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UNIVAC - Information Age: Then and Now

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Published on Aug 15, 2008

[Recorded 1960]
This humorous promotional film for the Remington Rand UNIVAC computer features J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly in leading roles. Produced in 1960, the film outlines the earlier history of computing leading to the development and application of the UNIVAC computer.

J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the major figures in the creation of the ENIAC computer, left the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Engineering at the end of WWII to found their own firm. They had hoped to be the first to exploit the new concept of the electronic stored program computer, but were hampered by a lack of funds and, to some extent, by the bureaucracy surrounding their only major customer, the Census Bureau. They sought other investors but never had enough to properly complete their projects.

They eventually sold their business to Remington Rand (later Sperry Rand) who incorporated it as the UNIVAC division of the company. Eckert remained with UNIVAC all his life but Mauchly left after a few years to become a private consultant.

Remington Rand's Univac Division produced some of the earliest commercially available machines ahead of more famous firms such as IBM. The large management structure of the company often frustrated their engineers, many of whom left to found other very influential computer firms (e.g. Control Data Corporation). This bureaucracy is thought by many (including their Vice President, J. Presper Eckert) to have eventually limited their ability to take advantage of rapidly changing technology and to lose the lead to other firms such as IBM.

In 1955 the Sperry Corporation and Remington Rand merged forming Sperry Rand. Sperry Rand then eventually merged with Burroughs to from Unisys and is still in business.

You can learn about computing history at the Computer History Museum website: www.computerhistory.org

Catalog number: 102639862

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