When the IBM Data Processing Division introduced the company's 1800 data acquisition and control system on November 30, 1964, it described it as "a computer that can monitor an assembly line, control a steel-making process or analyze the precise status of a missile during test firing." Contributing to the system's versatility were a new disk storage cartridge (containing 512,000 words of information on a single magnetic disk) and pluggable packages of circuitry which enabled the 1800 to monitor hundreds of variables of a production process. The IBM 1800 gathered information at the rate of 8 million bits a second. It could be linked to the new IBM System/360 (which had been announced six months earlier) to increase its own computing power or to form a management information system in which production-line data was used to update inventory records, perform cost accounting or handle other general data processing jobs.
Typical 1800 systems designed for process control applications could be rented for $2,300 to $6,600 a month or purchased for between $95,000 and $274,000. When used in a data acquisition environment, the monthly rental ranged between $2,770 and $11,100, including magnetic tapes, and the purchase price varied between $125,000 and $534,000.
The 1800 and the associated IBM 2310 disk storage unit were manufactured at IBM's San Jose, Calif., plant, and first customer shipments were scheduled for the first quarter of 1966. (VV4022)