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Photo: ...IBM...Machine Shop...

gwilson

Diamond
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Location
williamsburg va
IBM computers used to have lots of mechanical parts early on,and were very large. I had a friend in the 60's who worked for them. He had this new glue which he would use to glue plastic gears back together. Turned out it was early super glue. He gave me a bottle. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. I used to put a little drop on the thumb of people who came to my shop,and have them press their thumb against a finger,instantly telling them to pull it apart. Very amusing results when it took a lot of effort to get the finger loose!(No fingers were killed during the little demo!:))
 

4GSR

Diamond
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Location
Victoria, Texas, USA
....He had this new glue which he would use to glue plastic gears back together. Turned out it was early super glue. He gave me a bottle. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. I used to put a little drop on the thumb of people who came to my shop,and have them press their thumb against a finger,instantly telling them to pull it apart. Very amusing results when it took a lot of effort to get the finger loose!(No fingers were killed during the little demo!:))

Dad used to glue pennies to the counter at the local convenience store he used to hang out at back in the 1960's with the Loctite glue. Drove people nuts trying to pry the pennies off!
 

duckfarmer27

Stainless
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Location
Upstate NY
Growing up my Dad (and Mom prior to their marriage in 1947) worked for IBM, but in Endicott, NY. San Jose was the 3d plant built as I remember (after Poughkeepsie, NY being the second). Back in the 50s and 60s my Dad would talk about so and so moving to wherever when a new plant was built. I know when I started with the company in 74 San Jose was the mass storage plant, and I think had been since its inception. Those old mainframe tape drives and disk drives (with disks that looked like oversize phonograph records)were mainly a mechanical contraption. So it would figure there would be a good size production machine floor at the plant. In comparison, Poughkeepsie, where I started, built the large main frames. Very little, if any, production machining but a pretty fair tool room for all the necessary manufacturing support work. Like one of the first things I worked on - how to strip the teflon insulation from a .002 wire so it could be ultrasonically bonded to a pad so as to repair a chip carrier. Only problem was about 45 days into the job they decided to make me a programmer - took me 7 years to escape that gig. And totally changed the path my career would take.

Dale
 

Matt_Maguire

Stainless
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Location
West-Central Illinois, USA
In 1958 they were still making typewriters, check clearing machines and a shit ton of other useful stuff that had gears, levers and motors etc. Why wouldn't they have machine shops?

The “THINK” motto goes back a 100 years or more, not much silicon used back in those days...

BTW – IIRC they made M1 carbines, BAR rifles, bomb sights and other things for the WWII effort.

Matt
 

dcsipo

Titanium
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Location
Baldwin, MD/USA
Growing up my Dad (and Mom prior to their marriage in 1947) worked for IBM, but in Endicott, NY. San Jose was the 3d plant built as I remember (after Poughkeepsie, NY being the second). Back in the 50s and 60s my Dad would talk about so and so moving to wherever when a new plant was built. I know when I started with the company in 74 San Jose was the mass storage plant, and I think had been since its inception. Those old mainframe tape drives and disk drives (with disks that looked like oversize phonograph records)were mainly a mechanical contraption. So it would figure there would be a good size production machine floor at the plant. In comparison, Poughkeepsie, where I started, built the large main frames. Very little, if any, production machining but a pretty fair tool room for all the necessary manufacturing support work. Like one of the first things I worked on - how to strip the teflon insulation from a .002 wire so it could be ultrasonically bonded to a pad so as to repair a chip carrier. Only problem was about 45 days into the job they decided to make me a programmer - took me 7 years to escape that gig. And totally changed the path my career would take.

Dale

That is neat industrial history through your experiences:)

dee
;-D
 

blcksmth

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Location
Bowling Green, Ohio
I worked for IBM from 1961 - 1993. I'm not sure what products were made in San Jose in 1958, but it was magnetic disk storage products as long as I knew. In 1958 it was probably the 305 RAMAC, a disk storage unit with 10 or 20 platters about 20 inches in diameter and 2 read/write heads. The single arm containing the heads moved up and down to the proper disks and then went in to the selected tracks where the heads were loaded up to the disk surface to read or write. As I recall 10 platters - 20 surfaces - held 200,000 bytes of data. In 1962 the first disk drive with removable disks was announced with a dedicated head for each disk surface. This head assembly was driven by hydraulics with a 200psi pump and solenoid operated valves. Ahhh times were good back then.

