IBM Announces the IBM 702 Data Processing Machine, a Version of the 701 Designed for Business Applications

9/23/1953 to 7/1955
IBM 702 system

IBM 702 system: From left to right, CRT memory, 702 CPU, 717 printer, operator's console, 757 printer control unit, 752 tape control unit, five 727 tape drives, 732 drum storage, five 727 tape drives, card reader, card punch, and reader/punch control units. (From A THIRD SURVEY OF DOMESTIC ELECTRONIC DIGITAL COMPUTING SYSTEMS from the BRL at Aberdeen Proving Ground).

On September 25, 1953 IBM announced the development of the IBM 702, a version of the 701 designed for business rather than scientific applications. IBM withdrew the announcement on October 1, 1954, first demonstrated the machine in 1954, and installed the first model sold in July 1955. The 702 was IBM's response to the UNIVAC, and partly because UNIVAC already had a dominant position using the name computer, IBM called the 702 an Electronic Data Processing Machine.

Accompanying the 702 was the IBM 712, a newly developed, 1000-line-a-minute, high-speed printer, that used the principle of wire printing and provided more than six times the printing speed of previous units.

The 702 operated on the decimal system and incorporated a central arithmetical and logical unit capable of performing more than 10 million operations in an hour. The memory unit of the 702 contained a bank of 84 cathode ray tubes, on the faces of which thousands of decimal digits could be stored through the presence or absence of charged spots. Reels of magnetic tape fed data to the machine and recorded answers at the rate of 15,000 letters or numbers a second. One 2,400-foot reel of tape held information from 25,000 fully punched cards.

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