Ferranti Mercury Introduced
Ferranti, which had built the Mark I for the University, continued development of the prototype Meg to produce the Mercury. The main change was to replace the Williams tubes with core memory. Although slower to access, at about 10 µsec for a 10-bit short word, the system required virtually no maintenance, considerably more important for commercial users. 1024×40-bits of core were provided, backed by four drums each holding 4096×40-bits.
The first of an eventual nineteen Mercury computers was delivered in August 1957. Manchester received one in February 1958, leasing half the time to commercial users via Ferranti's business unit. Both CERN at Geneva and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell also installed theirs in 1958. Another was the first computer purchased by the Met Office.
The machine could run a high-level language, Mercury Autocode.
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