Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#141) Looking for Librascope L107MA Disc Memory information

The other day I received the following request (edited) from Josh Dersch, who restores old computers as a hobby and as a full time job at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle (click here). This museum was co-founded by Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and co-founder of Microsoft.
PS: If you are reading this post in an e-mail, you can leave a comment beneath this post (#141) on the blog's website (click here).

Hello --
I recently picked up an L107MA Disc Memory unit, and I was curious if you had any technical information about it, or know anyone who might - the Librascope Memories site has brochures covering the basics, but I'd like to be able to spin it up and interface it to something, so I need something with a bit more substance to it :).

I picked up the L107MA off of eBay last week from a seller in Santa Cruz, CA. It was reasonably priced for something this cool, under $200. (The seller now has a second unit listed for $225 -- item 331955558119).

I restore old computers as a hobby, and as a full-time job at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. I have a decent collection of DEC and Data General hardware from the '60s and '70s. I'm hoping to interface the L107MA to one of my vintage machines (but I'll probably start with a modern micro-controller to get a feel for how it works).

I have attached a photo of the unit I have. It's missing the cover, but is otherwise in excellent condition, and was shipped to me in what appears to be the original box/packing materials.

If no specs or manuals are available, what would be excellent to have would be what the interface to the drive looked like (recalling the pinouts from memory seems unlikely, but knowing if the interface is serial or parallel, how blocks were selected, etc. would be useful).

Thanks very much for the help, and the wonderful website! Feel free to post my question on the blog; hopefully, someone out there has some information.
- Josh

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#140) This is your invitation to the 2016 Librascope Reunion

To: All Libravets and Associates,
It’s that time again! Georgine has just finished making the necessary arrangements (and commitments) for the 2016 Librascope Reunion in Glendale, CA. She has signed the contract, made a cash deposit, and negotiated a great deal for us this year. A minimum number of 50 attendees has been guaranteed, and a room with a capacity of 80 was reserved. In addition, a terrific buffet luncheon has been arranged. All this for 38% less than two years ago!

Now, we must respond to Georgine ASAP, so she can give the restaurant a better estimate of the attending headcount. All the payment and reservation details are given below. Note, for your convenience, Georgine will accept preliminary reservations.
See you there,

     You are invited to a Librascope Employee Reunion

A time to greet and enjoy your Librascope friends and colleagues.

View Librascope memorabilia and share unique retirement hobbies**

Saturday, November 5, 2016
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Acapulco Mexican Restaurant
722 N Pacific Ave, Glendale CA 91203
(818) 246-8175‎

Directions: (click here)

Grande Fajita Buffet Luncheon - $26.00 per person

Coffee and No Host Bar at 11:00 a.m.; Lunch at 12:45 p.m.

Please RSVP to Georgine Archer by October 28, 2016:

By E-mail: By phone:  (818) 848-5664

With confirmation by check payable to and sent to:

Georgine Archer
509 East Andover Drive
Burbank, CA  91504

No refunds after October 28, 2016.


Please help us spread the word to all former Librascope employees and their guests. 

Former associates of Librascope are, of course, welcome too.

Enjoy almost 300 scanned Librazettes from 1940 to 1999, and many other Librascope documents at 

**To share your unique or interesting hobby at the reunion, please contact Georgine Archer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#139) The Making of an LGP-30 Emulator Kit

Thanks to Libravet Tony Cappellini who provided the following news story:

While attending the Vintage Computer Festival - West (sponsored by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA), Tony met Oscar Vermuelen from Switzerland. Oscar has a couple websites dedicated to vintage computers, including a couple emulation kits he designed and now offers for sale. One emulator kit is for the Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) PDP-8.

Recently, Oscar undertook the task of emulating the Librascope LGP-30. Currently, he is putting together a kit for a small replica which will run on the tiny but affordable Raspberry Pi hobby computer.

