Built by engineer Tommy Flowers in 1943, the Colossus computer was the first digital, programmable, and electronic computing device. The machine was used by British code breakers during World War II to help decipher messages encrypted with the German Lorenz SZ40/42 machine.
In 1993, Tony Sale started the Colossus Rebuild Project and in 1994 a team led by Sale began to recreate the massive machine at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park in the UK. On June 6th, 1996, the recreated Colossus was first switched on, and by 2007 a fully functional replica of the Colossus Mark 2 was completed.
Photo by: Andy Taylor
Andy Taylor, a systems analyst and retro computer enthusiast in the UK, visited the museum in March 2010 and took these photos of the rebuilt Colossus and dozens of other vintage computing devices, including Alan Turing's Bombe (designed to decrypt messages encrypted with the German Enigma machine), the WITCH from Harwell, early mainframes, integrated computers, desktops, and laptops.
I have put together a gallery from his pictures. Many thanks to Andy for allowing TechRepublic to republish these photos. For more information on Andy's collection of vintage computers, check out his website Retro Computers or his Flickr photostream.
Have you ever restored a vintage computer?
While the Colossus Rebuilt Project was a massive undertaking, restoring vintage computers isn't only a project museums. IT pros from around the world take pride and pleasure in refurbishing and rebuilding old computers. What about you? Take this TR Dojo poll and let me know if you ever rebuilt an old computer.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.