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IBM 1401

The IBM 1401 was a variable "word" length decimal (BCD) computer that was introduced by IBM in 1959 and marketed as an inexpensive "Business Computer".

The IBM 1401 was also commonly used as an off-line peripheral controller in many installations of both large "Scientific Computer"s and large "Business Computer"s. In these installations the big computer (e.g., an IBM 7090) did all of its input-output on magnetic tapes and the 1401 was used to format input data from other peripherials (e.g., punch card readers) on the tapes and transfer output data from the tapes to other peripherals (e.g., punch card punches or lineprinters).

At peak, there were over 10,000 installed systems running in the mid-1960s. The IBM 1401 was withdrawn in February 1971. During its lifetime about 20,000 total systems were manufactured, making the IBM 1401 one of IBM's most successful products.

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