50s computer brochures

Bendix G-14 General Purpose Digital Computer, 1955

The ERA Computation Center for industry, government and research

Datatron Eletronic Data Processing Systems Handbook Central Comp

General Electric Proudly Presents the NEW GE 150 Data Processing

IBM 705 EDPM Electronic Data Processing Machine, 1955

Teleregister, 1956

An Introduction to the Univac File-Computer System, 1951

Computer History Museum — Brochures / 1950s

Ohhhh my lord what a find. The motherload.

Check out the Computer History Museum for hundreds of PDFs containing high-res scans of computer brochures from the 50s, 60s and 70s. In particular, the 50s examples are amazing; great colours, dynamic layout & outrageous typography.

Thanks to Present & Correct for another great find. If you don’t already follow them, check out their blog & their Twitter for daily graphic gems.

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19 responses to “50s computer brochures

  1. Reblogged this on The life of a Swedish designer working in Germany and commented:
    Nice graphics in this old brochure. We are not far from this look today (graphically) but far from the computer sizes and performances. General Electric’s logotype looks the same today.

  2. Someone told me that some people showed a test group of kids a computer from the 70’s and they did not even know how to turn it on or where to put the floppy disk. The floppy disk was a total mystery to them. It is great that kids can now learn about the computer of today evolved

  3. Rather amazing that these designs are what is one of the ‘new hot’ looks these days.
    But after all, good design is timeless.

  4. This IS the motherlode of finds. I remember when my dad worked at RAND in the 50s seeing what seemed like banks and banks of big reel-to-reel machines.

    I think neither IBM nor GE has drastically changed their logo in 50 years. Now, someone in design will find a site that shows just how much and how often they’ve changed them, but to my eye they look unchanged.

    Goes to show what random bits of information one can be directed to online, too. I had no idea that there was a game called “Motherload” but in looking that word up [because as a vocabulary nerd I had to double check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_lode%5D it came up in the search answers.

    • I believe there has only been one significant change (c. 1986) to the GE monogram (meatball) since the image above. The difference is in the roundness of the tips of the 4 curved elements. The old logos above shows pronounced spheres at the end while the current logo is much more subtle.

      http://www.ge.com/about-us/history/1971-1985

  5. Gotta love “Varied Input-Output”. Before that feature you had to choose Input at the time of purchase.

  6. The design blows the doors off about 90% of what is out there now. Better typography. Much better use of color. And all that design was done without a computer.

  7. Pingback: Computer Brochures From The ’50s | NYC Startup News

  8. Love seeing stuff like this.

    Looks like the link to the second image might be wrong, it shows the full size of the 3rd one.

  9. Pingback: Random Find on the Internet for 6.12.2014

  10. This was cutting edge technology in its day. The envy of the world.

  11. Now we just need to find a brochure for the first 8 track, camera, and calculator to add to the list. LOL, it amazes me what you can find if you look hard enough. Thanks for the link to the museum as well.

  12. Reblogged this on Steven G. Anderson and commented:
    I’ve been using these brochures for my research, but I haven’t really been considering their design overall, more so the textual content. The typography or layout are important too, especially considering the complexity of the material inside the brochures.

  13. They would have gone crazy looking at my Timex Sinclare 2000 hahaha… with a full 16k of ram, of course when they told us that a 64k extended memory module would soon be available we just couldn’t wait to get one.
    Did you know that they went to the moon with 16k ram computers?

    Kids looking at computers of the past, don’t see the struggles going on to develop today’s systems, but that is where it all began. We struggled to learn to operate those old computers and write the code to get work done, because, frankly it was easier than pushing pencil and paper. Once a program was written, you could easily fly through and tabulate hundreds and even thousands of data fields automatically and simply read the results. An accountant, for example, could enter data for each account each day as it came in, then generate the needed reports at the end of the month by simply pushing a few buttons.

    The money and effort we spent back then on those old computers is what provided the cash needed to improve computing to today’s level. Had we abandoned those old models back then as too difficult, there would have been little corporate interest in improving a non profitable venture.

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