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Ray Dawson: Reminiscences
I started with LEO in Hartree House in 1961, working on the LEO II, with its thousands of valves, Decca Magnetic tape decks, and Powers Samastronic printers. If I remember correctly the store size was 64 tubes (mercury delay line cylinders about 2in diameter and 3 ft long) which each held 16 words of information. The later LEO IIs had core store, which was a big step forward at the time, and were much more reliable.
In those days you never had to wait for a fault to occur, there always something needed fixing. We worked round the clock shifts, an engineer and mechanic on each shift. The system serviceability was good if it reached 80%.
The takeover by English Electric to form EE LEO Marconi came in 1963. In 1964 I remember Mike Milgate buying a new Ford Cortina for £630. I thought that he was a millionaire. At the time I had a bike to get to the station. After retraining on LEO III I moved to Lancashire in 1965, a strange move for a Yorkshireman! With the exception of racial abuse from Lancastrians and Liverpudlians, it is a very pleasant area of the country in which to live. After working on the LEO III at the Premium Bonds Office at Lytham, I was responsible for the LEO III at BICC Prescot.
Ray's full account goes on to talk about his time at Kidsgrove in the 1960s where computers moved from valves to transistors, then to microchips, in 5 years.Date : Unknown
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