Harwell Dekatron: The World’s Oldest Working Digital Computer

After being restored to life last November, the Harwell Dekatron / WITCH computer, now stored at the UK’s National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, has been certified by Guinness as the world’s oldest working digital computer. From the BBC:

Built for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Oxfordshire, it replaced work done by adding machines.

In November, it was rebooted, after a three-year restoration at the museum.

Design and construction of the 2m (6ft 6in) high and 6m (19ft 8in) wide machine known as the Witch, began in 1949.

The 2.5 tonne computer took up to 10 seconds to multiply two numbers but was reliable and often ran for 80 hours a week.
Kevin Murrell with the Guinness certificate Kevin Murrell: “Delighted” with Guinness World Records’ recognition

Kevin Murrell, one of the museum’s trustees, said: “This was at a time when computers weren’t really expected to work for more than five or ten minutes without breaking.

“Today the fully-functioning computer is proving invaluable in teaching our stream of educational groups about their computing heritage.”


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 27,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — To make it through a tough business cycle, layoffs should be a last resort

Wearables — EVA foam is like fondant

Electronics — I touched my circuit, and now it glitches!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: 300 CircuitPython Libraries, Python Turns 30! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — OpenCV Critter Cam, LoraWAN on Raspberry Pi 2040, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Arcade Turns One!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 2/24/2021 Feat. TPS62827 3.3V Buck Converter Breakout – 3.3V Output 2 Amp Max!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.