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alltare
March 5th, 2005, 05:43 PM
Does anyone here know anything about PICOMM computers by Potter Instrument Co, New York? Back in the late sixties/early seventies, Potter made a 3-axis dimensional inspection machine. It used a "traveling bridge" arrangement that could take very accurate X, Y, and Z measurements anywhere in a 2 foot by 2 foot by 1 foot volume (approximately). Results were displayed on a NIXIE tube digital readout and/or on an ASR-33 Teletype. The brains of the system was a custom built (I believe) minicomputer known as the PICOMM computer. I may be wrong here. It may have simply been someone else's computer (a PDP 8?) rebranded. All I know is that it used ferrite core memory (by FerroxCube) and it could run a simple version of BASIC. If anyone knows anything at all about the computer or the complete system, I would sure be happy to hear from you. If it will tickle your brain cells, I can post a picture of it.

Thanks.
Alltare

joe sixpack
March 5th, 2005, 08:10 PM
i know nothing of this machine but it sounds very intresting please do post pic's

alltare
March 5th, 2005, 09:34 PM
OK, Joe. I posted a 100KB image HERE (http://home.earthlink.net/~webdisk1/PICOMM%20System.jpg) .

Alltare
==================


i know nothing of this machine but it sounds very intresting please do post pic's

joe sixpack
March 5th, 2005, 10:07 PM
cool!, do you have the complete machine

alltare
March 6th, 2005, 12:08 AM
All I have is the computer's front panel. The whole system was scrapped and sold in pieces at auction about 10 years ago, where I managed to buy the front panel for $5.00.

joe sixpack
March 6th, 2005, 01:35 AM
oh what a shame looks like it would have been fun to play with.

alltare
March 7th, 2005, 03:28 PM
I'm going to move this thread over to the TECHNICAL SUPPORT > HARDWARE area. If you have any comments on this subject, please go to the "PICOMM Computer" thread there. Thanks.

Alltare

Erik
March 7th, 2005, 07:27 PM
I'm going to move this thread over to the TECHNICAL SUPPORT > HARDWARE area. If you have any comments on this subject, please go to the "PICOMM Computer" thread there. Thanks.

Alltare

I moved the entire thread for you. In the future you can feel free to request a thread move if you feel that you started it in the wrong area.

I'll make the same decision from time to time. . . :)

Did you want the other thread deleted?

Erik

alltare
March 7th, 2005, 08:26 PM
Sure, kill the other one, Erik. Thanks. These electronical bits get me all enflusterated at times.

Alltare

olddataman
March 9th, 2005, 09:38 AM
Hi: I lived and worked near Potter Instrument in the 1960's. Their primary products in those days were IBM compatable OEM magnetic tape drives and some Line Printers. I have lost track of them since I moved out here (Indiana), so I don't know what became of them. Hoever, part of my job in those days and on into the 70's was to be aware of and as familiar as possible with every minicomputer available, and PICOMM rings a bell in my head. I think it was made by Potter (Hence the name PIcomm). It was designed to fill their in-house demand for a variety of applications in the Instrumentation area, although I don't know if it was ever used for anything but the one you describe. Sort of like the computers made by Johnson Controls, Foxboro and similar companys. I would guess that it is kind of like the Minute Man missile computers that were among the first to get into the hands of the hobbiest, in the early 70's. They were powerful and fun but almost all software had to be developed from scratch. I think there might have been a User Group and it may even show up on google. I'll try it later and see what I can fine on both PICOMM and Minute Man compter.
Good luck and I hope you fined this epistile of non-information interesting if not useful.
Ray

alltare
March 9th, 2005, 04:30 PM
Ray, thanks for your feedback. If you should turn up any other info, please tell me about it.

The name "PICOMM" was, as you said, derived from the company name. The Potter factory was in Plainview, Long Island. I think FerroxCube, whose memory was used, was also in or near Plainview at the time. A google search yields little more than a couple of complete measuring systems for sale by surplus equipment dealers.

