Thursday, July 14, 2011

Foreign Lands: Better Than Punch Cards

Behold! The computing power of reel-to-reel tape! Nothing says high tech like guys in suits, horned rim glasses, and flat tops. Despite appearances, Control Data made some of the fasted computers of the 1960s. The company had its origins in WWII code-breaking for the Navy, but via some time as part of Sperry, by 1957 it had set up shop in an old warehouse here in Minneapolis. You will not be surprised that this early history of computing is well documented on the interwebs. Apparently web types like computers. Who knew?

Historical Society doesn't seem to have a shot of this location, but a scroll through the search results for Control Data is still interesting, if nothing else for images of the various buildings around the Twin Cities. This used to be big business. Big enough that they moved houses in the Marshall-Dale area to build its world distribution center.

The last bit of the company was sold off in 1999. I haven't been able to find out whether they have offices at this location, but I rather appreciate that the developers of this building, which looks to now be housing, left the better part of this sign for posterity. This way we all get to remember when Minnesota was a hot bed of computing (take that, Silicon Valley!).

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