The Decommissioning of the R1 Computer

This clip from the summer of 1971 comes from the archive of ktru tapes that indefatigable Woodson staffer Norie Guthrie has been digitizing. Listen all the way to the end. If you can identify the people talking (or if you yourself are one of the people talking), please let us know.

Many thanks to Norie, who frequently and very gently helps me transcend my limitations.

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9 Responses to The Decommissioning of the R1 Computer

  1. effegee says:

    I think the first speaker sounds like John Louis Doerr to me. In addition to his work with KTRU, Doerr was involved with the construction of the replacement R-2 processor.

    The date was May 24, 1971.

    Speaker 1 is reading from one of the serial-numbered, final 200 pages printed by the R-1 decommissioning program. The pages were printed in descending order from 200 to 1. Serial number 96 can be found here: .

    The program also flashed graphics using the myriad indicators in the racks visible behind the console in the picture and other unique R-1 components. When the printing was done, it flashed “I DIE” in the indicators and powered itself down by virtue of a newly-installed relay in the “Advance Motion Picture Film One Frame” instruction.

  2. Thanks for posting this great historical audio. I’m glad to hear that the old KTRU tapes are being converted to a safer and more accessible format. The tapes dodged the bullet in June 1976 because they happened to be shelved higher than the water rose. Unfortunately the paper files were not so lucky.

    (Let me know if someone gets around to the tape of my wedding 🙂 )

  3. Bart Sinclair says:

    Definitely not John Doerr.

  4. Richard Schafer says:

    Just a guess, but for some reason Sigsby Rusk’s name came to mind when I heard the second speaker.

    • cburrus says:

      Sigsby also came to my mind for the second speaker. One of the speakers could be the Chemistry Prof. John Killpatrick. Sidney Burrus

  5. Pingback: Homecoming 2019: The R1 Computer | Rice History Corner

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