Podcasting since 2005! Listen to Latest SolderSmoke

Monday, January 29, 2024

The System Source Museum (Computers, Maryland)

Thanks to my friend Bob KD4EBM for alerting me to this.  Bob provides some very useful background: 

(Just north of Timonium, colocated with the future home of the National Electronics Museum)

System Source has a computer museum displaying technology from the inception of computing. Founders Bob Roswell and Maury Weinstein opened ComputerLand, a predecessor to System Source, in 1981. Rapid advances in technology in the early 1980’s made some ComputerLand inventory obsolete before it could be sold. Bob and Maury’s old ComputerLand store on Redwood Street had a bank vault in the basement, so they filled it with vintage tech.

Wow, that bank vault in the basement is really intriguing.  We need to find more of those.  

The Usagi guy's 6AU6A T-shirt is pretty cool.  I also liked his reference to Tracy Kidder's book "The Soul of A New Machine."  I happen to be re-reading that book now.  I'm struck by the complexity of even the computers of the late 1970s.  At one point Kidder notes that there is only one guy on the hardware team who has a complete grasp of how the hardware in the new machine actually works.  The software was probably even more inscrutable.  And of course, things have gotten a LOT more complex.  This is the big reason that I have decided to stick with simple, analog, discrete component, HDR rigs that I can understand.  To each his own.  One look at the wiring on some of those old computers tells me that this is not for me.  


  1. Superb Video. I see that the National Electronics Museum is temporarily closed, and there are plans to co-locate it to System Source. I went to the National Electronics museum years ago, and with two museums to be co-located, makes it a no-brainer when in the area.
    Also: Soul of a New Machine- great read. Very accurate account. How about a Book Review when you are done, Bill? It's on my re-read list!

  2. Watching the Usagi Guy's restorations got me looking for Data General restorations. This led me to Simh/Open-Simh that is a platform for creating simulators for legacy systems. I downloaded the DG Nova RDOS simulator from novas-are-forever and it actually runs the original DG binary software releases only 40 times faster than our 800KHz Novas. Wild Hare Systems created the DG simulators.
    Apparently a lot of this old hardware is still operating around the world. They make a replacement CPU/Memory board that plugs into the 15 inch chassis and runs all of the native DG code while supporting any custom hardware that the user may have. Cool stuff!

    Wild Hare is also archiving all things DG, so contact them if you have any DG hardware or software.

    There are simulators for many legacy minis(mostly DEC). Check it out. It's a walk down memory lane...


  3. One of my coworkers left to go work for DG at their North Carolina facility developing the (losing) design for their 32bit systems as discussed in "The Soul of a New Machine." All my trips were to Southboro where if you order Ice Tea in the winter they think you are crazy...



Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column