return to main page

A Sample of Docent Reports

Dear Friend (and all you others too ;-))

  1. There is an informal group of techie restorers that have restored, and are maintaining, the displayed the IBM 1401 systems and the displayed "unit record" equipment such as key punches, sorter, ... . They usually gather Monday and Wednesday mornings.
  2. There is a formal group of docents who formally demonstrate the above equipment. The currently scheduled demonstration times are Wednesday afternoons (3:00 PM) and Saturday mornings (11:00 AM).
  3. There is currently no overlap between the above groups, although there is much interchange of how to operate the equipment, and the equipment status during demos. See IBM 1401 Restoration & Docent Team Bios.
  4. The lead docent at each formal demo files a Docent Report about the demo to the news group
    These reports provide feed-back to the CHM administrators and the restorer/maintainers.
  5. Paul Laughton writes "My email archive shows Jim's [Strickland's] first demo report was 5/14/14."
  6. Bill Worthington writes "There were informal visitor demos for at least 5-6 years before that including some there the door was left open while restoration efforts were under way. It all began when the restoration team got DE working."

Here is a sample of Docent Reports starting January 3, 2018, ending April 21, 2018
    (This sample is likely more than enough for most casual observers :-))

Table of Contents
2018 Jan 3, Jan 6, Jan 10, Jan 13, Jan 28, Jan 29, Jan 31, Feb 03, Feb 07, Feb 10, Feb 14, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 22, Feb 24, Feb 28, ... Apr 10, Apr 14, Apr 18, Apr 21
2019 A "typical" demo report, Oct 12

Jan 3
Subject: 1401 Demo on January 3

From: Bill Worthington
Date: Thu, Jan 04, 2018 3:15 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrators <>, "1401 Restoration Team" <>, Katharina McAllister

On Wednesday 3, Pat Buder and I demonstrated to about 115 visitors ... and more if you count those who wander while the 1401(s) are still up and available for a BigPrint. Wow what a crowd!! Despite the large number, there was good participation.

Katharina, when can we get stadium seats for the visitors? They were at least three deep.


Jan 6
Subject: IBM 1401 Demo Sat 1/6/2018
From: jghiselli
Date: Sat, Jan 06, 2018 10:54 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, <>, Katharina McAllister

Paul Laughton and I gave the IBM 1401 demo today to 33 visitors from Poland, Czech republic, India, Germany, and various parts of the USA. It was a lively group, and there were lots of questions. We used the CT system, which performed flawlessly.

--Jack Ghiselli

Jack Ghiselli, Consultant

Jan 10
Subject: Wednesday demo
From: Ken Ross
Date: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 7:45 pm
To: <>, IBM 1401 Restoration <>

I was the lead; Pat was the assistant. We had about 35 people attending and used the CT machine. It functioned flawlessly. All went well.

Ken Ross

Jan 13
Subject: 1401 Demo, 1/13/18
From: Bill Worthington
Date: Sat, Jan 13, 2018 6:06 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, "1401 Restoration" <>, Katharina McAllister

Steve Madsen and I demonstrated the CT machine to about 30 people there for the formal part and then another 10 who dropped. They came from as far away as Turkey, two cities in Germany, Mexico, Palo Alto and elsewhere. CT performed in fine style as did the key punches. Not sure if there is any ink for the CT's 1403 printer, but printouts are getting to be a bit faint.


P.S. I appear to have misplaced my museum ID badge. If seen, please return to the front desk.

P.P.S. The IBM card wreath has returned to the artists, but will return next December.

Jan 28
Subject: IBM Status Reports - January, 2018
From: Pat Buder
Date: Sun, Jan 28, 2018 1:50 am
To: IBM 1401 Demonstrations <>, "IBM 1401 Restoration" <>, "Katharina McAllister"

I'm way behind in my status reporting, so here's the catch up.

GI = Gallery Interpretation in the 1401 room

12/31 GI. ~25 visitors in ~2.5 hours

1/17 Demo with Jack Ghiselli. 15 visitors in demo + 15 after

1/20 Demo with Bill Worthington. 25 visitors in demo + 25 after

1/21 GI. 70 visitors in 5 hours, including 20 Comp Sci students from Australia

1/24 Demo with Alan Rosenzweig. 21 visitors

1/27 GI. 85 visitors in 5.5 hours

All runs were on CT, which performed well.

1/17, 1/24 Left sliding door on A/V closet is off track and extremely difficult to move.

1/24 We couldn't get 2 working headsets despite trying combinations of all 3 available. Looks like one of the senders is bad. Alan had to shout. We reported this problem to Lauren Silver, who was in the room at the time. She thought that Katharina had already ordered some new ones.

