New computer for Appleby-Frodingham steelworks

In February 1965 a reception was held in the new computer room at the Appleby-Frodingham steels to mark the commissioning of the brand new £165,000 ICT computer, capable of carrying out abound 37,000 instructions per second.

The new machine – massive by today’s standards – was presented to the steel company by Mr. C. Mead, deputy chairman of International Computers and Tabulators Limited. 

The new computer at Appleby-Frodingham steelworks

The new computer at Appleby-Frodingham steelworks

The first job for the new computer was the works payroll. An extensive system was developed and a large amount of programming efforts was involved. The payroll at Appleby-Frodingham numbered approximately 10,000 people and the system covered the calculation of about 500 complex variable group bonuses each week, gross pay, net pay and holiday entitlements. It also covered the production of pay advises, wages history and cost analyses and the control of all deductions.

The computer was being developed to carry out statistical analyses of blast furnace and steel production data and design calculations for structural frame analyses and structural floor design.

A comprehensive stock control system for 15,000 stores stock items was being developed for mid 1965.

David Joy presses the switch.

David Joy presses the switch.

The computer was designed by Mt. H G Bramley who was the works architect; the steel framework came from United Steel structural Limited.

Mr. Mead, speaking for the computer firm, said that people in industry were rapidly becoming computer minded but would have to get to grips with new jargon like random access, hardware and software. He said the computer teams at the work were experimenting in many ways that were new to the iron & steel industry.

Pressing the switch to start the machine, general manager, David Joy, wished the computer a long and successful ride into the future of Appleby-Frodingham.

The computers first official job was to produce a demonstration print-out for distribution to those present at the official launch. It included their names in the pattern of the machine.

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