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Thread: How likely is it for someone to resurrect this machine?

  1. #1

    Default How likely is it for someone to resurrect this machine?

    Hey everyone! Recently I stumbled upon this old IBM mainframe and I was wondering how likely would it be to restore this machine to normal working order.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Blog Entries


    Huh, a System/360 Model 20. It looks like it was rather extensively configured judging by all the peripherals and it comes with disks, card stacks and piles of technical manuals.
    I can't say much for getting it all up at once as we don't see any of the cabling but judging by the condition I'd say after some preventative maintance you could probably IPL it.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Blog Entries


    One of the photos clearly shows it's on a raised floor (and on black tiles, a little unusual), which is why you wouldn't see any cabling.
    Personally I think whoever got it got an incredible bargain, I was thinking it would end up three or four times that price. Even as a static display it would look awesome.

  4. #4


    I'm not sure if those tiles are really schwartz or just sehr schmutzig.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Toronto ON Canada


    The folks who bought it definitely plan to restore it.

    From cctalk:
    "I believe the intention is to attempt to restore the /20 + peripherals.
    Not sure about plans for the 370. It is a huge task, but they are keen.

    So rest assured it won't be scrapped, and it won't disappear into a

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
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    Yup. A model 20, although called "System/360" is nothing like the rest of the family. It has 16-bit registers and a very truncated instruction set. The register-oriented arithmetic doesn't include multiply and divide, for example. It does have a pretty complete set of packed-decimal (SS) operations, but that's what you'd expect. The Model 20 was aimed at replacing shops doing business with unit record gear or small 1401 systems. I know of one manufacturing outfit who leased a Model 20 to replace their unit-record setup and ended up reversing the process and going back to UR gear. I think these mostly ran RPG.

    If you're used to the standard S/360 stuff, say, a model 30, you'd look at the instruction set and wonder what happened. The later Model 25 was more closely part of the family and could even run 1401 emulation, which the 20 could not, but it lacked floating-point hardware. This was followed by the Model 22, which was pretty much a cut-down Model 30.

    This is one of the more tarted-up Model 20s that I've seen--it has tape drives and 2311s in addition to the usual stuff like the 2560 Mother F*ing Card Mulcher (heck, that would keep someone busy for a lifetime!).

    This really does belong in a museum and it's good to see that it's headed that way and not off to some gold bug.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Chilliwack, BC, Canada


    I don't know if CuriousMarc has an account on this forum, but that kind of thing is right up his alley. He's even got a YouTube playlist restoring a bunch of IBM mainframe stuff for the Computer History Museum.

    Looks like somebody snatched it up anyways.
    My vintage systems: Tandy 1000 HX, Tandy 1000 RSX, Tandy 1100FD, Tandy 64K CoCo 2, Commodore VIC-20, and some random Pentium in a Hewitt Rand chassis...

    Some people keep a classic car in their garage. Some people keep vintage computers. The latter hobby is cheaper, usually takes less space, and is less likely to lead to a fatal accident.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA


    2415 tape drives. There's a trip back in time. Everything was done manually. You had to slide the glass door over to the other drive which prevented you from changing tapes on both drives concurrently, then route the tape over the head and onto the reel and manually pull down the read/write head on to the tape. We referred to them as "Honkers" because when the tape was drawn into the vacuum columns it often produced a honking noise that sounded like a goose.
    Retired IBM Mainframe Bigot


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