End plate assembly for a battery of mercury delay tubes from EDSAC 1, 1946-1958

Made:
1946-1948 in University of Cambridge

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

End plate assembly for a battery of mercury delay tubes from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, designed by Maurice Wilkes and made by the Cambridge University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge, England 1946-1958

End plate assembly for a battery of mercury delay tubes from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, designed by Maurice Wilkes and made by the Cambridge University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge, England, 1946-1958.

EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) was considered to be the world's first fully operational and practical stored program computer. It was built in the Cambridge University Mathematics Laboratory, and contained 3,000 valves arranged on 12 racks, using tubes of mercury for memory. Delay lines were developed for radar during the Second World War, then adapted to be used in early computers. Programs were fed into the machine using punched paper tape, which generated pulses that the computer used to store the program and perform the desired calculation. EDSAC occupied a room of four by five metres. It ran its first program on 6 May 1949. The Lyons Electronic Office (LEO) was based on the EDSAC 1.

Details

Category:
Computing & Data Processing
Object Number:
1966-234
type:
computer peripheral
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Donated by Dr. Maurice Wilkes