How did I get my first IBM
End 1981 my nephew was visiting my family with his new girlfriend. In
our (small) family we have the tradition to introduce your
girlfriend when the relation becomes serious. During this visit my nephew
mentioned my computer interest and
his girlfriend brought to my attention
that the company where she works for has an old IBM system for sale.
would send me the details
It was a IBM System/3 model 10. I had no idea what a S/3 was, but I was very
the two 5 Mbyte drives
attached to it.
In 1981 10 Mbytes was alot of storage !
I called the guy who was
responsible for selling of this old system and asked him if I could buy only the
The answer was: “Everything or nothing
”. So I bought everything.
I rented a Ford Transit van with extended wheel base but without a hydraulic
lift(!) and with a friend I drove 70 miles to pick
Arrived, I saw for the first time what I had bought. It was much
bigger and much heavier then I ever had anticipated.
The company had a
hydraulic lift truck which we used it to load the printer, disk drives into
Then my friend and I started to realize how the hell do we get it
all out the van again back home ?
Everything was on the edge what two persons
can lift except the CPU which was much too heavy.
We decided to put the CPU
on its back (Front panel facing upwards) and the bottom side facing the back
doors of the van.
The idea was to move/turn the CPU out of the van straight
on its wheels.
After loading the CPU, we where unable to close the van
doors, the wheels where sticking out a few inches.
So we had to remove the
wheels from the CPU bottom to close the van doors. Once back at home the offload
of the van
everything went exactly as planned.
I started to study this machine
and I realized that scrapping this machine for the disk drives would be a real
During the early 80's I was very lucky in finding spare
parts, additional features and docs for this system. A lot of companies
obsolete S/3 which where replaced by IBM S/32, 34, 36 or 38's.
In several cases I
was able to removed systems free of charge. At the end of the 80's this golden
S/3 collectors period was over.
Everything was gone, but my IBM System/3
collection was by then nearly
is a 33 seconds movie of this System/3 printing
the last few assembler listing lines.