IBM 603

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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,[1] and included circuits patented by A. Halsey Dickenson in 1937.[2] The IBM 603 was developed in Endicott, New York, and announced on September 27, 1946.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]


  1. ^ "ASCC People and progeny: James W. Bryce". IBM archives. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  2. ^ "ASCC People and progeny: Important elements and their developers". IBM archives. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "Endicott chronology". IBM archives. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  4. ^ Richard R. Mertz (November 9, 1970). "Herb Grosch Interview" (PDF). Computer Oral History Collection. Smithsonian National Museum of American History Archives Center. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  5. ^ 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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