AT&T Tech Channel

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NOTE: This film is silent. There's nothing wrong with your speakers or volume.

The Graphic 1 was a "remote graphical display console system" created by William Ninke at Bell Laboratories in 1965. It was a large console containing, among other things, a small control computer (the DEC PDP-5) and, among other things, light pen and trackball inputs. This console was connected to a IBM 7094 mainframe and a Stromberg-Carlson microfilm printer in another room. From our perspective, decades later, using computer systems such as this one must have been a trying process. For instance, the memory attached to the Graphic 1 could only save 8 images. If they wanted to print anything using the S-C 4020 microfilm machine, it would take two to four hours to complete. And, depending on how many terminals were sending requests to the IBM 7094 mainframe, response from the mainframe itself could take two to six minutes.

Ninke made a presentation about the Graphic 1 system [pdf] at the Fall Joint Computer Conference of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies in 1965. This film accompanied his presentation.

The Graphic 1 system was used by Max Mathews to program computer music using his MUSIC (N) language, but for a graphical interface — Mathews preferred the light pen.

Two years later, Ninke improved the system, and rechristened it the Graphic 2.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 09/07/2012

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