Bob
WB8NQW
 

Limy Sami

Diamond
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Location
Norfolk, UK
Great pic Lathefan :)

A great uncle (I think - he was my grandfathers eldest brother?? )of mine worked for IBM before it became such, he was originally employed by the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in the UK where it was known as ''The American Tab.''
From what I was told as a kid, he was some sort of mathematician, always considered ''strange'' in the family and very much an outsider, there was ''family talk'' that he had one or two patents or royalty licencing agreements to do with American Tab.
AFAIK nothing was ever found or proved, and that side of my family were heavily afflicted by ''The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God.'' so it was probably B.S.

He was killed in the London blitz, ...........<> 1942 if memory serves.

Ref ;- Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

duckfarmer27

Stainless
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Location
Upstate NY
Matt -

You are correct that in 58 IBM was still making a ton of mechanical-electric items like electric typewriters, card sorters, etc. My Dad hired into the company in 1941, after having graduated from high school in 1940. He was a set up man on the machine floor prior to leaving during the war to become a B-25 driver. IBM only had the Endicott, NY plant up until 1942 when Poughkeepsie started up. From what I know you have the WWII products correct - I've always kept my eyes open for an IBM made M-1 carbine but have yet to trip over one locally. I hired on in Poughkeepsie in 74 when I got off Army active duty - was told there was an underground test firing range someplace under the plant. Think they made 20mm cannons there - according to what I looked up. IBM archives on line lists 9,040 Endicott employees in 1942 of whom 920 served in military in WWII, my Dad being one in each category. As an aside, his 'man number' was a 5 digit one. As I recall it got a leading zero at some later point as when I was hired I got a 6 digit one.

Bob -
Thanks for the San Jose history lesson. Those old disk packs were something - especially during a 'head crash'! I spent a little over 4 years in the commercial side of IBM in Poughkeepsie and Endicott before going over to 'the other side' - Federal Systems Division. The company hardly ever acknowledged that we existed as all we did was work for DOD and other three letter agencies. We were the only division of the company that did not have maximize profit in our charter, but rather 'national interest'. I remember going to corporate new managers school in 81. First day the instructor within the first 5 minutes asks who is from FSD - then tells us he will identify portions of the course that do not apply to us. People sitting next to me look at me funny - FSD? Rules different? Never heard of that division - what to you do? My Dad was in the first batch of employees to move into the Owego, NY plant in late 50s when it was built - solely for the purpose of design, build and test of the offensive avionics system (fancy talk for the bomb and navigation system) for the B-52 (which up to that point was shoehorned into Endicott). They bought enough land in Owego so as to build a 10,000 foot runway capable of handling B-52s for testing. That never came to pass, but they still own the land. Later on Owego became the avionics part of the business, with sonars, space, etc going to Gaithersburg, MD and Manassass, VA. Also had a facility in Huntsville, AL for NASA during Gemini and Apollo. In Owego we did all kinds of military aircraft and electronic warfare systems. We were the first, and I think only, non airframer to be a prime contractor for an aircraft and systems - the Navy SH-60B and later MH-60R. Plus glass cockpits and other things. A very interesting place to work. When IBM got into financial trouble in 92 we were the only thing easily salable. So I ended up retiring from Lockheed Martin, which acquired most of Loral who bought us in 94. I was always going to make a wall hanging of 3 of my business cards - same job title, phone and address but three different corporations. I cannot complain, they treated me well - and I worked for bosses who supported me being active in the reserve component side of the Army.

