Similar items over time

Computer - DEC, PDP-8, circa 1968 Object Reg. No: ST 041046

DEC PDP-8 data processor minicomputer. Made by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in the United States of America in about 1968. It was one of the first sold in Australia.

The machine was used by the CSIRO Division of Trbophysics (later Material Science) examining, for example crystal structure and phenomena associated with friction. The computer was also used by other organisations such as Monash University.

The machine used discrete transistor circuitry.

The PDP-8 computer was introduced in 1966. The PDP-10 succeeded it in 1970. The PDP-8 was designed by Gordon Bell - cf biography of Bell in "Portraits in Silicon" by Robert Slater, MIT, 1987.
Computer consists of a rectangular box with a transparent sided box with light blue top (with ventilation slots)and lower blue edging. Circuitry can be seen through the transparent sides.
The lower box has blank brown sides with a mainly black control and monitoring panel in front and a mainly black back with counter, switches, meter, sockets and lights.
Front lower panel switches comprise 3 data field, 3 inst field, 9 switch registers and 8 control switches (all paddle type). There are 82 control light indicators. Voltage meter (0 to 30 volts d.c.) On rear panel, plastic slip cover for unit.

The computer is accompanied by sixty one paper tape programs that were used in the computer.

There is also a large collection of documentation including:
Program & Routine Listing
Program Libraries (DEC & DECUS)
User and programming manuals
Handwritten Maintenance Log 1968 - 1983
Promotional and Advertising material
DEC catalogues, price and supplies lists
DECUS documentation eg membership information
Component and other Drawings
DEC & DECUS newsletters, magazines and journals

(DEC = Digital Equipment Corporation
DECUS = Digital Equipment Corporation User Society)
Statement Of Significance:
The PDP-8 was the first successful commercial minicomputer. The Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) introduced it in1965. More than 50,000 systems were sold, a record at that time.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Materials Science Division, 1986
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 880 mm (Height), 500 mm (Width), 600 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: computing, computers
Themes this item is part of: Max McKay Burnet, Computer Scientist (circa 1941- ), Information & Communication Collection
Primary Classification: COMPUTING & CALCULATING
Secondary Classification: Digital Computing
Tertiary Classification: minicomputers

Back - lower part:
Paper label: C.S.I.R.O. / TP3820
Counter: 120 V 50 CY / (counter read-out) 100649 / TOTAL HOURS
Model Name/Number: PDP-8
Manufacturer: Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), United States of America, circa 1968
Designer: Gordon Bell, pre 1966
Agent: Mr. Max Burnet - Burnet Antique Computer Knowhow Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, circa 1968

Max started DEC's Melbourne and Perth offices and was Australian Managing Director from 1975 to 1982. From 1971 to 1994, Max managed DEC's liaison with DEC's User Society (DECUS) - it had 4000 members.
User: Professor Alan Head - CSIRO Division of Tribophysics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1968 - 1979
References: Biography of Bell in "Portraits in Silicon" by Robert Slater, MIT, 1987.
PDP_8 accessed 23 December 2011

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.

Similar items

Yes No