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Photographs of Ferranti Pegasus Installation


Description of Photograph
14 black and white photographs of the installation of a Ferranti Pegasus computer at the London offices for Babcock and Wilcox. The photographs include images of the control desk, magnetic tape decks, magnetic tape reel, the motor-alternator, front and back interior view of the main computer featuring plug-in electronic packages, the unpacking and moving of the computer parts into the building and of the computer in use.


Babcock and Wilcox were historically known for their steam boilers, and later as a provider of emissions control equipment, waste-to-energy facilities and aftermarket parts and services for a host of industries. The company's main interest in using the computer was to help analyse data for engineering design purposes. According to a list compiled of all the Pegasus computers that were sold - Babcock & Wilcox bought theirs in January 1958. It was the 15th Pegasus computer to be sold.

Pegasus was an early British vacuum tube (valve) computer built by Ferranti, Ltd that pioneered design features to make life easier for both engineers and programmers. It was originally named the Ferranti Package Computer as its hardware design followed that of the Elliott 401 with modular plug-in packages. It was Ferranti's most popular valve computer with 38 being sold. The first Pegasus was delivered in 1956 and the last was delivered in 1959. Ferranti received funding for the development from the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). The Pegasus computer was assembled from hundreds of plug-in electronic modules (circuit boards) which contain two or three valves (vacuum tubes pre-dating the use of transistors or microprocessors). Some of these modules are used as the internal memory of the computer but the main memory is based on magnetised spots on the surface of a rotating drum, similar to a modern day magnetic disc drive. Data input and output is via 5-track punched-paper tape.

Date: 1958

Physical Description: 14 photographs



Comment on This Photograph

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH56961. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Photograph of Photographs of Ferranti Pegasus Installation

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