I've posted another photo HERE (http://home.earthlink.net/~webdisk1/Picomm%20front%20panel.jpg) of just the front panel, as I have it now. By inspection of the indicators/switches, it appears to have used 8-bit words and 15(?) address bits. There's a clear plexiglas cover that would normally be slid into place over the upper recessed portion of the panel, to keep curious fingers from poking buttons while running. I removed it for the photo. The separate PICOMM nameplate was originally mounted to the computer's cabinet, above the control panel, as can be seen in my first picture.

This whole thing is particularly frustrating for me because I was sent to Potter's school for 2 weeks to learn how to operate it and how to do basic maintenance (that's me in the first picture). I think I could still operate the thing if I had to, but I've forgotten all of the technical stuff they taught me. It was such a reliable system that I never even had to change a fuse.

It's interesting that you left NY for Indiana at about the same time I left Indiana for New Mexico. You can have that winter weather.

Alltare
=============================

alltare
March 10th, 2005, 10:01 AM
More info leaking slowly from my aging memory cells:

I don't recall that the computer had any kind of mass storage device other than the Teletype's punched paper tape- no floppy or hard disc, no mag tape, and no drum. Of course with the non-volitile ferrite memory, once the operating program was loaded, it was permanently installed, somewhat like being in ROM, until purposely erased. There was no need to reboot the system each time it was powered up. In case of machine failure, there was a procedure to reload everything from punched tape, but I don't think this was ever necessary while I was the operator.

Alltare

olddataman
March 10th, 2005, 01:58 PM
Hi Altair;
I have a few questions which are not exactly technical, but more like nostalgic.
When did you attend school on the machine? Did you work for Potter here in Indiana, or for someone who bought one of the systems to be used as a mesuring system?
When did you go to New Mexico, and what did you do there? Are you still working for a living, retired or what?
I'm 73 and will be 74 in June. I moved from Long Island to Bloomington, Indiana in the summer of 1973 to work for Indina University in the Psych dept. as their first resident systems engineer. That lasted until about May of 76 when I had to quit and attend to the computer store I had opened in Feb. It was called "Te Data Domain" and was oneof thefirst dozen or so stores in the country. The Data Domain was considered by many to be one of the best stores there was. We had customers from all over the country, and many from places like Brazil, the middle east, Europe and the far east. If you have read the book titled "Fire In The Valley" you have seen my name a few times. The book was co-authored by Mike Swaine who worked for me for a few years prior to his move to the West Coast to become famous as the editor of Dr. Dobbs Journal.
I enjoyed your discussion of the FerroxCube memory in the computer. Ah for the good old days of non-volatile main memory, and referring to the size in termsof"Words" not Bytes. Of course they were just a wee bit more expensive than semiconductor RAM. I can remember ordering an 8K stack for expansion of an SDS 920 computer. Word length was 24 bits and the 8192 word stack cost over $20,000. Now you buy a half a gigabyte for a few bucks.
It is hard for a lot of fellow collectors to imagine the computers of the years prior to the 8080 chip (et al) and the fact that we didn't have sexey operating systems, floppy disks, CD Roms, huge capacity hard disks and things like Windows XP that represent many millions of machine language instructions and many thousands of man hours from many thousands of programmers. I knew a guy who wrote a real-time data acqusition and control program consisting of 26,000 lines of debugged and annotated code in just over 6 months, by himself! I'm not a programmer and not learning to really program is the biggest regret of my almost 50 years of working with computers.
Well I'll keep thinking about the PICOMM and Potter Instrument Company. I worked at Brookhaven National Labs about 30 miles further out that Plainview. But I visited them more than a few times over the years between 1956 and 1972, for one thing or another.
Ray

