Rair Supermicrocomputer

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Unveiled at the Special Salon International de l'Information et de l'Organisation du Bureau conference in Paris in May 1984, the Rair Supermicrocomputer is based on the Intel iAPX 286 microcomputer. The system was designed for multiuser applications (nine to 12 users). The system operated under Digital Research Inc's Concurrent CP/M 3.1 and the Unix V operating system.

The following information was provided by Jonathan Clarke, formerly of ICCT, who kindly donated this machine to us:

"ICCT Ltd, a six-person company with an office at 76 Cannon Street, London EC4, were selling computing and communications equipment, including the RAIR Black Box computer that could be used by four people with “dumb terminal” screens connected by serial leads. This Supermicro was a later, more powerful model that could support eight users. Each ran the CP/M Concurrent-DOS operating system from Digital Research.

One was sold to a research department at Guy’s Hospital. Another to the department of British Telecom charging for the private network cables known as Kilostream lines. This involved us writing a program to store their information, using the Sensible Solution language – a menu driven framework combining database storage and screen layout. The software had to calculate the distance between two latitude/longitude locations, not easy given that Sensible Solution had no square root function.

The repeat sale of RAIRs was to Members Agencies looking after Names in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market. Again, ICCT wrote a bespoke program to hold their data and present it in different ways. The focus on software rather than hardware led personnel to leave ICCT to set up Whitespace Software Limited, a pure software development company. Whitespace has thrived, and still has Lloyd’s Members Agencies amongst our customers.

The Supermicro was Whitespace’s development machine in those early days. We picked up the Black Box when ICCT went bust a few years later. RAIRs were designed and made in the UK.

The Supermicro incorporated the Intel 80286 chip – the first time that was used in the UK. It had a Winchester hard drive, 5.25” floppy disk, and a tape backup. No networking and just text terminals without a mouse. Software was bought by post and came on floppy disks."


This machine is model No. SM 01-25

Manufacturer: Rair
Date: 1980

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Other Systems Related To Rair Supermicrocomputer:

Item Manufacturer Date
Rair Black Box Rair 1978

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH70806. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Rair Supermicrocomputer

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