Harvard Mark 1 original Manuel of Operation 1946
Very rare original copy of "Manuel of Operation" for the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) otherwise known as the Harvard Mark 1. by Harvard/Aiken/Hopper
For many years the Harvard Mark 1 was thought to be the world's first computer but it was subsequently revealed that the British code breakers in Bletchley Park had previously built and used 'Colosus' during WW II however all these machines, ten in all, were destroyed along with their blueprints and manuels on Churchill's orders at the end of the war. In consequence the manuel of Harvard Mark 1 is for all practical purposes the world's first computer manuel and as such is of the greatest historical importance.
Harvard 1 was first assembled by IBM at their New York plant at a cost of $500,000 and delivered to Harvard in 1943 but was almost immediately taken apart and rebuilt. It was 8 feet tall, 51 feet long, about 2 foot thick and weighed 5 tons, with about 750,000 parts - the first program-controlled calculator. The program was held on a punched paper tape. The machine could multiply two 23 digit decimel numbers in three seconds and produce the answer on punched cards. This machine was unique in two ways. It was the only computer ever to be made using post office relays (It was said to sound like a room full of ladies knitting with steel knitting needled) and only the single example was ever made. (It was shortly overtaken by ENIAC which worked with vacuum tubes which was much faster).
The manual 561 pages starts with a brief historical introduction followed by a description of Harvard Mark 1 complete with photographs and then describes in detail the operation of the machine with appendices covering all aspects of the operation.
The circulation of the original manuals was very limited as few institutions outside the military and selected universities had any interest in its operation and copies 'on the market' must be extremely rare to put it mildly.
This copy was originally purchased by the British government for the Ministry of Supply library - a cover name for the Ministry of War (as it was then - now called the Ministry of Defence). In order to buy it I had to make a substantual bid when it was accepted and I finally received the book I noted that someone had written in the front under the library stamp (not the one illustrated here) "DO NOT DISCARD WITHOUT THOUGHT"
Condition: original blue cloth binding very clean copy.
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