NOTE: Next year's featured museum pieces are the only known surviving logic cards of NASA/JPL's 1961 RANGER 1 spaceflight computer (the ground-based back-up copy). These gold-filled cards are the most visually spectacular in the museum's collection.
THIS YEAR'S FEATURED MUSEUM PIECE
▲The WYLE Scientific▲
▲100% Breadboarded WS-01 Prototype▲
The Pre-Production Prototype
of the Earliest Known
Commercial Transistorized Desktop Computer
The Earliest Known Surviving Prototype
for a Commercial Transistorized Desktop Computer
PHOTO GALLERY of the WYLE Scientific 100% Breadboarded WS-01 Prototype follows this introduction
There is a growing body of publicly available physical evidence, some of it recently discovered (see below), that the corresponding production model, the WS-01, is tied with the Mathatron as the first commercial fully-transistorized desktop computer.
Recent discoveries from the latest press archive digitization and pattern recognition technology, newly conducted interviews, as well as a recently discovered trove of internal Friden documentation from the 1960's (to be published here soon), now place the WYLE Scientific (WS-01, by WYLE Laboratories) as the first commercial transistorized desktop computer (*tied with the Mathatronics Mathatron; see analysis and below*). The subsequent relentless miniaturization of the transistor ultimately led to the modern personal computer.
The Museum of Trailing-Edge Technology and its Project Origins Director are deeply indebted to Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, Mr. Thomas (Tom) John Scuitto, and Theodore (Ted) Scuitto, for graciously bestowing memories and valuable historical information about this month's fully-breadboarded museum masterpiece, The WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype.
Mr. Thomas (Tom) J. Scuitto is its inventor, and the intellectual and creative genius behind it, conceiving it and building the working - and surviving - prototype while at the E.C.S. (Electronic Control Systems, a Division of Stromberg-Carlson, a Division of General Dynamics). E.C.S. was researching & making digital data processing systems for the armed services. Then in Sep. 1963, almost immediately after E.C.S. had been purchased by WYLE Laboratories, Scuitto patented his functional desktop prototype (functional since August 1963), developed it further (by inventing the decimal point button and circuitry with Matthew Alexander), and commercialized it while at WYLE Laboratories under a royalty agreement between Scuitto's Team (Thomas Scuitto, Matthew A. Alexander & Robert Mueller) and WYLE Laboratories.
Mr. Tomaszewski was the Chief Engineer at WYLE Laboratories in charge of collaborating with Scuitto on the creation of the WS-01 and WS-02 production models after the design of the prototype, and further enhanced by Scuitto's new decimal point button invention circuitry.
We are deeply indebted to Carlos Tomaszewski (91), for the two interviews the museum's curator had with him on March 16, 2021 and April 3, 2021, plus various additional email follow-up correspondence.
We are also deeply indebted to Thomas (Tom) Scuitto (94), and his eldest son Theodore (Ted) Scuitto, for numerous telephone and email communications that began on June 15, 2022.
This 1963 WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype (WS stands for WYLE Scientific) is one of the very earliest, if not the earliest, fully-transistorized desktop computer prototypes for a commercial desktop computer (see below). The corresponding commercial unit that followed is arguably the earliest fully-transistorized commercial desktop computer (see below). There is a tie in the average priority dates (see below) with the Mathatronics Mathatron. Note that this WYLE Scientific prototype is completely self-contained within the desktop unit. The user console, logic and power supply are all contained together in the same package. It is also likely the earliest such prototype known to survive (see below).
WYLE Laboratories, (pronounced "Why" + "Lee") was the largest independent aerospace testing organization in the world in 1963, providing engineering, scientific and technical services to NASA and the Department of Defense, with a revenue of $1.2 billion when Frank Wyle retired as President.
This hand-built and 100% breadboarded (using "perfboards") WYLE Scientific WS-01 prototype gave birth to the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit. The WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit is a member of the very earliest group of five commercial desktop transistorized computers (using the period definition of "desktop computer" as shown below). Recent discoveries, through modern newspaper digitization and search, as well as a trove of internal Friden documentation from the 1960's, have placed the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit at the head of the pack in terms of priority dates (see Figures below; Also see the News Section for details).
FIGURE ABOVE: Inside The WYLE Scientific Pre-Production Prototype, as found, and before restoration. Operational by mid-1963, and completed in September 1963 (see text).
(Top-Left): With the cover with control console removed to show its interior.
(Top-Right): Photo taken from the back with the first breadboard ("perfboard") plane detached to show its beautiful hand-built workmanship. Note the hand-drawn coordinate system that has been established on all the breadboards (perfboards).
PHOTO GALLERY #1 (click here) of the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype is followed by
PHOTO GALLERY #2 (click here).
Left: The Friden 130 pre-production prototype. Please click here to see MoTET's Robert Ragen Archive which is a recently discovered and never-before-seen estate of Robert Ragen's Friden 130 artifacts. This vast collection includes hundreds of Robert Ragen's color slides detailing the development of the Friden 130 going back to May 1961
Right: The gleaming gold WYLE Scientific pre-production desktop prototype, which was the only pre-production prototype produced. This prototype was operational in August 1963 and finalized in early-September 1963 with the new decimal point button technology (see text). The successful patent application for this functional desktop prototype (featured here) was submitted on October 7, 1963, about a month later. Scuitto's patent filing (priority) date was submitted over three weeks prior to the corresponding patent application for the Friden 130. The Friden patent describes a non-desktop unit (more soon). This WYLE Scientific pre-production prototype survives and is featured here. Only the gleaming gold cover is shown here. The interior is shown in the figure just above this one.
FIGURE ABOVE: This is the gleaming gold Production model of the WYLE Scientific WS-01, taken from the "second batch." Also shown is its display, with a description of registers. Note that the "WYLE" emblem is mounted on a non-recessed surface, as well as the physical features of the keys (see below). These indicate that this production model is from the "first" or "second" batches. The one shown here is from the "second batch" of production units.
Using the above-mentioned newly developed search technologies applied to recently digitized old newspapers from this time period, the author has revealed a previously unreported - and highly significant - public newspaper press release dated March 17, 1964 for the WYLE Scientific. This news clipping is reproduced below. At present, it stands as the second earliest known public press release for a desktop transistorized computer. It is second only to the Mathatronics Mathatron's February 1964 announcement in Computers and Automation (a March 1964 "cover date"). Near the end of this March 17, 1964 ad, it specifically refers to as the "WYLE Scientific" and indicates that it will bridge the commercial gap between mechanical calculators and full-scale computers. Five days after this March 17, 1964 press release, a second announcement (see below) indicates that the WYLE Scientific is "selling for less than $4,000." In the first sales ad of the WYLE Scientific, in May 1964 (see below), it was advertised at "$3,950," just under $4,000.
FIGURE ABOVE: Second earliest known press release: For the WYLE Scientific on March 17, 1964. This release was previously forgotten and unknown until the author re-discovered it in 2021.
