JF Ptak Science Books
Alt, Franz. A Bell Telephone Laboratories Computing Machine--I+II. Washington DC: National Research Council, 1948. 1st edition. Mathematical Tables and other Aids to Computation, III/21 Original printed wrappers. Very good condition. $750.00
We offer the two issues of MTAC, with the complete article by Dr. Alt occupying pp 1-13 and 69-84. SCARCE.
"Between 1937 and 1946 engineers and scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories built a number of digital relay computers, among the first working programmable machines anywhere. Their experience with the technology of switching-that second aspect of telephony-was the basis for Bell's entry into digital computing. But the first aspect-the transmission of analog voice signals-played a role too, as we shall see. The invention of the computer at Bell Laboratories, like its invention elsewhere, resulted from a convergence of technical skill, social need, and talent. Those preconditions were there by the mid-1930's. It remained for one of Bell's employees, Dr. George Stibitz, to serve as the catalyst to bring them together." Reckoners, Bell Labs, page 0074
On Franz Alt:
Dr. Franz L. Alt (born 1910 in Vienna, Austria and who lived to be 101 years old) was an Austrian born American mathematician who made major contributions to computer science in its early days. Franz Alt grew up in Austria and received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Vienna in 1932, researching set-theoretic topology and logical foundations of geometry. He left Austria for the United States after the 1938 Anschluss. An avid skier, he served in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division during World War II reaching the rank of Second Lieutenant. After the war, he worked on the ENIAC and other Army computing projects; later he worked in the Computing Laboratory of the National Bureau of Standards, and eventually at the American Institute of Physics. He is best known as one of the founders of the Association for Computing Machinery, having served as its president from 1950 to 1952; he also wrote one of the first books on digital computers, Electronic Digital Computers (Academic Press, 1958).