Minutes of the LEO Management Meeting, 17th July 1959.
Research comments: Refers to machines LEO II/5 (Hartree House service bureau), LEO II/9 (Ilford Films), LEO II/10 (Wills Tobacco)
Refers to people David Caminer, TR Thompson (TRT), Mr Mills (Geoffrey Mills?), Leo Fantl, John Gosden, Mr Masters (John Masters), Mr Barnes (Tony Barnes).
Refers to companies Lyons, Dorman Long, EMI, Air Ministry, Motta Limited, Glyn Mills, Hudson Bay Co. Ltd, Peat, Marwick & Mitchell (precursor of KPMG), Commercial union, North British Mercantile, Prudential Insurance, ICT.
The Minutes refer to the proposal to put punch card installations into Ice Cream depots to prepare invoices. Also to the increased programming and running times caused by use of magnetic drums and tape. Also to the need to order "the electronic units for manufacturing magnetic tape and Powers linkages" at a cost of £10,000 for LEO II/9 and the Powers printer linkage, first Powers printer and first magnetic tape machine for LEO II/10 at a total cost of £19,000. And also to the lifespan of Hollerith printers.
Tony Barnes is promoted to take over 'Operation'. (LM)
Date : 17th July 1959
Physical Description : 1 item (4 pages), paper; typescript
Minutes of the LEO Management Meeting
Friday 17th July 1959
Jobs for Lyons
Mr Caminer mentioned that several programme changes were contemplated for Lyons jobs and of the advisability of the O & M taking over these changes as far as possible. This was agreed to the extent of the resources that were at present available.
Mr Thompson promised to discuss this with Mr Mills to see if any further expansion in personnel was desirable.
Mir Simmons mentioned proposals to put punch card installations in Ice Cream depots to prepare invoices. It was agreed that a copy of these proposals should be studied by Mr Thompson and Mr Caminer so as to be sure that the scheme provided the possibility of appropriate links with computer applications, whether existing ones or possible ones in the future.
Ministry of Pensions
Mr Thompson asked about the progress of programme trials. It was pointed out that unless those programme sequences which involved the drum were tried out of LEO II/5, the programme trials would be delayed until we had delivery of the drums. Mr Caminer thought it would be inconvenient to arrange the trials on LEO II/5 but promised to discuss this with Mr Thompson.
Mr Thompson reported a favourable visit to Middlesborough by himself and Mr Fantl, to talk to senior Management there. Mr Thomspn had made a good contact with Mr Jack but it was clear that although a number of people were favourably inclined to us we could not, as yet, consider that we were likely to get the contract. Ours was the only report yet considered and no decision could be reached until towards the end of the year.
Machines for Government Departments
Consideration was given as to why our quotations for various departments had not been accepted. Mr Caminer said he felt that the acceptance of an EMI computer by the Air Ministry was quite understandable become, on paper, it was a faster and more up-to-date machine. As far as he could see each department was deciding for themselves what computer to order.
Mr Simmons referred to information he had recently obtained about government policy on equipment under development, and Mr Gosden's report on the enquiries he had made. Mr Masters is to make contact with OABETA [Office Appliance & Business Equipment Trades Association] to find out what they are doing about circulating the information and then we shall follow up the matter with Merriman.
Arising from the Progress Report consideration was given as to whether we should quote for our new computer instead of LEO IIC. It was agreed that circumstances might make this necessary. In any case if Motta could wait it would be better that any computer sold abroad should be the latest one.
Mr Caminer reported that he had seen Glyn Mills and told them of the up-to-date position. The fact that we could not deal with retrospective casualties with this new taken-on was going to be very embarrassing to Glyn Mills but they seemed to have accepted it. The reason for the delay was mainly the longer time taken to prepare and try the programme which was a large and complicated one.
Hudson Bay Co Ltd
The impact of the delay in completion was considered. It was agreed that Mr Caminer should speak to Mr Turnbull on his return from holiday to see if he would accept the invoice for the run for the July Sale and for preparing the programme.
Mr Anthony recommended that in order to strengthen our relations with Peat, Marvick and Mitchell we should make a concession in our charges to Initial Services. It was agreed that Mr Caminer should find out from Peat, Marvick and Mitchell what sort of reduction was needed to make the job acceptable and that he could, if necessary, offer a concession of up to 15%.
Quotations to Insurance Companies
Mr Caminer reported that the Commercial Union and North British Mercantile had set out a statement of requirements, together with an indication of the kind of equipment they felt they needed to meet these requirements. He also mentioned that the Prudential were about to do the same.
Our newest equipment would meet these requirements very suitably. It was decided that we should not, at this moment, quote for the newest
equipment but only mention that presently we should be able to supply equipment which was suitable and try and induce insurance companies to defer buying other people's equipment for the time being.
Course for German Executives
It was reported that we were adhering to the November date. After the course there would be a period of delay in getting to know the requirements of the organisations that were interested and by the time these were available we ought to be in a position to quote for our newest equipment.
Programming for LEO II/5
Mr Caminer reported that experience was showing that the programmers were taking a lot longer time to prepare and try programmes for this machine. This arose from the problems of manipulating data on and off the magnetic drums and tape. In addition the running times for jobs was taking longer than expected. These states of affairs arose partly from inexperience, but partly, it seemed, that this might permanently be the case. Quite aprt from these difficulties Mr Caminer said that we were not in a position to make sound estimates for running times because we were unable to visualise all that was involved in the running of drums and tape.
It was agreed that we must, as soon as possible, make a careful review of the problems encountered and decide how best we can improve techniques, both for preparing programmes and for minimising the running times. We must also review the problem of estimating running times so as to make sure we can give sound quotations with proper provision for such contingencies as may be encountered.
Improvement in Operational Efficiency and Development of Operational Techniques
It was agreed that the overall management on the Operational side needed strengthening and this required a person of the highest experience and intellect. To meet this it was agreed that Mr Barnes should take over Operation. We should forthwith consider the practical plans for making this possible.
Mr Barnes reported that to meet the present production time-table it was necessary to order the electronic units for manufacturing magnetic tape and Powers linkages, amounting to the sum of £10,000. It was agreed that the units should be ordered.
It was agreed that to meet the production time-table we should order the components for the Powers printer linkage, costing about £1,500, together with the first Powers printer, £7,500, and the first magnetic tape machine, £10,000.
As regards the Powers printer it was mentioned that Powers had now quoted a price of £10,000 at which machines were to be sold to all users, but that we should be allowed a discount of 25%. This would mean a bigger charge to customers, but more profit for us.
Life of Hollerith Printers
Mr Barnes reported that if the second Hollerith printer had to be replaced in a year's time, as suggested by ICT, it would only have had a life of six years. His enquiries led him to believe that it should last longer than this, so seven years was probably the best estimate of useful life.
Copy: Mr Anthony Salmon, Mr Simmons, Mr Thompson,
Mr Barnes, Mr Caminer, Mr Pinkerton,
Collected by Peter Bird.
Archive References : CMLEO/PB/CM/1/19590717
, PJB/1/1 (PJB v1)
This exhibit has a reference ID of CH54924. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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