IBM 1401 Datacentre

Currently on display at the Computer History Museum

The IBM 1401 is a variable-wordlength decimal computer that was announced by IBM on October 5, 1959. The 1401 was the first successful mass-produced computer.

This diorama is a 1:15 scale model that was build to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1401 and was donated to the Computer History Museum where it is currently on display.

The model is illuminated with LEDs driven optic fibers and the tape drives are motorized and animated by a atmega based custom board. A preprogrammed set of animation sequence plays in a loop.

Taking more than 400 hours of work spread over 6 months, this model was entirely made by hand using polystyrene sheets. Everything on the model was carefully studied using reference material to be recreated as accurately as possible, with some simplification only where absolutely necessary.