Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

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Today: October 22, 2014
The Williams tube

December 11, 1946

Frederick Williams Receives Patent for Memory Device

A patent is issued for Sir Frederick Williams' device for random-access memory. The Williams tube was a modified cathode-ray tube that painted dots and dashes of phosphorescent electrical charge on a screen representing binary ones and zeros. It became the primary memory for vacuum tube machines such as the IBM 701. Williams developed his device at Manchester University.