IBM signaled its commitment to electronic computing with the introduction of 701 in 1952 as the company's first production computer and the first machine in which programs were stored in an interval, addressable electronic memory. Using cathode ray tube (Williams tube) memory for speed and flexibility, the 701 also featured the IBM-invented tape drive vacuum column, an invention that popularized magnetic tape storage technology.
In the above picture, the view of the EDP machine that you see next to me, shows a matrix of cathode ray tubes. Here is a closer look at the front panel of the EDP machine.
What was so special about the 701? Well, a few things. The 701 was a landmark product because it was: (Courtesy: IBM Archives)
- The first IBM large-scale electronic computer manufactured in quantity;
- IBM's first commercially available scientific computer;
- The first IBM machine in which programs were stored in an internal, addressable, electronic memory;
- Developed and produced in record time -- less than two years from "first pencil on paper" to installation;
- Key to IBM's transition from punched-card machines to electronic computers; and
- The first of the pioneering line of IBM 700 series computers, including the 702, 704, 705 and 709.
This is something that most of us would have just read in textbooks during school and college days. It was sheer pleasure and excitement to touch and feel something like the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing machine.
An excitement to live with!
PS: Here is the link to IBM's official page for the 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine