British IT experts are trying to reboot one of the oldest existing mass-produced computers after saving it from a scrapheap for the third time in 60 years.
The National Museum of Computing has rescued what it believes to be the last ICT 1301 computer, also known as Flossie, to ever have a chance of working again.
Flossie, which weighs 5.5 tons with a footprint of about 6 metres by 7 metres, had been originally used for accounting, administration and the production of exam results at the University of London.
Kevin Murrell, TNMOC Trustee, said the computer came with a punch card reader and built-in printer, which transformed data processing in many businesses.
"The ICT 1301 marks a transition from simply knowing how to build computers, to being able to install one in almost any office without needing special facilities. It had a fixed layout and all it required was enough space and reasonable air-conditioning, whereas earlier computers required special features such as false floors for cabling," he explained.
The machine, which was used by insurance companies, the Milk Marketing Board and Selfridges, was decommissioned at the University of London in about 1972.
After it was purchased by a group of students at scrap metal value who ran for about five years, it eventually ended up at a farm in Kent, whose owner donated the machine to the museum.