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Making History

Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill talk about the running of the first program.

Geoff Tootill: So, I've got the record of your programme here, Tom. This, er, is the original, er, notebook. And there it is in, er, Binary digits.

Tom Kilburn: Yes. We were still using the old notation there.

Geoff Tootill: Indeed.

Tom Kilburn: With, er, “C” for control and...

Geoff Tootill: Oh yes. And a curly “CL”... A curly “CL” for control and “C” for computer.

Tom Kilburn: That’s right. That’s right. Yes.

Geoff Tootill: Ie, the, er, arithmetic unit, as we’d call it today.

Tom Kilburn: Yes.

Geoff Tootill: Erm, and we’d, er, we hadn’t progressed as far as using teleprinter code instead of, er, noughts and ones.

Tom Kilburn: No. That’s right. So that we were reading, erm, you would read out...

Geoff Tootill: Nought, one, one, one.

Tom Kilburn: One. That’s right. Nought, one...

Geoff Tootill: And you would press the buttons.

Tom Kilburn: And I would... Yes, that’s right.

Geoff Tootill: (laughs)

Tom Kilburn: But I'm not as steel forth as I used to be then. (laughs)

Geoff Tootill: Yeah. There was no question of pressing chords like a Pianist would, we’d press the buttons one by one.

Tom Kilburn: One by one, yes. And these switches...

Geoff Tootill: Oh yes.

Tom Kilburn: To get the line in the right place.

Geoff Tootill: That’s right. We had to select the line we were going to type the stuff into...

Tom Kilburn: That’s right.

Geoff Tootill: Before we started pressing the buttons.

Tom Kilburn: And then when we’d got the programme all in there, we then cleared control, didn’t we?

Geoff Tootill: That’s right.

Tom Kilburn: And then cleared accumulator.

Geoff Tootill: Yes.

Tom Kilburn: Erm, and there it was. And then...

Geoff Tootill: Erm...

Tom Kilburn: ... we pressed some buttons...

Geoff Tootill: We...

Tom Kilburn: ... on the stop.

Geoff Tootill: Oh yes. We’d got a “Stop” and a “Run” switch.

Tom Kilburn: That’s right.

Geoff Tootill: This was the, er, switch for individual, erm...

Tom Kilburn: That’s right.

Geoff Tootill: ... impulses.

Tom Kilburn: That’s right.

Geoff Tootill: Pre-pulses. And this switched on continuously.

Tom Kilburn: Yes.

(End of transcript)