IBM 701 introducion 3

A notable first: The IBM 701

The developers and builders of the 701 had created a computer that consisted of two tape units (each with two tape drives), a magnetic drum memory unit, a cathode-ray tube storage unit, an L-shaped arithmetic and control unit with an operator's panel, a card reader, a printer, a card punch and three power units. The 701 could perform more than 16,000 addition or subtraction operations a second, read 12,500 digits a second from tape, print 180 letters or numbers a second, and output 400 digits a second from punched-cards.

The following is a listing of the 701 specifications and capabilities:

The history of "the machine that carried us into the electronics business" -- in the words of Tom Watson -- is a story of effective teamwork, creativity, commitment and enterprise. Now, in the pages that follow, you can revisit those exciting times a half century ago, view the machine and its components; meet the key IBM players who designed, built and launched it; learn about the 701's customers and its many suppliers; and gauge its performance and capabilities. Although the 701 had a relatively short life in the IBM product catalogue, it carved out a long legacy in the company's history and in the chronicles of the modern computer. Here then, in our 701 Reference room, are several fascinating looks at this momentous product...

* No, the plural "Machines" is not a typo; the 701 was comprised of 11 compact and connected units, hence its initial official nomenclature. Later usage adopted the singular form, and later still, the computer was referred to as the 701 Data Processing System.

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701 details