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Published on May 13, 2014
The IBM 1401, a medium-sized business computer introduced in 1959, became IBM's biggest selling computer of the early 1960s. By 1965, nearly half of all computers in the world were IBM 1401s. This success was fostered by IBM developing a system that preserved customers' existing investment in punched card business methods while allowing for a transition to newer methods of electronic, digital, stored program computing. The film unveils the history of this popular computer, based, in part, on interviews with its original designers.
In its second half, the film covers the IBM 1401 Restoration Project at the Computer History Museum, in which a team of former IBM computing specialists spent a decade restoring two vintage IBM 1401 systems. The systems are now publicly demonstrated on a regular basis at the Computer History Museum.