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Cabinet - CSIRAC Computer, Front 5, Mercury Delay Line Control Circuits, 1949-1964 Object Reg. No: ST 044217

Summary:
Cabinet holding circuitry for controlling the mercury delay lines. In Melbourne, CSIRAC's main memory consisted of a temperature controlled box containing 24 mercury delay lines and two cabinets containing control circuitry. In Sydney, the mercury delay lines were not contained within a temperature controlled box.

CSIRAC at Melbourne consisted of two rows of cabinets, a control console, input and output devices, test equipment and an off-line paper tape editing area. There were nine cabinets, five in the front row and four in the back. Cool air was blown up through all the cabinets from the basement below. The auxiliary memory (disk drive) occupied the space that would have been occupied by a cabinet in the back row.

The five front row cabinets contained (from left to right viewed from the front) power supplies, input and output circuitry, clock and control circuits, arithmetical circuits and memory control circuits. The four back row cabinets contained (from left to right viewed from the front) power supplies, auxiliary store control circuits, 'disk drive', auxiliary test power supplies and memory control circuits.

The date range (1949-1964) is given to indicate that, although the metal cabinets were first used in 1949, changes were made to the structure and circuitry over the period of CSIRAC's working life.
Description:
Grey metal cabinet containing power supply componentry. It has doors on the front and the back. It now sits on a purpose built collection management stillage.
Statement Of Significance:
CSIRAC was the fourth stored program computer in the world and the first one in Australia. It is the only intact first generation computer left on the planet.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), 1965
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 2180 mm (Height), 1690 mm (Width), 545 mm (Length)
Weight: 250 kg (Weight)
Dimension Comment: H 2335 mm with stillage; W 1710 mm with stillage

More information

Tagged with: computers, computing, csirac computer, making history - csirac
Themes this item is part of: The significance of CSIRAC, 1949 - 1964, Information & Communication Collection, CSIRAC Collection, Trevor Pearcey, Computer Engineer & CSIRAC Specialist (1919-1998), Trevor Pearcey, 1919 - 1998: a brief biography, Trevor Pearcey, 1919 - 1998: a brief biography, Trevor Pearcey & the First Australian Computer: A Lost Opportunity?, Trevor Pearcey & the First Australian Computer: A Lost Opportunity?
Primary Classification: COMPUTING & CALCULATING
Secondary Classification: Digital Computing
Tertiary Classification: cabinets
Designer: Dr Trevor Pearcey, Australia, 1947-1949
Designer: Mr Maston Beard, 1947-1949
Commissioned By: Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1947
User: University of Melbourne (The), Parkville, Victoria, Australia, 1955-1964
Bibliography:
  1. [Book], Mr Peter Thorne, Dr Doug McCann, The Last of the First CSIRAC: Australia's First Computer, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering- The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 2000
  2. [Book], Mr Paul Doornbusch - University of Melbourne (The) Computer Science Department, the music of csirac, Common Ground Publishing, Australia, Melbourne, 2005

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