A rare opportunity to see early Open University computers

There’s going to be a new display on early technology to mark the 50th anniversary of The Open University (OU) at The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park.

Here’s a link to a launch talk on the display which will feature six early OU machines like the Logic Tutor, MICRO 1, HEKTOR, OPUS and DESMOND.

Here’s an image of the Logic Tutor taken from the link:

Some information on the talk from the link:

Launch talk at 2 pm on Friday, 27 September 2019
Twenty years of teaching computing and microelectronics at the Open University

John Naughton
Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology, Open University, and journalist at The Observer
Tickets (free as part of museum entry)


Excellent. I’ve long wanted to see a HEKTOR but as they were shipped to (distance-learning) students and then collected back, there are not many in the wild.

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Oh, I went to (a re-run of) this talk at TNMoC - and have some photos to share.

Here’s a quick overview of some OU hardware loaned to students for their distance learning:

And here are some more photos including a lot of snaps of slides from the talk - good enough to follow along to, I hope.



My late uncle took a course that required a Hektor II. It mystified him. My cousins and I discovered how to make it emit very annoying beeps, which we of course did for as long as possible.

Since these machines were only loaners, and there was a very strict edict against keeping them, I wonder how these units stayed in circulation?

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