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Hewlett-Packard (HP) 2100 System

Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (HP) 2100 System
Identification,ID 2100 System
Date of first manufacture-
Number produced at least 4000 (Mx got the 4000th)
Estimated price or cost-
location in museum -
donor Hewlett-Packard

Contents of this page:

Photo - 60 K Bytes


from Gary Sloane
  • Specifications - from "A Pocket Guide to Interfacing the HP 2100 Computer" [330 MB]
  • Hp-2116C Computer - sales brochure for 2116C - I also have a 2116C with core stacks ON TOP (not plug in boards) and the DMA option installed... pristine condition.... [920 MB]

from Ed Thelen

16 bit mini, A-Q register, word addressable, optional floating point

Special features

Historical Notes

This Artifact

Interesting Web Sites

Other information
Gary Sloane wrote:
I used the eraser trick to clean edge contacts on an HP2100 machine that used to run in a gas chromatography lab at the University of Utah where I worked as a junior in high school. So here's a long unrelated tale back at ya...

I wrote plotting programs to graph the output from a gas chromatograph on a Tektronix 4014 scope and archive the data on the HP2100. Three stories:

First story: I had to manually key in the paper tape loader so I could read the disk bootstrap from paper tape. When I started the job it was slow and laborious, but after about a month I had it memorized. I'd come in in the morning, open the lab, get a cup of coffee, fire up the 2100, and key in the loader, then load the papertape and let 'er rip. Word got round that I had memorized the loader, and they started a betting pool. After a while all the other labrats would show up to watch me start the machine; if I made an error and had to start over, one side won; if I successfully read the loader on the first try, the other side won. Probably about $20 in $1 bets changed hands avery morninig; my 'hit' ratio was about 4:1 in favor of a successful load, and they actually kept track and gave odds to the betters!!! I have a bunch of HP2117 machines now, but none running (no time). And no paper tape reader (damn!!!).

Second story: the guy who ran the lab was an alcoholic; we sectioned rat brains from a drug study, prepped them using liquid nitro, and then analyzed them in the chromatograph. He kept a bottle of vodka which he'd immerse in the liquid nitro to chill it... One night he got *way* drunk, grabbed a (dead) rat, and dropped it in the vat of nitrogen with tongs... after it was solid, he went out in the hallway of the engineering building where the lab was located, started muttering about how stupid the administration was, and threw the rat agains the wall... it shattered into *tiny* pieces which distributed themselves ALL OVER the hallway (highly polished linoleum, very crystallized icy particles of rat). The next morning the building SMELLED BAD.... so bad they closed it down and had a hazmat team clean the hall!!! I may be the only witness as to what actually happened...

Final story: I wrote a program to generate paper mazes on the Univac 1108 that lived in the building. The kind where you start at the 'start' box and find your way through with a pencil... I used to generate and print mazes that were 100 or 200 pages long on large greenbar paper, print them out and then a bunch of students would tape them to the walls in the hallways around the engineering building. At lunch 30-50 students would be standing in front of a page finding their way through with a pencil...

WE had paper tape, and cartridge disk, nothing else... was a 2100MX, I believe. I got 4 HP 2117F machines, fully loaded w/cards, but minimal peripherals; they have a non-HP government floating point board set that replaces the external floating point unit; wish I had that!

Stuart wrote: (Aug 2012)
I used to make HP2100 systems in 1973/1974 and we also entered the loader from memory (I guess you remember 102077). The core stacks would hold the loader, though, and we used to take a loaded core stack and put it into another computer to save us from having to load it every day. Other peripherals included Tape decks, floppy disks, papertape punches and drum storage units. There were a number of operating systems from PTOS (paper tape), MTOS (Magnetic tape), DOS, (Disk), DACE (Data acquisition in Real-time) and a dual-processor Time-sharing system which used BASIC. Other language compilers included Algol, Assembler and Fortran.

Happy days.

Stuart (ex HP, Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Updated Aug 8, 2012