alltare
March 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
Ray, I've inserted my comments in your text, below.
-------------------------
Hi Altair;
I have a few questions which are not exactly technical, but more like nostalgic.
When did you attend school on the machine? Did you work for Potter here in Indiana, or for someone who bought one of the systems to be used as a mesuring system?
------------------------
I worked for Sparton Southwest (now Sparton Industries) in Albuquerque for a couple of years around 1969/1970. At the time, Sparton was owned by Daystrom Industries, who I believe owned Heathkit at about the same time. Sparton's main products were mechanical pressure transducers and PC boards and assemblies for (mostly) Sandia Labs and the Air Force, for the Viet Nam war effort. I think they were one of the few companies who could successfully make 4-layer PC boards at the time. I was in the QC department, officially I was an inspector, but being one of their few employees who knew anything about digital electronics, I was also the designated repair guy for the Picomm. I attended the factory school in late 1969. Half for operation, and half for general troubleshooting and maintenance. Of course, any real problems would require a factory rep to fix.
------------------------
I enjoyed your discussion of the FerroxCube memory in the computer. Ah for the good old days of non-volatile main memory, and referring to the size in termsof"Words" not Bytes. Of course they were just a wee bit more expensive than semiconductor RAM. I can remember ordering an 8K stack for expansion of an SDS 920 computer. Word length was 24 bits and the 8192 word stack cost over $20,000. Now you buy a half a gigabyte for a few bucks.
It is hard for a lot of fellow collectors to imagine the computers of the years prior to the 8080 chip (et al) and the fact that we didn't have sexey operating systems, floppy disks, CD Roms, huge capacity hard disks and things like Windows XP that represent many millions of machine language instructions and many thousands of man hours from many thousands of programmers. I knew a guy who wrote a real-time data acqusition and control program consisting of 26,000 lines of debugged and annotated code in just over 6 months, by himself! I'm not a programmer and not learning to really program is the biggest regret of my almost 50 years of working with computers.
---------------------------
I *almost* bought a Bendix G-15 computer (about the size of a refrigerator, tube-powered, drum memory, Flexowriter I/O) for $100 from an architectural firm in ~ 1978. That would have been a great conversation piece, and I wouldn't have had to run my furnace in the winter. At the last minute, they donated it to a local museum for the tax writeoff. The museum junked it a few years later, I heard. Too bad.
---------------------------
Well I'll keep thinking about the PICOMM and Potter Instrument Company. I worked at Brookhaven National Labs about 30 miles further out that Plainview. But I visited them more than a few times over the years between 1956 and 1972, for one thing or another.
-----------------------------
Please keep me informed, Ray

alltare

kmoskow
June 3rd, 2007, 10:27 PM
Probably was a PDP 11/05 (red front panel on computer?)

NIXIE tube displays and PICOMM were a major breakthru made by Jack Potter who was an inventor and mechanical engineer from RPI.

I worked in systems engineering and product test engineering. Potter was a leader in computer disk, tape, and printers. They OEMed them to computer manufacturers and sold a line of IBM compatible peripherals and controllers.

IBM licensed many of their tape and disk patents.

Vlad
June 4th, 2007, 08:24 AM
This thread is over 2 years old, I don't think they are even active anymore. Please check dates in the future...

alltare
October 18th, 2007, 11:13 AM
I still check back every now and then, Vlad. The pictures are still posted too.

Thanks for your input, Kmoskow. Did you work for DEC or Potter?
I'm not sure what red front panel you're talking about- the PICOMM is all black. Also, it seems to use 8-bit words. The PDP 11/05 was a 16-bit machine, and the PDP 8s were all 12-bit (I don't think any PDP products used anything smaller). That would pretty much rule out DEC computers as being the true soul of the PICOMM.

In the 2 years since I started this thread, I have still not come up with any real documentation, ads, or any other printed material about the PICOMM, but I'm still looking.

Woodym1
November 24th, 2007, 08:15 PM
Yes, this is an old thread. But...
I worked for Potter in the early seventies up until they folded (my last paycheck was lost in the mail.....)
Potter had myriad products used in instrumentation and they also contributed much to the magnetic tape and disc storage as used in mainframe and military uses. I was a tech support sort on the plug compatible mag tape, disc and printer equipment. Potter Instruments (PICO) built and marketed both hydraulic and voice coil actuated disk drives suitable for use on IBM mainframe. In the field of magnetic tape, PICO filed for patents on the RLL encoding used in 6250 BPI in the sixties. (PICO had tons of patents!)
They built re-labeled equipment for Burroughs and other companies during their apex. Financial skullduggery probably caused their collapse. Jack Potter had difficulty with the IRS maybe?

The PICOMM minis were in a different business area and I never did much with them. IMHO, the mini computer of the 60s and 70s were not very different. When I later worked around Prime, Data General, PDP and several others brands all seemed very much the same.

alltare
November 26th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Thanks for your comments, Woodym1. Sorry to hear about your paycheck. If you should ever come across anything about Potter's computer(s), please post it here.

