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Three men we can safely call geeks are looking for help to restore an IBM 360 mainframe they rescued from a soon-to-be-demolished factory in Germany.
One Monday evening in late April, Adam Bradley and Chris Blackburn were sat in the pub when they chanced upon a listing for an IBM 360 Model 20 or, as the German ad put it, "a relatively rare plant Puma Computer IBM 2020 probably from the 1980s in red".
Pictures - Warning - Machine - Nuremberg - Days
Despite some fairly useless pictures and a stern warning that the machine had to be collected from Nuremberg within 14 days, some frenzied bidding ensued.
With a winning bid of €3,710, Adam was the proud owner of an IBM 360.
IBM - Core - Storage - Additions - Second
Launched in 1964, this was the smallest IBM 360 with a whopping 4-32KB of core storage and capable of a sizzling 5,700 additions per second. Back in the day you could buy one for $62,710.
A quick flight to Nuremberg later...
Building - Big - Blue - Hardware - Couple
On entering the abandoned building that housed the Big Blue hardware, there were were a couple of minor issues. The accessible door was up three steps and could only be opened 45 degrees - IBM 360s weigh over 600kg. The other door had not been opened in decades, there was no key and the false floor had been built up to it. The machines were wired in place through the raised floor and surrounded by detritus. The wheels had sunk through that raised floor.
Oh, and they hadn't just bought one IBM 360. A blue 360/20 with German text on the buttons had also been thrown in. As well as an IBM 370 model 125.
Undeterred - Adam - Blighty - Van - Tools
Undeterred, Adam returned to Blighty where a van was duly hired and stuffed with tools. The pair – joined by Chris's dad, John – then returned to Germany.
A quick trip to Bauhaus, Germany's finest DIY store, and they...
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