Huge IBM 1800 find (and need some help)

Johannes Thelen johannesthelen at
Sat Mar 21 03:17:14 CDT 2015

I hope this is not too long story, but I'd like to start from beginning...

I was selling and donating my 80's computer collection away, because I really couldn't get anymore kicks of home computers (gateaway theory is right, Commodores are step to mainframes ...)

Anyways, I asked every buyer have they seen any thing big, old computers anywhere here in Finland. One guy gave hint of some truck sized IBM, which he had seen at his old job. He told it is probably going to scrap yard and he sent photo of it. I was stunned, FULL 1800 SYSTEM.

Next step was find boss who decide what is going to happen that IBM. I called him and asked how's IBM. Firstly he thought I'm gold digger. After some talk, he became convinced I'm real deal. Sadly, he told me that IBM is in their private museum, and not for sale or not planned to donate anywhere. But he invited me to see that IBM. I was little dissapointed, but better than nothing I thought.

After couple months, I went to there to see IBM.  Boss had changed at that time, there was new guy. He also understand historical value of that big iron, no doubt it.  We drove plant where that IBM was. When I see it, I was stunned. It was absolute spectacular! It was stood 30 years after service in dry and warm warehouse, same place where it installed early 70's. It have stood still almost long as I have wander this world! Time was stopped that room, it looks like we have got back to 80's on time machine. 2311 disk packs was left probably just where they are 30 years ago. 

Here's pic:

System contains 1801 CPU, 1803 additional core storage unit, 2841 drive adapter, couple 2311 hard drives, 1826 data adapter, 1443 printer, terminals, card readers/punches, etc... It is giant system!

Now comes twist to plot, this new boss suddenly asked: "When you could make pickup for this IBM?". I'm not that type guy, who can get be quiet that easy, but I could just stutter something like "I can pickup every you want". :D

So, I was so excited, own IBM 1800, that is just what I have always wanted, own mainframe :D (...360 would be even better but this would do the trick as well ;) We have not that much computers back 60's or 70's. like below 200 at 1970. So you can imagine how rare big iron is here and it is totally unlikely you could find anything this good at Finland these days.


But now comes the problem. This IBM is in second floor. There is only (wide) staircase down to street level. So cabinets have to partly disassemble to light those "little" bit. 

I would need some kind of document of wireharness and schematics, so I get it back together. Also good pictures inside of cabinets would help, so I know what is waiting me there. And by the way, what weights so much these units? CPU weights 907kg, why? Is power supplies so heavy or is there lead poured to structure ;) ?

I'm picking this up next week, at least small items, so I would need some good advices also. Rolling cabinets via stair case is not option ;)

Also any help to bring this back to life is welcome! Thaaaaaanks!

- Johannes ThelenFinland
Before microcomputers blog (Finnish)


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