Early Computers 1960's, Burroughs 205
We often take for granted the technology we use today. In the early 1960's, computers were very much out of reach of small businesses. In fact, most large police departments didn't even use them yet. They were huge and filled up the space of several large living rooms. The only people who could afford computers were huge corporations, governmental agencies, universities and governmental agencies. Above is a photo of a Burroughs 205 computer that was utilized by the University Of Virginia from 1960 to 1964. The desktop or laptop computer you use today has thousands of times more computer memory, speed and power than the Burroughs 205 did. The Burroughs 205 operated with vacuum tubes. There were 1800 vacuum tubes in it's central processing system. There were only about fifty of these units built. The cost of the computer system was over one million dollars and one million dollars was a lot more in the 1960's than it is today. This was a moderately priced computer.

Many computers of the time cost about five million. The above photo is a photo of the Burroughs B55000 that replaced the Burroughs 205 at the University Of Virginia in 1964. The cost was was five million. Although the computer you now use had hundreds of times more computer power than these computers did, these huge machines where called mainframes and were so expensive, smaller organizations often rented time on them. Time on computers like the one above could often be rented for something like $17,000 a month. Think about that! You can read the brochure and operating instructions for the Burroughs 205 on the University Of Virginia Computer Museum web site.

Another highly interesting web site is The History of Computing which provides you a complete run-down with descriptions and photos of very early, very large and very expensive computers.

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