Main portion of short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC, 1946-1958

Made:
1946-1958 in University of Cambridge
Short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, made at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, made at the University of Cambridge Mathematical

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Short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, made at the University of Cambridge Mathematical
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, made at the University of Cambridge Mathematical
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Main portion of short mercury delay tube from the electronic computer EDSAC 1, made at the University of Cambridge 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:
1966-232/1
Materials:
copper (alloy) and metal (unknown)
type:
computer memory
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • computer peripheral
credit:
Donated by Dr. Maurice Wilkes