Computer ◆ Conservation ◆ Society

Marconi – Another British Computer Manufacturer

Speaker: Alan Hartley-Smith
Date: Tue 18th Feburary 2020
Time: 17:00 for 17:30

Manchester Metropolitan University,




About the seminar

Although not well-known, Marconi supplied over 500 own-design machines from the late-1950s as part of its on-line systems including the world-leading microelectronic Myriad and the distributed-processing Locus.

Marconi was involved in both generation and display of radar data from the second world war onward using, and designing, the full range of analogue processing technology then available, up to and including the provision of the UK Linesman/Mediator air defence system. This was supported by the work of its Great Baddow Laboratories which included fundamental material research as well as theoretical and practical applications. Thus when an opportunity came to supply a completely new system for the Swedish Air Force the Company was well placed to seriously consider moving to digital technologies. From this developed a capability in both computer processors and a wide range of peripheral devices applied to military and civil air traffic systems in the UK and in many countries round the world; also in conjunction with other English Electric companies to their industrial applications, and eventually, through its own Computer and Automation Divisions, to new areas. Because much of this work was of an individual process control nature it did not become generally known, so the fact that collectively the number of delivered Marconi computer systems totals in excess of 600 may come as a surprise.