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calling any computer history buffs....

Posted by jannaz (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 23, 12 at 11:40

I wonder if anyone here knows where I might find information about what (if any) computers were in use in the White House prior to 1963?

A former Sec Service agent claims in his book "The Echo from Dealy Plaza" he saw computer consoles being used in the basement while on an orientation tour.

I would love to follow up on this assertion and find out what those computers were being used for, or if the author was...confused.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: calling any computer history buffs....

Try the link below, the first section seems to cover it but I did not do deep analysis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kissinger to the rescue

RE: calling any computer history buffs....

Thank you, Owbist...

I can't seem to access it.

I'll try again from work.


RE: calling any computer history buffs....

Got it this time!

Thank you!


RE: calling any computer history buffs....

At the time of the JFK assignation, I was with a National corporation, based in Atlanta, GA. We were a distribution point for several product lines. We had IBM Tabulators which prepared customer statements "in-house" for certain products.

For another product line, all data was transmitted daily via a punched tape to Detroit where all invoices, inventory records, etc. were done.

And, the University I attended had computers back in the 1950s. I know for sure they were offering classes in computer programming by 1962.

I see nothing out of the ordinary by the comment from that book.

As a side note, I'm currently reading an interesting book about the 3 assignations of the era - JFK, Bobby, and MLK called the "Legacy of Secrecy."

RE: calling any computer history buffs....

Hi, SamTom

The reason I thought the author might be confused about the time was, I remember exactly where I was when JFK's death was announced (Math Class - sophomore year). And trying to think back, I don't remember any computers being around except for "Univac" that was on some kind of game show.

I saw a picture of one of those punched tape machines.

I was quite impressed with Bill Sloan's "JFK: the Last Dissenting Witness" - about the "lady in red" in the Zabruder (sp?) film.


RE: calling any computer history buffs....

There were also punch cards created at data processing terminals. The cards were then manually taken and inserted into a machine for the data to be input to the "brain".

It is my recollection that Univac was originally U.S. government dedicated.

Seems to me not too long ago, and I hope I remember correctly, I read where that as physically huge as Univac was the current systems we personal users have are faster, more powerful, and more data storage. The same was said about the computers used for all the Apollo missions. It makes sense, but I find it amazing.


RE: calling any computer history buffs....

Google to the rescue. You can read about the history of Univac at the link below. There were computers in government well before 1963.

Univac was eventually owned by Sperry, which was later merged with Burroughs, and became Unisys which still exists today.
I worked for Burroughs not too long before the merger.

Here is a link that might be useful: History of Univac

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