The GE-200 product originated in the early days of
the Computer Department in Phoenix AZ.
In fact, the GE-200 name has been also
used for banking products derived from the first GE computer, the ERMA
project, General Electric marketed in the early 60s the GE200 Bank Transit
system around a document (check) sorting system.
Three variations of the same central processor
constitutes that product line sold between 1959 ? and 1966.
The GE-225 was derived from the
GE-312 and 412 Process control computers, then part of the Computer
Department products. It was designed by Arnold Spielberg and Chuck
Prosper, ex-RCA engineers who have been working on BIZMAC. It was
introduced in 1960.
The GE-225 was a 20-bits word binary machine with
3 hardware registers not specially designed for business applications.
The instruction of 20-bits contains a 5-bits OP code,
2-bits of address modification and 13-bits of operand address Floating Point is a
hardware option. Decimal arithmetic (with 3 6-bits BCD
numbers per word , is another option. Real-Time clock, Move command was
also an optional feature.
Addition was performed in 36 µs. Multiplication in 288 µs and Division
Technology was solid-state (diodes and
transistors). A 8K words system contained 1,000 circuit boards, 10,000
transistors, 20,000 diodes and 186,000 magnetic cores.The power
dissipation was 16 KVA.
Main memory was offered in 4, 8 and 16K words.Its
access time was 18 µs.
Disks (MRADS Mass Random Access Data Storage) 98304
words per unit, thruput 62.5Kcps, up to 32 units.
Magnetic Tapes at 200 and 556 bpi operating at 75ips
Card reader 400 or 1000 cpm
Card punch 100 or 300 cpm
Paper Tape reader at 250 or 1000 cps
Paper Tape punch 110 cps
Line Printer 900 lpm 160 columns
Datanet 15 single communication line controller 75 to
Datanet 30 communications processor
Check sorter 1200 dpm
Typewriter 10 cps
Up to 11 devices may operate simultaneously,
through independent channels connected to the memory by an autonomous
"controller selector". Unit record devices operated under
Software includes a compiler of GECOM
language (a COBOL dialect with many ALGOL features), TABSOL (a language
based on decision tables), WIZ (a Algebraic compiler), FORTRAN II, GAP a
translator for IBM 650 and LGP30 and a Report Generator.
Charlie Bachmann develops the IDS data base system for the GE-225
before it was ported to GE-400 and GE-600
One of the major initial customers was at
Huntsville Arsenal, a NASA predecessor)
The GE-215 was a scaled-down
version of the GE-225. The number of channels was reduced to 6.The main
core memory was limited to 4K and 8K words.
Addition was performed in 72 µs.
Multiplication in 342 µs and Division in 531 µs
The GE-235 was a re-implementation (three
times faster) of the GE-225 with a faster memory (cycle 5 µs) designed in
1962 and delivered in 1964.
Addition was performed in 12 µs.
Multiplication in 84 µs and Division in 85 µs, thanks to a new
high-speed arithmetic unit.
More I/O operations can operate simultaneously through a second access
The GE-265 that was the system
running the first commercial time-sharing system is the association of a
GE-235 processor and of a Datanet-30 communication processor.
The software was designed at Dartmouth College as DTSS in 1963-1964.While
BASIC was the main programming language created for that system, it was
also used in ALGOL and Fortran. A peculiarity of the DTSS was that the
main part of the operating system was resident in the DN-30 front-end
processor and that only the user programs and their environment (e.g.the
BASIC interpreter) were executed in the GE-235. The two processors were
interconnected through a direct interface and were sharing a disc unit
A contemporary (1964) description of the system
will be available here
This system was introduced by GE and by
Bull-General Electric in 1965
a Teletype 33 DTSS terminal at Bull-GE in 1966
The GE-265 operating system was renamed Mark I and
was later (1968) ported on GE-635 as Mark II and Mark III, by General
Electric Information Services Division that was not transferred to
Honeywell in 1970
Note: The ERMA machine developed
for the Bank of America and NCR (NCR 304) has got also the
name of GE-210 when sold to other banks than BofA, and
GE-304B when used internally at General Electric. It is not part of