IBM Pluggable Unit - A Vertical Circuit Board


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About this Artwork

This artwork is a mixed media display celebrating the IBM Pluggable Unit. In 1947, Ralph Palmer invented the IBM Pluggable Unit to meet the technology needs of the IBM 604 Electronic Calculating Punch. Although it had many of the functions of a modern computer, the 604 was not a computer in that it did not have a stored program and was governed by the card reading process. IBM anticipated the IBM 604 would be sold in the thousands. The challenges of building, testing, and maintaining this many electronic machines had never before been considered. IBM had only made 100 of the first electronic calculators in production. This was the IBM 603 Electronic Multiplier. The Pluggable Unit was the solution for the 604. Because the Pluggable Unit had a vertical dimension rising off the flat circuit board, it provided greater circuit density and space savings. Each Unit was a simple circuit and could be tested independently of the 604 machine. If any component of the circuit was defective, the complete Unit could be quickly replaced, to get the 604 operational, and then the Pluggable Unit could be repaired, and then reused. The time needed to manufacture and maintain the 604 was significantly reduced. When introduced, the 604 was the fastest calculator on the market.

This artwork includes three items. It has images of various IBM Pluggable Units. On the back are the artist’s signature and a narrative describing the artwork and the IBM Pluggable Units. Also, the artwork includes an IBM Pluggable Unit.


    The artwork is framed in an 11"x14" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

    Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.