Misplaced Ingenuity, some dead ends in Computer History

Speakers: Hamish Carmichael
Date: Jan 19th 2012

Room open in advance (from 14.00) - meet up with society members.


Fellows Library of the Science Museum
Exhibition Road, London,SW7 2DD


The McClure Multiplying Punch

About the seminar

Towards the close of the punched card era the fundamental members of the family - Punch, Sorter and Tabulator - were joined by an ever widening range of machines, some of a quite astonishing sophistication.

The latest of these tried to straddle the gap between mechanical complexity and electronic straightforwardness.

Then the true computers arrived and everything became simple.

This talk will look at several examples of the inhabitants of this borderland, some successful, some not, some quaint, and at least one infuriating.

The talk will be followed by discussion on the topics raised.

About the speaker

Hamish Carmichael read classics at Oxford, so naturally became a programmer. He served with Powers Samas, ICT and ICL for thirty-six years. Fellow of the British Computer Society. Formerly Secretary and currently Archivist of the Computer Conservation Society.


Hamish´s collections of stories about the early UK computer industry can be browsed online - use the links on the anthologies page on the ICL pensioners website.

Click to see a podcast of this event.