FIGURE ABOVE: On March 22, 1964, five days after the March 17, 1964 press release for the WYLE Scientific, shown in the figure just above this one, a second release (uncovered by the author in 2021) stated it was, "selling for less than $4,000."
The first press release for the Friden 130 came nearly nine (9) weeks later (Mar 17, 1964 for the WYLE Scientific, versus May 21, 1964, for the Friden 130).
May 21, 1964
Fort Lauderdale News
(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
These five early calculating devices founded the "Dawn Period" of personal transistorized desktop computing. This movement ultimately led to - as transistors relentlessly miniaturized - the modern personal desktop computer. These five were the IME 84, Friden 130, Sharp Compet, Mathatronics Mathatron and WYLE Scientific.
In a September 3, 1964 interview of Frank Wyle, the President and Founder of WYLE Laboratories, by The Valley News, he shares his vision for the WYLE Scientific as having a "computer-like capability that would be completely under the control of the individual." In other words, a personal computer.
"Pointing out that the solution of problems on computers requires the help of a professional programmer, translation of the problem into machine language and often hours, or even weeks, of waiting and set-up time, Wyle said that the company had achieved its goal of providing an inexpensive computer-like capability that would be completely under the control of the individual. With the card reader the engineer or scientist can punch out frequently used equations on cards which may be kept in a desk file. Whenever he needs to use the equation, he inserts the card into the machine and enters the number variables manually on the calculator keyboard" (The Valley News, Van Nuys, CA; also see this museum's WS-01 archive).
FIGURE ABOVE: Period definition and discussion of the term "Desk-top Computer."
Taken from the May 1967 issue of Radio Electronics, Pages 34-36.
More often than not, online sources do not specify the criteria used to evaluate priority when claims of "first" are made. There is no widespread agreement on criteria. The most common criteria used appear to be "first sales" or "first commercial advertisement." Unfortunately, the former is impossible to determine in most cases with company sales records long lost, memories fading and the principle individuals involved at the time having passed.
When the claim of "first" is made, most online sources maintain it's the IME 84, Friden 130, or Sharp Compet CS-10A. Because there is no widespread or consistent agreement on the criteria for "first" (if/when a criterion is given), the author proposes an averaging of reasonable criteria, for an overall ranking. Given this, see the timeline in the figure below for a "summary-at-a-glance." Supporting data and documentation are found on this website via clickable links (see below).
FIGURE ABOVE: Priority Date Summary for all 1964 Models (The "Dawn Period")
The WYLE Scientific is marked by Yellow-Red Arrows
***NOTE: The SONY MD-5 Prototype was publicly displayed at the New York World's Fair in March 1964. It is not included in the above because the production model was not available in 1964, but much later, in June of 1967 (ICC-500W).
***NOTE: There is at least one online claim that the Sharp CS-10A was publicly demonstrated at the New York World's Fair in March 1964. However, the Dentaku Museum, the most complete and authoritative source for the Japanese units, makes no mention of it at this time, and it cannot be found yet in any of the period 1964 World's Fair literature.
One of the other desktop units of the Dawn Period is Massimo Rinaldi's brilliantly designed, compact and elegant IME 84, sometimes regarded as "first." The IME 84 was publicly demonstrated in Italy at the Fiera de Milano on April 12, 1964, nine days earlier than the demonstration of the Scuitto/Tomaszewski WYLE Scientific (WS-01) production unit at the Datamation Computer Conference, in Washington D.C. (Booth 200), on April 21, 1964 (see Figure below). Matthew A. Alexander, a member of Thomas Scuitto's Team at WYLE Laboratories, led those demonstrations (more below). MoTET recently discovered a photograph of a prototype of the IME 84. This may be seen in MoTET's IME photo archive.
The first public demonstration of the Friden 130 came nearly a month after the public demonstration of the WYLE Scientific (April 21, 1964 vs May 21, 1964).
May 21, 1964
Fort Lauderdale News
(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Regardless of the historical criteria, or criterion, used to determine "first," the IME 84, Friden 130, Sharp Compet, Mathatronics Mathatron and WYLE Scientific are all among the very earliest pioneering group of five commercial desktop transistorized computers (see first the 1964 Summary-at-a-Glance and follow that with the News section).
Only the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) and Mathatronics Mathatron were uniquely suited to the scientific and engineering community for scientific/engineering calculations in the laboratory or shop. This is because only they had the capability to electronically extract square roots with the press of a single button, a very crucial mathematical operation in the sciences and engineering. In relation to all its peers, the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) also boasts a stunning 24-digit capacity (hence the small, but beautiful, font on the CRT). The Mathatron 4-24 has a 9+2 digit capacity. The Sharp Compet (CS-10A) comes in second at an impressive 20 digits, though its still four orders of magnitude (10,000 times) less than The WYLE Scientific.
The museum's curator was very fortunate to speak with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski (b. Aug 1930) over several telephone interviews, as well as several email correspondences. Carlos was the Chief Engineer at WYLE Laboratories that headed the production and circuit board artwork design of both the WYLE Scientific WS-01 and WS-02 production units. Mr. Tomaszewski said he is very familiar with our Museum's WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, because it was in his personal possession for many years. Carlos said he kept this Prototype at home, and then eventually brought it to Compucorp. Compucorp was a spinoff company from WYLE Laboratories for their desktop computers. When they spun off, Carlos started working for them. Carlos had an inventory sticker with Serial Number 349 put on it for their parent company, Computer Design Corporation (see below). Sometime after that, Carlos said, "it disappeared." The WYLE Scientific Prototype apparently had no particular name other than being referenced by Carlos as "the machine."
Carlos confirmed that this prototype is, in fact, the only WYLE Scientific (WS-01) prototype that was ever made leading up to the "first batch" of WS-01 production units. It was invented and patented by the fabulously brilliant Thomas (Tom) John Scuitto (pronounced "sue"+"toe"), and hand-built by both Thomas Scuitto and Roger Muller in 1962-August 1963. Thomas Scuitto also invented and patented a bi-directional punched card reader for his WYLE Scientific that accepts looped cards, thereby making true program branching and program loops an easy task. Mr. Roger Muller, who played a very significant role in helping build this WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype, in later years moved to Tektronix in the Seattle area.
Thomas John Scuitto was born in Seattle Washington on Feb 21, 1928. His mother, Alice N Scuitto, raised him alone working six days a week as a beautician in a beauty shop making $1,750 a year. To learn more about Thomas John Scuitto, and his extraordinary life and interdisciplinary mind, please see the below link to this website's biography of Thomas Scuitto.
Carlos, introducing Mr. Scuitto for the first time, explained, "Tom Scuitto was the designer showing it, and I happened to join the company when the machine was just about getting ready, and finishing the design." Carlos joined WYLE Laboratories, as Chief Engineer of WYLE's Products Division, in September 1962. This was the same year Frank Wyle, President of the company, gave the go-ahead to fund the completion of the "first batch" (see below) of WYLE Scientific production units for a sum of nearly $9 million, in 2021 dollars (nearly $1 million in 1962 dollars).
