Articles in From the Collection(61)

Meeting Whirlwind’s Joe Thompson

Meeting Whirlwind’s Joe Thompson

David Brock Feb 20, 2019
The photograph was dated 1950, a date when a now unimaginably small number of humans had ever beheld a computer, no less touched one, and when unabashed racism and discrimination was endemic on the American scene. Who was the young African-American man who nevertheless sat at the controls of this storied machine? What was his name? What was his story? Read More
Madeleine Moment Connects Moore’s Law Artifacts

Madeleine Moment Connects Moore’s Law Artifacts

David Laws Jan 18, 2019
While trying to decipher the notes in Gordon’s cryptic scrawl, something familiar about the arrangement of the rectangles triggered my Madeleine Moment. This was the Rosetta Stone to the device types in that 1967 photograph and the first five appeared to match the years of the devices on the plot of Figure 2 from the 1965 article. Read More
Artifact Adopted! Preserving the Legend of J. M. Jacquard

Artifact Adopted! Preserving the Legend of J. M. Jacquard

Chris Garcia Dec 21, 2018
One of the most significant figures along the path to the development of automatic computation was a French weaver and merchant born during the reign of Louis XV—Joseph Marie Jacquard. CHM's J. M. Jacquard portrait was “adopted” by first-time donor Junfeng Pan. Thanks to his generosity, our portrait will undergo much needed conservation in 2019. Read More
Jingle Bits: Auditory Maintenance, Whirlwind Holiday Songs & the Dawn of Computer Music

Jingle Bits: Auditory Maintenance, Whirlwind Holiday Songs & the Dawn of Computer Music

CHM Editorial Team Dec 16, 2018
Sixty-seven years to the day after the television debut of Whirlwind’s “Jingle Bells,” we offer you this restoration of the program from the original punched paper tape at CHM, recovering an overlooked early piece of the rise of computer music from the auditory maintenance of early electronic digital computers. Read More
The Whirlwind Computer at CHM

The Whirlwind Computer at CHM

Guy Fedorkow Nov 30, 2018
Although much of Whirlwind was lost when the machine was decommissioned, the Computer History Museum and the MIT Museum retain many of the machine’s components, some of which are on display in CHM’s permanent exhibition, Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing. Read More
An Inflection Point in the History of Multimedia: Video Ethnographies of Visual Almanac and News Navigator

An Inflection Point in the History of Multimedia: Video Ethnographies of Visual Almanac and News Navigator

Hansen Hsu Oct 18, 2018
CHM's Software History Center has been conducting “video ethnographies” to record and preserve the experience of running historical software. Over the course of 2018, the center has conducted two video ethnographies surrounding a key moment at the end of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the birth of multimedia. Watch and learn from experts as they discuss and demonstrate the Visual Almanac and News Navigator. Read More
New Grant Will Highlight Software’s History, User and Maker Stories, and Ongoing Global Impact

New Grant Will Highlight Software’s History, User and Maker Stories, and Ongoing Global Impact

Sara Lott Oct 18, 2018
CHM has received a National Historical Publications and Records Commission: Access to Historical Records grant to process material related to software history. The collections in CHM’s Software History Processing Project (SHiPP) represent a deep and broad resource for understanding software’s impact on society. Read More
The Eudora™ Email Client Source Code

The Eudora™ Email Client Source Code

Len Shustek May 22, 2018
Electronic mail is one of “killer apps” of networked computing. The ability to quickly send and receive messages without having to be online at the same time created a new form of human communication. By now billions of people have used email. Read More
Museum’s Oral Histories Tell Story of Japanese Hard Disk Drive Industry

Museum’s Oral Histories Tell Story of Japanese Hard Disk Drive Industry

CHM Editorial Team May 17, 2018
The Computer History Museum (CHM) recently released six video-recorded oral histories of key engineers and scientists from Japan who made seminal contributions to the magnetic recording technologies used in hard disk drives. Read More
The Shocking Truth Behind Arnold Nordsieck’s Differential Analyzer

The Shocking Truth Behind Arnold Nordsieck’s Differential Analyzer

David Brock Jan 18, 2018
In 1950, the physicist Arnold Nordsieck built himself this analog computer. Nordsieck, then at the University of Illinois, had earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, under Robert Oppenheimer. To make his analog computer for calculating differential equations, the inventive and budget-conscious Nordsieck relied on US $700 worth of military surplus parts, particularly synchros — specialized motors that translate the position of the shaft into an electrical signal, and vice versa. Read More
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