The IBM 603 Electronic Multiplier was the first mass-produced commercial electronic calculating device; it used vacuum tubes to perform multiplication and addition. (The earlier IBM 600 and IBM 602 used relay logic.) The IBM 603 was adapted as the arithmetic unit in the IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator. It was designed by James W. Bryce, and included circuits patented by A. Halsey Dickenson in 1937. The IBM 603 was developed in Endicott, New York, and announced on September 27, 1946. Only about 20 were built since the bulky tubes made it hard to manufacture, but the demand showed that the product was filling a need.
The IBM 603 was the predecessor of the IBM 604, a programmable device with more complex capabilities. The 604 used a patented design for pluggable modules, which made the product more easily manufactured and serviced.
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- Pluggable Support for Electron Tube and Circuit US patent 2637763, filed July 9, 1948 , issued May 5, 1953, Ralph L. Palmer
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- Record Controlled Calculating Machine US patent 2641408, filed October 26, 1951, issued June 9, 1953, Russel A. Rowley and Delmar C. Newcomb
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