The school is building up a museum of computers, computer peripherals, and related equipment. The following is a progress report of our collection so far. These items may be viewed at the Caulfield Campus, B Block, level 5.
If you wish to contribute equipment, or if you have some interesting
information about any of the equipment in our collection, please email
us. (click on the images to see a larger version)
The PDP-9 was a very popular, eighteen bit computer, with a cycle time of one microsecond. Over 430 were sold world-wide.
Sites in Australia included Government Aircraft Factory, Australian Iron and Steel, Melbourne University Physics Dept, Latrobe University and the Parkes Radio Telescope.
The PDP-9 was one of the first small computers to have an Operating System, initially based on DECtape, later disk. It was priced at $35,000 for 8K words (16K bytes) of memory and a high speed paper tape reader and punch.
This PDP-9, serial number 248, was installed at Latrobe University in 1967, and was the only computer at the University until a PDP-15 was added in 1971. In 1969 the basement computer room at Latrobe was flooded to a depth of 18 inches with muddy water after a storm. The PDP-9 was hosed down, dried out, and switched on again without a single failure.
This PDP-9 recently starred in the Australian movie "The Dish" as the main computer in the control room of the Parkes radio telescope when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
On the operators table is tray of paper tapes (programs) to be loaded through the high speed reader. Also some DECtapes, which provided one quarter of a megabyte on each reel as a mass storage medium.
One side skin of the PDP-9 has been replaced by perspex and the interior lighting allows the colourful modules to be seen.
The ASR-33 teletype was the work-horse operator's console during the early years of the mini-computer revolution, when paper tape was the only storage medium. It provided a keyboard for typed input, a printer for listings, and a paper-tape reader and punch for loading and saving programs.
Although made almost entirely of mechanical parts and being very noisy, it was a surprisingly reliable and robust device.
The teletype had been developed by the Teletype Corporation in the 1960's for use as the terminal for the TWX (telex) service in the USA. It was picked up by the minicomputer industry as an economical console terminal.
The ASR-33 worked at 10 characters per second and provided keyboard, printer, paper tape reader and paper tape punch. It was a remarkably economical device which provided all four functions in the one compact terminal. Hundreds of thousands of ASR-33's were sold by Teletype Corporation in the 1960's. It sold for $Aust 1,200.
This unit is in full, working order
A number of teletypes were in use on the Monash campus during the 1960's and 1970's.
The Millionaire mechanical calculator was a very popular and significant calculator during the early years of the 20th century. It was actually a brilliant piece of mechanical engineering inside the small case.
Every insurance company would have at least one of these to perform actuarial calculations. It could add, subtract, divide and multiply.
t was the first calculator to perform multiplication "rapidly", Each digit could be multiplied with only a single turn of the handle.
Over 4600 units were sold worlwide and only a few came to Australia. In 1094 it sold for 1000 Swiss florins. It is not known how this calculator came to be in the Monash University archives.
The IBM card punch was a common feature in the computer centers of the 1960's and 1970's. Usually a room full of card punches, would be used to prepare card programs off line, before submitting them as a batch job to a mainframe computer.
The card punch was a very difficult device to use. The operator could not see what was punched, and all 80 columns had to be keyed exactly, as there was no ability to do corrections, apart from starting a new card again! Because of this, the job was usually done by a keypunch lady, rather than a programmer themselves. A fast operator could punch a card every 3 seconds. The details of the code holes punched was printed along the top of the card. The unit had a programmed drum to assist with tab settings and duplication of a card.
The unit was extremely noisy due to the continous punching.
The units were usually rented by IBM, and IBM were reputed to have grown wealthy on the sale of card stock.
This card punch was used by Monash ........
BACK to provide a deck on card stock to sit on the front table of punch
When IBM lauched their PC in August 1981, the world didn't realise what a revolution was about to happen. Suddenly, all the varied microcomputers that were developed and sold by entrepreneurs, and bought by enthusiasts and early adopters, were given a stamp of approval.
But the stamp of approval carried the giant signature of IBM, and suddenly big business realised that a Personal Computer was a business tool, which had the backing and standard setting of one of the worlds biggest companies.
IBM had developed the PC with a "skunk works" team, far from the ivory tower of mainframe developments. Their machine had an open architecture, with an accessible bus structure. Suddenly an instant industry developed for third party supplies to make add on memory, disk drives etc.
A horde of companies made PC's that were similar but not exactly identical to the IBM PC. They flourished for a couple of years before the world realised that compatibility was the way to go. Only Apple was clever and determined enough to take a separate path.
The IBM PC sold for $3,205 with 64Kb of memory, and two floppy disks.
PC is on loan from ????? who used it to ?????
BACK to provide DOS 2.2 handbook on stand
BACK to provide IBM boxed manual
BACK to provide 5" floppy drive to restore to original cond
Possible use Monash printer - need podium space??
The VAX 750 was the second in the VAX family of computers produced by DEC. A mid range, timesharing machine of the early 80's, it could typically handle 16 terminals.
This unit is the cpu cabinet only. It has a very simple front panel as all operator interaction was via a dumb terminal such as a VT100
The VAX 750 had a cpu power of .6 MIP and typically had 32Mb of memory. It typically sold for $100,000
On top of the VAX 750 is the famous VT100 terminal, which was used as the console. The VT100 set the standard for interactive terminals.
This VAX 750 was used at Monash by the Computer Science Dept. (now part of CSSE)
VAX 780 poster on the wall behind
BACK to provide Mini tape (programs) units on top of console
BACK to provide VT100 console
Two examples of the rapid advance in disk technology are shown
The big disk in the 10" high drawer provided 500Mb in 1985. It was known as the Fujitsu eagle product. They could be mounted in cabinets.
The small disk is today's miniature disk, which provides up to 10 times the capacity of the Fujitsu disk, a fraction of the size.
Monash University &
Digital Equipment Corporationi
Before the personal computer, it was impossible for a class to students to have hands-on access to a computer within a one hour school period. Mainframes were unreachable, and mini-computers too expensive.
A group at Monash under the leadership of Dr Len Whitehouse solved the problem with a small system that could be used in the classroom. Mark sense cards were used, and a class of 30 children could each get two runs in a one hour period. The system was called MONECS. It was marketed by Digital Equipment Australia as DEAMON and many units were sold in Australia.
Monash to provide DECwriter and card reader
BACK to provide pedestal, PDP-11/03, RX01 floppy drive and wall poster.
HP2100 was an early 16 bit mini-computer made by Hewlett Packard.
The Sun workstation...
This piece of "thick wire" ethernet cable was the first segment of ethernet network at Monash. The segment was located in the then Computer Science Department in building 28 at Clayton, and was used in 1981(?) to connect first two, then three VAX computers running BSD Unix and VMS operating systems. Later, in 198?+ a 4th computer, a Sun 3/260 was added to the network, and the network was extended to staff rooms to connect diskless Sun Workstations.