Felix Krayeski
May 23rd, 2008, 03:23 PM
Alltaire - I was hired by John Potter and worked for Potter Instrument on 115 Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck back in the early 1950s until I was drafted in 1953. I worked on several early Potter test instruments, but not the PIICOM, which I suspect was a successor unit. RCA Systems was the primary user of the earlier testing systems, but they were also installed as process controllers in steel mills in western Pennsylvania and Ohio. I searched through my older documents, but can't find any reference to your item. Perhaps Charlie Marshall, Mike Flanagan or Mickey Burke of Potter's development lab are still around. Mike and Mickey would be in the eighties if they are still around. The earlier test systems were based on Potter's printed circuit boards with vacuum tubes and high speed rotating crystals, and the various sensors were supplied by outside contractors. Output systems included Tektronic scopes. I worked on a page reader using photoelectrical cells and an early inkjet printer that was under contract for Harvard University. As far as I know it was never successful, primarily due to the limited capabilities of the photoelectric scanner. The inkjet printer wasn't really reliable either. Sorry I can't help out more.

alltare
May 24th, 2008, 09:46 PM
Felix,
I have seen a few Potter instruments turn up on ebay over the past few years (really primitive looking frequency counters with either NIXIE or Dekatron display tubes, probably circa early 1950s), but still not a single PICOMM computer. I wish I could remember more of the details of this system, but at least I have the front panel to prove that it existed.

ScottTaftPotter
December 3rd, 2008, 08:53 AM
This looks like an old thread, bit if anyone is still reading it and worked for Potter Instruments, I'd be interested to hear about your experiences. I am Jack Potter's son. I am an engineer living and working in Silicon Valley. I grew up in Long Island and remember the Plainview plant as well as tons of equipment in our basement. My father and I worked on a startup venture together in the 80s.

alltare
December 3rd, 2008, 12:58 PM
Scott,
I was an end user- not an employee- back in the early 1970s. I did see the Plainview plant, however, when I learned about the operation and maintenance of the computer. You've already read about my experiences in the earlier messages. Hopefully, a few of the ex-employees (Woodym1 and Felix) will check back and reply to you some day.

Do you recall anything about the Picomm computer? The XYZ dimensional measurement system to which it was connected would probably have been produced through the early 1980s in several variations. Perhaps you have documentation or pieces of the computer in your posession now.

Would you like me to drop by and help empty your basement?


This looks like an old thread, bit if anyone is still reading it and worked for Potter Instruments, I'd be interested to hear about your experiences. I am Jack Potter's son. I am an engineer living and working in Silicon Valley. I grew up in Long Island and remember the Plainview plant as well as tons of equipment in our basement. My father and I worked on a startup venture together in the 80s.

tgardner94022
January 13th, 2009, 02:09 PM
I'm collecting some statistics about the HDD industry for the Computer History Museum and would appreciate it if someone could tell me:

1) the model number, year of first shipment and some details on the first hard disk drive shipped by Potter Instruments.

2) The year of last shipment of hard disk drives manufactured by Potter Instruments. Any info about specific models in that last year would be a bonus

Thanks for yr help
Tom
t.gardner_AT_compuer.org
Los Altos CA

Fakawiechief
June 18th, 2009, 08:02 PM
Hi,

I was the Quality Assurance Engineer for the Picomm product line in the late 60's. Picomm was a nemonic for Potter Instrument COordinate Measuring Machine. It was made in two flavors. Picomm 1 (accuracy +/_ .0001 inches) and the Picomm 2 (accuracy +/- .0005). The Picomm computer was made by Business Information Technology (BIT) in Mass. The only thing I remember about the computer was that it was a variable word length machine. I think I remember that Potter Instruments took an equity position in the company.

alltare
June 18th, 2009, 09:48 PM
Fakawiechief,
Thanks for your input. By looking at my 2 photos, can you tell which model I had? I think it was Model 1, because we were really concerned about getting the highest possible resolution out of our measurements, but I can't be sure. I can see that the NIXIE display has 4 decimal places, but I can't read those right-hand digits.

