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The Reservisor Automated Airline Reservation System: Combining Communications and Computing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129795D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Apr-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 11 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JON EKLUND: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Shortly after the beginnings of the computer in the mid- 1 940s, a machine appeared that was the first in a long line of important commercial systems integrating communications end processing: the Reservisor airline reservation system built by the Teleregister Corporation. A few parts of the original have been preserved at the Smithsonian Institution, and there are enough records to understand both the basic issues in the airline industry that led to the development of this remarkable device and how the machine helped solve some of the problems of rapidly evolving air-transport technology. This article also discusses the place of the Reservisor in the larger view of the development of information technology. Modern information technology is historically founded on two deep footings: communications and processing. While both can be traced back beyond the historical record, arguably the greatest change in each occurred when their technologies became electrically driven. As the first truly ";modern"; technology, communications led the way into the age of the immediate with the Morse telegraph in the late 1830s. Not long after came the popular miracle of the Atlantic cable, which connected continents. From the effort to carry multiple telegraph signals on a single wire (since erecting telegraph lines was fearfully expensive) came the telephone in the 1870s. The name wireless"; correctly suggests a desire to avoid that enormous economic drawback -- wires -- which plagued both the telegraph and telephone. Sending signals through the air (or ether) was but one more miracle from a long line of unforeseen leaps into hard-to-believe futures for communications technology in the nineteenth century. The leaps from wireless to radio to television are familiar to most of us. Thus were spawned the ";Glamour industries"; of most periods in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Reservisor Automated Airline Reservation System: Combining Communications and Computing

JON EKLUND

Shortly after the beginnings of the computer in the mid- 1 940s, a machine appeared that was the first in a long line of important commercial systems integrating communications end processing: the Reservisor airline reservation system built by the Teleregister Corporation. A few parts of the original have been preserved at the Smithsonian Institution, and there are enough records to understand both the basic issues in the airline industry that led to the development of this remarkable device and how the machine helped solve some of the problems of rapidly evolving air-transport technology. This article also discusses the place of the Reservisor in the larger view of the development of information technology.

Modern information technology is historically founded on two deep footings: communications and processing. While both can be traced back beyond the historical record, arguably the greatest change in each occurred when their technologies became electrically driven.

As the first truly "modern" technology, communications led the way into the age of the immediate with the Morse telegraph in the late 1830s. Not long after came the popular miracle of the Atlantic cable, which connected continents. From the effort to carry multiple telegraph signals on a single wire (since erecting telegraph lines was fearfully expensive) came the telephone in the 1870s. The name wireless" correctly suggests a desire to avoid that enormous economic drawback -- wires -- which plagued both the telegraph and telephone. Sending signals through the air (or ether) was but one more miracle from a long line of unforeseen leaps into hard-to-believe futures for communications technology in the nineteenth century. The leaps from wireless to radio to television are familiar to most of us. Thus were spawned the "Glamour industries" of most periods in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Curiously, electrically driven processing on a large scale lagged communications by nearly a century, perhaps because the modification of information inherently requires more steps and internal subsystems than moving it. To be sure, the Hollerith machine and its card-based electromechanical descendants were impressive and important, but their impact on the social and commercial world was not on the same scale as the telephone or even the telegraph. Indeed, influences of that scale did not happen until the advent of computers which, of course, have turned out to be the quintessential information engines.*1

As we also know, there has been a clear trend to combine processing and communications technologies in various ways and to varying degrees. For example, digital processing technology now pl...