Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey
WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 22, 1959 : The first advertisement sighted for a Control Data product, although there were possibly earlier ads. not collected as part of Bill Norris’s scrapbooks. The announcement followed a letter to stockholders in February, 1959 that suggested amongst other topics “the 1604 prototype is nearing completion”. Later reports after the release suggested a “typical configuration” at around $900,000 to $1.25 million.
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The “1604” -
The 1604 model number has an interesting history.
One theory popular at the time suggested it came from adding CDC's street address (501 Park Avenue) to Seymour Cray's former project, the ERA-
"... the insiders laughed and responded: "It was quite popular at the time that this was the origin ... We've never been able to substantiate it. However, there's still lots of people who believe it."
Page 21 of the oral history provides the official CDC explanation for 1604 : rather less glamorous -
Ron Bird, however, recalls a CDC 501 line printer, he believes the model number was derived from the Park Avenue address.
IBM’s 360 series took its name from the company’s belief that it would sell right around the globe, hence 360 degrees
Seymour Cray at the console of the 1604, serial number 1
(Charles Babbage Institute), and the badge (below) and a circuit board (bottom)
1984 : Robert M. Price presents a prototype of the earliest CDC computer, “Little Character” built in 1957-
The 1604 and “Little Character” -
I guess those of us with many years in the industry tend to think of the concept and creation of a new computer system coming as a result of months of high-
Well, perhaps not -
The 1604 had a story of its own, coming shortly after CDC was incorporated and at a time when Government business in the U.S. was severely depressed , leaving the new company with a huge cash flow problem that saw most of the senior executives rolling over part (or in Norris’ case, all) of their salaries into debt owed to them by the company rather than cash in hand.
Senior Vice President of the time, Frank Mullaney in an Oral Interview with the Charles Babbage Institute’s Arthur Norberg in June, 1986 gave an insight as to how “Little Character”, the 1604, and perhaps even CDC as a computer company came into being …:
MULLANEY : (on the earliest operations of the company) : “… I think we saw ourselves as doing what we liked to do and had done successfully ,building special equipments and satisfying some customers with it.
NORBERG: I see, rather than trying to approach a broader market.
MULLANEY: That's right.
NORBERG: When did that all change, or did it just sort of creep up on you rather than change?
MULLANEY: It changed because we couldn't get any jobs to work on. The concepts changed. In 1958, early '58, we were in a pretty deep recession as I recall and there weren't a lot of government contracts being let. We had some people working. We had enough money to keep it going at a low level. Really, the idea came from Seymour Cray.
Seymour was tinkering in the lab. We set up a little lab. We came in at night and we put together the benches because they were cheaper that way and so forth. We didn't even have a quarter inch drill -
NORBERG: Just for the hell of it?
MULLANEY: Just because that's what he does, you know. He had all the Boolean equations and so he came to us and said, "Look, we don't have any jobs anyway, why don't we build a computer?" And I believe maybe he had even built a prototype of a little machine, a little one-
NORBERG: And this machine was the first 1604 that was constructed?
MULLANEY: Yes, right.
|CDC : The Office|
|CDC : Early Executives|
|CDC : Frank Mullaney|
|Introducing the 1604|
|A Satellite Computer System|
|A Nebraskan's Success story|
|1963 :IBM in praise of Seymour Cray|
|The Bill Norris Scrapbooks >>|
|And Cedar Engineering|
|Roseville :The Plant That Wasn't|
|Bloomington : And One That Was|
|1973 : The I.B.M. settlement|
|Curiouser and Curiouser|
|Telex v IBM : the winner is ...|
|The New York Times says ...|
|"The Anti-Trust Division's Vietnam"|
|Service Bureau Corporation|
|Facts for Management|
|Facts for Management|
|Facts for the technical staff|
|Control Data Corporation|
|Scrapbooks : V1 Pages 01-60|
|Scrapbooks : V1 Pages 61-120|
|Scrapbooks : V1 Pages 121-180|
|Scrapbooks : V1 Pages 181-215|
|Scrapbooks : V2 Pages 001-060|
|Scrapbooks : V2 Pages 61-180|
|Scrapbooks : V2 Pages 181-240|
|Scrapbooks : V2 Pages 241-300|
|Scrapbooks : V2 Pages 301-331|