Thanks for the lead about BIT too.


Hi,

I was the Quality Assurance Engineer for the Picomm product line in the late 60's. Picomm was a nemonic for Potter Instrument COordinate Measuring Machine. It was made in two flavors. Picomm 1 (accuracy +/_ .0001 inches) and the Picomm 2 (accuracy +/- .0005). The Picomm computer was made by Business Information Technology (BIT) in Mass. The only thing I remember about the computer was that it was a variable word length machine. I think I remember that Potter Instruments took an equity position in the company.

Richard Leuenroth
January 2nd, 2010, 02:15 PM
The PICOMM was a very accurate measuring machine based on a large stone flatbed. It was a head of its times but I myself was not invloived with it. I too am a former employee of Potter Instrument when they were in Plainview on Sunnyside Blvd, Newtown Rd. and East Bethpage Rd. (what was known as the country club.)

The mainstay of products for Potter were printers. They were used mostly in military equipment. When I started, I worked as a draftsman and progressed up to an Associate engineer working on tape drives, both paper and magnetic. During it's demise, I was transferred to service, jumping around the country "putting out fires" on everything from printers to disk drives.

Potter had many patents under its belt which were used in conjunction with IBM. The so called "baby buffer" used for high speed tape data was a Potter original. Potter also used the electric eyes noted previously in their standard vacuum buffered tape drives.

If I can track down some pictures, I will try to post them.

Richard

alltare
January 2nd, 2010, 08:52 PM
Thanks for your comments, Richard. Please do post those pictures if you find them.

It's interesting that Potter's mainstay was printers, yet they bundled the PICOMM computer with an ASR-33.

Alltare


The PICOMM was a very accurate measuring machine based on a large stone flatbed. It was a head of its times but I myself was not invloived with it. I too am a former employee of Potter Instrument when they were in Plainview on Sunnyside Blvd, Newtown Rd. and East Bethpage Rd. (what was known as the country club.)

The mainstay of products for Potter were printers. They were used mostly in military equipment. When I started, I worked as a draftsman and progressed up to an Associate engineer working on tape drives, both paper and magnetic. During it's demise, I was transferred to service, jumping around the country "putting out fires" on everything from printers to disk drives.

Potter had many patents under its belt which were used in conjunction with IBM. The so called "baby buffer" used for high speed tape data was a Potter original. Potter also used the electric eyes noted previously in their standard vacuum buffered tape drives.

If I can track down some pictures, I will try to post them.

Richard

Daniel Wachtenheim
August 10th, 2010, 10:56 PM
I have a stock certificate from the Potter Instrument Company. My parents bought shares in the company back in the 60's/70's I believe. Anyone interested in purchasing the certificate from me for a fond memory. Or is it worth anything in redeeming it?

oldcode
February 24th, 2011, 12:00 AM
John T. Potter was a brilliant inventor and engineer, but not qualified to run a public corporation. His earliest patent, as I was told by my managers, was a design for a binary counter using vacuum tubes for an artillery chronograph. He ran Potter Instrument Company pretty well though somewhat idiosyncratically when it was privately held. He was prone to take engineers off projects to work on his America's Cup boat design, and the like. All OK in a private company, but a bad plan later when the company was public (traded on stock exchange).

I had little to do with the PICOMM product, but given the overall engineering approach of Potter Instrument Company, it is very likely that the associated computer was a proprietary design. This was the days of TTL technology and hard-wired logic, when a dedicated computer was the assumed best practice.

By the way I might offer a few bucks for the mentioned Potter Instruments stock certificate, as a document. Since PICO is bankrupt, the certificate has no other value.

JJT
March 15th, 2011, 04:02 PM
I just joined this forum today because I was looking for some friends of mine I used to know and who worked at Potter and then went on to start Bucode, later purchased by Mohawk Data Systems in 1974. I worked on the PICOMM, although we didn't call it a computer back then. It was the Potter Instrument Coordinate Measuring Machine and my (last) job was to work on the measurement electronics part of it because it was prone to errors caused by temperature changes, I even went to a few shows shows in either Detroit or Chicago to make sure it didn't get out of alignment while the sales guys were trying to sell. Those were crazy days and Potter was one crazy company. As I approach 65, I wonder what ever happened to those guys I used to work with, which is how I started this post. If anyone was there between 1970 and 73 let me know.

