I have recently returned from a visit to Munich, Germany for a family birthday celebration and thought I would give a report on one of the other highlights of the trip. On February 8, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting the Haus zur Geschichte der IBM Datenverarbeitung (aka IBM Museum) in Sindelfingen.
As a bit of background. during my career with IBM, I developed several friendships with people in the IBM B÷blingen Laboratory -- on both the hardware and software sides. My first visit there was while I was working in the Palo Alto Systems Center providing U.S. support for the low end of the System/370 products. I made performance measurements on the S/370 Models 115 and 125 Model 2 processors. I worked with several of the engineers responsible for them. I also had responsibility for U.S. technical support for the DOS/VS (aka DOS/VSE, VSE/ESA, z/VSE) operating system at the time. All of these products (and many more) were developed by the B÷blingen Lab. (They also developed the 4321/4331/4361 processors.)
At any rate, as part of the visit preparations, I contacted several former colleagues and invited them to share a meal or two. They all knew that I was a docent with the Computer History Museum and arranged to have a private tour for me of the Haus zur Geschichte der IBM Datenverarbeitung. Rolf Ziegler, a senior guide at the museum, was enlisted to be the guide.
I was in awe and envy of the number of IBM artifacts that they have in working condition -- ranging from a vertical card sorter through several tabulating machines to a 650 with a 355 RAMAC attached to the 1401 and on through S/370, 4331 and 9370 computers. When we got to the 1401, Heinz Oberle was there to assist in telling the history of their project. Heinz led much of their 1401 restoration efforts.
Should you have the opportunity to get to the Stuttgart area, be sure to make a short trip south to visit the museum. It's well worth the time. Here are two links to some more information about the museum.
- Haus zur Geschichte der IBM Datenverarbeitung (Translate this page)
- IBM 650 - Wikpedia, the free encyclopedia
- On our 1401 Team website too!
P.S. I hope you enjoy the attached pictures taken during my tour. Credit for them goes to Max Briner whom I first got to know as the manager of a portion of the S/370 Model 115/125 development team.
w Rolf Ziegler
Bill reports that there is no language problems for English only visitors, the museum group does well with English :-))
and from Van Snyder, March 2, 2007
Thanks to Bill for sending these photos! I still haven't found mine. I heartily concur with Bill's recommendation to visit HzG if you get anywhere near Stuttgart -- and neither Frankfurt nor Munich are very far away by today's travel standards. If you don't have business in Stuttgart (such as visiting the Porsche or Mercedes museums), I recommend bypassing it and going around to the south on the Autobahn, unless you enjoy being lost in big cities.
I hope Bill enjoyed Rolf Ziegler's wicked sense of humor, and Heinz Oberle's warm hospitality, as much as I did. Were Hans Spengler or Werner Seebode there as well?
Heinz has run several small programs for me, to probe details of the 1401 that aren't clear from the manuals, in order to get the SimH simulator right.
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