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Computers from the SMECC collection

Click to  see an awesome IBM logic trainer and also a pull drawer from  A/N FSQ-7 SAGE Computer!





Made in Phoenix Arizona!

Information systems
Process Control 




The classic book that  got many of us started!


Tiny Card punch!

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(click pictures for larger view)

Wright card punch machine, model #2620. This machine is in excellent condition and was made in Worchester, Ma.

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ca. 1981  by Vis-Ed 1000 cards 1200 terms

Computer Terminology Flash Cards 

810              SNOBOL
("snow ball")

String Orientated Symbolic Language

comput10.jpg (156522 bytes) Remember? They used to  have offices in Phoenix too!  


The "Little Idiots" are introduced on pages 54-55 of "Phantom
 Satellite, in the chapter 'A Dangerous Double.'

Tom's personal computers are "no bigger than an adding machine" and
have voice recognition circuitry, so you just have to speak your
 problem into a microphone.

For many of us the small computers in the Tom Swift books planted the seed....


Full text of the introduction of the "Little Idiots": D. Sample


Late that afternoon, Tom was called back to Shopton to pick up a load
of small analog computers. These were the electronic brains which he
had designed for each scientific field represented in the expedition.
In high spirits, he invited Bud and Kent to fly back with him and have
dinner at the Swift home.

After landing on the Enterprises airstrip, they went to the electronics
laboratory to see the new computers. Kent was amazed at their small

"Why these are portable!" he gasped. "They're no bigger than adding

Tom nodded proudly. "Smallest ever built, I believe. Using transistors
helped a lot."

"What are the 'mikes' for?" Bud asked.

"A new touch," Tom explained. "On most machines you need a specially
trained man to set up the problem on coded tape. On these gadgets, you
just *talk* the problem into the microphone. The magnetic recording
tape then feeds into the machine, where it's translated into the proper
electronic impulses."

Tom pointed to one of the machines. "For instance, here's the computer
I designed for Jim Stevens and Ron Corey. It will handle problems of
temperature, moisture, hormones, mineral traces--all the factors
involved in plant growth. Suppose Jim wants to figure out the right
conditions for growing the biggest, juiciest carrots up there on the

The inventor jotted down a sample equation for carrot growth. Then he
switched on the computer, punched several keys, and read the problem
into the microphone. A moment later a light flashed on the keyboard and
a length of tape came whirring out of the machine.

Tom ripped it off. "There are your answers."

Kent Rockland whistled in admiration. "It would take weeks to work that
out by trial and error!"

Bud, too, was impressed. "Too bad I didn't have one of those back in
high school." He chuckled. "My homework was a trial and most of it was
in error!"

"Don't feel too bad, pal." Tom grinned. "Even electronic brains go
haywire, if you don't keep them tuned up. They have nervous breakdowns
in the form of short circuits, and give wrong results when you feed
them a problem."

"In that case," Bud said with a chuckle, "I vote we call 'em the Little

I don't have page references for you but these are the volume numbers with the
quotes in context which should help you find them: James Keeline