Chuck(G)
March 15th, 2011, 05:29 PM
Were you part of the left-coast group of MDS in Los Gatos (or Saratoga, I can't recall)?

JJT
March 16th, 2011, 04:32 PM
No, we were on Long Island for about a year before MDS bought Bucode and I was given the opportunity to either relocate to MDS in the upstate NY snow belt or get a layoff. Took the layoff and then later joined EETimes and started a new career in journalism. I'm now in San Jose CA and there are a few ex-Potter/Bucode people on the WC as well. Seemed liker a generation ago, and actually it was.

Chuck(G)
March 16th, 2011, 05:06 PM
Probably more like two generations. We went through a round of layoffs around 1974-75 and a couple of my guys wound up at MDS. I ran into them later a couple of times but never understood what their job entailed.

Hope EET is treating you well--publications have taken a real hit lately. I dropped taking EET when it became little more than a pamphlet. Now EDN and ED are headed that way.

eric444
December 10th, 2011, 07:31 AM
I worked for Potter for more years than I care to admit to.
My Co. still services their Products and has an Inv. of parts.
If you need any info as to the Picomm don't hesitate to contact
me.

eric444

alltare
December 13th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Eric-

I have sent you a personal message

alltare


I worked for Potter for more years than I care to admit to.
My Co. still services their Products and has an Inv. of parts.
If you need any info as to the Picomm don't hesitate to contact
me.

eric444

bobincol
May 23rd, 2012, 12:32 PM
I worked at Potter from 1970-75 in the engineering group.
I was involved shortly with the Picomm when I was first hired by setting up a simple BIC ballpoint pen
to the stylus to have it write complex spiral patterns on sheets of paper for a trade show. Other than that, I never
got involved again. Spend all that time working on the MFCU and various printers.

bobincol
May 25th, 2012, 05:56 PM
Bobincol - I worked for Potter 1970-1975 and knew both Charlie Marshall & Mickey Burke. Neither are still with
us. I believe Charlie died in 1975. I was heavily involved with the Potter Helix & Thermal Printers in the 70-75 timeframe
before they went into bankruptcy. A group of former Potter people started a new venture call Miltope in 1975. I worked for them until April of 2011. During the 36 years I worked for Miltope, I spent 5 years at their Montgomery headquarters (1994 - 1999) and the last years (1999 - 2012) in Boulder Colorado where I elected to retire. I am in contact with the programmer
who did most of the programming on the Picomm. If you would like, I could ask him to contact you. Not sure if he's receptive
to getting involved in a forum, but unless you ask, you'll never know.

Bigdanmv
January 23rd, 2013, 06:02 PM
I worked at potter instrument from 1963 to 1968
Primary job was development of the high performance tape drives and helping jack sail his boat called equation
I also did some work on the big whiffle tree system and printers, both drum and chain
I built special tape drive for seismic exploration as well as special tape drive that went to NSA
Received many patents while there
Left there to form bucode which jack sued --- we did tape drives for the plug to plug IBM market
I am retired now and live in Southern California
Dan klang

rbartko
July 2nd, 2013, 04:01 AM
Just googled Potter Instr and came across this forum. Went to work for Potter right out of Control Data Institute, Pittsburgh in 1972. Started in Silver Spring, MD and was transferred to Jacksonville, FL shortly before Raytheon acquired the field service business when Potter declined. Remember training in Plainview.

Would love to hear from Potter Alumni

kmoskow
July 7th, 2015, 11:34 PM
This looks like an old thread, bit if anyone is still reading it and worked for Potter Instruments, I'd be interested to hear about your experiences. I am Jack Potter's son. I am an engineer living and working in Silicon Valley. I grew up in Long Island and remember the Plainview plant as well as tons of equipment in our basement. My father and I worked on a startup venture together in the 80s.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I knew your father well - we both graduated from RPI. I was one of the few engineers who could tell him his approach wasn't the best without getting fired. He used mechanical approaches and
I used electrical, computer software and LSI chips.

