The 705 Electronic Data Processing Machine from 1954 was surprisingly fast


705 Electronic Data Processing Machine

Today, we operate in a computer world where speed is graded by megabytes and gigabytes per second in data transfer alone. That doesn’t even go into the amazing computational speeds. Nearly 60 years ago, such speeds could not be comprehended, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have fast machines of their own.

Take the 705 Data Processing System by IBM. It helped business maintain a large number of records, perform arithmetic of numbers as large as 1 million at a rate of over 400 calculations per second, and make “logical operations decisions” at 240,000 per minute. Not too shabby without a Pentium processor powering the machines that could fill a room.

According to IBM:

Engineered primarily to handle business data, the 705 could analyze millions of bits of data to determine the optimum location for a retail store; simulate the entire operation of an oil refinery; handle a huge billing operation in minutes; furnish inventory production control reports; or make up a 50,000-employee payroll with millions of deductions.

Here’s a technician in action on the machine.

A technician at the control console of a 705 Electronic Data Processing Machine in 1958

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