1/27 A/V door not fixed. Someone posted a sign on the left door saying to use the other door. This is not feasible as the A/V equipment is directly behind the left door and is not accessible when the right door is opened. Until this is fixed, the left door should be left open.

1/27 I echo a comment in another docent's earlier report that the printing on keypunch #3 is getting faint. Keypunch #1 does not feed cards from the hopper. Gentle banging on the front cover did not help.

All in all, a very busy month. As usual thanks to the restoration team for keeping it all together.


Jan 29
Subject: 1401 Demo, Saturday, 1/27/18
From: Paul Laughton
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2018 9:09 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, "1401 Restoration" <>, Katharina McAllister

Steve and I gave the demo to 90+ guests from all around the world including a tour group of about 30 people from Japan. Pat and Mike joined us as assistants early in the demo. It was really useful to have them there with the larger crowd. They were especially helpful with the large production run of Big Prints. Maybe we should consider having two assistants when larger crowds are expected. Pat stayed around after the demo to do some "gallery interpreting." All in all, a good time was had by all.

CT was used. No problems.

The ink in keypunch #1 is getting very light.

The door to the AV room was jammed in front of the AV console with a Postit note saying: use other door. We can't get the console using the other door. I was able the wrestle the door over to get to the console.

One set of mic battery that I pulled from charger was dead.

The TV remote control was failing to turn off the TVs. Steve got some new batteries from the front desk. That fixed the problem.


Jan 31
Subject: 1401 Demo Wed 1/31/2018
From: jghiselli
Date: Wed, Jan 31, 2018 7:38 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, <>, Katharina McAllister

Today I was lead and Pat Buder was Assistant. We presented to 37 visitors from all over, including Belarus, Argentina, Japan, and various parts of the US. Both before and after the demo we had several additional straggler visitors. One visitor had been an IBM Systems Engineer (SE) in New York, and after the demo we had a discussion about her experiences as one of the few female SEs at the time. During demos, we often point to the photo of the restoration team, and mention that T. J. Watson required all his male employees to wear white shirts and ties. Once I was questioned what about female IBM’ers, and I had no answer. Today’s visitor said that she was instructed merely “to wear business attire, and wear what you think the customer expects”.

We ran the demo on CT, which performed flawlessly. DE was also running, but we did not use it. We had one problem loading the BigPrint program, but it was our error, misplacing the last card, and it was quickly fixed and re-loaded. Visitors continue to be delighted to receive their punched card and printout.

The restoration team put a new ribbon in Keypunch #3, and it prints legibly now, although still a little faint. Not a problem for today’s demo.

Stan was able to position the closet doors so they are open on the side where we can access the sound system. Stan asks that we do not move the doors at all, until a permanent repair can be made.

The microphones seemed to work properly. Generally, life was good.

Jack Ghiselli, Consultant
Cell: 1-408-839-1051

Feb 03
Subject: Re: IBM 1401 Demo Status - 2/3/2017
From: Ken Ross
Date: Sat, Feb 03, 2018 5:19 pm
To: Bill Worthington
Cc: 1401 Demonstrations <>, "1401 Restoration" <>, Katharina McAllister

A further note on the mics. Mic 2 was doa. Mic 1, which Bill used, was not functioning correctly. I had to turn the mic volume all the way to the right AND had to up the master volume control past it’s normal position. There’s a fundamental problem that’s way past my pay grade to solve.

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 2:32 PM Bill Worthington wrote:

Ken Ross and I demonstrated the 1401s today to about 85 visitors who came from around the world -- including Poland and Sunnyvale. The latter group had been planning a visit for years and today was the day.

All went well until we started running the individual BIGPRINTs. At that time the 1402 decided not to read cards. It loaded BIGPRINT and then refused to read name cards?? There was a 1 in the op code, the printer was ready, there were no check lights on.

Fortunately, DE was standing by and was happy to read cards. Was there collusion between the two systems?

Our second problem was that the microphones acted up. #1 kept sliding off my ear and diminished the sound of my voice. Folks reminded me when it was too far away from my mouth. #2 produced no sound. We could see sound being recognized by the controller. It just didn't pass it along to the speakers. Ken raised his voice to cover the KP and sorter portion of the demo.


Feb 07
On Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 5:57 PM, Bill Worthington wrote:

Today's demo was a bit unusual in that it was given as a video by C-SPAN as part of their documenting important spots in the Silicon Valley area. Today was CHM day for them.

The attendees were enthusiastic about what they saw -- before and after their taking the video. Pat Buder was my able assistant although we were hampered by there being only one microphone the could be associated with the C-SPAN video camera. Pat was the strong silent member of the team.

