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Littlewoods Computer Center
Liverpool, 1981. Album of photographs from the Littlewoods Computer Center, showing then state-of-the-art (now obsolete) computer technology, being a presentation album made by Service Engineers John Laing Design Associates Limited, one of the four notable firms involved in the project. Contains 14 colour photographs, measuring approximately 12 x 17 cm, mounted recto and verso onto heavy sage green cardstock leaves, each captioned in typescript, and preserved with plastic sleeves in a ring binder measuring approximately 28 x 32 x 4 cm. Also containing a dedication page and specifications sheet. At the time housing and utilising the latest in computer technology, the "New Computer Building" was owned by Littlewoods Organisation Ltd., a notable Liverpool firm whose own architects were part of the design team. It was a four storey building, 3600 square meters, with limited access for security reasons. Indeed advanced for the time, a card key operated the turnstile entrance door. By today's standards, the machines were behemoth-sized. Ventilation and refrigeration were of utmost importance, and are well illustrated in these views, with ventilated ceilings and floor air returns for continuous circulation, immense water chilling machines and chilled water pumps to produce cool air for the building, air cooled condensers, "heat rejection voids" a separate room for an air conditioning plant, and giant filter systems throughout. The cooling requirements were 200 tonnes flowing at all times, and 100 tonnes on standby. For an uninterrupted power source, rows upon rows of batteries were lined up like soldiers, each connected to the other, in the special battery chamber. Three computer rooms are shown, where one cannot help but to notice the infamous DOS screens, and again, the sheer physical size of the equipment. The "data preparation area" is a room with a half a dozen desks, and male employees working in mounds of paper documents. The main processing unit was a Honeywell Levell 66. [The Honeywell 6000 series computers were rebadged versions of General Electric's 600-series mainframes manufactured by Honeywell International Inc from 1970 to 1989. Honeywell acquired the line when it purchased GE's computer division in 1966 and continued to develop them under a variety of names for many years. In 1975 the 6000-series systems were renamed as Level 66, which were slightly faster (to 1.2 MIPS) and offered larger memories. In 1977 the line was again renamed 66/DPS, and in 1979 to DPS-8, again with a small performance improvement to 1.7 MIPS.] A fascinating visual reminder of the foundational inventions which would change the world in then inconceivable ways, not only improving communications, finance, and transport, but every industry large and small, and every future household too.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts]
Last Found On: 2017-09-20           Check availability:      PBFA    

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