Thomas John Scuitto in 1983
Photo courtesy of Thomas Scuitto and his son Theodore Scuitto.
Thomas John Scuitto in 1959 (age 31)
In four years from this photo, Scuitto's WS-01 Prototype would be fully operational.
Flanked by wife, Patricia (currently married, since June 16, 1951, for 70+ years now), and children (elder son is Theodore); Baja California.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Scuitto and Theodore Scuitto.
Thomas Scuitto in 1964
This photo was taken around the time when the Scuitto/Tomaszewski WS-01 production unit was commercially advertised on Pg. 1 of Scientific American (May 1964).
Thomas Scuitto is shown here with his wife Patricia (currently married, since June 16, 1951, for 70+ years now), and children performing together.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Scuitto and Theodore Scuitto.
The whole adventure began, Carlos explained, when WYLE purchased the E.C.S. (Electronic Control Systems) Division of Stromberg-Carlson (a Division of General Dynamics), based in Los Angeles, that in addition to making computers, made transistorized plug-in "blade" logic cards, something Frank Wyle wanted to get more into, as well as power supplies and custom contracted digital data acquisition and processing systems, like a Telephone Traffic Analyzer that they were making for ATT/Bell Labs. WYLE's computer project was inherited as a completed project from this E.C.S. acquisition, along with its colorful and vibrant inventor, Thomas John Scuitto and his business partner Matthew Arnold Alexander, an Englishman. Tom Scuitto's son, Ted, said he would sometimes go with his father to work, and he remembers "Matt" as a "nice older guy" (much older than Thomas Scuitto), and a heavy smoker. Prior to E.C.S., Matt was previously at Computer Equipment Corporation, of Los Angeles, where he filed a patent on Mar. 23, 1959 for "quantizing circuits." He also worked for Telemeter Magnetics and Electronics Corp, which he joined later in 1959, and worked there on core memory. Alexander Brewer also worked with Thomas Scuitto and Jack Rosenberg on designing and patenting the DIGIMATIC vacuum tube computer for E.C.S, a Division of General Dynamics (see below).
When E.C.S. was acquired by Wyle laboratories, Thomas Scuitto had already had a working germanium transistor desktop computer prototype, and was in the finishing touches of a new decimal point circuitry, with Matt Alexander, for the commercial units. By the time Carlos joined WYLE in September 1963 as Chief Engineer of WYLE's Product's Division, all the personnel and manufacturing operations of this Long Beach acquisition had already been fully integrated into the WYLE Products Division by Jack Rosenburg, the new Chief Engineer, who held the corresponding title in E.C.S. Jack Rosenberg also oversaw Scuitto's main work on the DIGIMATIC high speed vacuum tube Computer. Scuitto held most of the patents on the DIGIMATIC. While at WYLE Laboratories, Mr. Rosenburg had put Carlos in charge of creating a production design from Scuitto's hand-built prototype. Soon after, some differences erupted between Frank Wyle and Mr. Rosenburg which resulted in Mr. Rosenburg's departure from the company, at which time Carlos was promoted to the position of Chief Engineer.
Jack Rosenberg in 1958
Manager of Engineering at E.C.S. and in Sep. 1963 the Chief Engineer of Manufacturing at WYLE Laboratories.
Electronics; engineering issue; Sept 19, 1958, Page 140.
Carlos Tomaszewski in 1968 (age 38)
Chief Engineer of Manufacturing at WYLE Laboratories in Sep. 1963, succeeding Jack Rosenberg.
Photo curtesy of Carlos Tomaszewski.
Tom Scuitto & Jack Rosenberg first met working for the Electronics Laboratory of General Electric Co., in New York. Jack, previously publishing some papers while at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), joined GE in 1951 to work on digital telemetry and control projects. Scuitto and Rosenberg referenced each other in their respective patents while they worked at GE. Jack then moved to California in 1954 to work for E.C.S. Jack, subsequently, brought Tom Scuitto to join him to help him design and patent the DIGIMATIC high speed vacuum tube computer, which was a special purpose, high-speed, digital computer operating completely in the decimal system, like the Anita Mk7 and 8 switching tube desktop computers which came out in 1961. In January 1957, Jack became the manager of Automation at E.C.S., and then in December 1958 its "Manager of Engineering." As noted above, E.C.S. was the Los Angeles facility of the Electronics Division of Stromberg-Carlson, Rochester NY, a Division of General Dynamics.
While at E.C.S. Tom Scuitto worked mainly on the DIGIMATIC computer, as well as its automation/motion control systems that directed digital servos for controlling machine tools. Scuitto co-designed and co-patented its control circuits, along with Alexander Brewer and Jack Rosenberg. Thomas Scuitto single handedly designed and patented all its reversible counters, reversible decade counters, accumulators, "high speed" flip flops, bistable multivibrators and frequency control systems for the servos. Jack Rosenberg was Project Engineer, or Manager, in charge of development of the DIGIMATIC Computer.
A side project of Thomas Scuitto, while working on the DIGIMATIC Computer (while at E.C.S.) was his transistorized desktop computer prototype, that would become the prototype for the WYLE Scientific WS-01 desktop transistorized computer.
Jack Rosenberg seated in front of the DIGIMATIC high speed vacuum tube computer, Model 120, from the August 1956 issue of Electronic Industries (1956 West Coast Issue); This computer was developed by Thomas Scuitto, Jack Rosenberg and Alexander Brewer. The image with description is located under New Components and Equipment on Page 88.
FIGURES ABOVE (7, 8 and 9)
Jack Rosenberg's, Thomas Scuitto's and Alexander Brewer's
(the three share as authors and inventors in the patents)
DIGIMATIC Model 120 high speed vacuum tube computer, by E.C.S.
Jack Rosenberg. was E.C.S.'s Project Engineer in charge of developing it. Taken from the Proceedings of the Eastern Joint Computer Conference; December 9-13, 1957 in Washington D.C.; Theme: Computers with Deadlines to Meet, pages 25-29: Logical Organization of the Digimatic Computer, by Jack Rosenberg.
FIGURE ABOVE: This patent filed on Nov 2, 1955, is for the DIGIMATIC Computer's control circuit. It was patented by Jack, Rosenberg, Thomas Scuitto and Alexander Brewer, while at E.C.S., with General Dynamics Corporation as the Assignee. Stromberg-Carlson, and E.C.S., were divisions of General Dynamics. Thomas Scuitto individually held most of the other patents for the DIGIMATIC computer's logic and circuits (see text).
FIGURE ABOVE: This clipping is from Page 24 of Electronics Industries & Tele-Tech; Jan 1957, give the date when Jack Rosenberg became Manager of Automation at E.C.S.
FIGURE ABOVE: June 1957 issue of Computers and Automation
The "statistical analyser" must have included the "telephone traffic analyzer" that E.C.S. was making for ATT/Bell Labs (from the author's interview with Carlos). The "special purpose data-handling systems for military and industrial use" would have included Thomas Scuitto's transistorized desktop computer project.