We ran on CT which performed well for the filming. I discovered a problem with running tapes from the TAU. Tapes 1, 2, and 4 would rewind from the TAU, but tape 3 looked blindly ahead and would not rewind. (It did go through the write phase with no problem.) We made the discovery before the filming and didn't use the TAU to rewind the tapes.

After the filming, we did some BIGPRINT printing. Unfortunately, we had a two card jam. Although I was able to remove the cards, I could not reseat the read brushes. so the brushes are out of sight, but do need help.


Feb 10
Subject: IBM 1401 Demonstration - 2/10/2018
From: Bill Worthington
Date: Sat, Feb 10, 2018 7:01 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrators <>, "1401 Restoration Team" <>, Katharina McAllister

Steve Madsen and I demonstrated CT this morning to about 15 visitors. The farthest away visitor came from Poland and the nearest from Mountain View. CT did its best to be perfect and was successful.

We did have a challenge with the microphones. #2 managed to kep sliding down my cheek as my jaw moved. The result was that I had to constantly keep repositioning the microphone. #1 on the other hand ran at an extremely low sound level. Steve was almost better without the microphone. What can be done to make the microphones more reliable?


Feb 14
Subject: IBM 1401 Demo Status - 2/14/2108
From: Pat Buder
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 12:46 am
To: IBM 1401 Demonstrations <>, "IBM 1401 Restoration" <>, "Katharina McAllister"
Cc: Lauren Silver , Jon Plutte

On Wednesday Jack Ghiselli and I gave the demo to about 26 people from places as diverse as Argentina and several Asian countries. It was a fluid group with people joining and leaving. In addition to the 26 people, we had a group of about 10 Computer Science students from Newcastle, England. They were suitably incredulous about the methods and pace of the 1401 software development cycle.

We encountered two main problems: card reading and audio/visual equipment.

CT 1402

Initially we successfully ran several BigPrints and Powers of Two on CT. When we tried to run later jobs we had a lot of trouble loading decks. Jack tried many things to recover (all 3 BigPrint decks he could find, replacing a slightly worn (top edge) first card, etc.) to no avail. We finally switched to DE which did work. My thanks to Jack for diligently pursuing the fixes while I carried on with the narrative. It seems that CT is currently more finicky about card reading than DE. After the demo, Jack used the single card copy program to make two new BigPrint decks for docent use.

If you need further details on this please ask Jack.

A/V Equipment
We were again unable to get two working wireless microphones. This was despite efforts to use different combinations of sender units, microphones, and even batteries. As a result, Jack had to shout his part of the demo. While he did his best, the lack of the second mic presents a less than professional appearance in our noisy room.
This same situation has been reported repeatedly in the last few weeks by several docent teams. We have been told that new equipment has been ordered, but it is apparently not yet deployed. Our A/V equipment gets relatively light usage and is not abused, but seems to be of a fragile design (e.g. thin wires, boom, etc.). The design is visually less intrusive but not durable. Ideally we would rather have a sturdy boom that works on our faces than the type we have now. Please raise the priority of fixing this chronic problem.


Feb 18
From: Pat Buder
Date: Mon, Feb 19, 2018 10:31 pm
To: Lauren Silver , Jon Plutte
Cc: IBM 1401 Demonstrations <>, "IBM 1401 Restoration" <>, "Katharina McAllister"

Thanks, Jon and Lauren. I used one of the mics on Sunday 2/18 for an informal 1401 demonstration for a group of 28 MBA students from the University of Alberta. This was before docents Dave Hoyt and Dave Cortesi took the group on their tour of Revolution.

BTW, I ran the demo on the German 1401, which performed perfectly.

Best regards,

Feb 17
Subject: 1401 Demo Saturday 2/17
From: jghiselli
Date: Mon, Feb 19, 2018 11:49 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, <>, Katharina McAllister

On Saturday 2/17, Bill Worthington and I gave the 1401 demo to 60 interested visitors from all over – New Zealand, Poland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and various part of the USA.

We used CT, which ran perfectly. No repeat of 1402 card reader difficulties. A big thanks to whoever fixed the microphones. There were two working mics. The voice pickup on mic #1 slips, so you have to keep readjusting it while you talk. But, both worked, which is a big improvement.

Jack Ghiselli, Consultant


Cell: 1-408-839-1051

Feb 22
Subject: 1401 Demo, 22FEB2018
From: Michael Albaugh
Date: Fri, Feb 23, 2018 10:21 am
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, "1401 Restoration Team" <>

Al Rosenzweig and I demoed to about 30 visitors, with some early assistance from Pat Buder. Al and I sort of "tag-teamed" the presentation with a bit of improv on both sides. It seemed to go well. We used CT which performed flawlessly. The two Mics also seemed to be on their best behavior.

