Sunday, January 23, 2011

New The-ENIAC blog

The new blog about Eckert, Mauchly and the ENIAC is shaping up nicely... take a look

Friday, May 21, 2010


Here is a progress photo of the model for 3747 Ridge Ave...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Ahead

I am posting this from the office computer donated by Al Rollin.
I used the tool kit Joe LaViola donated to hang up some metal letters, E,N,I,A,C, that Bill Mauchly donated.
The April 15th meeting with Rocky Martino, Bill Mauchly, Al Rollin, and Jim Reed went well.
Rocky is helping to set up a 501c status corporation so we can move forward with funding, donations and grants.
Also of concern is the roof with its leaks. Jeff Baskin, the building owner, has not only made plans to work on the roof
but is planning to install solar panels. More than a step, that's a leap in the right direction!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Visit from Jean Bartik, ENIAC Programmer

Jean Bartik and her friend Jeanne Collins dropped by the market Saturday. She tells an interesting story about Betty Holberton designing the UNIVAC console layout with a "secret" power button off to the side so it would not be flipped accidentally. The next person who came in said "Hey what's this?" and flipped it!

Jean mentioned Doug Wendell always pretending to fall when he went down the basement stairs.I will have to ask him about this...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Visit from Al Gudknecht

Al Gudknecht visits the Ridge Ave. site with a floor plan as he remembers it, crystals for the delay lines that were made on this site, many interesting documents and his sister Louise who was so amazed that she later wrote [They built the first electronic computer (ENIAC) for the U.S. Army at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946. Later on, they moved to a building on Ridge Avenue where the BINAC and UNIVAC were assembled. The importance of this achievement cannot be exaggerated. The BINAC and UNIVAC were forerunners of all of today's commercial computers.
The story of how and why Mauchly and Eckert got together for their historic undertaking, how they managed to recruit men and women who would eventually become pioneers in an industry that covers every facet of our lives today, and how those men and women succeeded without any experience or training in transforming a dream into reality---is a story that must be told. And it must be told in Philadelphia.]
her full letter

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progress report

An office is now located within the museum space both to organize the museum and to document stories from visiting "Computer Pioneers". Saturday Jan 23rd 2010 I turned on the donated computer and also have a stapler, so it's officially an office! I plan to be punching in on Saturdays so we have an employee too!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for identifying the subjects in the photo. I started at the Ridge Avenue plant on March 7, 1950 and worked at the company for 34 years. You might have seen me taking photos at the Ridge plant dedication about five years ago. These photos were distributed on CDs to all takers as part of the official record of the event. I still have vivid memories of where everything was located in the Ridge plant and remember seeing General Leslie Groves strolling through the building in the early 1950s. He headed the atomic bomb project for the government and then became an official at Remington Rand Univac. My entire 34 years with the company was a great experience. Have a terrific holiday.
--Al Gudknecht.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stereo Photo

This picture has a link to a stereo picture taken by JWM showing engineers assembling UNISERVO's at Ridge Ave.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UK boasts "Worlds oldest working computer"!

The UK has announced that the "world's oldest working computer" has been moved back into a museum where they will mount an effort to refurbish it, to try to get it to work.

Update on ENIAC panels at the Smithsonian

There are 5 ENIAC panels that have been recently shown at the Smithsonian in the "treasures exhibit" at the aerospace museum. There are 7 other panels that have also been shown, in an earlier exhibit called "The Information Age" that was taken down a few years ago. So that's 12.
In addition, there are "a number of panels and data trays" that have never been shown. They are in storage at the Silver Hills Facility. Petrina said she would try to find out more exact information. These are the panels that need to be refurbished. It would seem that the Smithsonian will never, in the foreseeable future, have the space to do anything with these.

As we knew, the Smithsonian is not giving away or selling anything; loans are possible but hard to get. Long term loans are rare. The only real long-term loan is the Univ. of Penn. The 4 panels there also belong to the Smithsonian. That said, we are invited to apply for a loan once we get farther along and have money and a location settled on. They have strict policies about security, humidity, etc.

In addition, she said that they have a whole UNIVAC, including tape machines. She also said that someone approached them last year with a UNIVAC, but the Smithsonian said "we already got one!" Naturally I asked her to try to find that contact for us.

---Bill M

Note from Bill Mauchly

Hey, UNIVAC I tape machines! Turns out the Computer history Museum had them all the time, I think. They are visible in the beginning of this video, with Gordon Bell standing in front of them. And a console...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

UNIVAC simulator

This is very curious...
UNIVAC Simulator by Peter Zilahy Ingerman, PhD.
He worked on UNIVACs from '57 to '63 and he writes;

Have I mentioned to you that my simulator actually runs the David Taylor Model Basin programs correctly ... even with some of the coding tricks that Betty Holberton used?

UNISYS visit

Brian Daly at UNISYS met with Bill Mauchly, Al Rollin (pres. of UNISYS Retirees Group), Joe LaViola of the Historic Committee, and Jim Reed to discuss the different ideas on the table for an ENIAC replica, and/or a UNIVAC 1 in the Marketplace at East Falls location. Documenting first hand stories from retirees about the UNIVAC 1 was noted as an important role of the museum. The video recording process is fairly affordable these days and could commence within the museum space before renovations begin.
This paints a picture of a museum that will be continuously evolving and growing in its mission to bring Philadelphians a fresh and exciting look at its own heritage and importance in world history.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sunday meeting

Bill Mauchly, Tom Sharpless, Jim Reed and William Reed owner of Standard Tap, met this past Sunday at Jeff's Marketplace at East Falls to see the raw space for the museum. Tom's father Kite Sharpless was an engineer on the ENIAC and UNIVACS. Tom told some stories we had not heard before and also took these great panoramic shots of the raw space...east end pano, and west end pano.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Giant Electronic Brain" Returns!!!

Thanks to Jeff and Lisa Baskin, A Giant Electronic Brain may be joining the Marketplace at East Falls. Back when the Baskins purchased 3747 Ridge Avenue to develop the market, a friend directed them to an old photograph of their building housing the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. UNIVAC computers were built here by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert, inventors of the famous ENIAC. During renovations the Baskins thoughtfully combined the property's historic activities with the market's community enhancing goals.
Jeff starts a conversation with customers mugging in front of the photomurals who turn out to be John Mauchly's grandchildren, Liz and Jim Reed. When Jeff expresses interest in a computer
museum, Jim relates his Uncle Bill's dream - to build a full size ENIAC. Bill Mauchly is John Mauchly's son, and has wanted to make it possible for people to experience the imposing scale of the first Giant Electronic Brain, ENIAC...