Computer Science

Computing History Displays: Fourth Floor - Interesting Pamphlets and Papers

We have in our collection of documents some small pamphlets and papers that are of such interest that we would like to make them available for all to view.

Disk Pack Garden of Verse

The market for disk packs in the 1960s and 1970s was very competitive. This advertising pamplet from Control Data Corporation shows the extent of the competition in an amusing way.

Does Your Computer Need Help?

The 1970's was the decade when microprocessors were invented but they had not yet been put to use. On-line computer data bases and computing were burgeoning but there was a serious problem to be overcome. Hardware was expensive so the central processor of the computer was often called-on to handle communications input/output at the lowest level. This task was so time-consuming that the performance of the whole computer was degraded. To deal with this problem, computer vendors introduced special "front end" processors to stand alongside the mainframes and deal with the dirty details of datacoms. The main vendors faced competition from others who could also make compatible front ends. One of these competitors was Comcet Systems who produced this memorable advertising pamphlet.

A Magnetic Drum

This is a pre-print by Engineering Research Associates of a paper delivered at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference, March 28-29, 1950, held at Rutgers University. The paper is entitled "Design Features of a Magnetic Drum Information Storage System" presented by J. L. Hill. It is interesting because it is one of the first published accounts of magnetic data storage and includes a photo of one of the first magnetic drums. (We inherited the proceedings of the conference from the library of the Applied Mathematics Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The proceedings seems to be a folder containing pre-prints of some papers, typed carbon-copies of others, and vendors' brochures.)


Here is one of the first advertising pamphlets for a high-level programming language called MATH-MATIC. This was developed at Sperry Rand UNIVAC for the UNIVAC range of computers and released in 1957. It was intended as a competitor to IBM's FORTRAN. (Some of these older pamplets were of 6 pages of three sheets with the last sheet folded inside. The pages are presented in the order they would be seen when unfolding,)

IBM Card Programmed Electronic Calculator (CPC)

This pamphlet describes a "pre-computer" computer. Introduced in 1949, the IBM Card Programmed Electronic Calculator, was able to perform long and complex calculations using programs punched on cards. The CPC comprised a number of other IBM "boxes" connected together. The were about 700 of these systems installed from 1949 to the early 1950s. This pamplet was included in the folder containing the proceedings of the 1950 Rutgers ACM conference - we have left the punch holes to prove it.

UNIVAC fac-tronic system

This advertises the UNIVAC with an emphasis on how it will be used by "The Army Map Service". The device on the cover looks like a magnetic drum but is the UNIVAC's delay-line memory. The system pictured is a UNIVAC I - the name "fac-tronic system" seems to have been a rebundling of the UNIVAC along with some special software.

Goodyear STARAN Computer

The Goodyear STARAN computer, from the 1970s, was an array of very simple processing elements that were issued the same stream of instructions from a controller - what is called an SIMD machine (Single Instruction, Multiple Data). The elements could only operate on single bits of information. Going by the pamphlet, the STARAN was intended for military applications. A sales leaflet for the STARAN is here .

Data General/One Portable Computer

Data General was a company that made mini-computers in competition with Digital Equipment Corp. But in 1984 it introduced a portable personal computer. This is a nicely designed pamphlet that shows the first stage of the development of the "lap top" computer.

Entrex Data Entry System

This is a rather vulgar pamphlet but it is included here as an example of a section of computer business that is long gone and largely forgotten. In the 1960's and 1970's mainframe computers used magnetic tape for their faster Input/Output. Records to be processed had first to be written to magnetic tape. With IBM mainframes an auxiliary small computer was often used to load to magnetic tape records punched on cards by key-punch operators. Being able to type direct to tape seemed like an interesting business opportunity (indeed the first UNIVAC had such a device. ) Some quite large and initially successful companies offered "type to tape" systems, Mohawk Data Systems in particular. Entrex was another competitor in this specialised field.


This language was developed at Sperry Rand UNIVAC for the UNIVAC range of computers and released in 1957. It was intended as a language to write data-processing programs. It is particularly interesting as it was one of the main inputs to the design and specification of the standard COBOL language.

Jacquard Systems Videocomputer

A handsome pamphlet describing a system marketed in the early 1980s to bring the power of personal computing into the office. This nicely illustrates what these first office computers were like when the market was competitive before the dominance of Windows.

IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator

The IBM SSEC was a one-off relay-based card-programmed calculator that was the pinnacle of that particular line of development. The project was started by IBM partly because of disquiet regarding the lack of credit the firm gained from their design of the Harvard Mark I machine. The SSEC generated great publicity when it was installed in 1946 in a store-front display on New York's Madison Avenue. Although the "end of the line" the SSEC was valuable for IBM's technology development due to its incorporation of fully electronic subsystems. (This is quite a large document.)

Hewlett Packard HP2100

The HP2100 was one of the first mini-computers to be sold widely. This brochure captures the spirit of the late 60s.

Honeywell Computer History

This delightful brochure uses some of the Honeywell animal sculptures to illustrate an early history of computing from the Honeywell point of view.


The MONIAC was an analogue computer that used the flow of water to simulate economies. It was developed by the New Zealand economist Bill Phillips at the London School of Economics.

The Naked Mini

Computer Automation's "Naked Mini" was very inexpensive for the time.

Poly 1 Computer

Here is a brochure for a computer, made in New Zealand, intended for the education market. The Poly is featured in the NZ-made computers display on this floor. We also have brochures on the Poly 2 Computer , and on Progeni , the company that made the Poly computers.


Apply now!


Postgraduate study options

Computer Science Blog

Please give us your feedback or ask us a question

This message is...

My feedback or question is...

My email address is...

(Only if you need a reply)

A to Z Directory | Site map | Accessibility | Copyright | Privacy | Disclaimer | Feedback on this page