seeking Elliott 503 TECHNICAL MANUAL set

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Nigel Williams

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Nov 16, 2009, 3:15:05 AM11/16/09
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I am trying to reconstruct the history of this machine and would like
to obtain a copy of these manuals and willing to pay the holder or a
copy-business for their time and materials, and obtain a release from
the copyright holder (Marconi?) if required too.

I found a post in this group from the year 2000 where Eric Van der
Meer mentions he has a copy of the Elliott 503 technical manuals.

I tried to locate Eric via his posts but without success so I am
hoping he either still reads the group or someone else has a copy of
the documentation they are willing to copy.

thanks,
nigel.
Tasmania, Australia - former home of one of the 200 delivered Elliott
503 high-speed digital computers.

Andrew Gabriel

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Nov 18, 2009, 7:00:28 PM11/18/09
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In article <0c74c7dd-263d-4bc8...@z3g2000prd.googlegroups.com>,

Nigel Williams <nigel.d....@gmail.com> writes:
> I am trying to reconstruct the history of this machine and would like
> to obtain a copy of these manuals and willing to pay the holder or a
> copy-business for their time and materials, and obtain a release from
> the copyright holder (Marconi?) if required too.
>
> I found a post in this group from the year 2000 where Eric Van der
> Meer mentions he has a copy of the Elliott 503 technical manuals.
>
> I tried to locate Eric via his posts but without success so I am
> hoping he either still reads the group or someone else has a copy of
> the documentation they are willing to copy.

I rescued some internal design paperwork about various Elliott
systems from GPT* in 1995 and passed it on to the Computer Conservation
Society (UK) about 6 years ago. I think the person I was dealing with
at the CCS was called David Pentecost.

* Elliott Automation became GEC Computers, which became part of GPT, so
GPT ended up with all the Elliott design docs, although they had
already destroyed/lost most of it by the time I rescued what I could
still find (not to mention a fully working Elliott 905 system they
chucked out in 1996). GPT subsequently became Marconi Communications
and then Telent, but I'm pretty sure none of the Elliott documentation
will still survive there now - the Elliott history was destroyed by the
management of GPT, and only for the sake of chucking out filing cabinets
which were taking up space, in ignorance of their historic value.

--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]

Nigel Williams

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Nov 22, 2009, 6:02:55 PM11/22/09
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On Nov 19, 11:00 am, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel)
wrote:

> I rescued some internal design paperwork about various Elliott
> systems from GPT* in 1995 and passed it on to the Computer Conservation
> Society (UK) about 6 years ago. I think the person I was dealing with
> at the CCS was called David Pentecost.

Thanks Andrew, I will contact CCS and/or David Pentecost.

I wrote previously:

> > Tasmania, Australia - former home of one of the 200 delivered Elliott
> > 503 high-speed digital computers.

I believe this "200 delivered "is wrong, only 32 were delivered. The
reference is the list of customers found here:

http://www.ourcomputerheritage.org/wp/upload/CCS-E4X1.pdf
http://www.ourcomputerheritage.org/wp/

which lists 32 between 1963 and 1966, the merger with English Electric
happened in 1967. As reported in this group the Elliott model 803C
could be field-updated (a simple change) to an Elliott 503 - it would
be interesting to know if the field-upgrade included new badges so the
customer felt they got their money's worth. If so then the number of
"delivered" or commissioned model 503's would have been higher.

Nigel Williams

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Dec 28, 2009, 8:26:12 PM12/28/09
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On Nov 16, 7:15 pm, Nigel Williams <nigel.d.willi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I found a post in this group from the year 2000 where Eric Van der
> Meer mentions he has a copy of the Elliott 503 technical manuals.

Eric has contacted me and he has so far been able to recover around
1,500 pages of Elliott 503 documentation. We also hope to recover a
copy of the ALGOL compiler and other artifacts.

Our efforts are currently being tracked on this website:

www.retroComputingTasmania.com

This website also has the only (high quality) picture we have so far
found of a complete Elliott 503 installation:

http://www.retrocomputingtasmania.com/home/projects/elliott-503/Rijkswaterstaat%20Elliott%20503%20front.tif

I expect most of the scanned material will be appearing on
bitsavers.org sometime.

Al Kossow

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Dec 28, 2009, 8:39:59 PM12/28/09
to
On 12/28/09 5:26 PM, Nigel Williams wrote:

> I expect most of the scanned material will be appearing on
> bitsavers.org sometime.
>

I hope so too. Some has arrived in my inbox.


