Watson Laboratory Calculating Punch

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Eric Hankam with (WHAT?) at IBM Watson Laboratory at Columbia University, 612 West 116th Street, New York City, some time between 1949 and 1959. The machine is an IBM Electronic Calculating Punch (the nameplate says so if you blow it way up). It's not a 603, 604, 605, 607, or 608, so what could it be? (There was never a 606.)   My guess: It's the Prototype 604, Serial Number Zero, that was delivered to Watson Lab in 1949. It has the same cabinet styling as the CPC, which also dates from 1949, a style not used in the final 604. Herb Grosch concurs, this is the most probable ID.

OK but what is that contraption on top, on the left? It looks like an electric fan with a plugboard attached in place of the fanblade and cage. Probably one of Eric's instruction aids :-)  Not sure what the shiny boxes are either, nor can I make out the portrait from the Watson Lab art collection. Photo (not cropped) from the collection of Eric Hankam. Click on image to magnify to full size.


Frank da Cruz / fdc@columbia.edu / Columbia University Computing History