The Barn

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Claude lived on a fairly large property in Pennington, which had a house built in the 1800s, a barn, a few donkeys, and a troupe of Malemutes.

The Barn

By the time the RESISTORS arrived there, Claude had already amassed a trove of cast-off technology from various sources. The most impressive was a Burroughs Datatron 205, a gigantic vacuum-tube computer from the 1950s. Rumor has it that Claude convinced someone in Detroit to give it to him, which they did on the condition that he would transport it. He rented an 18-wheeler and drove it from Detroit to New Jersey, but had to rely on sympathetic truckers to help him out every time he needed to back it up, since he didn't really know how to drive it. Most of us never saw it in operation, and there were many stories: that it cost $40 for the electricity to run it for half an hour, quite a sum back then; that when you did run it, the transformer on the pole outside would start to glow cherry-red; and that it took two full-time people simply to replace the tubes as they burned out. It's main memory was a magnetic drum.

There was also a Packard Bell 250 which was perhaps the size of a Sub-Zero refrigerator and used "acoustic delay lines" as its main memory. Amazingly, Peter Eichenberger was actually able to resuscitate it.

While the group was there, DEC (Digital Equipment Corp.) donated a PDP-8 computer, which was the mainstay of the "in-house" (actually "in-barn") computing. Calcomp, Inc. also donated a "plotter," which could be used to make drawing in the days before dot-matrix printers.

On December 3, 2009, the Barn was destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, Claude had already donated much of his collection of vintage technology to the InfoAge Museum and his papers to the Univ. Of Minnesota.