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Early computers: computosaurs

JMP's website

En français

Just to discover some (very ?) old machines...

To contact me: pichotjm(at)  but replace (at) by  @ in the eMail adress


First generation computers (vacuum valves)

                and two other modules (one with diodes).             

                and these others                                                     


Second generation computers (transistors)

Serel Computers:

Description of the 2 french early computers Serel built with Ge transistors and core memory (ca 1960)

The small computer ODP-505 has beeen restored.
 Have a look here: ODP-505 restoring


You will find in this section, a full description of the 1969-1973 production of an electronic company, specialized in new technologies. The described techniques correspond to the period of changeover of transistors to simple integrated circuits. Of course the cameras are always built with vacuum tubes!


Core memories:

It's really impressive to see! Note the size of the card by comparing it to that of a hand. I have made these pictures from different angles.

   Notice the color of the wires. You can also see some destroyed or absent cores ... and dust!
I did not clean up the memory due to the fear of damaging it.

Core memory pictures  


an illustration

Otherwise, the pictures of core memory of the ODP-505 can be seen here:: .../ODP505/Memoire/Memoire.html   (this is a whole configuration memory, with its  electronic)


Note (end August 2008)

I am writting a new section about core memories... this will need several months... More than 500 pictures!
You can have a look at

Third generation computers (Small IC: SSI, MSI)

1969 Study of an alphanumeric display terminal using TV delay lines

as memory  Have a look there:

196x   ASR33 Teletype was used with the Multi8 and T1600 new.gif

1972 Display technics ca 1970...

200 original photos of screens, displays, alpha-numeric consols, monitors, keyboards, and application screen shots. There are also 8 Soviet or american satellites, avionics, radar displays, monoscopes, dual beam display...


1972 T1600 machine from 'La Telemecanique'

(ca 1973, 16 bit machine) Sorry, in french.


1972 Multi8 from 'Intertechnique'

(ca 1972, 8 bit machine)


1972: (In french:) 

In addition to computers, there were displays, TV image memories... I propose you to have a look at a complete catalogue on such devices. You can find some additional explanations on display techniques described above.

Text: See  and http://.../Serel/Pub72_b/Pub72_b.html

: See  and http://.../Pub72_b/Pub72_bv.html

Fourth generation computers (ICs, LSI, uP)

Not too old!... ;-)


In the futur... you can expect too:


I have prepared a short list of very old machines that have been saved over the world. I will update this list based on my walks on the net. This will place a machine compared to the march of time. [sorry text in French, but machine names and links lead to many English URL]

List of museums or private sites, by country, by technologies, old or exotic, brands, models, history and chronology ...

For some time, I collect links to sites describing computosaurs, in  France, or in foreign countries including some fairly exotic ... (Russia, for example, Brazil ...)
An entire section focuses on the technologies used by computers:
It speaks about memories using acoustic wires, mercury, TV delay line, lamps, magnetic bubbles, ternary logic, ... normally what you salivate ... and lose a few hours in front of your PC!

A recommended suggestion about vacuum tubes: see the collection of B Loquen (fabulous!) And the other guy that makes even his lamps! (video Claude Perrier)




here a double beam CRT

Other subjects

These last months, i was fed up by old computers... ;-)   So I prepare lot of pictures about chinese minorities and a follow-up of the trip around the World of my Son Renaud.,_la_nuit/panoB500_t.jpg
East Europe, North Europe, Australia, Chile, Argentine, Brasil, USA, Canada...

(Renaud is graduate in IT, and will reach USA in march, april 2010... He will look for a job... He worked several years as IBMer )

To contact me: pichotjm(at)  but replace (at) by  @ in the eMail adress
ORG translation 2007-07-25,
rev 2007-06-19 (IBM650)    rev 2007-07-01 (T1600)  rev 2007-10-09 (ascii art)    
rev 2007-11-12 Similar to french version  rev 2007-10-10 à 13 (text 4th generation, Beryllium, misc stufs)
rev 2008-01-15 (Display tech 1973)   2008-03-30 Display with DL   2008-06-20  Add icones
2008-10-02 Image links modified, 2009-01-23 Vacuum tube technology

since 2008jan28