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WEIK, Martin H.

A Survey of Domestic Electronic Digital Computing Systems.

Ballistic Research Laboratories. Report No. 971. December 1955.

[Washington, D.C.]: United States Department of Commerce, Office of Technical Services, 1955 Stock Code: 137255
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An analysis of the earliest commercially available computers, rare in wrappers

First public issue of Weik's first survey, an invaluably thorough description of eighty-eight of the earliest commercially available computers (including the SEAC, DYSEAC, ENIAC, Ferranti Mark I and II, and Whirlwind I models). This is the second printing, with the added title leaf bearing the OTS imprint; the first issue, privately circulated as Report No. 971 for the Ballistic Research Laboratories (BRL), does not include this. It is rarely found in its original wrappers: the Origins of Cyberspace copy is rebound in modern cloth (sold Christie's 2014), the Tomash copy lacks wrappers, and those three copies that have previously appeared at auction have either lacked wrappers, been rebound, or remained disbound (Sotheby's 2018, Bonhams 2014, and Bloomsbury 1999).

Weik's report comprises an analysis of the computer field and its trends, plus a bibliography and 26-page glossary of computer engineering and programming terminology, which borrows heavily from Grace Murray Hopper's "First Glossary of Programming Terminology" (June 1954). Origins of Cyberspace notes that "in addition to this information, which may be impossible to find anywhere else, Weik provides excellent photographic illustrations of many machines". This is the first of four surveys thus: the second, third, and fourth were published in 1957, 1961, and 1964 respectively, and examine an increasing number of computers.

Weik (1922-2007) was an American computer, telecommunications, and fibre optic lexicologist whose work aimed to establish English as the primary language in computer age technologies. While a member of the Computing Laboratory at the BRL he designed digital computer logic circuitry and evaluated government and commercial computing systems. He authored many technical reports and bulletins, each accompanied by a glossary of computer terminology as the language continued to expand.

Confused? Read our glossary


Large octavo. Original printed wrappers, stapled.


Numerous black-and-white photographic illustrations.


A few instances of previous ownership: deaccessioning stamp from RGO Library, dated 3/9/97, to front cover, small, unobtrusive stamps of H. M. Nautical Almanac Office, Herstmonceaux Castle, Sussex, to first and last leaves, numerical code (perhaps a shelfmark) to top right corners of front cover and title page. A pleasing copy in fresh condition, rarely found with its original wrappers intact, those slightly browned and creased in places, rear wrapper discreetly reattached at gutter.


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