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- Feb 6, 2007
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The 61-year-old Harwell Dekatron — about the size and weight of an SUV — was originally hailed as a slow, steady machine capable of delivering error-free calculations while running for 90 hours a week. It has survived to become the oldest original working digital computer following the announcement of its completed restoration by The National Museum of Computing in the U.K. on Tuesday.
The computer relies on 480 relays that have more in common with telephone exchanges rather than modern PCs or Macs. Such relays sit inside a collection of racks that also hold 828 flashing Dekatron valves — gas-filled counting tubes used in the early days of computing rather than the transistors of modern electronics.
Image courtesy of The National Museum of Computing