The one issue we had was inability to get the default video playing when we were leaving. Ultimately after several rounds of popping the SD card in an out, and power-cycling various things it various orders, "it just worked". Would be much appreciated if there was a "Run Sheet" with the approved sequence and some troubleshooting guide.


Feb 24
On Feb 25, 2018, at 12:18 AM, jghiselli wrote:
On Saturday 2/24, Paul Laughton and I gave the 1401 demo to 98 people, the biggest crowd I’ve ever had. About half were a group of Scouts from northern California. The rest were from all over – Belarus, China, Taiwan, India, and various places in the USA. They were very interested, and asked a lot of questions. One fellow from Belarus had worked on a 1968 “Minsk-2” computer, which apparently was produced while Belarus was part of the Soviet Union, and we compared it to the 1401.

After the regular demo, another 20 or 25 people wandered in, and we did some mini-demos for them.

We ran on CT, which performed flawlessly. Both microphones also performed flawlessly.

We could not get the 083 Sorter to work. It looked like somebody had been doing unusual sorts. The TEST switches were on and the SORT switch off. The Sort Type selector was set to an unusual setting, and several of the number keys were set on (depressed). We corrected all the controls, setting for a simple numeric sort, but all cards go into the REJECT stacker. We tried various settings, columns, and even a power off/on (can you re-boot a sorter?), but all cards still went into REJECT. So, we did not demo the Sorter.

With so many visitors, we punched a lot of BigPrint name cards. The keypunches generally worked, but got a little tired. On Keypunch #1 we had a few sticking cards, causing the visitor-punched card to be unusable. We were able easily to clear these, and had the visitor re-punch their card. I’m not sure whether this was a keypunch or a card-stock problem.

A very busy day.

Jack Ghiselli, Consultant

Feb 28
Subject: 1401 Demo Wed 2/28
From: jghiselli
Date: Thu, Mar 01, 2018 11:31 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, <>, Katharina McAllister

On Wednesday 2/28, Mike Albaugh and I gave the 1401 demo to 35 visitors. There were people from India, Taiwan, Berlin, and various places in the US. The Berliners were particularly keen to read the German language labels on the DE system.

We ran on CT, which operated perfectly. The 083 Sorter, which we couldn’t get to work last Saturday, miraculously healed, so we included it in the demo. Saturday’s failure was probably an operator problem. Stan said he came in on Monday, and again the 083 controls were set oddly. Perhaps some over-inquisitive visitors are leaning over and fooling with the controls.

The repaired microphones are working perfectly. Thanks again.


Jack Ghiselli, Consultant
Cell: 1-408-839-1051

Apr 10
Subject: 1401 Demo - TUESDAY aPRIL 10
From: Bill Worthington
Date: Wed, Apr 11, 2018 10:37 am
To: 1401 Demonstrators <>, "1401 Restoration Team" <>, Katharina McAllister

Tuesday was Field Trip Day for over 150 middle school students and most of them were attentive as Pat Buder, Paul Laughton and I took turns discussing the 1401's history and potential. We used all three key punches and we had a problem with #1 as it jammed cards occasionally. We used CT and it performed as expected.

Thanks 1401 team!!


Apr 14
Subject: 1401 Demo, Saturday, 4/14/18
From: Paul Laughton
Date: Sun, Apr 15, 2018 11:55 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrations <>, "1401 Restoration" <>, Katharina McAllister

Bill and I gave the demo to about 40 people. Most were local. There were a couple of people from the Soviet Union (their words). They reported using 1401 and 360 clones in the 80s.

I have started inviting kids to climb under or reach over the rails and be the "computer operator" by pressing the Load and Start keys.

CT, the 083 and Keypunch #1 were used. Both performed flawlessly.


Apr 18
Subject: Demo, Wed. 4/18
From: Allen
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2018 4:56 pm
To: <>, <>

Had about 42 guests for Wed regular demo assisted by Jack Ghiselli. Included folks from Argentina, Columbia, Australia, Boston, & Seattle. Used CT that performed perfectly. Noticed that 1403 print is getting a little light.

Allen Rosenzweig

Apr 21
Subject: Demos - Saturday April 21
From: Bill Worthington
Date: Sun, Apr 22, 2018 1:28 pm
To: 1401 Demonstrators <>, "Katharina McAllister" , 1401 Restoration Team <> Jack Ghiossi and I were the demo team yesterday. All equipment worked flawlessly.

We gave a double demo. The first group was normal visitor attendees and amounted to about 23 people. Dag then brought in a group of 25 of his fellow alumni from the University of Toronto. Finally, there were about 8 more stragglers who wandered in and were adopted. Altogether, there were about 56 visitors.

There were lots of good questions which I and my "beautiful assistant" fielded.


Web page created April 24, 2018