Welcome to the Datatron 205 and 220 Blog

This blog is a companion to T J Sawyer's Web Page that outlines the history of the Burroughs Datatron 205 and Paul Kimpel's incredible 205 and 220 emulators. Please visit those sites and return here to post any comments.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Book Review

If you are reading this blog, you undoubtedly have an interest in early computers. I have a large collection of books on the subject but recently came across a great addition to my library. The First Computers, History and Architectures - edited by Raul Rojas and Ulf Hashagen is an outstanding work.

This book resulted from papers presented at the International Conference on the History of Computing in Paderborn, Germany, in August 1998. It is notable for containing first-hand or nearly first-hand accounts of developments in America, England and Germany in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

The first part of the book, unfortunately, could put the reader to sleep and result in even a serious student of the subject never reaching "the good stuff." But once I hit Harry Huskey's paper on page 69, I realized that I was seeing first hand reports with details not previously published. Details on both the Eniac and the IAS computer at Princeton filled a lot of gaps in my knowledge.

The parts of the book dealing with both British and German development shed a lot of light on important developments that are frequently omitted or only superficially covered in many works.

Highly recommended!

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