return to main 1401 Restoration Page

IBM 402
& Trip Report
July 2010

The IBM 402 is an Accounting Machine -

Table of Contents a trip report of a visit the last known operational unit - in Conroe, Texas.

Executive Summary - by Frank King, an instigator of the trip.
The only thing we need at the CHM to complete our unit record display of working IBM machines is a tabulator. Robert heard of a 402 that was operational at Sparkler Filters in Conroe Texas from the CE who serviced their IBM machines. As far as I know It's the only running one in the world. (Remember it's as far as I know :-))

A meeting was set up with Carl Kracklauer and the folks who run that portion of data processing at Sparkler Filters. Carl is the son of the of the man who founded the company in 1927 and has recently started to work there.

Our purpose was to meet the folks at Sparkler Filters and charm them into giving up the 402 by suggesting they transfer the jobs it is doing to more modern equipment So Stan Paddock, Ed Thelen and I booked flights, a car and motels for the trip. Ron Crane planned a trip to overlap with our meeting. Stan contacted Duwayne Lafley (the guy who serviced the 402 and other machines in the account) he came up to meet us there. It was a good thing because the 402 had a really bad jam that the operator was unable to remove. We had a good meeting, demos of the 402 and a tour of their plant where they make filters for any type of liquid. We met the owner and I believe the general manager of the company, Jim Reneau. He seemed to have no problem with giving up the machine if the work it is doing would not be disrupted. I think they will let us have the machine for the CHM If we stay in communications with them.

We could have it running for demos in no time. If we do get it, along with all the control wiring panels (programs), a summary punch, a spare 402 for parts and other miscellaneous equipment, it will be around 6,000 pounds of equipment.

After the meetings and tour of the plant, Stan, Ed, Ron and I went to Galveston to see the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum and spent several hours there. It was especially interesting due to the recent oil rig disaster off the gulf coast.

The next day (Friday) Stan, Ed and I toured the Johnson space center In Houston then went back to Galveston in the evening to see more sights and eat and drink at the Spot Restaurant on the gulf shore.

Saturday we slept in and flew back to San Jose. When we walked outside and were waiting for our ride at the San Jose Airport we all commented at why we like the Bay Area. "It's the weather stupid" We had just left the wild thunderstorms, 95 degree heat and high humidity of the Houston area.

It was a great trip and felt like the biggest boondoggle I had ever gone on; three days for a 3 hour meeting :-). Traveling with Ed and Stan is a lot of fun.

Frank C King
15210 Yvonne Drive
Morgan Hill CA 95037
Home 408-779-1567
Cell 408-621-1872

Frank's Inventory (may need work)

I guess we should call Duwayne at some point who
could easily give us the details of what they have.

We should also decide what we want.

We should decide whether we hire Duwayne to
supervise the loading and packing
or should one of us fly down.

Type Status Weight For 1401
- 402 operational 2,000 pounds
- 402 wiring panels about 25 100 pounds
- 402 parts 2,000 pounds
- 514 operational 800 pounds
- 514 wiring panels about 20 60 pounds
- 026 in big crate 400 pounds
- 129 operational 80 pounds
- wires for control panels 30 pounds
- 552 ? interpreter 200 pounds

Pictures of trip to Sparkler Filters Thurs July 22, 2010

visitors - Frank King, Stan Paddock, Ron Crane, Ed Thelen
visiting - Carl Kracklauer (doing corporate history of company his father started),
- Duwayne Lafley (self-employed field engineer, there to clear a card jam in IBM 402)
- Lutricia Wood ( accountant and unit record programmer/control_panel_wirer/operator )
- James Reneau ( current owner )
Wanted !! L>R Ed Thelen, Frank King, Stan Paddock Super 8 for $60 Carl Kracklauer & Frank
We meet Duwayne Lafley & IBM 402 Card Jam Front View Card Jam Side View
Card Brushes & Oil Pump Jam needs SOME force Debris for operator to fix - on IBM 029 key punch
Carriage Control Front Carriage Control Side Control Panels, "Programs", for the IBM 402
Operator Instructions Lutricia Wood adjusting column control & Ron Column control detail
Detail of Column Tool Lutricia with Ron & Stan photographing the 402 in action. We wait for Stan's movie of the print bars rising and falling. Test Print Out
A wired IBM 402 Control Panel, "program" "Bed of Nails", makes contact with the pin ended wires of the Control Panel IBM 402 ribbon
514 not used in 2 years Storage is bulky James Reneau, Harassed Owner

You know, I felt sorry for the Harassed Owner. EVERYONE wants him to get "modern". The employees, the visitors, even the 402 maintenance guy, keep pounding on him to leave his comfort zone - to make the expensive, tumultuous leap into the modern accounting tools.

But you can see that business is way down, (capital expenditures by customers is way down). Most desks in the large office are empty. The large factory seems to have 10 workers in an environment that could keep 50 busy.
Possibly the Harassed Owner wishes to retire and leave this turbulent world to others. Perhaps he remembers horror stories of "difficult" or even fatal conversions to computerized accounting. ( Fifty years ago the Bulova Watch Company suffered at text book example of a completely botched conversion - no parallel runs, no backup plan, no contingency plans - and almost went out of business.)

Side Trips

We also visited Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum , in Galveston, a WONDERFUL techie off-shore oil museum - we only spent 4 hours - I needed more.
semi-annotated pictures
Johnson Space Center (much of it a rumpus area for kids) got to see a *HUGE* Saturn V and view the Apollo Mission Center Near the SPOT on the Galveston breakwater

A comment on Texas (Houston) Heat

Dear Friends - Houston has all of the Bay Area problems - plus HUMID HEAT !! We are INSIDE in the SPOT restaurant on the breakwater in nearby Galveston. Note the bag of ice in the beer to help keep it cool !! After pouring the first round, you pop the bag into the pitcher.

go back to main 1401 Restoration Page