The DEC PDP systems never cease to be a source of inspiration for me and the above example of a PDP-7 system at Columbia’s Electrical Engineering department is no exception. I am not sure who took this photo as there was no credit included (source: Columbia Computing History). It would be tempting to gut the cases and fill them with modern studio equipment if you could find a nice used example. Also, if you have an oscilloscope in your computer you win.
For you Mac heads out there, this is your great-grand daddy. A PDP-7, referred to as the “Unix Genesis Machine”, was used by Ken Thompson and his team in 1969 to develop the Unix OS (a very early precursor to what would become Mac OS X).
One of the greatest images I’ve ever seen. You think it couldn’t possibly get any better but then you realize that DEC logo is set in Hellenic Wide (zoom in).
Here are a couple old DEC ads, one for the PDP-8/I and one for the PDP-8/S. The 8/I would make a wonderful piece of furniture or a nice synthesizer stand. Unfortunately you rarely see these in good shape; here’s a banged up 8e on the bay.
Up top is the original handbook for the Digital PDP11 Microcomputer (front and back). This was a successor of the PDP8 line I covered earlier. This time around we’ve got a liberal shift into the magenta range for the interface. The lower image depicts the machine in use; funny how they’ve dubbed it a "microcomputer" yet it’s peripherals fill an entire room. Makes me realize that for all the ills of the modern world, we as digital artists certainly live in a fortunate time for our chosen profession. The great irony here (considering the proliferation of computer based desktop publishing) is that these brochures for computers were all set photographically, by hand. I’m not sure what typeface that is, it looks rather custom so perhaps it never made the leap to the digital realm as a font. Let us all know if you have any ideas about it’s identity.
Really liking the cream border on the handbook and it looks to be intentional in this case as opposed to being an effect of aging like we saw in the Blue Note covers. Also, here’s an interesting example of a programming card from the PDP, unfortunately it’s a bit cut off.