US Naval Observatory - 1941



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Photo by Herb Grosch, who says of it:

On pp.61-65 [of Computer, Bit Slices from a Life] I tell about Jack Belzer subtabulating and printing Wallace Eckert's AIR ALMANAC, on a scary new IBM 405.

This was in Eckert's second shop, which he put together in 1940 after coming to the Naval Observatory from the Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Bureau in the attic of Pupin.

Took the picture to show my parents where I ran a motorized (!) Millionaire calculator; summer of 1941. The punched card operation was on the other side of the building. I had Eckert's Orange Opus on my bookshelf, and watched in awe as the black monster ground out the pages.

Jack ended up as a full professor at Western Reserve, and died at 85 eight years ago, well known in computerized, um, library science.

The compass arrow on the sidewalk is in 1941 blue ink, on the original.

Links:


Frank da Cruz / fdc@columbia.edu / Columbia University Computing History / May 2003 / Updated Jan 2010