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Author Topic: Unknown vintage computer module  (Read 20900 times)
eriver
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Posts: 3


« on: March 28, 2010, 10:33:13 pm »

Hi,

I'm trying for several month to identify a vintage computer module I bought some time ago on Ebay.
It has 5 tubes on top 4 type 5963 and 1 tube type 6BC7.
On Ebay the seller thought it could be used in a Univac computer but I doubt that because all tubes were from National.

See pictures (front and backside and other type) enclosed.

Can anyone help me identifying this module and from which computer this might be?

With kind regards,

Erik Verhagen

The Netherlands
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 06:32:40 pm by eriver » Logged
JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 05:50:38 pm »

I doubt that was a board for an NCR computer.  The tubes were made by National, but that was a different company than NCR.
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eriver
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Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 06:04:00 pm »

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your reply.
May be you're right about the tubes, but somewhere on internet I found the same logo on the tubes as part of the history of NCR logo's and a brochure of the National 390.
See pictures. You think this is mixed up perhaps?

With kind regards,
Erik
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 06:20:17 pm by eriver » Logged
NEXUS
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Posts: 19


« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 10:22:13 pm »

Erik,

I will agree with Jim.
National vacuum tubes were not made by NCR (or The National Cash Register Company).  The logos look alike, but National was a different company manufacturing tubes and semiconductors, and I cannot tell whether  the modules you collected from eBay come from an NCR, Univac, or other computer.

Regards,

Emmanuel
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eriver
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 10:50:11 pm »

Hi Emmanuel,

Sorry I'm really not convinced. If you look at the logo on the tube you can see that it is exactly the same as the one on the brochure, which is definitely from The National Cash Register organisation. On this site you can even find the history of the NCR logo's....
Do you have an url perhaps which proofs your opinion about another company National with the same logo?

Of course even if these tubes are really from National then it still isn't sure that the modules belonged to a National (NCR) computer system. The wires in the module are covered with cloth, which indicates that these module have been made somewhere before 1955.
NCR only produced a few different computer systems before 1955 after they aquired the Computer Research Corporation in 1953. These were the models 102A, 102D, 103 and may be the 107, all builded with tubes?   

Never found an image of the inside of these systems to see if these modules match somewhere...

With kind regards,
Erik     
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JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 08:09:58 am »

I am not aware of any tube manufacturing ever done by NCR.  The tube computers you refer to were made at the old CRC in El Segundo, CA which later became NCR.  I believe the last tube machine they made was the 304.  That facility did not have the capability of making tubes, or of having them made special.  Also as I recall the 315 was the first all solid state computer, following the 304.  Production of the 315 was started shortly before I hired into that facility in 1964.  During the same era there was a company named National Radio Company that made ham radios, and National Electronics that made tubes.  I was not able to find what their logos looked like in that era, but I'm pretty sure that what you have was not from NCR.  Even if it was an NCR assembly, they would not have paid the money to have the tube re-stamped with their logo.  Plus we always called ourselves NCR in El Segundo, not National.
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JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2010, 08:36:03 am »

If what I just read on the Internet is correct then my statement about the 304 is not correct.  It said the 304 was introduced in 1957 and that it was solid state based.  The 315 was released in 1962.
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JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2010, 08:44:35 am »

I agree that the logo looks identical.  I have that plate of logos on a box that I got from NCR when I retired.  Maybe they did something in Dayton that I would not be aware of.
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uglytuna
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 06:40:14 am »

Hi Jim,

Actually, I think your first statement on the 304 was correct.  I was also hired in to “The Cash” in 1964, and worked on several 304s while working for a year in Columbus, Ohio.  They were “solid state based.”  But, they were really hybrids with a combination of (very big) transistors and tubes.  Most of the peripherals used tubes.  The printer controller, for instance, had a tube for each hammer.  One hundred thirty-two very hot tubes in one big cabinet.

In the summer of 1966 I was fresh out of 315 school and working the graveyard shift at Nationwide Insurance performing PMs on their 315s.  Mostly rebuilding CRAM loaders all night.  They had two 304s, and the first time one went down while I was there alone I called my EDP Service Manager for support at about 3 AM, and I still remember him telling me, “Fish, if it’s in a tan cabinet, you can fix it.”  So I ended up pulling the skins off a lot of 304 equipment.

Regards,

Herb Fish
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Marv
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Posts: 4


« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2012, 05:04:35 am »

Erik,

I know this is an old topic but, if it still matters, that module you have is from an NCR class 441 Computronic. You can see the part number in one of the views. The Comp was an accounting machine based on a class 31, but with the added capability to multiply electronically. Very spiffy for its time.

The tubes, likely manufactured for NCR, all contained the company logo. Something about being "computer grade" if I recall.
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wally
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Posts: 45


« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2012, 01:48:46 pm »

Hi Marv,
if I remember right, the Computronic was transistorized. But I'm not 100% sure.
It came on the market in 1959 and I think by that time transistors were used.
It is the same time, the NCR 304 was introduced and it was the industry's first
all-transistorized, or solid-state computer for general business in the market.
Regards Wally.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 01:51:26 pm by wally » Logged
Marv
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Posts: 4


« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2012, 05:18:37 am »

Hi Wally,
I think you might have the Comp confused with some other system. Your timeframe is correct but the Comp was anything but leading-edge. It used old technology, nothing like the showcase EDP systems of the day.
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wally
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Posts: 45


« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 10:21:56 am »

Hi Marv,
I'm not the only one, who thinks the Computronic was transistorized.

http://www.ncr.org.uk/441%20computronic.html

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Marv
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 01:43:50 am »

I remember things like 12AS7s…6SN7s…thyratrons…massive cooling fans…165-volt anode voltages...anodes, cathodes and grids. I don't remember any transistors in there. But I could be wrong.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 06:38:42 am by Marv » Logged
wally
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Posts: 45


« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 12:04:28 pm »

Hi Marv, you are right. I found an old picture of the inside of a 441 at ITEC Giessen.
I was probably thinking of a 395 or 400. I found it in this PDF.

http://www.thecorememory.com/Giessen_School_1965.pdf

At least the module 3 from above seems to be from a 441.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 01:02:03 pm by wally » Logged
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