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First mass-produced business computer arrives at The National Museum of Computing

One of the first mass-produced business computers has been rescued from the scrapheap for the third time in its 50-year history. The ICT 1301, also known as Flossie, has just arrived for storage at The National Museum of Computing where plans are being made to bring it back to life and put it on display when space permits.

Rod Brown with Flossie in Kent. Photo copyright
Rod Brown with Flossie in Kent. Photo copyright

The huge machine, weighing 5.5 tons and with a footprint of about 6 metres by 7 metres, arrived in three container lorries at TNMOC’s new storage facility in Milton Keynes.

Built in 1962 by the company that was to become ICT (International Computers and Tabulators), Flossie was the first of more than 150 ICT 1301s that were delivered for use in commercial and public organisations. In Senate House at the University of London it was used for general accounting, administration, and for the production something that may be in the personal files of many 60-somethings: GCE examination results for candidates in England and Wales.

The ICT 1301s were used by a wide range of companies and organisations including insurance companies, Selfridges, and the Milk Marketing Board. Most were superseded in the 1970s by machines such as the ICL 1900 mainframes.

Thanks to their stunning design, some ICT 1301s however took on another role in the 1970s and 1980s. They will be familiar to many film buffs, having appeared in the James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, Blake’s 7, The Pink Panther, and Doctor Who.

Only three other ICT 1301s are known to have survived, but Flossie is the only one ever likely to work again.

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