Monday, October 11, 2010

Gunyah of Historical Artefacts

One of the more curious exhibits at the World Computer Congress was the "Gunyah of Historical Artefacts". This was a display of historic computing equipment, including the world's first laptop computer, with early computer pioneers on hand to explain its use. This completed the History of Computing conference run by IFIP Working Group WG9.7. I sat down and felt like part of the display. ;-)

Dulmont Magnum: world's first laptop computerA colour 15 page "Handbook of Exhibits" was produced, along with videos and talks by pioneers. Some of the artefacts were: Payen Arithmometer, ATL Totalisator, Brunsviga Nova 13Z/18, PDP-8 Computer, ASR-33 Teletype, PDP-10 KA-10 Console, EDUC-8 Microcomputer, MONECS Operating System, Exidy Sorcerer Home Computer, Ethernet Cable, Dulmont Magnum (world's first laptop and Austrlaian designed), Booklets from the 1908s "National Computer Education Program", Telecom Australia Computerphone, MicroBee Home Computer.

Unfortunately none of this material was provided online and so few will ever see it. One lesson these computer pioneers appear not have learnt from history is that this is a technology for communication, not only over space, but over time.

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