WORLDKINGS - Worldkings News - Europe Records Institute (EURI) – WITCH: World's oldest working digital computer


( WITCH is the world's oldest working digital computer.

The Harwell computer, later known as the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH), or the Harwell Dekatron Computer, is an early British computer of the 1950s based on valves and relays. From 2009 to 2012, it was restored at the National Museum of Computing.

It is the world's oldest working digital computer. It previously held the title for several years until it was decommissioned in 1973 and gained back in 2012. The museum uses the computer's visual, dekatron-based memory to teach schoolchildren about computers.

The computer, which weighs 2.5 metric tons, was built and used at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, Oxfordshire. Construction started in 1949, and the machine became operational in April 1951. It was handed over to the computing group in May 1952 and remained in use until 1957.

The WITCH was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham in 1973. After the museum closed in 1997, the computer was disassembled and stored at the Birmingham City Council Museums Collection Centre.

From September 2009, the machine was loaned to The National Museum of Computing in the site of Bletchley Park, where it began to be restored to working order as a Computer Conservation Society project.


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