Computer Histories Page X

IBM Datamaster

After many years of working for a major insurance company, my father joined a smaller, independent insurance office in Pittsburgh. When the agency decided in 1981 to invest in technology, a young assistant was hired to get some initial training and set up the files on the IBM System/23 Datamaster. After six months, however, she moved on and the machine was left to gather a bit of dust. My father, who has always been mechanically very adept, was mesmerized by the concept of maintaining electronic files, and began to explore its software capabilities. He soon was able to manage his own clients with the computer, though his enthusiasm for the powerful new tool was not shared by the other, more technology-averse staff members.

When the agency decided to close its doors several years later, the owner granted my father's request to take the Datamaster home. After more than 30 years, my parents have moved, with the concurrent need to downsize. My dad always thought that the System 23 would be worth saving and agreed to donate it to the Rhode Island Computer Museum.

On a dark and stormy night in 2015, after a long and crooked drive to North Kingstown, RI, from Washington, DC, I delivered the goods to Dan Berman, curator extraordinaire. Our family knows that the Datamaster is in the best of hands with the Rhode Island Computer Museum, and we are honored to have added to its collection of computer history.

Lisa Macey