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Save hefty Dr Who and Bond girl 'Flossie', pleads vintage computer man
5-ton ICT1301 boasts 1 MHz clock speed, 2kB RAM
Engineer and vintage computer enthusiast Ron Brown is struggling to save Flossie, one of the world's oldest working computer mainframes and a bonafide movie star, from extinction.
The '60s era ICT 1301, which was a prominent feature in Scaramanga's lair in Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun, is currently being housed in a barn in Kent, after a nine-year restoration project. But the barn is located on a farm that's now up for sale, threatening Flossie's future, Kent News reported.
The mainframe was restored by Brown along with fellow engineer Roger Holmes. Brown is now trying to find a home for Flossie.
"I would love the Science Museum to take her, or perhaps even Bletchley Park,” he said.
The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, which houses exhibits like the Colossus, told The Register that there were some logistical issues to be fixed before it could offer help to Flossie.
“The National Museum of Computing warmly congratulates the restorers who have conserved Flossie," TNMOC said. "In principle, TNMOC would be interested in hosting Flossie if it were to be offered, but in practice there are resource and space constraints which would need to be resolved.”
Originally built in 1962, when it would have cost a whopping £250,000 - equivalent to millions today - the computer is the last of the 150 or so ICT mainframes that survive and it's also the first one that was ever built.
Flossie has just 2kB of memory and a processor running at 1Mhz speed. She takes up 25 square feet of space and weighs five tons. The computer's data is kept on 27 reels of magnetic tape and 100,000 punch cards.
Brown and Holmes restored the mainframe to full working order after buying it for £200 in the 1970s.
As well as appearing in Bond movies, the computer also starred in episodes of Doctor Who and Blake's 7. ®