View Full Version : Ibm 2585

August 20th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Can anyone tell me what this is?



August 20th, 2006, 09:09 AM
I have a IBM 4704 or NCR 5017 (aka intel 8085) I can't determine what either of those really did, just know it related into banking somehow.

Your unit just looks like a CP/m portable

Terry Yager
August 20th, 2006, 10:31 AM
It reminds me of a word processor, but I've never seen one with built-in drives.


August 20th, 2006, 12:10 PM
Erik, is that a couch tilted on its side to make room for computer stuff in the background? I can relate.

August 20th, 2006, 01:39 PM
Erik, is that a couch tilted on its side to make room for computer stuff in the background? I can relate.

It looks like it.

I should clarify that this is not my gear. Someone sent me an email with this image in the hope of identifying their find.

My guess is a displaywriter variant, but that's nothing more than a guess.

BTW, date codes seem to indicate that this machine was built in or just after 1980.

August 20th, 2006, 01:45 PM
I'm not qualified in these matters, but doesn't it look very similar to the System/23 Datamaster?


August 21st, 2006, 12:40 AM
Except for the presence of drives, it looks similiar to IBM 5251 shown at:


August 21st, 2006, 05:18 AM
The owner seems to have misread the model number. It is not a 2585, it is probably a 5285 Programmable Data Station:

or perhaps 5281 Data Station:

All hail some creative Google search!

August 21st, 2006, 06:07 AM
carlsson, you rock! I searched Google until my fingers blead yesterday, but couldn't find anything on this! ;-)

I'd bet on the 5281 Data Station. Check out the emblem in the upper right-hand corner on the picture Erik posted, then check out the picture of the 5281.

August 21st, 2006, 07:16 AM
I'm not quite sure how I came up with the idea, but since all the other IBM systems of about the same age, size and abilities belonged to series 5100, 5200, 5300, 5500 it seemed logical if this machine of the same vintage did as well. Then I stumbled onto a site which referred to many IBM systems as part of a want list or something, and got an idea how to narrow down the search.

Jan 10th, 1980: GSD announces the IBM 5280 distributed data system -- a new low-cost product family to enter data into larger computers, communicate data and process data on the spot.

Even if we know what it is, can someone fill in what you could do with it today, assuming you don't have access to a large IBM computer? Maybe it could interface to other systems (emulating a 3270 ??) or only remains as a collectable item that will generate some talk.

August 21st, 2006, 07:42 AM
It looks like a monster old 5250 style terminal for use on S/38, AS/400 and related machines.

Do you have a picture of the front? From the angle it's hard to tell.

August 21st, 2006, 09:10 AM
I've got a similiar key board (heavy,all metal and a base with grooves that looks like it might fit under your picture. It's buried somewhere in the old shop and I'll hunt it up tonight. I kept it around because I like the older tactile keyboards and it is IBM

September 11th, 2006, 02:46 PM
It looks like an IBM 5285 or 5281 (they both look identical unless you can see the model number under the IBM logo on the front). The basic difference between the two is that the 5285 is a stand alone programmable unit and the 5281 had to be connected to a 5285 or 5288 in order to work. They were part of the IBM 5280 series of Distributed Processing Systems. Essentially, they were used for data entry (key to an 8" floppy disk) and could function as a batch RJE (Remote Job Entry) to an IBM mainframe via modem through a dial-up or dedicated line. Its programming abilities allowed you to perform data validation before transmitting it to the mainframe, thus saving time and improving data quality. The 24x80 display screen permitted the data to be formatted, making it easy to read. This was a tremendous improvement from key punch days where the printing was over the card column and you had to know where the fields started and ended.

The 5285 appeared sometime around 1980. I was trained on the machine at an IBM school in October of 1980. As I recall, the 5285 had a maximum memory of 64K and the 8" floppy disk had a capacity of about 1MB. A 10MB hard drive (which replaced one of the floppy drives) appeared on the scene later. Initially, programming was accomplished using DE/RPG (Data Entry/Report Program Generator). A COBOL compiler was offered later. The COBOL compiler was unique. It was too large to run on the 5285 so you compiled the COBOL source code on an IBM mainframe which generated 5280 object code that you downloaded and saved to the 5285 ( or 5288 ) for execution.

We used 5285s for payroll and accounting applications at coal mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. They were reliable and required no special environmentals. This was important as mine offices tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and dust.