8.24.2010

one more transmission from mission control

If something piques my interest I run with it: In my previous post about futuristic typefaces I wondered about the font "Countdown." How did that come to represent "computer" when I had never seen anything of the sort come out of or go into a computer. I spent way too long "researching" that by way of 1960s technology, old computer screens, punch cards, and printouts. Then I came across the above image of the Burroughs Datatron B220 control panel (c. 1963) and it made sense. Countdown seems as though it was based on the buttons and lights on a control panel, as in Mission Control, as in a countdown for a space launch...

This selection of computer brochures are brought to you by the Computer History Museum.


I must point out here that the promo copy on this 1965 cover says "Simultaneous multiple
access to more than 21 million bytes!" If I do my math correctly that means this 
big ol' hunk of tin had a memory capacity of 21MB— equivalent to about 15 or 
16 floppy disks.
Apollo mission control panels: dear God they sent men into space using Trimline telephones. One of many fascinating shots from the keen eye of Shaun O'Boyle.

2 comments:

Kiss it said...

Actually the Countdown and Data 70 fonts were inspired by the machine readable magnetic ink fonts used most notably on chequebooks, aka MICR fonts, which were crazily futuristic in 1965 ( wow computers can read now!). The bizarre large blocks in the letters are for benefit of the magnetic reader.

angela said...

Oh cool-- thanks very much for that clarification! So is MICR-- Magnetic Ink Character Recognition or something?... I suppose I should google it and see...

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