Real ‘Puter stuff

Update 01/25/12: As was pointed out in the comments the disk pack was actually 200mb, therefore the total available storage was only 9.6gb

Running late; repackaged a facebook post:

Listen up all you young computer geeks. The 1st photo shows what “real” disk drives looked like in the 1970s. I was behind a string of Memorex DASD (direct access storage device), there were 8 units in a string and we had 6 strings. Each drive spun a 500MB disk pack (removable) each pack had 20 recording surfaces was 14″ in diameter and weighed about 10 lbs. Each string of drives was capable of being accessed by up to 4 different controllers and each controller in turn could be controlled by 4 different mainframe computers.

Do the math; when all 48 drives were up and ready there was a total available capacity of 24 GB of storage/data. The room shown is @ American Airlines data center in Tulsa, OK. So the accounting system @ AA at that time, basically had the online storage capacity of a cheap MP3 player in today’s terms. You see how much room that it took to house just the drives. There were even more drives from IBM and Fujitsu on other systems. It also took serious ongoing maintenance and preventive maintenance to keep all that equipment running; one did not just swap out a broken drive, you fixed it down to the component level.

There was many a 36 hour shift run there.

The three piece suit? Yeah we had to wear suits and ties, even when stringing 2″ diam. cable between the mainframes and the equipment.

Do I miss those days? Oh hell no. Except for the price of gas, and maybe the ability to grow that much hair.

Notice the pic of me at my desk? What’s missing that would be on everyone’s desk today? Yep, a computer, not even a terminal with which to communicate with the mainframe; all the paperwork was just that–paper.

The pic of the three peeps, well there are some pretty good stories from that group. Might tell some of them, after I’m sure the statute of limitations runs out.

That is all, I’m going back to work on the bunker some more.

1976 AA computer room

1976 AA Memorex office

1976 AA Memorex office



Filed under Memories

7 responses to “Real ‘Puter stuff

  1. Anonamous

    Well I worked for Mrx from 73 thru its bankruptcy in 96, installed my fair share of 3675’s and they were 200MB packs, the 3670, the predecessor handled 100MB packs. Then the 3650 fixed media was introduced, what a disaster that was…. AA ran a version of OS called the res system, watching the mainframe access the rows of disks was like watching the “wave” at a football game. We probably crossed paths, as I worked for Memorex-Telex and the US Headquarters building was moved from Milpitas, CA to Tulsa at the Dump on the hump…:-)) I did Memorex time in the Greenwich, Ct office, the North Jersey Office, and finally the Philadelphia office.

    Glad to see that a few of the old MRX gang is still around.

    When at Memorex there was a button (Worn on the shirt) that said
    IBM = I Believe in Memorex….

    • Yeah, you’re right they were 200MB packs. So they had even less online storage than I had thought. I left Tulsa in ’77 moved to Dallas and stayed with MR X until 1981, ended up as a Field Manager for Dallas. We probably did cross paths at some point. If not we probably know some of the same people. I had a good friend that moved to Tulsa with Memorex/Telex sometime in the ’80s, she’s still in Tulsa, of course retired now.
      I remember the “IBM” button.
      Thanks for looking at my little blog.

  2. fijishark

    Old Memorex reps don’t die they just fade away bit by bit by bit!
    Remember the 3610, 1270, 1600 Microfilm.? How about the Edgewater Motel. ?
    Worked Seattle, Tulsa and Dallas.

  3. Is that a “Winchester Drive”?

    • Jess. No, that is a disk drive designated a 3675. It used 200mb disk packs that were removable. The R/W head and servos were in the drive not the recording media. The next generation for Memnorex after these were in fact “Whinchester” technology (sealed HDAs).
      Thanks for visiting.

  4. Cool! Thanks for stopping by!

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