Limy -
Computing - Tabulating - Recording Company was, as you know, the forerunner of IBM. Started in Binghamton, which along with Johnson City and Endicott are the 'Triple Cities'. 7-IMG_1430.JPG
You can see in the picture some of the items that were in the Gerstner chest I inherited from my Dad. There is a tool room chit from CTR - evidently they saw no need to scrap out the old name when IBM was formed. A lot different than when we were sold to Lockheed. Orders came down to make everything that said IBM disappear. Every piece of furniture and equipment had an IBM asset tag for inventory purposes, for instance. And all the three ring binders in the place had to go as they had the IBM logo - I pulled several out of the dumpster and have in the shop. I refused - my engineers had better things to do. At the time I ran the flight facility and one of the pilots reminded me that we had a very seldom used helipad on the edge of the property - had forgotten it had LORAL in big letters across it. As the new CEO was flying in the next day second shift maintenance had to do some evening work to make it 'disappear'. Had to keep the suits happy at times!

Dale
 
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L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
The three lathes in the foreground of the photo in post 1 are Hardinge DSM-59 second op lathes. They would have to be the old model, which was replaced with a major redesign in 1960.

Here is a picture of the IBM Endicott laboratory tool room full of brand new underneath drive Hardinge Cataract lathes in 1935.

Another product of IBM was industrial clocks. I have a pair of IBM No. 35 master wall clocks with consecutive serial numbers made about 1944. They were installed in the local General Electric Broadway plant. The clocks have pendulums and are weight driven, with electric motor winding. Two clocks, so that time would still be kept on the hundred or so slave clocks in the factory complex if one master clock stopped.
https://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/cc/pdf/cc_2407M351.pdf

Larry

Hardinge 1935 lathe ad.jpg
 

duckfarmer27

Stainless
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Location
Upstate NY
Larry -

I like the photo - wish my Dad were still around to see if he could ID any of the 'old timers' in that photo. That was during the depression when IBM would give you your pay, or a portion of it, in stock if you wanted. Hard to do but some people did very well with that. One of the ways they tried to avoid letting anyone go during that time. In addition to having the workers build buildings among other things.

The master clock brings back a funny one. The Owego plant had for a long time, of course, an IBM master clock system. I was a programmer working with the electrical design guys bringing up the first AP-101C computers which were an upgrade for the B-52 G and H models - this was in 1979 or thereabouts. Once the Air Force and Boeing (who was the prime on the upgrade) agreed with us on the principles of operation (POO - a very appropriate name) we wrote software to verify that all the instructions the computer was supposed to perform worked correctly. Analysis to make sure every possible logic path was tested. The program then became the test program to 'sell off' the computer when in production and also for diagnostic testing. When bringing up a new critter like this more than once it would be a shouting match between the hardware and software teams as to who had the problem - typical development project. There was a piece of custom test equipment, designed and built in house, that was the front end to allow you access to the box, had keyboard, supplied power, etc. We were making good progress - my buddy and I were on third shift as volunteers so we could get work done and stay away from management. Progress was plagued by every once in a while having the unit go into a power on reset, which would kill and restart everything. This was software independent and driving the hardware guys nuts. My memory is it was the lead test equipment engineer who discovered the problem. At noon and midnight the master clock sent the correction signal out on the plant power lines. Had never been a problem prior, but with this design we got just enough of a signal with not enough filtering and the box reset. One of those things you never forget and are always cognizant of afterwards.

Another strange one like that was on the Space Shuttle computer (which we built, as well as the displays). It was also in the AP-101 family and very similar in design. One of the early Shuttle flights got held just before liftoff because the computers got out of synch. That system used 5 identical boxes that 'voted' and had to agree on things - cheaper solution than the previous design redundancies on space hardware. They had done a timer reset at some point. Turned out the logic in the timer design had this one condition where the reset did not totally reset the timer if the clock cycle was at a certain point when the instruction hit. Solution was to do a double software reset in series, which cured the problem. Cost a launch cancellation. To this day I don't trust software resets - mechanical ones, yes - logic controlled ones, no. But then I'm a mechanical engineer who also worked as a programmer on what is now antique computers.

Once burned we humans tend to remember the ones that caused us the most pain - sometimes!