Andrew Gabriel

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Dec 29, 2009, 9:06:43 AM12/29/09
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In article <4a8005ab-e04a-4f7e...@22g2000yqr.googlegroups.com>,

Nigel Williams <nigel.d....@gmail.com> writes:
> On Nov 16, 7:15�pm, Nigel Williams <nigel.d.willi...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I found a post in this group from the year 2000 where Eric Van der
>> Meer mentions he has a copy of the Elliott 503 technical manuals.
> Eric has contacted me and he has so far been able to recover around
> 1,500 pages of Elliott 503 documentation. We also hope to recover a
> copy of the ALGOL compiler and other artifacts.
> Our efforts are currently being tracked on this website:
> www.retroComputingTasmania.com
> This website also has the only (high quality) picture we have so far
> found of a complete Elliott 503 installation:
> http://www.retrocomputingtasmania.com/home/projects/elliott-503/Rijkswaterstaat%20Elliott%20503%20front.tif

Interesting site.

The address links to google maps, but it's pointing at the wrong building.
There's no feedback link, but the correct Elliotts building is (or was):
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&sll=-42.882743,147.330234&sspn=0.046352,0.06197&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Elstree+Way,+Borehamwood,+Hertfordshire+WD6%201RX,+United+Kingdom&t=h&layer=c&cbll=51.658146,-0.252167&panoid=clXYPM6pVyeSIUOfslr09g&cbp=12,258.74,,1,-7.26&ll=51.658021,-0.252085&spn=0.022523,0.037165&z=15
If you look carefully at the end of the building, you can see a
large dirty mark on the brickwork where the "GEC" logo used to be
from about 1970 - 2000!

The building is shaped as a big 'E' for 'Elliotts':
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&sll=-42.882743,147.330234&sspn=0.046352,0.06197&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Elstree+Way,+Borehamwood,+Hertfordshire+WD6+1RX,+United+Kingdom&t=h&ll=51.657363,-0.253549&spn=0.002829,0.004646&z=18

It became a GEC building when Elliotts was taken over by GEC.
The building was eventually sold and rented out to many smaller
companies as the Elstree Business Centre, although some small
former bits of GEC, Marconi, and Elliotts remained in there. Last
time I drove past the rear of it (some time ago), it looked rather
derelict and was empty (at the rear, at least). When I worked
there in the 1980s and 1990s, the Elliott Automation library
still existed. I don't think any new books had been bought for
it since GEC took over though - it was obviously good research
libarary at one time, but there was nothing in there published
after about 1965;-)

Elliotts (and GEC) also owned the next site along, which consisted
of many single storey prefabricated "huts", probably from war time
(and still looks like it does on google maps, although there's no
streetcar view along that road). In the mid 1990's, GEC Hirst Research
moved in to these when GEC sold their Wembley site, although GEC
disbanded Hirst Research (and Marconi Research) a couple of years
later.

Dave Wade

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Dec 29, 2009, 2:28:32 PM12/29/09
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"Al Kossow" <a...@bitsavers.org> wrote in message
news:hhbmlf$8no$1...@news.eternal-september.org...

Al
Did you get the computer club newsletter I sent. Do you want some more?
Dave

Al Kossow

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Dec 29, 2009, 2:33:11 PM12/29/09
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yes, I need to take care of that as well.
looks like a good series to get archived.

Dave Wade

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Jan 2, 2010, 10:36:32 AM1/2/10
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"Al Kossow" <a...@bitsavers.org> wrote in message
news:hhdlhn$dsp$1...@news.eternal-september.org...

OK Al I'll get scanning...

Nigel Williams

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Jan 3, 2010, 8:43:11 PM1/3/10
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On Dec 30 2009, 1:06 am, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel)
wrote:

> The address links to google maps, but it's pointing at the wrong building.

Thank you Andrew for the correction and the excellent detail you
provided; I added your comments to the webpage with the updated links.

> There's no feedback link
Apologies for the inconvenience - it is on my ToDo list to fix.

> If you look carefully at the end of the building, you can see a
> large dirty mark on the brickwork where the "GEC" logo used to be
> from about 1970 - 2000!
>

> The building is shaped as a big 'E' for 'Elliotts':http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&sll=-42....

If anyone has pictures from the time of Elliotts habitation and of
course any pictures of 503 would be greatly appreciated.

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