Hursley Museum



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Hursley Museum

IBM Hursley Museum

The museum at IBM Hursley Park exists to help preserve IBM's historical heritage. It contains artefacts from the Hursley Park location as well as hardware from the company's beginnings through to many of the products developed at Hursley over the years. Staff on-site can visit the museum at any time. Customer groups are often shown around the Museum during visits to the Executive Briefing Centre but due to its location in the IBM development laboratory the Museum is not open to the general public. However visits by organised groups can be, and are, arranged. Applications for such visits should be made via our contact page.

416 Tabulator from Oslo

Hursley's Museum is located in several rooms on the lower ground floor of Hursley House. There is also a display area in the Bristol Office, where Cloudant staff are based, and in Manchester.

The Origins of IBM displays are spread over two rooms, one covering Punch Card technology - the T in CTR, the original name of IBM, and the other time clocks, recorders and pre-IBM computing - the C & R. The Hursley room is dedicated to products developed by the Laboratory and displays the limited number of artefacts that still survive. It includes a System/370 console, reflecting Hursley's participation in the development of that series, and newly acquired artefacts like the 4691 'Moonshine' Leisure Terminal. The PC room was recently rearranged, as was the room once containing ThinkPads and Office Products. Some larger items of Unit Record equipment fill the gaps.

Recent Activities

The first couple of months of 2020 were relatively quiet, with 3 curators taking vacation. Hursley closed for the duration at the beginning of March, with employees working from home, so the curators have not been back there since. Activities have been limited to web site updates and thoughts for the future.

A new page has been added to the web site, which tries to explain the typical processes and hardware involved in data processing using punch cards . It also highlights some of the hardware that in part contributed to the demise of the IBM Card. It includes a photo of a warehouse facility containing an estimated 4Gb of punch card storage. Each punch card offered a maximum of 80 columns, or bytes. One card box typically contained 2,000 cards for a maximum of 160K bytes, 6.1/4 boxes per Megabyte, or 625 boxes per 100M. Find your little processing job amongst that lot!

 

Selectric Golf Ball Type Heads

Selectric Typewriter Golf Ball Print HeadWe had an unusual enquiry from a lady in Ireland, whose father used to run a typewriter rental business. Her parents gave her the middle name “Pifont” after a Selectric typewriter golf ball that contained the Pi symbol, and she in turn has given her daughter that middle name. She wanted to show her daughter a picture of the golf ball and wondered if we could help. After digging through our collection we managed to find one such type-head and were able to send her a photo and a print-out of the complete Symbol font set.

3D Printed Golf Ball

The follow on plan was to see if we had a duplicate type head which we could send, but the dreaded virus thwarted that plan, as the site closed from early March. Meanwhile we found a 3D printer file which we were able to update with a Greek font. We ran this through a home 3D printer, but as expected the quality was nowhere near good enough. We do have access to a resin printer in Hursley, so once the site opens again we should be able to produce this in a much higher quality and surprise Ms.Pifont.

Museum Trifolds

Another new trifold has been added to the collection, the first of a series covering "IBM innovation that helped to change the world". It is now available on the museum web site trifold page.

IBM interactive “History of Progress”

We’ve added a link from the museum web site to IBM’s interactive “History of Progress” at https://www.ibm.com/ibm/history/interactive/index.html . This runs in your browser, windowed or full screen, using Adobe Flash Player, and gives a really interesting account of IBM’s history from pre-IBM 1890s through to the early 2000s.There’s also a desktop version and a PDF of the story to download.