I worked in test (Bob King) and system engineering (Jonas Ulenas) at Potter from 1971-1975?? mostly on the IBM Compatible Products (Disk, Printers, Tape) and Systems Products (Offline print station (OEM DEC PDP 11/05), worked with Charlie on PICOMM upgrade (OEM DEC PDP 11/05 BASIC) , 3740 Compatible Programmable Disk Data Entry Station (Keyboard, Floppy disk, Helix Printer, Burroughs Display, 2780/3780 RBT - OEM CA Computer).

I created peripheral interfaces, computerized system solutions, and firmware. I worked with field service on troubleshooting field problems with IBM channel interfaces, computer based produscts. and OEMs trying to interface with our products.

The company produced OEM (sold to the BUNCH) and IBM Compatible Products (tape, printer (chain and helix), disk) - the engineers produced innovative, high performance peripherals with many patents cross-licensed to IBM.

Later, my Company ACE Computer Corp. worked for Miltope on the Army CHS/COTS used in Desert Storm - militarized HP computers, peripherals, Tadiran laptop computers - manny xPotter people worked there as well.

I can be reached at kmoskow@aol.com Still have old Potter manuals that survived Super storm Sandy

Mrbaxi1027
April 1st, 2017, 04:05 AM
I worked for Potter from Feb.1969 to Dec.1971, I worked in incoming inspection , I became an "A"mechanical inspector ,I got to use the Picomm often . As I remember there were 2 ,the Picomm 1 was the larger heavier model .
The Picomm 2 a little smaller. I switched to electrical inspector , seamed l
More interesting at the time. To reminisce ,my name is John Del Vecchio ,however anyone that worked at Potter would be more familiar with my dad ( stepdad ) Paul Holm. Dad was in charge of the calibration department ,I don't remember when he started but when Potter closed he went to work for Miltope. Others I remember Randy Soden ,Jack Pisciotta ,Al Hendricks,Joe Dimecelli.
I know this is an old thread ,I hope someone may read it , mostly for my dad , Paul he passed 2 1/2 years ago.
Folks I worked with there - Kevin Sheehan , Larry Stamphl, Phil Yakaback.
Sorry for any names I misspelled

skog
April 11th, 2018, 11:52 AM
Does anyone here know anything about PICOMM computers by Potter Instrument Co, New York? Back in the late sixties/early seventies, Potter made a 3-axis dimensional inspection machine. It used a "traveling bridge" arrangement that could take very accurate X, Y, and Z measurements anywhere in a 2 foot by 2 foot by 1 foot volume (approximately). Results were displayed on a NIXIE tube digital readout and/or on an ASR-33 Teletype. The brains of the system was a custom built (I believe) minicomputer known as the PICOMM computer. I may be wrong here. It may have simply been someone else's computer (a PDP 8?) rebranded. All I know is that it used ferrite core memory (by FerroxCube) and it could run a simple version of BASIC. If anyone knows anything at all about the computer or the complete system, I would sure be happy to hear from you. If it will tickle your brain cells, I can post a picture of it.

Thanks.
Alltare

I am a retired design engineer who designed the computer(B.I.T. 480) that was used by Potter with their measuring systems. I also worked for Potter and Miltope and can probably answer most of your questions.

Regards
Skog

richp
November 23rd, 2018, 01:24 PM
I just joined this forum today because I was looking for some friends of mine I used to know and who worked at Potter and then went on to start Bucode, later purchased by Mohawk Data Systems in 1974. I worked on the PICOMM, although we didn't call it a computer back then. It was the Potter Instrument Coordinate Measuring Machine and my (last) job was to work on the measurement electronics part of it because it was prone to errors caused by temperature changes, I even went to a few shows shows in either Detroit or Chicago to make sure it didn't get out of alignment while the sales guys were trying to sell. Those were crazy days and Potter was one crazy company. As I approach 65, I wonder what ever happened to those guys I used to work with, which is how I started this post. If anyone was there between 1970 and 73 let me know.

This is Rich Pandolfi and remember the PICOMM vividly. Many former Potter employees went on to Miltope -- Potters ex military group -- Potter was a great technical training ground for many