This site covers the computers, accounting machines, calculators and adding machines that were sold by Burroughs Corporation and Burroughs Machines - in particular during the 1970s and early 1980s. These include:
- Burroughs B800 range
- Burroughs B1700 range
- Burroughs B1800 range
- Burroughs B1900 range
- the peripherals that these systems used
- different peoples' Memories of Burroughs
- "Where are they now?" - people from Burroughs Machines in Preston that I used to work with
Burroughs had peen a pioneer of mechanical office systems - the original Mr Burroughs was credited with inventing the commercial adding machine.
These adding machines became more and more complex - they could add up not just decimal amounts but also British pounds, shillings and pence (12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound) - which most of us would have difficulty doing by hand even today! Adding machines were built with multiple "registers", so that they could add up multiple columns of figures separately, and keep a separate total for each column. They grew to become "comptometers".
Comptometers had "full keyboards" - a column of values from 0 to 9 for each decimal position. To register a value such as 7435.62 (seven symbols), the operator didn't make seven successive key depressions - all seven key depressions were made simultaneously! The operator positioned the fingers of both hands to be able to register the whole number with just one "push". A "comptometer operator" was considered to be a highly-skilled and (relatively) highly-paid member of the office staff, who could achieve a productivity of up to 25,000 key depressions per hour.
Comptometers grew in width not only to contain their complex mechanisms, but also to be able to print across wider sheets of paper and record cards. They became "accounting machines". They were used to mechanise existing office processes - not to change them. An accounting sales ledger book would have been just that - a book - with one page for each customer record. With the introduction of an accounting machine into an organisation, this page was replaced by record card, so that each page (each card) could be processed separately by the accounting machines.
The mechanical insides of the accounting machines gave way to electro-mechanics - first with vacuum tubes, electrical circuitry and mechanical parts, then the tubes were replaced by transistors, and then the transistors were replace by chips.
From these developed the office computers - visible record computers - of the 1970s and 1980s. In parallel, Burroughs developed large mainframes, medium systems and minicomputers.
If you worked with any of /these systems back in the 1970s or early '80s, why not drop me an email?
Why not read some of the Memories from other visitors around the world?
Take a look at the Photo Gallery to see what these computers looked like!
Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
with questions or comments about this web site.
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Last modified:23 May 2013