Thursday, January 13, 2011


It's so easy to forget how fast technology has moved.  I started my working life having to take invoices that needed to be fixed over to a department called Powers.  It was short for Powers Samas, who along with Holerith were early manufacturers of computer equipment.  The machinery in the Powers department was noisy and dirty as it was a mechanical punch card department.  All the girls that worked there - and they were girls of probably no more than 20 - wore pink nylon coats, and it was very noisy.  They were lead by a middle aged lady who ran a tight ship.  It was she I had to see in order to get invoices changed.

Later on in my working life - about the mid 60's I came into contact with LEO 3.  This was a mainframe computer that had been built in the late 50's it was huge and generated a lot of heat.  It was about the size of a single-wide trailer.

Also at that time arithmetical calculations were done on comptometers like this one - truly amazing machines, if you  knew how to work them.

For a few months I sold office equipment and there was a division which handled these odd devices.  The man responsible for doing this out of our office had to solve a mathematical problem each week to prove he was up to the job.  He showed me the problem one day.  I had absolutely no idea what it meant let alone how to solve it.  Mathematics have never been my strong point regrettably.

I do wonder what ever happened to the sales rep with the weekly problem.  All that skill disappearing into the small confines of a pocket calculator! Almost done overnight!

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