IBM 1401

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IBM 1401

IBM's second successful commercial computer (the first was the 650). Introduced in 1959 and offered until 1971, the 1401 was an outstanding success. More than 12,000 systems were installed, and it was estimated that by the mid-1960s, half of the world's computers were 1401s.

The 1401 had 16KB of six-bit core memory and six tape drives. All input was on punch cards, and all output was printed or punched into blank cards. There was no display screen. In 1960, IBM introduced the larger 1410 with 80KB of memory, which also ran 1401 programs.

For migration later on, 1401 emulators were built into the System/360 series, IBM's first family of computers. Taken down for maintenance many hours a month while IBM service technicians cleaned and tested its innards, the 1401 was extremely reliable for its time.

Stand-Alone or a Peripheral
The 1401 was used as a stand-alone computer in many companies but was also used in large enterprises as an input/output peripheral to larger IBM computers. Equipped with card readers and card punch devices, the 1401 was often used in the datacenter to transfer cards to tape and print the results from the tapes after they were updated. For a personal story relating to the 1401, see software bloat. See IBM 701, IBM 650 and System/360.

IBM 1401
The 1401 was very successful. Its architecture and machine language were simple and straightforward. (Image courtesy of IBM.)
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1962, the first mainframe computer, with IBM 1401 mainframe, was installed in Bahrain when Bapco implemented the technology which was later adopted by Gulf Air during the same decade.
From day one, the carnage was frequent and heavy in the class, because the programming language was Autocoder, a macroassembler for the IBM 1401.
Forty-six Univac computers were delivered between 1951 and 1958, and IBM produced their business-oriented 305 RAMAC in the late 1950s, but business data processing took off with the widespread conversion of batch punch-card applications from accounting machines to the IBM 1401, beginning in 1959.