Friday Follies: Mind Blown

I don’t know where this is, what they’re doing, or who those other guys are but I certainly do recognize Frank Ryan, ’58, ’65 in the middle, intently gazing down at some mind blowing obsolete technology:

Frank ryan with machine nd c70s045

Two questions:

What is that thing?

Did he go grey at an early age?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Friday Follies: Mind Blown

  1. Kathy says:

    It looks like what we used to use for doing online literature searches in the early ’70’s. The terminal had a built-in modem that you had to stick the phone in to make the connection with the remote site. I presume the same type of device was used for other sorts of communications.

  2. loki_the_bubba says:

    Looks like some model of the TI Silent 700 with an acoustic coupler. I used those early in my career. Ran at about 300 baud* over dial-up telephone lines. You would dial the number, wait for the machine at the other end to scream at you, then put the receiver in upside down into the rubber rings.

    (*your home internet is now about 25,000,000

    • Kathy says:

      I haven’t heard or seen the word “baud” in so long! It used to be a very important concept!

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Also, if you look there on the back you can see the clasp where the top can be attached, and the two feet that were on the base (two were on the top). Yep, this baby is portable!

  3. loki_the_bubba says:

    And, with the almost sepia tint look of this I could have sworn at first glance that the picture was from a Steve Martin movie.

  4. almadenmike says:

    This 1965 Sports Illustrated article said he had “prematurely gray hair” —

  5. almadenmike says:

    The fellow in the back is wearing what looks to be a “Dartmouth Football Staff” jacket … and #12 has an elongated “D” on his jersey’s shoulder … so I’d guess this photo was taken at Dartmouth. (In the early 1970s, a “D” replaced an Indian head graphic on the shoulders of their football uniforms.)

    The fellow in back could be Seaver Peters, Dartmouth’s athletic director from 1967-83. (He looks similar to Seaver, who’s second from the left in this photo: )

  6. effegee says:

    Wikipedia makes no mention of Ryan at Dartmouth. Ryan would have been in Washington DC and Yale University during the time that this technology was current.

    The terminal in the picture is almost surely a Texas Instruments Silent 700 Model 725. (see I used to lug one home in the early ’70s after I started working for ICSA. Darn thing weighed something like 38 pounds… we used to say it was portable because it had a handle on it. It’s successors, the models 735 and 745, were much easier to lug but still limited to 300 baud.

    • effegee says:

      Perhaps Ryan was a visiting fireman at Dartmouth while Director of IT at the capitol?

      • almadenmike says:

        Yes. If Ryan was at Dartmouth, it must have been some sort of visit.

        The photo looks somewhat staged — what with the jerseys being worn — so maybe it was taken for a local story about the visit. Unfortunately, the online archives of Darthmouth’s student newspaper go back only to the 1990s, and in a quick search, I couldn’t find past issues in their university archives either. Nothing useful came up when I searched their online photo archive … but many hits were mere file records, not the photos themselves.

        Perhaps Melissa could contact a counterpart in Hanover to see if this photo — or any of the people in it — look familiar to them.

    • effegee says:

      Adding another data point: Computer History Museum lists the introduction date of the Silent 700 series as April 1, 1971. ( The model 745 they picture was a few years later than the 725 in the picture above.

  7. Almost certainly at Dartmouth. Note the binder on the shelf with FIND on the cover?

    “Project FIND (Forecasting Institutional Needs at Dartmouth) was developed on the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System “to make information about the College readily available to department heads, faculty, administrators, and trustees.””

    Ah, yes, I remember the TI Silent 700. Pretty neat tech for that time. Very quiet compared to the Teletype Model 33 that we had at our house. It was so loud that we had to put the acoustic coupler in a different room with a pillow over it.

    Finally, that looks like an ashtray hiding behind the phone that the Silent 700 is using.

  8. nburch2 says:

    The Ryans have long had a home in Grafton, VT, and live there full time now, It’s only about 50 miles from Dartmouth.

  9. Lynn Elsenhans says:

    Young Doc C with head in his hands?

    Lynn L. Elsenhans


  10. Deborah Gronke Bennett BSEE Hanszen (co-Ed) 1982 says:

    I agree the photo looks staged. There is no line cord going into the back of the telephone.

  11. almadenmike says:

    Frank Ryan spoke at the “Man and the Computer” conference held at Dartmouth Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 1976. ( … and )

    The fellow on the right, now looks a lot like Dartmouth President (and co-inventor of the BASIC Computer language) John G. Kemeny (

Leave a Reply