TSJR09.txt-1505- didn't have one of those back in high school."
TSJR09.txt-1506- He chuckled. "My homework was a trial and
TSJR09.txt-1507- most of it was in error!"
TSJR09.txt-1508- "Don't feel too bad, pal." Tom grinned.
TSJR09.txt-1509- "Even electronic brains go haywire, if you don't
TSJR09.txt-1510- keep them tuned up. They have nervous
TSJR09.txt-1511- breakdowns in the form of short circuits, and
TSJR09.txt-1512- give wrong results when you feed them a
TSJR09.txt-1513- problem."
TSJR09.txt-1514- "In that case," Bud said with a chuckle,
TSJR09.txt:1515: "I vote we call 'em the Little Idiots!"
TSJR09.txt-1516- "Sure you haven't got a short circuit?"
TSJR09.txt-1517- Tom retorted with a wide grin.
TSJR09.txt-1518- The young inventor also showed Kent a
TSJR09.txt-1519- new type of space suit which he had designed
TSJR09.txt-1520- especially for the satellite expedition. With a
TSJR09.txt-1521- zippered hood and goggles, it was much lighter
TSJR09.txt-1522- and more comfortable than the suits used by the
TSJR09.txt-1523- men who had helped Tom build his Outpost in
TSJR09.txt-1524- Space.
TSJR09.txt-1525- "Boy!" Bud exclaimed when he tried
TSJR12.txt-1120- "What can you do, Tom?" Phyl asked.
TSJR12.txt-1121- "Not a thing, I guess, except keep on
TSJR12.txt-1122- waiting for the rest of the message."
TSJR12.txt-1123- "But we can't wait," Sandy protested.
TSJR12.txt-1124- "Not if we want to get back for the party!"
TSJR12.txt-1125- "How much time do we have?" Bud
TSJR12.txt-1126- asked.
TSJR12.txt-1127- "Well, we're due at seven," Sandy
TSJR12.txt-1128- replied, "and we have to go home and dress."
TSJR12.txt-1129- Bud grinned. "We'd better work this
TSJR12.txt:1130: out on one of Tom's Little Idiots."
TSJR12.txt-1131- These amazing miniature computers were
TSJR12.txt-1132- the smallest and most compact ever built. The
TSJR12.txt-1133- operator simply "talked" his problem into a
TSJR12.txt-1134- microphone, and the computer then reeled off
TSJR12.txt-1135- the answer on tape.
TSJR12.txt-1136- Tom laughingly produced a computer
TSJR12.txt-1137- and Bud began supplying data to the machine.
TSJR12.txt-1138- "Now," declared the copilot, "this little gadget
TSJR12.txt-1139- will tell us what time we'll have to leave here."
TSJR12.txt-1140- Sandy and Phyl giggled at some of his
TSJR13.txt-2477- work on his second matter maker. Besides being
TSJR13.txt-2478- much more powerful and efficient than his first
TSJR13.txt-2479- machine, the new model would be able to
TSJR13.txt-2480- produce many other elements besides oxygen.
TSJR13.txt-2481- "How soon will it be finished?" asked
TSJR13.txt-2482- Sandy eagerly, as she watched her brother wire
TSJR13.txt-2483- the electronic control panel.
TSJR13.txt-2484- Before answering, Tom ran off a quick
TSJR13.txt-2485- series of calculations on one of his amazing
TSJR13.txt-2486- miniature computers which Bud had dubbed
TSJR13.txt:2487: "Little Idiots." Then he jotted down a
TSJR13.txt-2488- correction on his blueprints.
TSJR13.txt-2489- "The design's complete right now, Sis,"
TSJR13.txt-2490- he replied. "However, the castings and some of
TSJR13.txt-2491- the larger parts will have to be made back at
TSJR13.txt-2492- Enterprises. The energy collectors to provide
TSJR13.txt-2493- power for the machine are being made there,
TSJR13.txt-2494- too."
TSJR13.txt-2495- "That means we go back to Shopton?"
TSJR13.txt-2496- put in Bud.
TSJR13.txt-2497- Tom nodded. "The girls and you and I
TSJR14.txt-2996- between the two fields. The brain would use
TSJR14.txt-2997- only this radiation in making its computations
TSJR14.txt-2998- and thus produce a clear picture without
TSJR14.txt-2999- interference. "
TSJR14.txt-3000- Tom thumped his workbench. "I'm sure
TSJR14.txt-3001- it will work!" Then he reflected ruefully, "But it
TSJR14.txt-3002- will take some fancy circuit design to do all that
TSJR14.txt-3003- without making the camera bigger and clumsier
TSJR14.txt-3004- than ever!"
TSJR14.txt-3005- Using one of his midget desk computers,
TSJR14.txt:3006: which Bud had nicknamed "Little Idiot," Tom
TSJR14.txt-3007- quickly worked out the mathematical angles
TSJR14.txt-3008- involved and dashed off rough sketches. Then
TSJR14.txt-3009- he began building two compact transmitters with
TSJR14.txt-3010- dish-shaped radiating antennas. These would be
TSJR14.txt-3011- attached at the top and bottom of the camera.
TSJR14.txt-3012- Tom barely paused for supper and kept
TSJR14.txt-3013- working hour after hour. At midnight Doc
TSJR14.txt-3014- Simpson walked into the laboratory. "You
TSJR14.txt-3015- promised to get a good sleep tonight,
TSJR14.txt-3016- remember? " the medic reproved sternly.
TSJR17.txt-3438- to San Rosario, including the attack en route by
TSJR17.txt-3439- unmarked sky raiders. He also privately told his
TSJR17.txt-3440- father about his plan to use Exman as an
TSJR17.txt-3441- electronic spy. Mr. Swift was enthusiastic.
TSJR17.txt-3442- The two scientists promptly set to work.
TSJR17.txt-3443- Mr. Swift built two powerful but miniature radio
TSJR17.txt-3444- sets; one for receiving, one for transmitting.
TSJR17.txt-3445- Tom, meanwhile, was busy on another device,
TSJR17.txt-3446- also highly miniaturized, combining features of
TSJR17.txt-3447- both the electronic decoder and Tom's famous
TSJR17.txt:3448: midget computers, known as Little Idiots.
TSJR17.txt-3449- With this equipment, Tom hoped, Exman
TSJR17.txt-3450- would be able to monitor all communications at
TSJR17.txt-3451- Brungarian rebel headquarters, then radio the
TSJR17.txt-3452- information to Enterprises.
TSJR17.txt-3453- Chow brought lunch to the laboratory at
TSJR17.txt-3454- noon, and Bud came in later. Both stayed to
TSJR17.txt-3455- watch the outcome of the experiment. Hank
TSJR17.txt-3456- Sterling and Arv Hanson joined the group.
TSJR17.txt-3457- By midafternoon the equipment was
TSJR17.txt-3458- ready for a tryout. Tom opened Exman's star
TSJR20.txt-1460- be needed for the experiment. The idea was so
TSJR20.txt-1461- clear in Tom's head that he plunged into the job
TSJR20.txt-1462- of constructing the units at once, with only
TSJR20.txt-1463- rough preliminary sketches or circuit diagrams
TSJR20.txt-1464- which he had already drawn.
TSJR20.txt-1465- "The radios can be very small and fairly
TSJR20.txt-1466- low powered," Tom reasoned, "since they'll
TSJR20.txt-1467- transmit on a very narrow beam of radiation."
TSJR20.txt-1468- Each would need a small computer in its
TSJR20.txt-1469- base. Tom produced these quickly by converting
TSJR20.txt:1470: two of his "Little Idiots"--amazing midget
TSJR20.txt-1471- electronic brains which he had invented for his
TSJR20.txt-1472- expedition to the phantom satellite.
TSJR20.txt-1473- Several hours went by while Tom
TSJR20.txt-1474- labored at his workbench. It was soon strewn
TSJR20.txt-1475- with electronic paraphernalia. As usual, when on
TSJR20.txt-1476- one of his inventive spurts, Tom worked at
TSJR20.txt-1477- feverish speed.
TSJR20.txt-1478- The new radios, like his space telescope,
TSJR20.txt-1479- had extremely sensitive amplifying circuits that
TSJR20.txt-1480- would have to be supercooled by liquid helium.




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Material SMECC 2007 or by other owners 

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