The InfoAge Science Center itself also has its own vintage computer collection, in addition to several exhibit halls. I’ll start with a preview of the vintage computer systems, followed by a few highlights of the other exhibit rooms.
CATEGORY 1: Museum Computers
Like most formal collections, the museum acquires and keeps their systems in top condition. Most of these systems were on and the public was invited to interact with them. That said, the collection was in a somewhat “hidden” hall at the back of the property (an initial sign said the area was for exhibitor parking – most probably avoided going in that direction, but you had to go around the corner of that to notice the sign pointing to this actual on-site collection).
So for those that maybe missed this part, here is a sample of some of the highlights therein:
(click images for larger view)
CATEGORY 2: ENIAC and UNIVAC 1540 related items
These were programmed and actively printing “text-art” images to these two printers. One thing I learned was that even while idle, the print heads remained rotating on these printers (i.e. that’s normal). I also thought the 3D printed mock-up of the mainframe configuration was a clever idea.
CATEGORY 3: IBM 1130
This particular system had meaning to me, since I have donated to its restoration. Glad to verify that it really is there! The IBM 1130 is a mid-1960s minicomputer, and (to my understanding) its instruction set was later used in the IBM SCAMP prototype of 1973 (to quickly build up the support for APL within the prototype). Later on, for the production IBM 5100, then the System/360 instruction set was used instead as the baseline for APL support.
Easter Egg: if you look very closely in the third image, there is a plaque with three images. Reading the name of those images, you get “Eye Bee M” (IBM). I actually didn’t notice it at first either, until I saw a young fella taking a close up shot of it.
I noticed this “bank vault” looking CRAY in one corner. I really want to press the large red button! I asked the staff about it, who said that is indeed the power on button (but the power is not connected at the moment). There is a separate shutdown button inside the small panel at the top. This particular CRAY was early 1990s, and was originally designed and built by an engineer who had actually left CRAY. Then after some success, CRAY hired him back and rebadged these systems as CRAY models.