17 October 2013

Obscure Vintage Computers for $500, Alex

A season 5 episode of Perry Mason from 1961, "The Case of the Meddling Medium," features something called a Clary DE-60 computer, placed into service by Perry and ESP researcher Dr. Andrija Puharich (playing himself) as a random number generator. The Computer History Museum has artifacts and materials associated with the Clary DE-60, but the darn thing looks like a theater prop to me.
This was a very small computer with 18 bit word and 32 words of memory with up to 128 addition words. It was called an electronic computing calculator and was built into a 'beautiful desk.'

Object is a small wooden cabinet (not a desk), on top of which are a typebar typewriter (looks like an IBM Executive but not so labelled) and a 10-key adding machine, both seated in shaped cutouts in the top. The adding machine has a number of pilot lights and function knobs and keys. Inside the cabinet at the rear is a metal frame containing an array of sealed circuit modules, and a bank of PC boards with discrete transistor logic. Inside the cabinet at the front left is a frame for a programming plugboard (no plugboards are in evidence).

The Clary Corporation has kept a low profile since its incorporation in 1940. Its current specialties include products for military and other mission-critical applications. It has no Wikipedia entry. Maybe I've just been reading too much Pynchon recently, but... One never knows, do one?