GE ERMA - 100 Series - The Start
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Proposal to Bank of America From General Electric


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General Electric 100 Electronic Recording Method

General Electric Company
Computer Department
Phoenix, Arizona

Photo by Bank of America (Abbate Photo)

Located in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Los Angeles,
North Hollywood, Covina, and Paramount, California, the
systems are being used for commercial deposit accounting
(checking accounts). The Bank of America is now operating 7
ERMA Centers in the locations indicated above. Each center is
equipped with 2 to 3 GE-100 Computing Systems depending on
projected account vole for area being serviced. Checks and
deposits, which are delivered to the ERMA Centers in the early
evening, are processed and sorted at night for early morning
return to the branches.

No. of No. of Access
Medium Words Digits Microsec
Magnetic Core 4,000 28,000 32
Work structure consists of 7 decimal characters. The
first character contains sign, numeric-alpha numeric
designation and checking digits.
BRL 1961, GE 100 ERMA, start page 0263

Media Speed
Magnetic Tape 30,000 char/sec
3/4 inch tape - 10 channel - 2 digit in parallel.
Paper Tape 200 char/sec
7 channel punch paper tape photo reader
Flexowriter 10 char/sec
7 channel punch paper tape mechanical reader
Sorter/readers 750 items/min
Magnetic ink coded documents. The sorter/readers are
equipped with character recognition.

Media Speed
Magnetic Tape 30,000 char/sec
Flexowriter 10 char/sec
Printer 600-900 lines/min
Revolving drum/hammer type, operable both off-line and on-
line. The printer is used off-line with magnetic tape

Power, computer 150 Kw
Power, air conditioner 185 Kw
Volume, computer 18,000 cu ft
Volume, air conditioner 33,500 cu ft
Area, computer 2,000 sq ft
Area, air conditioner 1,900 sq ft
Room size, computer 80 ft x 25 ft x 9 ft
Room size, air conditioner 87 ft x 20 ft x Mezzanine
Floor loading 250 lbs/sq ft
Capacity, air conditioner 150 Tons
Weight, computer 23,000 lbs
False ceilings and plenums are required for air supply
and negative pressure. Building type is either of pre-
stressed concrete panels or cast concrete: no modifications
are necessary since the buildings are specifically designed
as ERMA Centers. Power distribution is provided by
under floor conduit and pull boxes.

Because of the recent development and installation of our
current GE 100 Systems, accurate figures are not yet
available on our ultimate personnel requirements. However,
typical operating personnel in an ERMA Center consist of a
manager, assistant managers, branch liaison officers,
console operators, sorter reader operators and printer
operators. Programming activities for all our various
installations are centralized within the Bank of America's
Systems and Equipment Research Department. Engineer and
technician requirements are to be determined by the
manufacturer, General Electric Company, under terms of the
contractual agreement to provide necessary maintenance.
Operation tends toward open shop.
Key personnel, i.e. managers, liaison officers and console
operators receive a six-month training course prior to their
initial assignment. The first seven weeks consist of
attendance at a programming school. The remaining weeks are
spent in controlled on-the-job training in all phases of an
ERMA Center's operation. All other employees are given on-the-
job training in their respective assignments.


Average error-free running period 2 Hours
Good time60 Hours/Week (Average)
Attempted to run time62 Hours/Week (Average)
Operating ratio (Good/Attempted to run time) 0.967
Above figures based on period 1 Aug 60 to 31 Aug 60
Passed Customer Acceptance Test 1 Jul 59
Time is available for rent to qualified outside organizations.
 Although we have available computer
time now, it is not being offered on a rental basis
due to our projected volume which will utilize this

Outstanding features include magnetic ink character
recognition and simultaneous read one tape, write one tape,
and compute is permitted. Magnetic ink character recognition
units on the sorter/readers allow computer input directly
from source documents.
Magnetic tapes receive an internal label under program
control as well as a manually produced external label. Tapes
are stored in a fire-proof tape vault which has humidity and
temperature control. Critical "back-up" tapes are sent daily
to off-premise storage locations.
The system was designed by General Electric as a general
purpose computer to be used primarily in deposit
accounting. Therefore, in order to utilize source documents
as immediate input, the system was provided with magnetic
character recognition facilities rather than punched card
Components of a basic system are a central processing
unit, main power unit, console, eight tape units, tape
control unit, printer, printer control unit, three
sorter/readers, and a sorter/reader control unit.
Under the term of the sales contract, cost/price
figures per system will not be available prior to
equipment acceptance at final installation.

Additional ERMA Centers are planned to service the
branches of the Bank of America in the Sacramento, Fresno,
West Los Angeles, Southwest Los Angeles, Montebello, and San
Diego areas. It is anticipated that these centers will all
be in operation by June 30, 1961.
Due to the fact that our ERMA Centers are either
relatively new or still in the planning stage, and since the
equipment has yet to be utilized to the maximum extent of
which it is capable, no additional components, major
modifications or plans for retirement are under
consideration at the present time.

Bank of America NT & SA
Systems and Equipment Research Department
500 Howard Street
San Francisco, California

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And some scenes from my tour of the Bank of America Museum at 1955 Grant, near Clayton, (BART Station) in Concord, CA. For group tours call Sharon Lions, 925-675-1068 Photos - Ed Thelen




Flexowriter, Front

Flexowriter, Back

Paper Tape

Document Handler Overview

Document Handler Feeder

Document Handler Pockets

Magnetic Tapes Overview

An Ampex Tape Drive





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