Here are two of Oscar’s blog posts describing his LGP-30 progress so far this year:

February 21, 2016 Blog Post "Making a LGP-30" (click here)

June 3, 2016 Blog Post "Using the SIMH LGP-30 emulator" (click here)

To further his understanding, Oscar would like to exchange information with anyone from Librascope or anyone else that is familiar with the LGP-30. He can easily be reached using the Contact section on either of his two websites:. If you are reading this post in an e-mail, you may also leave a comment beneath this post on the blog's website (click here).

"Obsolescence Guaranteed" Blog Home Page (click here)
"Vintage Computers" Home Page (click here)

Friday, June 24, 2016

#138) 1950's Machine Shop Tooling Acquired On e-Bay

We continue to get interesting inquires from people who never worked at Librascope. The following email, from a Matthew Helton, is the most recent. My email response to Matt follows his.

Last week, I won an auction for some old machine tooling (KDK Quick Change Toolposts) on eBay. When I received the package today, I noticed the Librascope name was engraved on the quickchange body and one of the tool holders... so I ran a Google search on the name, idly wondering what would come up. I was quite surprised to find out what the name meant.

So, I have a couple of questions to ask, if I might: Just how large was Librascope's machine shop? The tooling I received were fairly old (The KDK nameplate refers to "Lorain 7 2197" in Southgate instead of Area Code 213...which puts the tool holder's vintage somewhere in the 1951-1957 timeframe). Old as these tools are, they do appear to be well cared for and the quickchange body is still tight, some 60 years after it was built. I bought the tools as part of a lot from an outfit in Hesperia, California.

Attached is a photo of the tooling.

Hi Matthew,
Thanks for writing. I started at Librascope in 1958, and the Company was growing rapidly. At that time the machine shop was a very important part of the Company, since it was still producing high-precision electro-mechanical products. That being said, during the 1950’s period, I would guess there were easily 100 workers in the machine shop. Total employment was probably about 10x that number.

Hope that helps,

PS I’ll post this on our Librascope Memories - News Blog, and we’ll see if anyone can tell you more about your interesting find.

Friday, June 3, 2016

#137) Don Tubbs' and His Team’s Plan to Go 300+ MPH.

Since their Librascope retirement, Don Tubbs, Ed Niekamp, and Dan Sibley have been very busy preparing to help a famous race car owner’s family set new land speed records. Don, the project's Technical Director, recently sent me the following e-mail with an attached industry newsletter describing their project activities and goals.

Hi Carl. 
Well we finally took our Bonneville Salt Flats "Smoke-n-Mirrors" streamliner for its first ever test runs. Ed Niekamp, Dan Sibley, and myself have spent many hours of hard work to get it ready for this year's racing season. Ed is the electrical/electronic engineer on the project, and Dan helps Ed and I with the computer areas. 

Below is a link to an interesting newsletter article about the recent success of our efforts at the El Mirage dry lake bed, where the Southern California Timing Association  (SCTA) has a race track. My old friend, Kent Fuller, designed this race car a few years ago, and now his grandson, Gregory Fuller, is the driver.

The other day we had a meeting to discuss all the work required in order for us to be ready for "Speed Week" at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This will certainly keep us retired Librascope engineers happy and plenty busy.

Project Technical Director

PS Please click here to view the Rodder's Journal newsletter article titled "Smoke-n-Mirrors" Hits the Lakes. Below are photos from this article. Note, Don is driving the "push truck".

Monday, May 30, 2016

#136) All Librascope Memories' Videos are now on YouTube.

Recent technological updates to all the major Internet browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, et al), have necessitated moving the remaining Apple iWeb videos on our Librascope Memories' website (click here) to YouTube. Note, Videos #5 through #9 were already on YouTube, but effective May 30, 2016 Videos #1 through #4 are there too.

This change will be an improvement, because it should result in an improved viewing experience, and it will no longer be necessary to modify our website's video formats whenever the industry makes improvements to their browsers in the future.

I should also mention that Videos #1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 are UNLISTED on YouTube, so these videos will not show up on a YouTube web search. Videos #5 and 9, however, are “public”.

Finally, if you notice an advertisement pop up while viewing a video, you can usually delete it by clicking on an “X” in the corner of the ad. Please let me know if you encounter any problems.

