1970s Computer Operator Wanted

We discovered an old newspaper classified section stuffed into a plastered hole in one of our window frames.

There weren’t any dates, but the phone numbers, and miscellaneous other clues suggest it was probably from January 1976.

Amongst the wanted section there was this job advertisement calling for an ICL 1904 computer operator for Wattie Industries:


A bit of research reveals that the ICL 1900 series were mainframe computers produced by International Computers and Tabulators in the early 60s. The ICL1904A, was the first produced in the series, and was a 24bit word machine running with around 64Kb of (core) memory.


ICL 1906 Mainframe, photo courtesy of Atlas Computer Laboratory

In today’s terms, the 1904A would have had an approximate equivalent clock speed of around 1 MHz. From the photo above, it looks like it took up more room than our house.

And to think my first computer was a Pentium II.

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5 Responses to 1970s Computer Operator Wanted

  1. David says:

    The age requirements really stand out today. Back in those days the boss could say “must be aged between 18 and 24, and be female, and blond”. With a photo required, showing a bit of leg [as in the photo above].

  2. Simon says:

    Am I the only one imagining that woman isn’t wearing anything under that lab coat?

    Did I just type that out loud?

  3. michelle says:

    @Simon: I don’t know, I think the dude standing by the tapes (who looks eerily like a young version of one of my lecturers) might agree with you.

  4. Simon says:

    Dave said the same thing:

    David: damn now you’re comment has convinced me the operator isn’t wearing anything other than her lab coat
    notice how the guy at the tape memory is looking at her?
    Michelle and her racy posts

    Sent at 8:46 AM on Monday
    Simon: There was a guy in that picture?

    David: heh

  5. Brian Spoor says:

    Unless you have a mansion it definitely took up more space than your house!!

    The picture is of the operating floor with the magnetic tapes and basic peripherals – the 1906A processor itself was on the floor below (both ‘rooms’ fully air-conditioned), along with the core store and some, if not all, of the disc drives.

    Yes, she does have nice legs (and is probably in her 60s now) – that is the general comment, I have an A3 size print on my office wall.

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