Just came across an awesome story over at CNN about the Harwell Dekatron, a 1950s-era digital computer originally built for atomic research. It was eventually phased out of active service in 1957, but rather than being dismantled and eventually discarded (a fairly common fate for room-sized, multi-ton mainframes of the day), a local school ‘adopted’ the computer and used it for teaching purposes through 1973. It was briefly displayed at a local museum, then eventually put in storage. Now, another museum in the United Kingdom has painstakingly restored the machine and built a remarkable exhibit around it – check out the link below for the story from the museum website, as well as awesome BBC video of the thing in action!
- The World’s Oldest Original Working Digital Computer Springs Back Into Action at TNMOC (the news item from the museum’s website)
- 61-Year-Old Computer Springs Back to Life (the CNN article)
Image Credit: This image, Dekatron.gif, was created by Dieter Waechter for TubeTester.com. It is part of Wikimedia and is used here with permission under the terms of the license.