US Flag - fm

Information Technology (IT) Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their heritage companies

Commercial Computers, Chapter 59

1. Introduction

UNISYS is proud to claim that we possess the world's longest unbroken series of computers which started when ERA received government permission to market a commercial version of the then  'classified' Atlas computer.  ERA had shipped the Atlas to the National Security Agency predecessor's cryptography department in October of 1950.  It was fully operational in December 1950 - the world's first stored program computer in a customer's facility.

The UNIVAC/UNISYS 1100 series of computers began with the 1101, a number coined by the Atlas installation engineer, Jack Hill, because it was developed under Task 13 - 13 in binary is 1101.  This product line series has evolved to today's 2000 series of UNISYS business computers.  Ron Q. Smith described this history in the attached slide series.
The two computer tree figures below show the five-decade relationship of this computer line.  Information about all of these computers is listed in a spread sheet file, click here to read it. The Sperry type No. file lists the configuration of most of these systems, GS3577.

The time relationships of the other UNIVAC computers developed in Philadelphia are shown on these trees as are the RCA and Varian computers which were bought out by UNIVAC. The early time relationships of the early defense industry computers which began with ERA are also shown.

2. Computer Tree, 1950 - 1963

The left side of this Tree shows the computers that were developed in Blue Bell, PA. The center and right side of the tree chart shows the computers developed in St. Paul, MN.  There was an 1104 computer that used the 1103 logic design, reduced from 36 to 30 bits for the Bomarc missile guidance system prototype.  Although not noted on this chart, the ERA 1101 was a commercial version of the then classified ATLAS computer delivered and operating in Washington DC in December of 1950.

A history tidbit is that UNIVAC I, S/N #16 was shipped to the St. Paul Minnehaha Ave. facility where it became the prototype for the UNIVAC II.  Rollie Arndt was one of the engineers who designed and implemented a core memory to replace some of the Mercury tank memories of the UNIVAC I.  Allan Reiter's web site page documented this information on page 16, now saved as on our site as  Four boxes of Mr. Arndt's papers are catalogued at the Charles Babbage Institute. 

2.1 Early Computer References

The bit-savers web site ( has over 32,000 documents. We've copied and linked the documents associated with the early computer systems for research convenience. The bit-savers site also has a few pictures, i. e. the 1105 console shown here. 

UNIVAC File-Computer Programming Card (U-1717).PDF, scanned by Keith Myhre at the Lawshe Memorial Museum

3.0 Computer Tree, 1962 - 1980

The ending point of the first tree (above right) and the starting point of the second tree (below right) is the 1107 computer first delivered in 1962. A discussion about the 1108 II, the multi-processor son of the 1107 is in another attached document

The almost 2-decades of computers noted here reflect several things that took place during the era:

  1. At the left are the RCA computers that were merged into the Blue bell operations.
  2. At the far right middle are the Varian Corporation computers that were  alsomerged into Blue Bell operations.
  3. At the right of the center '1965 UNIVAC 1108' is the Nike-X CLC. This developed the 'shared memory' by multiple processors technology that propagated into the 1108 II and the Navy's AN/UYK-7. The Nike-X design and prototype test was complete when the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty curtailed production. 
  4.   The bottom right of the first chart shows the UNIVAC 418 that continues onto the second chart. Not shown thereon is that military variations of the 418 Instruction Set Architecture were the 1218 and 1219 series.

3.1. Design Standardization

The 1100 series included the suite of peripherals as well as the single and multi-processor computer configurations. The equipment names were normalized as illustrated by this set from Paul Lindquist.  He also provided us with the standard colors booklet from August 1971, U5329.

4. Repertoire Cards

Many people gave repertoire cards  to the Legacy Committee.  Keith Myhre scanned the cards before they were donated to the Charles Babbage Institute. The commercial computer cards are linked hereunder. There are copies of some of these cards at the Lawshe Memorial Museum. 

5.0 Early Computer Customer Lists

Our initial customers for these computer lines have been captured in a document by Ron Q. Smith, some of his information came from George Gray.  At the right is a customer installation of an 1103, from bit savers.

6. Technical Manuals

The bit-savers web site ( has over 32,000 documents. We've copied and linked the documents associated with the computers in the two genealogy charts above for technology researchers ease of access. Note that the 1101, 1103, and defense computer series documents are linked from the various bit-length pages.


In this Chapter

  1. Introduction [left]
  2. Computer Tree, 1950-1963
  3. w/Bit Saver references documents
  4. Computer Tree, 1962-1980
  5. Early Computer Customer Lists
  6. Repertoire Cards
  7. Technical Manuals

Chapter 59 edited 10/3/2022.

John Alton's son donated the 1103A 'Scientific Computer' schematics to the Lawshe Memorial Museum. Photos and archiving by Keith Myhre.
This is Remington Rand Univac publication PX 49-1; this page 137-01 shows 13 transformers, 23 vacuum tubes, 52 resistors, and 18 crystals all of which are linked to the system via 74 pins.