Material culture studies of the 19th and 20th century computing in the Science Museum, London

Material culture studies of the 19th and 20th century computing in the Science Museum, London

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Contents

INTRODUCTION
LITERATURE REVIEW
METHODOLOGY
THE BABBAGE DIFFERENCE ENGINE
Charles Babbage: a computer pioneer
The Analytical Engine
The construction of a contemporary Difference EngineNo.2
The Victorian Technology
The Difference Engine No.2 as a museum exhibit
Re-enchantment: now and then
Alone, against a growing bureaucracy
THE 1930’S PUNCHED-CARD OFFICE
Herman Hollerith, census and tabulators
Punched-card technology on display
Digging the office
Card meanings…
…and alternatives
A holistic interpretation
THE FERRANTI-PEGASUS COMPUTER
20th century warfare and computing technology
A 1950’s vacuum tube computer
The mind behind Pegasus
The oldest working computer in the world
The restoration of Pegasus
Pegasus performing
Museum Interpretation
Alternative Approaches
TOWARDS MODERN COMPUTING
Cray 1A and Supercomputing
Seymour R. Cray: the father of supercomputing
Integrated circuits
Inside Cray 1A
The aesthetics of Cray
A meaningful interpretation
PERSONAL COMPUTER: AN ACCIDENTAL MACHINE
PC’s as museum objects
Apple I & II
The Macintosh: a computer for ‘the rest of us”
Commercialising the personal computer
Commodity Fetishism
DISCUSSION
The concept of the Universal Machine
The individual thought
The social impetus of computing
The fortuity of computing
Authenticity and Enchantment
Aesthetics and commodity fetishism reconsidered
CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY

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