Dale
 

John Garner

Titanium
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Location
south SF Bay area, California
Based on the date, I'd guess the photo was taken in the Cottle Road facility -- which was opened in 1957 -- and not the original and much smaller facility on Notre Dame Avenue in downtown San Jose.

When it was built, the Cottle Road plant was pretty much surrounded by orchards and pastures; today it's the site of a Lowe's and a "major retail center", surrounded by housing. The Notre Dame Avenue site fared a bit better, the old IBM building has been re-purposed as a California Superior Court annex.

John
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
"The three lathes in the foreground of the photo in post 1 are Hardinge DSM-59 second op lathes. "

Two are HLVH's that's for sure. But the one at the far left?

It's an ESM split bed. Look close you can see the T-slot in the bed under the headstock.

Apparently watson sr. always had a soft spot in his heart for 'the cash."

The shuttle computers - those were made by FSD - federal systems division which was, where, in maryland
I think? We had two engineers who worked on our project up at research in the early 90s - they were actually
from FSD and commuted up to yorktown EVERY WEEK via the eastern shuttle.

Those guys were some of the most crackerjack engineers I've ever met. One was a super fab guy, and the
other was a EE that forgot more engineering than I'll ever learn. He did things with a network analyzer
I'm still trying to figure out. There's no doubt that the absolute best folks on the face of the earth to
build every single computer that ever flew in every single american spacecraft, worked at FSD.

Divesting that division of the company was arguably one of the *worst* management decisions that IBM
ever made. I think it was Gerstner that did that deed.

For those of you who want to see a miniature version of an IBM shop:

http://mwdropbox.com/dropbox/Nshop_left_1.jpg

http://mwdropbox.com/dropbox/Nshop_right_2.jpg
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I just bought a binder of Hardinge catalog papers from 1942. There were some ad reprints from American Machinist and Machinery magazines, and one features pictures of Hardinge lathes in several IBM departments. This ad shows Cataract model LM lathes like the ones in the ad in post 14. These lathes were made from 1935 to 1940 or so. It was only when I got this catalog collection that I found out Hardinge called the underneath drive lathe introduced in 1935 an LM. Hardinge did not put the model designations on their lathes until around 1940.

By the way, the HLV-H lathes were not made until 1960, so the lathes in post 1 are older models. Jim is correct that the left hand lathe is an ESM. The next two do not have threading gear boxes, as far as I can see, so they are probably model TFB, the version of the HLV that did not have a gear box.

Larry

Hardinge 1935-40 IBM ad 2.jpg
 

Dupa3872

Stainless
Joined
May 1, 2007
Location
Boston Hyde park Ma.
IBM computers used to have lots of mechanical parts early on,and were very large. I had a friend in the 60's who worked for them. He had this new glue which he would use to glue plastic gears back together. Turned out it was early super glue. He gave me a bottle. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. I used to put a little drop on the thumb of people who came to my shop,and have them press their thumb against a finger,instantly telling them to pull it apart. Very amusing results when it took a lot of effort to get the finger loose!(No fingers were killed during the little demo!:))

This is not funny but it happened I think late 70's early 80's. In my very young days me and the guys hung out in our favorite bar room after work on Saturday afternoons. They had a older guy who cleaned the bar and pretty much lived at the place. He was treated badly and constantly picked on. Super glue was a new thing and people played games as you described. Some guy got the idea to glue his beer glass to the table while he was sweeping up. It worked pretty good and everyone had a good laugh until the glass broke in his hand as he was trying to pull it off the table. Of course no one every though this might happen and it was not the intention. The guy got plenty of stitches and for weeks after guys bought him beers and treated him with a lot more respect.

He was an old guy and everyone felt terrible after. He deserved better and as time went on we learned more about him and what brought him to this place in life. He had a tough run and was a Korean Vet who never quite came back. My mom told me when I was a young kid that you treat people with respect especially those much older. You never know what a person was, what they did, were they came from. I try to always consider my moms advice you just never know if that old guy in line at the store who can't get his money out fast enough faced a machine gun or saved lives or just plain worked his ass off taking care of his family just like we do.

That incident made a life long impact on me.

Back to work, Make Chips Boys !!

Ron
 








 
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