Computer restorations further CHM’s research and collection efforts by fostering a better understanding of historical hardware and software. Our restorations also provide visitors with the unique opportunity to experience historical machines in their original operating condition.
The IBM 1401 restoration project began in 2004 when CHM acquired two complete IBM 1401 systems from Germany and the United States. A team of 20 Museum volunteers of mostly retired IBM engineers restored the machines after 20,000 hours in 500 works sessions over 10 years. The successful restoration highlights the strength of the 1401’s design, outstanding reliability, and dedicated volunteer base.
Demonstrations of the machines can be seen weekly in CHM’s IBM 1401 Demo Lab.
The PDP-1 restoration project began in fall 2003 and was fully restored by fall 2005. Over the course of the restoration, the team retrieved the data from the main memory, restored all peripherals, and successfully ran vintage programs, including SpaceWar!, one of the first computer games.
Demonstrations of the machine can be seen in CHM’s PDP-1 Demo Lab.
In 2002 the Magnetic Disk Heritage Center began restoration of the IBM 350 RAMAC, the world’s first disk drive system. Al Hoagland, one of the original design team members of the RAMAC, led the project in collaboration with Santa Clara University. In 2005 the RAMAC restoration project relocated to CHM and is now demonstrated to the public in Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing.