When Air Defense Ran on Room-Sized Computers and Punch Cards

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IBM's SAGE air defense system looks like it belongs in a Cold War-era James Bond film, but this is a real IBM ad from the 1960s, courtesy of the Internet Archive


Stills from the video above

For great color photographs of the system, see Scott Beale's images posted on Laughing Squid, where EDW Lynch describes the scale of the machinery involved: 

The heart of the system was the IBM AN/FSQ-7 computer, which at 275 tons is still the world’s largest computer. Each computer had 55,000 vacuum tubes, required a half acre of floor space, and operated on punch cards. There were 52 AN/FSQ-7 computers around the country. 

For more films from the Internet Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/.

Via Laughing Squid

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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