Insane in the mainframe

Regular readers may have concluded long ago that The Brothers Brick are just a bunch of old farts who are obsessed with Miami Vice, Ataris, and Hammer pants. And you’d be right. So I’m gonna worsen that stereotype and take you back to an even older, fartier era when men were men and computers were, well, absolutely enormous:

LegoJalex‘s recreation of a vintage NCR Century Series mainframe reminds us of an era when computers had to be kept in specially cooled rooms, and one IBM executive famously predicted “there is a world market for maybe five computers”. Extra points (and a tube of Prep H) to anyone that can correctly identify any of the components represented in the scene above!

And to round off our little 70’s nostalgia trip, here’s a BONUS ITEM from the same builder: an adorable microscale version of the classic LEGO set 381 Police Headquarters. Ah, it’s like my 5th birthday all over again!


…can you dig it?

8 comments on “Insane in the mainframe

  1. Jonathan

    “… reminds us of an era when computers had to be kept in specially cooled rooms”

    You mean

  2. Tolwyn

    Being 42, I really appreciated this post. To be honest, I think that would make an awesome Lego Ideas set (imagine the retro fun you could have with Agents and stuff?)

    Also, kudos for bringing back memories of the police station (which I still have, actually). What a great mini-build.

  3. Marcexsurgent

    “Can you dig it?” <- – best line of The Warrriors (1979)

    Sadly, never seen a mainframe up close and my first pc was an Atari 400 in 1982 but this post does indeed remind me I'm an old fart. Now where did I leave that acoustic coupler…..

  4. Buffalorand

    COBAL, COBAL, COBAL! My first main frame was at EDS in San Francisco…punch cards are not just for coffee addicts…and yes, I could name them all!

  5. peterab

    Damn I need that Prep H; so I can see a bunch of reel to reel tape decks, a console, a teletype terminal and some disk packs. Don’t know which bit is the CPU or the core memory on an NCR but I know they’re probably there :-)

    My oldest computer I’ve actually used was a PDP-8 with 4K core, it was obsolete when I played with it on a work experience placement in the local Kodak factory research lab. My first computer was an Ohio Scientific C4P which I bought in about 1981. Used a mini at High School and mainframes at Uni.

  6. faefrost

    On the right side, the orange topped console with the white bit on it is a real old school hard drive. That white bit represents a lid that lifts up and you drop a canister of hard drive platters into. Each being about the size of an old school record LP, and the canister being around 10″ tall. Total storage capacity was at best 1 megabyte. Amazing tech back then.

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