An IBM Museum in Germany

Lately, I was lucky to visit an IBM museum in Böblingen (near Stuttgart), Germany. I write “an IBM museum”, but actually, it is “the IBM Museum” in Germany although (as far as I know) it is not an official IBM institution.

This museum is the successor of the former “Haus zur Geschichte der IBM Datenverarbeitung” (House of the History of IBM Data Processing) in Sindelfingen, Germany. It was located in an building that once was a punch card printing factory on 600 square meters. The building and its facilities was provided by IBM. The museum itself was (and is) run by the IBM Club, the official IBM institution  that “promotes and encourages group social activities among employees, retirees and their families”. The museum did not had normal opening times, but it was open by appointment for the public. The collection was very extensive both time period-wise (starting in the punch card era of the predecessing companies like Hollerith) and model-wise (up to quite current mainframe models). The “Haus zur Geschichte der Datenverarbeitung” was opened in 1994. It had to close in 2012 as IBM wanted to sell the building.

Fortunately, the IBM Club could store its collection at the site of the IBM R&D Lab in Böblingen. There, the collection got some space in a former computing center. Since 2016, the collection can be viewed there by invitation only (mainly for IBM customers) because for anything else there are simply no resources available (in the end, the collection curators have to take care about the computers). The first four pictures of this article are from this new site.

While we were there, we were allowed to take picture for our own personal use, but were asked not to publish them in the Internet. That’s really a pity because the exhibits in this collection (most of them in working order…) are really impressive.

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