Huge IBM 1800 find (and need some help)

Johannes Thelen johannesthelen at
Fri Mar 27 16:02:59 CDT 2015

I just visited see 1800  (900 km of driving! I'm little bit exhausted...) and we had big time with plant manager when we went throught the stash! I think I have infected him of old computer disease, he had very excited this project too, haha! :) Original plan was to pickup some small items today, but it was impossible, because of all my hurry at work :/
But now I have good, interesting and of course,  bad news ... Lets take the bad news first: it seems that machine have donate some parts as can be seen at the pics. That company had another 1800, maybe some parts have been picked out for it... Also there is "small" dust problem, it is every freaking place!
Then interesting news: it have been used to since 1986, longer as I excepted.  Second, and more interesting fact, that same warehouse had used as mushroom farm ;)
Good news: There is documents every where! Just quick look, and I found tens of IBMs original documents! And also it is still fully enough to fix it up. Some spare parts are laying around and almost all stuff what is know used back then, is still there (except Tektronix displays, GRRR!).
And that moving... Somebody recommend sleigh and thats really only option, it is absolute enourmous work to but it small pieces. I have to make sleigh of RHS beams, plywood and polyamidi slides. This whole set is lowered on stairs by winch. That's the plan and it should (and would) work!
More coming later! Now I have to sleep!
Oh, the pictures:

Ps. And thank you for all for good advices! :D Thaaaaanks!

- Johannes ThelenFinland
Before microcomputers blog (Finnish)

> Subject: Re: Huge IBM 1800 find (and need some help)
> From: paulkoning at
> Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 13:53:04 -0400
> To: cctalk at
> CC: publicmail at
> > On Mar 21, 2015, at 11:23 PM, Jon Elson <elson at> wrote:
> > 
> > On 03/21/2015 05:15 PM, Jim Stephens wrote:
> >> 
> >> 
> >> On 3/21/2015 12:50 PM, Jon Elson wrote:
> >>> OK, a quick search shows the 2311 was indeed hydraulic! 
> >> The University of Missouri, Rolla 9 drive 2314 was hydraulic, and on night a drive's actuator unloaded into the pack area, and took it out, but the damage from that major failure was contained w/o the pack or actuators exiting the enclosure.  however the debris took out all the packs and drives.
> >> 
> > This one wasn't when I was there.  I think we also had a oil spraying event there, but it was relatively contained.  We had one at Washington University, also that might have contaminated several spindles before they got all the packs unloaded.
> > I think this one is fairly quickly detected if the computer room is occupied, it causes a strong oily smell that is quickly spread by the A/C system.
> We had a 1620/II in college with a pair of 1311s, which are similar to the 2311.  The system drive sprung a leak.  The field service tech replaced the failed seals, and I obtained some reagent grade isopropyl alcohol from the chemistry department.  He used that with Kimwipes to clean the oil from pack and heads.  The result was complete success.  Packs and heads in those days had tolerances far larger; I wouldn’t want to try that with anything much newer.  But if you have a 2311 with contaminated heads or packs, you might give that technique a try.
> 	paul

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