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From: nagle@animats.com John Nagle
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 09:57:46 -0800 (PST)

(Charactron)

Case Institute of Technology had a 21" Charactron display on their UNIVAC 1107 computer in the late 1960s. Since the computer was used for batch jobs, the display was little-used, except to display some current-job information and, when the host machine was idle, a simple line drawing of a ticking grandfather clock.

The tube was about six feet long, with a neck almost six inches in diameter. Many deflection coils were required, since the beam had to be collimated, deflected through the correct slot in the character stencil plate, re-deflected back into line, and deflected yet again to the proper spot on the screen.

A light pen, using a fibre-optic bundle to convey the light to a phototube inside the unit, was provided for input. Since this was a vector display, light pen input only occured if the light pen was pointed at something being actively drawn. It was thus only useful for pointing, not hand drawing. Someone did try to write a program that would follow the pen, but results were poor.

The device had no buffering, so it occupied the entire capacity of the UNIVAC 1107 (0.25 MIPS) when in use. Either characters or vectors could be drawn, but the writing rate was so slow that even a few dozen vectors caused the display to flicker badly.

The unit was believed to have been acquired for a research project that didn't work out. It was the least used device on the computer, which mostly ran short student batch jobs.

The UNIVAC 1107 involved can be seen at

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/univac/case1107.html

but there is, unfortunately, no picture of the Stromberg-Carlson display containing the Charactron tube.

John Nagle




From: nagle@animats.com John Nagle
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 09:57:46 -0800 (PST)

(Charactron)

Case Institute of Technology had a 21" Charactron display on their UNIVAC 1107 computer in the late 1960s. Since the computer was used for batch jobs, the display was little-used, except to display some current-job information and, when the host machine was idle, a simple line drawing of a ticking grandfather clock.

The tube was about six feet long, with a neck almost six inches in diameter. Many deflection coils were required, since the beam had to be collimated, deflected through the correct slot in the character stencil plate, re-deflected back into line, and deflected yet again to the proper spot on the screen.

A light pen, using a fibre-optic bundle to convey the light to a phototube inside the unit, was provided for input. Since this was a vector display, light pen input only occured if the light pen was pointed at something being actively drawn. It was thus only useful for pointing, not hand drawing. Someone did try to write a program that would follow the pen, but results were poor.

The device had no buffering, so it occupied the entire capacity of the UNIVAC 1107 (0.25 MIPS) when in use. Either characters or vectors could be drawn, but the writing rate was so slow that even a few dozen vectors caused the display to flicker badly.

The unit was believed to have been acquired for a research project that didn't work out. It was the least used device on the computer, which mostly ran short student batch jobs.

The UNIVAC 1107 involved can be seen at

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/univac/case1107.html

but there is, unfortunately, no picture of the Stromberg-Carlson display containing the Charactron tube.

John Nagle




From: nagle@animats.com John Nagle
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 09:57:46 -0800 (PST)

(Charactron)

Case Institute of Technology had a 21" Charactron display on their UNIVAC 1107 computer in the late 1960s. Since the computer was used for batch jobs, the display was little-used, except to display some current-job information and, when the host machine was idle, a simple line drawing of a ticking grandfather clock.

The tube was about six feet long, with a neck almost six inches in diameter. Many deflection coils were required, since the beam had to be collimated, deflected through the correct slot in the character stencil plate, re-deflected back into line, and deflected yet again to the proper spot on the screen.

A light pen, using a fibre-optic bundle to convey the light to a phototube inside the unit, was provided for input. Since this was a vector display, light pen input only occured if the light pen was pointed at something being actively drawn. It was thus only useful for pointing, not hand drawing. Someone did try to write a program that would follow the pen, but results were poor.

The device had no buffering, so it occupied the entire capacity of the UNIVAC 1107 (0.25 MIPS) when in use. Either characters or vectors could be drawn, but the writing rate was so slow that even a few dozen vectors caused the display to flicker badly.

The unit was believed to have been acquired for a research project that didn't work out. It was the least used device on the computer, which mostly ran short student batch jobs.

The UNIVAC 1107 involved can be seen at

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/univac/case1107.html

but there is, unfortunately, no picture of the Stromberg-Carlson display containing the Charactron tube.