FIGURE ABOVE: This clipping is from Page 83 of Missiles and Rockets, Sep 30, 1963, and gives the date that Jack Rosenberg joined Wyle Laboratories.
FIGURE ABOVE: Contemporaneous information about E.C.S., and their special computer systems for the military and industry,
E.C.S. is a Division of Stromberg-Carlson, a Division of General Dynamics
"Electronic Control Systems Division...The division also has developed special skills in data processing, both in special components and in data systems, largely for the armed services."
June 1958 issue of Signal, (12th Annual Convention Issue; June 4, 5, 6)
Then, in September 1963, Jack Rosenberg and Thomas Scuitto joined WYLE Laboratories (Missiles and Rockets, 9/20/63) when WYLE Laboratories acquired E.C.S.. Jack Rosenberg became WYLE's new Chief Engineer in charge of integrating E.C.S. into Wyle Laboratories. Thomas Scuitto specifically remembers being at WYLE when President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
Within the last three of months of 1963, Carlos went to work on creating the PC board artwork that combined Scuitto's prototype computer circuits with Scuitto's and Alexander's new automatic decimal point circuitry. During this time, Thomas Scuitto and Carlos Tomaszewski worked in the same, but small, building across the street from the "plant," the main building on 133 Center Street of El Segundo, CA. Carlos referenced this smaller building where they both worked as both "The Lab" and as "The white house," a nickname referencing the white paint color of the building. Carlos said that the street they crossed to get to "was more like an alley." According to Thomas' son, Ted, Thomas lived at WYLE Laboratories six (6) days a week working on commercializing his invention and came home only on Sundays. Ted Scuitto said that Thomas had a cot that he would "sleep on for a few hours, and then would get back to work." By the last quarter of 1963, Matthew Alexander was making trips in his car with this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, demonstrating its remarkable power, speed and utter silence of operation, as a sales tool to various outside trade and industry executives in the greater Los Angeles area, to gauge their level of interest in this incredible device.
These demonstrations of the WYLE Scientific Prototype continued while Carlos was wrapping up the circuit board artwork for the "production design" of the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit, and then building, with his "crew," seven or eight production units to be used as "samples" for sales (the "first batch"). Once units from the "first batch" of "production models" were built, by October 1963, Carlos said that he put a team together to check them out and was completely finished with that process before the end of 1964. The "second batch" of commercial production started soon after the New Year. The Datamation Computer Conference in, April 1964, used at least one WYLE Scientific taken from this "second batch" of commercial production.
After Carlos's seven or eight production design samples were completed and tested just before the New Year in 1964, the WYLE Scientific Prototype was officially retired from demonstrations as a promotional tool. Some of these seven or eight production samples were sold to, as Carlos described, "original buyers," in the 4th quarter of 1963, as a result of sales from Matthew Alexander's hard work from his earlier demonstrations. These were the first units sold of the WYLE Scientific. As Carlos recalled, "First we had that hand-built unit, then we had the seven that had the final artworks, the boards, and that's when we went into production."
The seven or eight WS-01 Tomaszewski production design "samples" (the "first batch" of commercial design made just before commercial production of the "second batch") fused Scuitto's patented WS-01 Prototype computer design (filed October 7th, 1963) with Scuitto's newly invented "Calculator Decimal Point Alignment Apparatus." Matthew Alexander assisted Scuitto on its development, with a somewhat delayed patent filing date of June 12, 1964, about nine months later.
As noted in the first sentence of the 1964 patent, "This invention relates generally to electronic calculator apparatus and more particularly to improved means for entering numbers into such apparatus." This second patent was essentially the invention of the circuits for the decimal point key. As noted in an ad for the WYLE Scientific (April 1965 issue of the American Statistician), "Decimal points are entered the same as digits, using an eleventh key, and all input and answers are correctly aligned with decimal point on the output display." The decimal point button - the "eleventh key" - had been born.
Hence, the WS-01 production units conveniently eliminated the "preset" key and "preset" selector rotary switch (decimal point controls) of the WS-01 Prototype in favor of a simple decimal point key, which is pushed before entering the fractional part of a number. This clever technological advance is noted in its operating manual as its 2nd most notable feature, "Automatic decimal alignment - The decimal point is entered at the place where it occurs in the number. The number is positioned automatically. And so are all answers."
FIGURE ABOVE: (Left) Production Model WS-01 at the Computer History Museum; (Right) WYLE Scientific Prototype (as found and before restoration). The notable difference between the production model and prototype (see text and red indicators in the above figure) is the conspicuous absence of a decimal point button, with instead a Preset Key, Preset Selector rotary switch, and a decimal point rotary switch. Scuitto's invention of the decimal point button circuitry came in a subsequent patent and was incorporated into the WYLE Scientific production units.
Carlos confirmed that the WS-01 Prototype is uniquely distinguished by its "preset" key and "preset" control selector rotary switch, as well as the conspicuous lack of a decimal point key. These "preset" controls, and lack of decimal point key, are features in only the earliest WYLE Laboratories computer patents. The WYLE Scientific Prototype, in its hardware specifics, including its unique "preset" controls and lack of decimal point, are detailed in the earliest Thomas Scuitto transistorized computer/calculator patent (assigned to WYLE laboratories) that was **filed** on October 7, 1963. This WYLE Prototype served as "proof of concept" for this October 7, 1963 patent.
Thomas Scuitto's October 7, 1963 filing date (the patent's priority date) for this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype predates Robert A. Ragen's October 29, 1963 computer patent filing date (priority date), by over three weeks (comparing patent priority dates). Further, Ragen's patent describes a non-desktop unit. Robert A. Ragan is the brilliant inventor of the Friden EC-130. The Friden EC-130 and the WYLE Scientific were the only two from the Dawn Period to use cathode ray tubes to display data.
FIGURE ABOVE: Thomas Scuitto's Patent (excerpts) for the WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype. Also, the second earliest known patent for a commercial transistorized desktop computer. Filed on October 7, 1963. The prototype was operational by August 1963, with Wyle Laboratories as Scuitto's Assignee. The filing of the patent occurred soon after E.C.S. had been acquired by Wyle Laboratories in September 1963 and while the new decimal point button and circuitry was being finalized by Scuitto for the first batch of production models. The WS-01 Prototype did not have a decimal point button, but instead a "preset key" and a preset selector rotary switch for controlling the decimal point's position (see text, photo galleries and highlights in above patent excerpts).
The patent for the Friden 130 was filed over 3 weeks later than the one for the WYLE Scientific. Additionally, it does not describe a desktop unit. The filing date is also called the "priority date."
May 24, 1964
FIGURE ABOVE: In preparation for WYLE's commercial advertisement in Scientific American (see below), WYLE Laboratories hired a National Sales Manager for managing sales of the WYLE Scientific. "Major responsibilities will be to organize and manage a national network of sales offices and franchise dealers for the marketing of a unique electronic calculator."
FIGURE ABOVE: Second earliest known commercial advertisement for a transistorized desktop computer: The WYLE Scientific (WS-01)
May 1964 issue of Scientific American (June 1964 "cover date")
Remarkably, the ad appears on Page 1 (the first page right after turning the cover page), which was quite a splash of an introduction!
