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Definition: UNIVAC I


(UNIVersal Automatic Computer) The first mass produced and commercially successful computer, introduced in 1951 by Remington Rand. Over 40 systems were sold. Comprising some 5,000 vacuum tubes and weighing nearly 15 tons, the memory in the UNIVAC I was made of mercury-filled acoustic delay lines that held 1,000 12-digit numbers. Storage was magnetic tape reels that held 1MB of data at a density of 128 cpi.

In 1952, the computer predicted Eisenhower's victory over Stevenson, and, for a while, UNIVAC was synonymous with "computer." UNIVAC I machines were in use until the early 1960s. See delay line memory and early memory.




UNIVAC I
The circuitry that filled up the walk-in CPU of the UNIVAC I now fits on your finger. This photo illustrates the 1952 news coverage on the night of Eisenhower's victory, which the UNIVAC I predicted. (Image courtesy of Unisys Corporation.)






Very Impressive Console
John Mauchly, one of the UNIVAC's designers, is leaning on the "high-tech" console that wowed audiences. Notice the typewriter (right) and oscilloscope (left). (Image courtesy of Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.)