The Computer History Museum (CHM) announced today that it has been awarded the prestigious Tony Sale Award for Computer Conservation for its IBM 1401 computer restoration. The award is given by the Computer Conservation Society, in association with the British Computer Society, the Science Museum of London, and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
The IBM 1401 was the most popular computer of the early to mid-1960s, selling many times IBM’s initial estimates. The world was computerizing fast and by 1965 at least half of all computer installations in the world included a 1401. This is why the 1401 was chosen for restoration—it was the classic medium scale business computer of the 1960s: low-cost, easy to program, and extremely reliable.
The project began in 2004 under the guidance of Museum volunteer Robert Garner, who led a passionate team of retired IBM field engineers and programmers in the restoration of not one—but two—complete IBM 1401 data processing systems, including magnetic tape drives, paper tape readers and punches, keypunches, and printers. The IBM 1401 is demonstrated weekly at the Museum.
“The Tony Sale Award is an international acknowledgement of the quality of the restoration team’s efforts,” said Senior Curator Dag Spicer. “We are incredibly proud of them and the long-term effort they have invested in the project.”
The Tony Sale Award is managed by the Computer Conservation Society and sponsored by Google UK. The award was established in memory of computer conservation pioneer Tony Sale, who rebuilt Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, and co-founded the Computer Conservation Society. The Museum is the second recipient of the Tony Sale Award for computer conservation. The first was awarded in 2012 by Dr. David Link for “LoveLetters,” a computer art installation that continues to tour the world.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, and moving images.
The Museum brings computer history to life through large-scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent-led tours, and an award-winning education program. The Museum’s signature exhibition is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” described by USA Today as “the Valley’s answer to the Smithsonian.” Other current exhibits include “Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2,” “IBM 1401 and PDP-1 Demo Labs”, and “Where To? A History of Autonomous Vehicles.”