Computer, PDP-8, Perspex / metal / plastic / insulation, made by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Maynard, Massachusetts, United States of America, 1965-1990
The PDP-8 was the first computer to be mass produced at an affordable cost, and it has been described as the Model-T of the computer industry. At a time when other computers sold for more than US$ 1 Million, the PDP-8 "minicomputer" sold for US$ 18,500. The term minicomputer is understood to have been first used in a sales report from the DEC head in Britain: "Here is latest minicomputer activity in the land of miniskirts, as I drive around in my Mini Minor" The term quickly became part of computer jargon.
This particular PDP-8 has numerous other pieces of prototype equipment incorporated in the rack frame that houses the main frame. Much of this was developed in various experimental and student projects at the Basser Department of Computer Science.
This object is part of a collection relating to the history and development of calculating devices assembled by Assoc Professor Allan Bromley of Sydney University, comprising mathematical instruments, slide-rules, mechanical and electronic calculators, electronic analogue computers, computer components, kit computers, education computers, and associated ephemera.
Allan Bromley was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney Basser Department of Computer Science from 1978 until his untimely death in August 2002. He specialised in Computer Architecture, Computer Logic and in particular the History of Computing. He was regarded as the world authority on Charles Babbage's Calculating Engines (instigating the building of the Difference Engine No.2 at the Science Museum London) and the Antikythera Mechanism and had extensive knowledge of calculators, analogue computers, logic, stereopsis, totalisators, clocks and time keeping and mechanical engineering.