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1958 IBM 705 – Army Core of Engineers Supply Inventory, mainframe computers Educational

June 30, 2019



the following video is presented by the computer history archives project the newest most elaborate equipment used by the Corps of Engineers is the giant electronic brain this is the big picture an official television report of the United States Army produced for the Armed Forces and the American people now to show you part of the big picture here is Master Sergeant Stuart Quaid in today's big picture we'd like to introduce you to the men and women whose job it is to provide combat engineers in the field with the equipment they need when they need it without this footbridge these troops would have been stopped without this floating bridge a lifeline of vital heavy equipment would have been halted a road carved out of a mountainside and an airstrip constructed almost overnight in a far corner of the world all built in combat by your army engineers here and there is a temporary sign but there are thousands of projects which are unmarked the services of those who carry out the desperate work of construction during the heat of combat or doing days and nights of extreme urgency where the job must be finished regardless of danger or difficulty or fatigue or hunger this story cannot be told often enough nor can it omit the important role of those who provide the equipment and keep it in running order for the moment when it is needed in America's defense not only men but equipment the right equipment must be ready in times of peace your engineers must be instantly prepared to give aid when disaster strikes when nature goes out of control meeting the emergency and seeming perfectly designed for its location a new bridge replaces the one washed out by floodwaters whenever and wherever the nation suffers large-scale destruction the engineers are on the scene but how does it happen that in addition to the men the right equipment is on hand obviously a vast well-planned system of supply is required to bring forth the right materials not only for emergencies that may occur in peacetime but for the major need of national defense phases of the supply mission such as recording and cataloging all these items and seeing to it that they are properly shipped when called for these alone are giant paths for the seemingly superhuman job of inventory control this country has developed literally superhuman electronic data processing equipment this equipment has become essential for our modern army electrical machines recording depo inventories keeping stock Records recording repair parts levels these process huge amounts of data at a very high speed they save time and effort and they help tremendously in speeding the delivery of engineer items to the users in the United States and overseas the system of linked business machines which among other things does away with old-fashioned file cabinets filled with bulky and various sized forms has greatly increased efficiency staffs can be smaller but must be more highly trained they are needed to process and interpret the supply data the machines turn out all information is translated into machine codes on small compact easy to store punched cards when special information is needed a sorting machine will find it thus eliminating the time and labor of rummaging through large and bulky file cabinets the newest most elaborate equipment used by the Corps of Engineers is the giant electronic brain the brains memory is on reels of magnetic tape which carry the facts and figures of supply as many as 40,000 characters of information are available at any one time the brain is 100% logical and instantly reports mistakes to the operator besides analyzing data the machine is able to predict future trends and supply requirements used for inventory control the electronic brain is a time and money saver a product of American ingenuity it is of tremendous value to national defense here in the depot's are the facts and figures in physical form that the brain handles and digests with such remarkable ease masses of construction equipment as far as the eye can see and all of it each item is well known and recorded in the extensive data system of engineer supply by number location and condition trucks cranes trailers ditchers all of it identified and in order stacked bridge parts piled high for all types of bridges Bailey's and Pontins fixed and floating when the demand arises the proper bridge can be shipped in a minimum of time where it is needed the key to the maintenance and overhaul of engineer equipment is in the large number of different repair parts required inventory control of repair parts is a complex and difficult operation electronic machines greatly facilitate the work of procurement storage and issue of repair parts a request comes in in the form of a punched card the holes carry all the information requesting agency date the part required method of shipment and saw this card and others are fed into the machine and the electronic brain will locate the nearest Depot storing the part issue a warehouse order and report the number of spares in stock no one need refer to the files no pages need be studied no telephone calls need be ma in a matter of minutes an order goes out to the deaf Oh nearest to the agency making the request here in an area stalking great quantities of engineer supplies a highly organized system allows the orders to be filled with remarkable speed and efficiency the corps of engineers uses the best methods employed by modern industry and takes pride in moving with the times every effort is made to save unnecessary steps and movements this ingenious device called a tow bear makes a round trip throughout the plant every 51 minutes thus providing a long-distance chain belt for carrying small items from one section of the warehouse to another aisle after aisle is lined with bins in this step all there are thousands of individual bins each one storing a different repair part and in few of these bins is there time for dust together for almost all of them contain fast turnover items also every phase of the operation has been scientifically worked out from the standpoint of the individual worker to avoid strain and to prevent injury in the bins items are stored according to weight and size commonly drawn items are at elbow height while the light items are frequently stored at the very top the items selected are now headed for the shipping department there is no pause in filling the order from the time it is received of the many problems of storage one is the damage to equipment caused by moisture within packing cases a humidity sensing device is being used here to indicate the moisture within the box most of the problems of moving and storing large boxes are solved by the amazing little forklift trucks these are an integral part of any large warehouse operation part of the training includes running their own Depot participating in all the basic supply activities that are commonly found in the full-scale operation working with an assortment of supplies they become familiar with the practical problems of stock issue and control since complicated electronic equipment has become part and parcel of the engineer supply system and is to be used overseas experience with its operation is part of the on-the-job training program men have been selected on the basis of aptitude for this advanced instruction many career opportunities are present in this field national defense is expensive so we are constantly seeking ways of making it less costly let us turn now from equipment and supplies to a man whose job is saving the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars every year one of the core whatever the secret weapons a nation might have none can perform without the support of construction power America can be proud of its ability to manufacture and ship the equipment supplies and repair parts needed to assure the construction power when called for by military units and for numberless purposes including aid to our allies in the mutual assistance program the work goes on a joint effort by a civilian military team to develop the best techniques for supplying the finest equipment available to those who must use it and maintain it in the face of toughest difficulties and dangers your combat engineers whenever America can use their services United States Army engineers are standing by ready when needed the big picture is an official television report for the Armed Forces and the American people produced by the army pictorial Center presented by the United States Army in cooperation with this station

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