The ICT 1300 Computer Series

Speakers: Rod Brown
Date: 15 October 2009
Time: 14.30 Room open in advance (from 14.00) – meet up with society members.
Location: Fellows Library of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD

About the seminar

The ICT 1300 series was a product of its time, bridging the late 1950s and early 1960s. A solid workhorse rather than a star computer system. The seminar will cover the story these machines – from the design team led by Dr Bird, the people who solved the early production problems at GEC, the series working life, the machines that survived the onto the end of that life, and in particular the machines that survive today.

The overall story covers the 47 years since the first machine was installed in London University in 1962 – and stories from phases in its life will be presented. The 1300 was as second generation machine based on transistors. Over 100 machines were installed for a variety of customer applications.

The first part about the 1300 design, development, and use aims to convey a part of our history where computers turned from specialised one off machines, to industrial and commercial workhorses and how that impacted on the design teams decisions – and will address the following topics:

Next about the list of the remaining machines still known to exist and the 1301 restoration project, which after many years work has a complete 1301 computer in running order. The project has resurrected the same machine that graced the floor of London Universities Senate House in 1962 and now has it running this very day. The Computer Conservation Society support and recognise this significant achievement.

About the speaker

Rod Brown joined ICT in the early 1960's and spent most of his working life with the standard ranges of programmable calculators and computers produced by ICT/ICL/Fujitsu, encompassing 550, 1200, 1300, 1900, 2900, 3900 before specialising in managing the outsourcing and subcontracting for many of the ICL government contracts. This last role gave him a chance to compare the histories of many of the other companies both within and outside the ICL fold and since retiring in 2000 he has pursued an interest in resurrection and conservation of many machines from that period.


For a description of the 1300 computer system, click here to see a comprehensive Wikipedia entry.

For more about the 1301 restoration project, see the 1301 Resurrection website and a recent article on Preserving an ICT1301 in the CCS Bulletin

Click to see a podcast of the event