Both of the earliest known commercial advertisements for the Friden 130 come about a month later than the one for the WYLE Scientific.
June 1, 1964 issue of U.S. News and World Report
In 1964, U.S. News and World Report had a standard 1-week lead between release and "cover date." Hence, with a cover date of June 8, 1964, the actual release date was June 1, 1964
Volume LVI - No. 23
This same ad also appeared in the June 1964 issue of Nation's Business, Volume 52 Number 6, Published by The Chamber of Commerce of the United States, Washington D.C. Because this is a Government publication, the cover date is almost certainly also the release date. Discovered by, and kindly provided to MoTET, by Mr. Nigel Tout of VintageCalculators.com
The WYLE Scientific had the 2nd earliest commercial advertisement (SEE DIRECTLY ABOVE) in the May 1964 (June cover date) issue of Scientific American. Remarkably, the ad appears on Page 1 (the first page right after turning the cover page), which was quite a splash. The Cambridge Dictionary definition of "commercial product" is as follows:
"A commercial product can be bought by or is intended to be bought by the general public."
Because Scientific American is an American popular science magazine intended for the general public, this advertisement, including the price and contact information (the contact information was given in the product's index of this issue), therefore qualifies as a commercial advertisement. Carlos Tomaszewski told the author in his interview with him that he remembers around 500 production units of the WS-01 and WS-02 being made and sold by Wyle Laboratories before the WYLE Scientific design and production was sold to Busicom (see below).
The earliest known commercial advertisement was for the IME 84, by contrast, was a month earlier in the April 1964 (May cover date) issue of Office magazine. However, for the IME 84's advertisement, it does not include the price, as it does in the above Scientific American ad, at $3,950. The $3,950 price tag comes to $37,244, in inflation adjusted dollars, for 2022.
The WYLE Scientific was not only purchased by readers of Scientific American, such as scientists and statisticians, it also found popular use in education for teaching computer programming. For example, one of the purchasers, in 1965, was the Deerfield High School, in Deerfield Illinois. Here they designed a computer class around their "$4,000 computer," the WYLE Scientific (see below yearbook). Another purchaser was the Los Angeles City School District, which also used them to teach computer programming classes (see WYLE Scientific chronological archive for details).
FIGURES ABOVE: How the purchase of the WYLE Scientific transformed this high school math department and also created a computer class around it to teach computer programming using the WYLE Scientific and its punch cards.
1965 to 1966 Deerfield High School Yearbook. Deerfield, Illinois; Volume IV
This yearbook was purchased and scanned/digitized by the author.
FIGURE ABOVE: AI Artificially Colorized Version of the prior photograph.
FIGURE ABOVE: Another example of the WYLE Scientific being sold and used to teach computer classes and a tool in computer and mathematics education, Here in the Los Angeles City School District.
The Computer as an Aid in Teaching Mathematics; Los Angeles City Schools; Division of Secondary Education. Publication No. ESEA-5; 1967
FIGURE ABOVE: The WYLE Scientific continuing to be sold to scientists, engineers and researchers.
Science, VOL. 149, August 27th 1965, Page 11
Sometime between June and November 1967 (see Figure below), WYLE Laboratories sold rights to the WYLE Scientific design and commercial project to the Nippon Calculating Machine Company (NCM), of Tokyo. At around the same time, NCM changed their name to Business Computer Corporation, or Busicom. Wyle Laboratories also entered into an agreement to develop an updated desktop computer based on the Thomas Scuitto's designs for the WYLE Scientific, but using DTL (diode transistor logic) integrated circuits, to reduce its size. By the time the DTL had been worked out, Busicom engineer Masatoshi Shima joined the desktop computer development factory in Osaka, Japan, to help develop the the beta versions of Busicom 202's integrated circuits ("engineering samples"). These offshoots of the WYLE Scientific were the BUSICOM 202 (2 registers), released in 1967, the BUSICOM 207 (7 registers), released in 1968 and the BUSICOM 2017 (17 registers), released in 1970. All three models were discontinued in 1972 (Dentaku Museum). The last two digits of the model number correspond to the number of memory registers (2, 7 and 17, respectively). Except for the number of memory registers, the 202, 207 and 2017 models were virtually identical (see figures below). There is also an outward similarity to the WYLE Scientific, which includes Scuitto's unusual functionality and organization of the keyboard, Scuitto's organization and naming of the registers on the cathode ray tube output, and Scuitto's bidirectional card reader (see below).
The Busicom 202 had an identical layout to Scuitto's top-down order of the registers in the WYLE Scientific, except for having one less memory register at the bottom (in the figure below, compare output of the WYLE Scientific with the Busicom computers). The Busicom 202 was released in November 1967. Under the rights agreement, WYLE Laboratories received royalties off Busicom's sales.
In a May 17, 1994 interview with Masatoshi Shima by William Aspray for the IEEE History Center Masatoshi recalls the Busicom 202, "Here you can see three registers - entry register, accumulator(s), and one more register to be used for multiplication....I developed this desktop calculator with printer in 1968 and 1969."
The printing desktop unit, that Masatoshi Smima's was referring to in his interview, was the Busicom 207P, developed and released in 1968 and the Busicom 2017P, developed in 1969 and released in 1970.
Unfortunately, the original royalty agreement that WYLE Laboratories had with the design, prototype and commercialization team (Thomas Scuitto, Roger Mueller and Matthew Alexander) only covered the United States. It did not encompass foreign deals, like the Japanese one with Busicom, which was something that Matthew Alexander (who also managed the business aspects for Scuitto's team in the transition from E.C.S to Wyle Laboratories), had unfortunately overlooked. Therefore, Scuitto, Mueller and Alexander did not receive any royalties after the sale to Busicom took place. Ted Scuitto remembers that, "The team was not very happy."
FIGURE ABOVE: Left clipping: June 1967 issue of Computers and Automation (Pg. 40): The Computer directory and Buyers' Guide; Right clipping: June 1968 issue (Pg. 41). In the June 1964, June 1965, June 1966 and June 1967 issues the WYLE Laboratories desk-top computer is spotlighted, but is dead silent on the same in the June 1968 issue. Hence, sometime after June 1967, but before November 1967 (see text), WYLE Laboratories sold the WYLE Scientific rights to the Nippon Calculating Machine Company.
Sometime in 1967, around the time Wyle Laboratories sold rights to the WYLE Scientific to Busicom, Scuitto and Alexander left WYLE Laboratories to co-found Audio Data Corp., along with Chuck Corrigan and possibly also Dick Leiby. Audio Data developed "talking machines." An example of one of their products was a talking machine could read utility meters for the visually impaired and blind. Matthew Alexander was the main player, who handled the business end of Audio Data. They tried to go public, but the underwriter unexpectedly went bankrupt. Unfortunately, it was bad timing for the fledgling company and they went under. Ted Scuitto remembers working there with his dad, at age 16, helping his father build breadboarded prototypes for these talking machine devices for the blind. During this time, Thomas Scuitto also served as a consultant to Compucorp, the desktop computer spinoff from Wyle Laboratories.
