Back to the Future!

March 2015

Murray Link and Room 301

Curated by: Stevie Horn and Laurie Wing

Our most recent exhibition features an array of items that once represented the future of audiovisual, computer, and educational technologies. Some of these obsolete items will be familiar to most viewers, while others may be entirely foreign. The University Archives and Special Collections would like to invite you to come test your knowledge of the futuristic technologies of times past. Learn about the first computers on campus and experience the excitement of the early days of computing in Room 301 of the Murray Library. On the ground floor, see the evolution of the lecture slide and take a walk down memory lane with an assortment of audiovisual media spanning decades

Fun Facts:

  •  The University's first computer, an LGP-30, was purchased in October 1957, making the U of S one of the first universities in Canada to obtain a computer.
  •  In 1965, an IBM 7040 computer was obtained for the University. It had 32 kb of storage capacity--approximately 5,000,000 less than a standard personal computer today.
  •  Emulsion covered glass slides used widely in lectures in the period prior to 1950 had a propensity to melt if the speaker was particularly longwinded.
  •  The 1.44 MB floppy disk reigned supreme as a a high density storage device for nearly a decade. Compare this to the much smaller thumb drive of today, which can hold approximately 11,380 times more data.
  • The first reel to reel magnetic tapes were invented in the 1920's and used steel tape.
  •  Throughout the seventies and eighties, a “format war” raged over what would become the predominant model of consumer-level analog video cassett: VHS or Betamax? Very much like the HD-DVD vs. Blueray war of the past decade.
  •  This wide array of media is available at the University Archives and Special Collections, and more besides!

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