PS The correct URL (Address) for Librascope Memories is now Do NOT use a "www", or you will go to an obsolete Librascope Memories website. I will try to fix this in the future. In the meantime, please correct your bookmarks.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

#135) Help Wanted - Torpedo Weapons Program Manager in Keyport, WA.

Thanks to Joe Reuter for Emailing us an excellent job opening opportunity for a Program Manager with NAVSEA (NUWC) in Keyport, Washington. The salary range is $90K to $160K/yr.

The job requires "... technical and programmatic knowledge of Undersea Weapons Programs, including the MK46 and MK54 Lightweight Torpedo, MK48 Heavyweight Torpedo, associated Fire Control Systems, and platform integration."

Deadline for applying is next Friday, May 27, 2016. Complete job details may be found at:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#134) Librascope Commemorative Coin Found

You might think we've published all the interesting Librascope memories available, but occasionally something new shows up. For example ...

Last week we received an Email from a fellow who had been going through his father's possessions recently and came across a General Precision/Librascope collector's coin commemorating the Company's early "desk sized" general purpose computers. He later provided photographs of the coin, and added that he was unaware of how his father, who never worked at Librascope, acquired it.

According to Wikipedia, Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871) is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer. Elsewhere, Wikipedia states that "the Librascope LGP-30 may well be considered the first personal computer". Thus, Charles Babbage was certainly an honorable selection for the Librascope commemoration coin.

The 740 lb. "desk sized" LGP-30, with 113 vacuum tubes and a drum memory, was introduced in 1956 for $47,000. Then in 1963 the less expensive fully transistorized LGP-21 was released. The RPC-4000 was a more powerful transistorized successor to the LGP-30. Note, the LGP-30 would cost nearly half-a-million dollars in today's dollars!

Two short LGP-30 videos (#5 and #9) may be viewed on the Librascope Memories website by clicking here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

#133) Twenty-five (25) attend recent "Has Beens" luncheon.

After nearly a year hiatus, twenty-five (25) Libravet Has-Beens and a few spouses gathered February 9th for lunch at the Hill Street Cafe in Burbank. As always, it was a great opportunity for Libravets to discuss old-times, current events, and personal stories. Off-line, Georgine mentioned that the next Librascope Reunion is in the "preliminary" planning phase for sometime in early November, 2016. Stay tuned.

Those attending the luncheon were: Georgine Archer, Roy Bartlome, Don Barton, Ken Burton, Charlie Buterbaugh and guest, Emery Fekety, Harvey Geminder, Chuck Gooley, Ray and Sharon Hand, Pat Ha'o, Jim Jaeger, Steve Lebit, Gus Montes, Ed Niekamp, AJ Pankratz, Steve Shepard, Dan Sibley, Ralph Simon, Carl and Gloria Sorensen, Bill Tilden, Don Tubbs, and Earl Valdez.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#132) Next "Has Beens" Luncheon - Tuesday February 9th

The following is an invitation to all Libravets and their guests from Ralph Simon:

Mark your calendar! I have arranged for our next Has Beens' luncheon to be held on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at the Hill Street Cafe located in Burbank. 

Please join us at 11:45 AM to share old war stories and current ailments at our usual spot in the back of the restaurant. I have made arrangements for a special menu with a set price of $16 per person including a soft beverage and tip. 


PLEASE RSVP to by Sunday, February 7th. Ralph will need a total head count for the restaurant by that date.

Hill Street Cafe in Burbank.
3301 N. Glenoaks  Blvd.

PS: Previous Has Been Luncheons are described in Posts #121, 120, 94, 91, 78, 51, 50, 28, and 25.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

#131) For Sale: Librascope MK 37 Mod 3 Night Vision Sight

A US Navy MK 37 Mod 3 "Night Vision Sight" manufactured by Singer Librascope was just posted on the Dallas Ft Worth Craig's List for $2,500. The seller says he discovered the Night Vision Sight in his uncle's house after he passed away. The unit (Serial No. 4882 A) is said to be in excellent condition. There are 15 photos of the unit on the website (click here).