FIGURE ABOVE: Comparison of the displays between the Busicom 202 (based on the WYLE Scientific; year 1967; 360,000 yen) and The WYLE Scientific. The Busicom 202 took Thomas Scuitto's designs, updated them and then implemented them using DTL integrated circuits (implemented by Masatoshi Shima).
"MQ" = "Multiplier-Quotient Register"; "E" = "Entry Register"; "A" = "Accumulator Register"; "St. 1" = "Storage Register 1"; "St. 2" = "Storage Register 2"
FIGURE ABOVE: (Left Panel): Keyboards of the Busicom 207 (based on the WYLE Scientific; year 1968 to 1972) and BUSICOM 2017 (based on the WYLE Scientific; year 1970 to 1972). (Right Panel): Keyboard of the The WYLE Scientific.
On both, keys are grouped by function. Of note are the left-most bank of keys (surrounded by the red box) that uniquely control data acceptance and transfer operations from one register to another.
"A" = "ACC"; "E" = "ENTRY"; "M" = "MQ"; "I" = "REG 1"; "II" = "REG 2"
The group on the right (surrounded by the green box) control arithmetic and editing operations ("FWD" and "REV" are equivalent to the shift-left and shift-right keys) The data entry group in the middle both have a back space button.
FIGURE ABOVE: BUSICOM 2017
(Based on the Scuitto's WYLE Scientific but with DTL integrated circuits implemented by Masatoshi Shima); 17 registers; year 1970 until 1972; 695,000 Yen).
The Busicom 202, 207 and 2017 units all also internalized Thomas Scuitto's patented bi-directional punched card reader technology and circuitry (of the WYLE Scientific).
ABOVE FIGURE: (Right Panel): In 1969 the BUISCOM 207 (based on the WYLE Scientific but with DTL integrated circuits implemented by Masatoshi Shima) was BUSICOM's top desktop programmable model.
(Left Panel): There was also a printer version of the BUSICOM 207 and 2017, shown in this 1972 advertisement, the BUISCOM 207-P and 2017-P, respectively.
In 1969, the year before the BUSICOM 2017 (based on the WYLE Scientific) was released, BUSICOM was looking to create an even smaller and more powerful programmable desktop computer, so they turned to Intel in what was to be a very fruitful collaboration that directly led to the first commercial microprocessor, the 4004, which literally launched the microprocessor revolution. The team that led the development of the 4004 was Busicom's Masatoshi Shima (who developed the beta versions of the integrated circuits for the Busicom 202, 207 and 2017 and the logic for the Intel 4004) and three Intel engineers (more below). Busicom initially held the exclusive rights to the 4004, until they shared them with Intel in mid 1971, Intel then announced the release of the Intel 4004 on November 15, 1971. According to Wikipedia,
"Busicom asked Intel to design a set of integrated circuits for a new line of programmable electronic calculators in 1969. In doing this, they spurred the invention of Intel's first microprocessor to be commercialized, the Intel 4004. Busicom owned the exclusive rights to the design and its components in 1970 but shared them with Intel in 1971."
FIGURE ABOVE: (Top): The four main engineers on the 4004 microprocessor Team, a collaboration between BUSICOM and Intel. (Bottom): BUSICOM engineer Masatoshi Shima, one of the four on the 4004 team, also implemented Thomas Scuitto's designs for the WYLE Scientific, using DTL integrated circuits (see text).
In 1969 Masatoshi Shima worked with Intel's Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff and Stanley Mazor to combine Busicom's three-chip proposal into a one-chip architecture. In 1970, that architecture was translated into a silicon chip, the Intel 4004. Masatoshi Shima was responsible for the logic design of the 4004.
In 1972 Masatoshi Shima joined Intel. While at Intel, he worked with Faggin to develop the Intel 8080, which was released in 1974. The Intel 8080 became the CPU for the Altair 8080, which of course launched Microsoft Corporation the next year in April 1975, when Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote the BASIC programming language for the Altair 8080, as their very first corporate client. Masatoshi Shima then joined Zilog, where he worked with Faggin to develop the legendary Zilog Z80 (1976) and Zilog Z8000 (1979).
The evolution from the very first microprocessor (the 4004) to present. Document from an Intel advertisement in 2021.
Thomas Scuitto's very first patent, (at 25 yrs old) filed on Oct. 27, 1953 at age 25. Scuitto's employer at the time, General Electric, was his Assignee.
Thomas Scuitto's last patent, co-invented with his son Theodore Scuitto, and filed on Jan 17, 1989, at age 61, with Analyte Corporation as the Assignee. It covers the Scuitto Automatic Atomic-Absorption Spectrometry Method
FIGURE ABOVE: Thomas Scuitto's first and last patents:
(Left): Thomas Scuitto's first patent filed on Oct. 27, 1953 while at General Electric;
(Ri9ht): Scuitto's last patent filed on Jan 17, 1989, (co-patented with his son Ted Scuitto), for an automatic atomic-absorption spectrometry method, while at Analyte Corporation.
Remarkably, this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, as well as the later WYLE Scientific production units, has the dazzling capability of being able to electronically extract square roots with the press of a single button, something the Friden EC-130, IME 84 and Sharp Compet (CS-10A) computers are not capable of by themselves. WYLE's sales literature notes that the WS-01 extracts the square root of a 23-digit number in less than two seconds - a mind-boggling speed compared to the few mechanical calculators that were capable at the time (the Friden SRQ and SRW, both in MoTET's collection).
Physically, the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype is 100% breadboarded (using "perfboards") and completely hand-wired and hand fabricated. It utilizes two high voltage rectifier vacuum tubes and sports a remarkable "flying saucer-like" fixed-head rotating magnetic drum for its three memory registers & clock timing, etc.*** To make these memory drums, WYLE purchased rolls of Mylar from IBM, coated with a magnetic oxide, and then cut and glued it inside the aluminum disc comprising the rotor (the top part), which connected to the motor directly (a direct drive), without any gearing or belts. Even the cover to the prototype is hand-constructed, as can be seen from its interior (see photo galleries below). It is replete with an interface for automatic data input/output, (including a card reader, which has since been lost) as well as a prototype testing interface (the connector at the back; see Oct 7, 1963 patent; also see the second long wire of the prototype for prototype testing). As just noted, the automatic data input/output consisted of a paper tape reader and punch, which have since been lost. According to the Oct 7, 1963 patent describing the WS-01 prototype, "Thus, the apparatus of FIGURE 24 can be utilized to effectively automatically perform the same operations on different numerical data for relieving the calculator user of the key actuation chore."
***Rick Bensene, Curator of The Old Calculator Museum, graciously chimed in to elaborate more specifically (on the "etc."): The memory drum specifically produces two clock signals, provides 3 temporary storage working registers, and 3 memory registers. Additionally, there is one more register acting as a delay element during calculations. Mr. Bensene also noted that it is interesting that the Wyle Scientific computers employ a switching power supply to produce the high voltages needed for the CRT. He noted that this is significantly more complex a solution than the relatively simple and reliable diode-capacitor voltage multipliers, for example used in the Friden EC-130.
EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING PROTOTYPES
EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING PROTOTYPE
The WYLE Scientific WS-1 Prototype appears to be the earliest known surviving prototype. What are the next two earliest known surviving transistorized desktop computer prototypes? To the best of our museum's knowledge - and based on publicly available information - the next two date to about a year later than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, and are as follows (see 1 & 2 below). Note: If anyone reading this paragraph has reasonable evidence of an earlier surviving prototype in non-public hands than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, kindly let the museum's curator know so we can update this article.
FIGURE ABOVE: WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype (100% Breadboarded using "perfboards")
It was operational in its desktop form in August 1963. The date codes on the transistors conform this; The gleaming gold cover is shown here pulled off and separated from the main unit. None of the transistor date codes are later than 1963 (see examples below).
SECOND (2nd) EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING (PARTIALLY) PROTOTYPE
Hewlett Packard's "Green Machine," invented by Thomas Osborne (at the National Museum of American History) which is the early prototype for the HP 9100A (HP's first transistorized desktop computer). According to the Old Calculator Museum, the Green Machine became fully operational in December 1964,the same month/year WYLE Laboratories WS-02 debuts. Hence, the "Green Machine" prototype dates to over a year later than WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype. According to the The National Museum of American History:
"Thomas E. Osborne began thinking about the design of a desktop electronic calculator suited for calculating the very large and very small numbers encountered in scientific work. In January of 1964, he formed the firm Logic Design, Inc., to develop his ideas. By late 1964, he had built this prototype keyboard and display, as well as a prototype logic unit."
Source: Bernard M. Oliver, “How the Model 9100A Was Developed,” Hewlett-Packard Journal, September, 1968. A copy of this article may be found at the HP Museum website
Lastly, Thomas E. Osborne filed his patent for his prototype fairly late on June 23, 1966 (Patent Application serial number 599,887). His patent was issued on November 23, 1971 (US 827795A, Hewlett Packard Assignee).
FIGURE ABOVE: Hewlett Packard's "Green Machine, invented by Thomas Osborne. A reproduction is found at the National Museum of American History. Other sources indicate at dates to late 1964. Whereas the the 1963 WYLE Scientific Prototype was contained within one unit, the Green Machine came in three separate units: Power Supply, Logic Unit and User Interface Unit.
THIRD (3rd) EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING PROTOTYPE
Sony MD-6 prototype (at the National Museum of American History). Date: ~1966. Early engineering drawings for this prototype date to July 18, 1964, and is one of SONY's prototypes for the SOBAX ICC-500. Hence, it dates to about a year later than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype. An earlier Sony prototype (now lost, and now shown) was exhibited at the World Electronics Show in New York in the latter part of March 1964. This lost prototype was also exhibited in the Japanese Pavilion at the New York World Exposition opening a month later, in April.
FIGURE ABOVE: SONY MD-6 Prototype; Date: ~1966.
Below is a summary of some of the priority date details. The rest are found on the main page, in the right-hand column, down the page. The links there, and below are clickable which take you to the chronological archives that have copies of the physical supporting documentation.
Following the below three (3) summary figures for the 1964 commercial models, are the Main Photo Galleries of the the WS-01 Prototype, as well as the original structural and patent analysis that unlocked the mystery of the prototype before speaking with Carlos to confirm it.
SUMMARY OF EARLIEST COMMERCIAL PRESS RELEASES
This is the 2nd earliest known - and recently discovered - public press release for any commercial transistorized desktop computer (see above). It was discovered through recent advances in early newspaper archival and digitization. This museum's Curator was led to it after conducting several recent interviews with the retired Chief Engineer of WYLE Laboratories at the time, now 90. The museum's Curator was led, initially, to conducting these interviews after chancing upon a mysterious WYLE device and discovering, after conducting an analysis of early WYLE patents, that it is - in fact - the long lost prototype of the WYLE Scientific, which used to be in the personal possession of WYLE's retired Chief Engineer himself. This earliest-known surviving prototype of a commercial transistorized desktop computer is this month's featured museum piece.
The above clip is the second earliest known public press release of a commercial transistorized desktop computer. It is dated March 17, 1964 and announces the "all-transistorized" and "typewriter" sized "WYLE Scientific" and further announces that it bridges a commercial "gap" between mechanical calculators and full-fledged computers. Less than a week after this press release came out there were already several additional - and recently discovered - press announcements for the WYLE Scientific (see this Site). As noted above, the spectacular hand-built and 100% breadboarded prototype for this WYLE Scientific is this month's featured museum piece.
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
PRESS RELEASE DATES
Compare this WYLE Scientific public press release date with other earliest-known publicly-published press releases (see below). Coincidentally, Sharp's earliest announcement came only one day later than WYLE's. Sources and "clips" may be found this museum's open-archive pages.
Note: Sharp is listed twice because its March 18th, 1964 announcement (which we learned about from the Dentaku Museum) has not been independently verified by our museum and its newspaper of publication is also not presently known to us.
1) Mathatronics Mathatron.....Feb (Mar) 1964 (see Mathatron archive)
2) WYLE Scientific (WS-01)....March 17, 1964 (Asbury Park Evening Press)
3) Sharp Compet (CS-10A)......March 18, 1964 (see Sharp CS-10A archive)
4) IME 84.........................................April 12, 1964 (see IME S.p.A. archive)
5) Sharp Compet (CS-10A)......May 19, 1964 (see Sharp CS-10A archive)
6) Friden 130 (EC-130)...............May 20, 1964 (see Friden EC-130 archive)
SUMMARY OF EARLIEST KNOWN COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT DATES
The Museum of TrailingEdge Technology recently discovered that the first commercial ad placed for the WYLE Scientific appeared in May 1964 (June cover date**) in Scientific American, which is the 2nd earliest date for a commercial ad so far discovered with only the IME 84 being earlier. Remarkably, this first commercial ad for the WYLE Scientific appears on Page #1 of Scientific American, the oldest continuously running magazine in the United States.
Please note that the ad image itself has long been known about. Only the very early date and high-profile nature of it was recently discovered.
**NOTE: Scientific American, as with most monthly magazines In the United States, Canada and the UK, have cover dates about a month later than the day of release. The below sales ad for the WYLE Scientific came out in early May 1964, For the IME 84 it is early April 1964 and the Mathatron, March 1965.
1) IME 84.....................April (May cover date) 1964, in Office magazine.
2) WYLE Scientific..May (June cover date) 1964, in Scientific American (Page #1)
3) Sharp CS-10A......July 31, 1964; (Newspaper: Price & contact sales)
4) ***Mathatron.........Aug 17, 1964; Company Profitable; The Boston Globe
NOTE: Profitability is indirect evidence of ads - but none found yet
5) Friden 130..............October 24, 1964; Burlington Free Press.
