View Full Version : 1972 Univac 8008 Micro Computer System

January 11th, 2015, 01:56 PM
A few years ago I posted video of an early 8-bit micro in my collection that I did not know the background on. However, I recently found out the history of the computer. It was built by the Univac R&D Division in St. Paul, Minnesota. They were carefully following the development of Intel's 4004 and 8008 microprocessors and built system to study these new COC (computer-on-a-chip) devices--that was their terminolgy! They originally built a system similar to the one I have using the SIM4-01 and MP7-01 boards. That unit was complete and being used in March of 1972. During the summer of 1972, they constructed a similar version using the SIM8-01 and MP7-02 boards. In both systems, Univac designed and built their own interface for the systems and used a Teletype for I/O. The Univac 8008 "8-Bit Micro Computer System" in my collection was complete and being demonstrated to various Univac divisions and military organizations by the fall of 1972.

I visited with one of the Univac engineers that did some of the programming and he said very simple programs were used in group demonstrations--like doing simple math operations or it asked for your name, you typed it in on the teletype and it printed some phrase using your name.

Univac spared no expense in developing this system as seen in the construction and fabrication of the cases which are thick, deep red translucent plastic. Not only is it a very aesthetically designed, but it has to be one of the very first 8-bit computers fully assembled and operational.

Here is a photo of the system: http://solomonson.net/computers/Univac.8008.TTY.jpg

I have also done a You Tube video telling more about the system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KojS1ezQIY

January 11th, 2015, 02:44 PM
Interesting--compare with the commercial MCM-70 (1973/74):


January 13th, 2015, 06:06 AM
Hi Craig,

Very cool system and story. I worked in product development for Systems Engineering Laboratories (SEL) starting in the late seventies through the eighties. SEL was a high end (true 32 bit) mini-computer producer that changed hands a few times before fading away.

I can tell you that, until we were completely overtaken, a lot of the senior staff was pretty dismissive of micro processor based systems. We did use micro-processors in low speed I/O controller applications, but that was about the extent of interest.

Mike W.

January 16th, 2015, 03:40 AM
Very nice Craig, it's nice to get some history after seeing your previous video.

I especially love the sound the PROM unit makes as the fan spins up. :)