Archive for 17th February 2012

Burroughs Mainframe Cards

Years ago I got the chance to help empty out a friend’s neighbor’s basement after they passed away. This basement was stuffed with old computers and electronics, and I acquired a number of interesting items from there, many of which are now displayed around the house. (Core memory, old test equipment, notebooks, etc.)

The photos from this excursion can be found here, if you’re interested.

One of the items I’d acquired was a milk crate full of old cards from a Burroughs mainframe. Each is a bunch of discrete components built into what’s essentially a logical unit, designed to perform some function. These days a small integrated circuit would be used to perform the same (or multiple) functions.

I’ve given many of these items away, as in my excitement I ended up with many more items than needed. Everything from large boxes of valves to old, uncalibrated oscilloscopes have found homes with friends who had a better use for them than I did. A little while back I was contacted by a guy named William Donzelli who was interested in the history of the Burroughs mainframe and the cards from it. I didn’t know much about it and couldn’t answer many questions, so a couple days back I sent off this box containing the cards to him. Hopefully he’ll find them enlightening.