ECHO IV

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ECHO IV, or ECHO 4 (Electronic Computing Home Operator, or Electronic Computer for Home Operation) is a prototype of a home computer developed by Westinghouse Electric engineer James Sutherland in the mid 1960s (1965-1966).[1][2][3]

History[edit]

James Sutherland worked as an engineer for the American company Westinghouse Electric, designing fossil and nuclear power plant control systems. In 1959 the company built a computer called PRODAC IV (he was the designer of the arithmetic logic unit), using destructive-readout core memory and NOR logic.

When PRODAC IV was replaced by a UNIVAC design, some of the Westinghouse controller hardware was declared surplus in 1965.[3][2] Sutherland took up surplus boards and memory to build a home computer, ECHO IV (the "IV" in ECHO IV came from the PRODAC IV). It was made public for the first time in 1966.[4][2]

The computer was working in the Sutherland's house until 1976, and was donated to the Computer Museum in Boston in 1984.[2][5][6]

Technical specifications[edit]

  • Processor
  • Add time: 216 μs
  • Frequency: 160 kHz[11][5][10]
  • Main memory:
  • Input/Output:
    • paper tape reader and punch
    • keyboard made from parts of IBM Selectric typewriter
    • Kleinschmidt teleprinter
  • Physical specifications:
    • Four large wooden cabinets[13], each with approximate dimension of:
      • Width: 4 feet
      • Height: 6 feet
      • Depth: 2 feet[3]
    • Weight: about 800 pounds (360 kg)[13]

Uses[edit]

  • Accounting
  • Household inventory
  • Calendar
  • Manage all digital clocks through the house
  • Real-time clock with delay of 1 second
  • Air conditioning management
  • TV and television antenna management, during school night children were required to answer the question if they wanted to watch television
  • Meteorological program for reading and storing data from a meteorological station that was connected to ECHO IV and weather forecast[14]

The Tin Men[edit]

In 1965 Michael Frayn published novel The Tin Men, in which a small part is played by a computer named ECHO IV.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ For the Future, a Household Computer. House & Garden. 130. Condé Nast Publications. Jul 1966. p. 30.
  2. ^ a b c d Tomayko 1994.
  3. ^ a b c Cortesi 2015, p. 2.
  4. ^ "The Family of The Future with their Computer". cortesi.smugmug.com.
  5. ^ a b c d The ECHO IV Home Computer: 50 Years Later.
  6. ^ "The End Bit: ECHO IV". The Computer Museum Report. 14 (Fall/Winter): last page. 1985.
  7. ^ a b Cortesi 2015, p. 3.
  8. ^ "ECHO 14 Plug-in Module". cortesi.smugmug.com. pp. 5–6.
  9. ^ Living with ECHO-IV, 21:46.
  10. ^ a b c "ECHO-4". Amateur Computer Society Newsletter (8): 4 (49). Jan 1968. 102654910.
  11. ^ Libes, Sol (July 1978). "Background: The First Ten Years of Amateur Computing". Byte Magazine. 3 (7): 64.
  12. ^ Tomayko 1994, p. 61.
  13. ^ a b Tomayko 1994, p. 60.
  14. ^ Infield 1968, p. 79, 209.
  15. ^ ACS Newsletter, Feb 1970, no. 5, p. 3 (96).

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]