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Britain's oldest computer gets a 'reboot'
by Staff Writers
Bletchley Park, England (UPI) Nov 20, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The world's oldest original working digital computer has been brought back to life and is going on display at a British computer museum, officials said.

Dubbed The Witch, the computer was the workhorse of Britain's atomic energy research program in the 1950s, but has spent the last 15 years gathering dust in a storeroom, the BBC reported Monday.

Restored to noisy, light-flashing life in a three-year restoration effort, The Witch will reside at the National Museum of Computing in Buckinghamshire.

The 2.5-ton machine was built in 1949 to help researchers in Britain's atomic energy program by speeding up calculations once performed by a bevy of humans with adding machines.

Though achingly slow by modern standards -- it could take up to 10 seconds to multiply two numbers -- it proved very reliable and was in use until 1957 when it was outstripped by faster, smaller computers.

"It's important for us to have a machine like this back in working order as it gives us an understanding of the state of technology in the late 1940s in Britain," said Kevin Murrell, a trustee of The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.

Last U.K-made typewriter goes to museum
Wrexham, Wales (UPI) Nov 20, 2012 - A factory in Wales produced the final typewriter made in Britain and immediately dispatched it to a museum, officials said.

Typewriter manufacturer Brother says it donated the last machine made in its factory in Wrexham to London's Science Museum.

Edward Bryan, a worker at the factory that produced 5.9 million typewriters since opening in 1985, made the last one.

"If people ever ask me, I can always say now, as a strange question, that I've made the last typewriter in the U.K.," he told the BBC.

The typewriter is widely considered as helping many women to enter the workforce, and still has "a special place in the hearts" of members of the public, said Phil Jones, head of Brother in Britain.

"Because of this, and the typewriter's importance in the history of business communication, we felt that giving it a home at the Science Museum would be a fitting tribute."

Brother said it stopped making typewriters in Britain because of lack of demand. Although it still had significant sales in the United States, its factory in the Far East produces enough typewriters to serve that market.


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