World’s Oldest Working Digital Computer Rebooted

In case you missed it earlier in the week, the Harwell Dekatron (aka WITCH) computer was rebooted last Tuesday. The Dekatron was created in 1951, which would make it 61 years old – the world’s oldest functional digital computer.

Designed in 1948 for aid in calculations for an atomic energy research lab, the Dekatron also spent 16 years as a teaching aid for computer education, and was on display in a museum for a while before being dismantled and put into storage, where it was “rediscovered” in 2008 and moved to the National Museum of Computing in the UK a year later.

After a three-year restoration, the Dekatron was powered back up on Tuesday, making it the worlds oldest working computer. To think that someone once told me that Power Mac 7200/90 in my hall closet was ancient…

For more information on the Dekatron, you can check out TNMOC’s Web site.


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  • Ah, a perfect accompaniment to George Dyson’s new book: Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe.

    While Dyson’s book is quite wonderful, it is centered more on the American development, so it is especially interesting to see more of the British development, to which Dyson gives full credit, but less detailed coverage.