Search Posts:

Univac 1219 rescue


Return to Threads

  Univac 1219 rescue by Bill Degnan - 01/24/2010 20:46
I participated in the recovery of suite of mid-1960's Univac computers and peripherals. These items were sent to the Mid Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyist museum housed within the InfoAge Science Center pf Wall, New Jersey. I am V.P of this club.

Upon seeing the room full of Univac equipment I was shocked at the sheer
size and quantity of the computer systems. It was like being in a
Doctor No movie. Tape drives, lights, etc. Everything you'd expect from an early 60's bad-guy headquarters.

2 1219-B's
2 1540 Tape Units
3 1532 I/O Console with Teletype (not 33's, something larger)
1 MK-75 Targeting Computer
Another I/O station whose name I forget.
spare parts galore, hundreds of flip chips and components cables, connectors, etc.
misc other items.

After going through the truck rental process I drove to Johns Hopkins
APL in Clarksville, MD. I went through the whole security screening thing. Imagine some guy pulling up to a government installation in a giant rental truck...When I got there, and eventually got the first item up on the fork lift, we realized I needed I larger truck.

My estimate for the truck size requirement was based on this photo

...but it turned out that the 1219-B's are larger than the 1219's, or
the woman in the photo is an Amazon. Each unit was closer to 7' tall.

Fortunately the good people of Penske were able to swap me a new truck
for only an additional $50. I left APL, returned the truck, drove back
to APL, repeated the security process, and finally we could start loading things into the 2nd truck. The night before I spent sick as a dog with a stomach flu, and I was feeling absolutely miserable. But, these items were to be destroyed for scrap on Monday (tomorrow), so I had no choice, push forward. Somehow I made it through the day, I think it was the adrenaline generated by such an opportunity to save these systems that kept me going..

Anyway, we filled the truck. If it were not for the team at Johns Hopkins APL, this would not have been possible. With me feebly assisting, 6 guys and one lady worked from 9AM until 3PM disassembling these items, loading onto dollies, then onto a fork lift, and then into the truck one by one. Once loaded in the truck the items were moved to the back of the truck using the dolly and tied down to the walls. The disassembled units were then re-assembled in the truck. The disassembly was needed due to the sheer weight of the items.

I finally got the truck loaded (even the front of the cab was loaded
with items) and drove it to Newark Delaware with Evan and Jeff Grady to
take the truck the rest of the way. What happened after that Evan and Jeff will have to finish the story.

Thanks Jeff Jonas for the tip about these, if not for him, this whole
thing would not have been possible.

I was able to secure a bunch of plotter paper rolls, and pens that have
nothing to do with the Univac system, should these be needed for other
plotter projects.




Buy a Commodore Computer Poster

Popular Topics and FAQs

Past Issues:


This image was selected at random from the archive. Click image for more photos and files from this set.