6) ***Mathatron.........March (April cover date) 1965; American Scientist
NOTE: ***Earliest presently known ad for Mathatron
SUMMARY OF EARLIEST KNOWN PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION DATES
1) Mathatron..............Nov 1963; NEREM Show in Boston
2) IME 84......................April 12, 1964; Fiera De Milano, Italy
3) WYLE Scientific...April 21, 1964; Datamation Conference, Wash. D.C.
4) ***Friden 130..........May 20, 1964; Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York.
5) Sharp CS-10A...... (no presently confirmed date)
***Note: The above Friden 130 demonstration/announcement date (at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel) was a public demonstration of a commercial model. This is to be distinguished from the date of the secret Friden backroom demonstration of a prototype at a presently unknown tradeshow & day in June 1963 with reported non-disclosure agreements. As is reported in The Old Calculator Museum:
"At a rather secretive event, the Friden 130 prototype was shown to a specially-selected audience at a business machines exposition in June of 1963. Attendees were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that they must keep what they see completely secret. The attendees were shown the machine in a suite, away from the main exhibition floor."
The date of this private showing is quite different from the date of a public announcement and demonstration of a production unit. Dates of private demonstrations of prototypes should be compared with the same. Likewise with public demonstrations of commercial models.
Note: Both Friden, and WYLE's Matthew Alexander, were giving private/secret demonstrations to audiences of industry and trade executives by mid-1963 of their respective pre-production prototypes.
SHOWN BELOW: The first public demonstration of the WYLE Scientific Production Model on April 21, 1964 (not a prototype; taken from the "second batch" of production) at the Datamation Computer Conference in Washington D.C.. Matthew A. Alexander led the demonstrations for WYLE Laboratories.
Below is PHOTO GALLERY #1 of the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype. Much further down is PHOTO GALLERY #2 (click here). Between these two photo galleries is a very remarkable Patent and Structural Analysis of the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype (click here) performed by the author and museum curator.
Prior to speaking with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, this WYLE patent analysis was the key to unlocking the mystery of this historic machine, which was only confirmed after speaking with Carlos.
The WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype
Original Patent/Structural Analysis
of The WYLE Laboratories WS-01 Prototype
**NOTE: This patent/structural analysis of the prototype was written prior to recent conversations and communications with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, who is the former Chief Engineer for WYLE Laboratories that managed the WS-01 and WS-02 production models. These conversations and communications confirmed the analysis below that this machine is the WYLE Laboratories WS-01 Prototype.
This is a pre-production, 100% breadboarded (using "perfboards"), prototype of an extremely early 1st generation WYLE Laboratories transistorized desktop calculator, likely built sometime in 1963. The discrete components in this prototype, including two vacuum tubes, were hand wired without a single printed circuit board trace in the entire device. It was designed and patented by WYLE Laboratory’s prodigiously brilliant electrical designer, Dr. Thomas John Scuitto, with his patent assigned to WYLE Laboratories.
This prototype seems likely to have been the functional prototype used in WYLE's October 7th, 1963 patent filing (see below). It uses highly unusual decimal point controls that are described as central features in the earliest WYLE calculator patents. WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 patent specifically targeted these one-of-a-kind controls for elimination - by making them obsolete - thereby introducing the convenient decimal point key, where the fractional part of a number may be entered after depressing it - hence comporting the WS-01 and WS-02 calculator's function.
Also, all the date codes on the germanium transistors that I have checked in this prototype - so far from a very limited look - are all from 1963, the earliest being from January 1963 and the latest being from the 40th week of 1963 (September 30th to October 6th, 1963).
This WYLE Laboratories prototype is certainly among the very earliest transistorized desktop calculator prototypes, from a historical standpoint. To put this in perspective, IME S.p.A. formally demonstrated the IME-84 at the Milan Fair on 4/12/64, while WYLE Laboratories formally demonstrated the WS-01 at the 4/21/64 Datamation Computer Conference in Washington D.C., only nine days later. The IME-84 is argued by many to be the first transistorized desktop calculator.
To further put this prototype into perspective, Dr. Scuitto's October 7th, 1963 patent for WYLE (uniquely describing this prototype and its one-of-a-kind features) predates Robert A. Ragen's October 29th 1963 desktop calculator patent by over three weeks. Further Scuitto's calculator patent included a square root function, whereas Ragen's did not. Robert A. Ragan was the brilliant lead inventor of the Friden EC-130, also argued by many to be the first transistorized desktop calculator.
Given the above, there is a strong case to be made that this WYLE prototype dates to earlier than Hewlett Packard's 1964 "Green Machine" prototype, considered by many to be the earliest surviving transistorized desktop calculator prototype. This is because the “Green Machine” prototype was built at roughly the same time as when the commercial WS-01 had been formally introduced and demonstrated to the public (see below) and the prototype featured here predates the WS-01 1964 era.
In absence of a WYLE model number, and in the interest of conveying temporal order in relation to the WS-01 and WS-02, the museum decided to designate this prototype the "WS-01 Prototype."
This WS-01 Prototype significantly predates WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 automatic decimal point patent, used in the WS-01 & WS-02 calculators - hence there is no decimal point key on the WS-01 Prototype, but instead a "preset key" and "preset selector" rotary switch, which are used to control the decimal point internally, according to the earliest 1963 patent.
The automatic decimal point system of Dr. Scuitto's later 1964 patent was incorporated into the creation of the WS-01 production model calculators. The earlier October 7th, 1963 patent describes the WS-01 Prototype in detail down to the "preset key," "preset selector" rotary switch and absence of a decimal point key.
The special "preset key", "preset selector" rotary switch, and the absence of a decimal point key of the WS-01 Prototype, were the proverbial keys to unlocking the mystery of this prototype. This is because these features are both central to the October 7th, 1963 patent, as well as centrally targeted for elimination (as rendered obsolete) in the June 12th, 1964 patent (describing the WS-01 production model). Hence this WS-01 prototype, modeled in accordance to the 1963 patent, almost certainly predates the WS-01 model, modeled after the 1964 patent, over eight months later.
Given the above, the WS-01 Prototype likely significantly predates the April 21 1964 public unveiling of the WS-01 production models. For simplicity, If we temporarily assume the WS-01 Prototype predates this April 21, 1964 marker by the same eight month interval, as with the corresponding patents, then that would provide a very rough guess for the WS-01 Prototype at August 1963, only two months prior to the October 7th 1963 patent which clearly describes it. Again, the latest date codes on its germanium transistors seen so far are from the 40th week of 1963 (September 30 to October 6th, 1963) and the earliest being from January 1963. All these dates are consistent with the above hypothesis. Hence it is very possible, perhaps even likely, that this WYLE Laboratories prototype was the working prototype for their October 7th, 1963 calculator patent. One has to wonder what groups of corporate/industry outsiders, if any, might have received a demonstration of it in 1963.
The entire purpose of WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 patent was to eliminate the "preset key" and "preset selector" rotary switch, used on the WS-01 Prototype, thereby allowing direct and convenient decimal point entry, as in the later WS-01 production models.