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The IBM 650 and the Woodenwheel

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129480D
Original Publication Date: 1986-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 21K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

E. L. GLASER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Glaser writes in some detail about the Woodenwheel. My evaluation was that it would be highly useful to persons skilled in control panel technology, but that the readability and ease of use of the 650 made it the machine of choice. Richard Sprague has erroneously stated (";A Western View of Computer History,"; CACM 15, 7, July 1972, pp. 686-689) that the Woodenwheel was ";the forerunner of the 650."; Trimble has written that one or more Woodenwheels went to Northrop, a fact substantiated by J. W. Birkenstock (see his interview of August 12, 1980, Charles Babbage Institute). Robert Rosin states that he was aware of a machine that he believes was a Woodenwheel equipped with core storage and an interpreter in plugboard memory that was delivered to the University of Michigan. Rex Rice, who first knew the IBM CPC at Northrop, later joined IBM Research at Yorktown Heights, New York, and in about 1962 he built what I considered to be an advanced version of the Woodenwheel. As a consultant to IBM, I examined the design as a competitor to the IBM 360/75 (the other competitor being a parallel processor designed by a group reporting to Herman H. Goldstine). Also, Rice built an even more advanced version at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Company and delivered a copy to Iowa State University. According to Rosin, that machine was hard-wired and called Symbol.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The IBM 650 and the Woodenwheel

E. L. GLASER

(Image Omitted: © 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Marcus Information Systems, P.O. Box 4061, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Categories and Subject Descriptors: C.1.1 [Processor Architectures], Single Data Stream Architectures; K.2 [History of Computing] -- hardware, IBM 650, software. General Terms: Design. Additional Key Words and Phrases: Woodenwheel. © 1986 AFIPS 0164-1239/86/010030-031

The IBM 650 and the Woodenwheel

E. L. GLASER .00/00)

Editor's Note

Glaser writes in some detail about the Woodenwheel. My evaluation was that it would be highly useful to persons skilled in control panel technology, but that the readability and ease of use of the 650 made it the machine of choice. Richard Sprague has erroneously stated ("A Western View of Computer History," CACM 15, 7, July 1972, pp. 686-689) that the Woodenwheel was "the forerunner of the 650."

Trimble has written that one or more Woodenwheels went to Northrop, a fact substantiated by J.
W. Birkenstock (see his interview of August 12, 1980, Charles Babbage Institute). Robert Rosin states that he was aware of a machine that he believes was a Woodenwheel equipped with core storage and an interpreter in plugboard memory that was delivered to the University of Michigan.

Rex Rice, who first knew the IBM CPC at Northrop, later joined IBM Research at Yorktown Heights, New York, and in about 1962 he built what I considered to be an advanced version of the Woodenwheel. As a consultant to IBM, I examined the design as a competitor to the IBM 360/75 (the other competitor being a parallel processor designed by a group reporting to Herman H. Goldstine). Also, Rice built an even more advanced version at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Company and delivered a copy to Iowa State University. According to Rosin, that machine was hard-wired and called Symbol.

In late 1952, the Applied Science Department established a group in Poughkeepsie for the express purpose of working with Engineering to bring a new computer to the market. This new scientific computer was to be smaller than the just-announced 701 and was intended to replace the CPC 11. The group was directed by Dan Mason and had as members: Bob Barton, Ted Glaser (me), Larry Sarahan, and Beryl Smith. Larry Sarahan was immediately assigned to work

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