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Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, died on 6 February, aged 84. In the 40 years between DEC's foundation and its purchase by Compaq, the company brought computing to millions of people through excellence in engineering and vision in design. It also created the first hacker culture — not in the security sense, but by letting people get the intimate access to technology that inspires creativity, lateral thinking and downright cleverness.
This gallery shows just some of the highlights of the company's time at the heart of IT. A full description of how DEC changed the world would take an encyclopaedia, but we hope you enjoy this small selection of DEC's landmarks, presented in memory of Olsen.
Photo credit: Computer History Museum
DEC Digital Laboratory Modules
The Digital Equipment Corporation's first products were a range of pre-packaged logic circuits, the Digital Laboratory Modules. Each was similar in function to the sort of logic chips that computer designers used in the 1970s, but was made out of individual transistors, resistors and so on, and was consequently much larger.
The user typically bought a rack and a range of modules, wiring them together to perform a specific digital logic function. Potentially, this could even be a simple computer, although most people created custom circuits for control or measuring of laboratory or production processes. A manual for the range is available here (PDF).
Photo credit: Gift from HP to Computer History Museum