAkes, Illinois, 1961.

ERA Assembly of  antenna coupler
Women at ERA assembling antenna couplers, circa 1955. Antenna couplers brought hefty profits and valuable manufacturing experience to St. Paul.

ERA 1103
This "ERA 1103" computer was used for analyzing wind-tunnel data at NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland. ERA computers were used extensively by military agencies and aerospace companies.

ERA Magnetic Drum being worked on a lathe, 1952
Engineering Research Associates, circa 1950. Skills developed in the Midway industrial district helped make ERA's magnetic drum memory units.

ERA Facility
Engineering Research Associates plant number 1, circa 1955. Minnehaha Avenue runs east-west along the right side, while Prior Avenue runs north-south at the top of this view. Sperry Univac, ERA's successor, occupied these buildings until 1991.

St. Paul Midway Industrial District, 1923
St. Paul's Midway industrial district, 1923. The ERA plant on West Minnehaha Avenue was located next to the rail yard of the Minnesota Transfer Railroad Compan, formerly the Union Stockyards (far left). University Avenue is labeled as "The Direct…

ERA Building, ca 1950
Engineering Research Associates, circa 1950. John Parker's wartime Northwest Aeronautical Corporation glider factory became the first plant of ERA, surrounded by fencing because of its classified military work.

John Parker
John Parker, founding president of Engineering Research Associates. The photograph on the wall shows one of the large wooden gliders manufactured at Parker's Northwest Aeronautical Corporation in St. Paul, later the ERA factory
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