RCA/Weisbecker "System 00" and "FRED"

This Web page last updated Nov 25 2019. Copyright Herb Johnson (C) 2019.


This Web page began in mid-2016, as a response to some June-July 2016 discussion in Yahoo (now groups.io) discussion group "cosmacelf", about RCA COSMAC computer prototypes called variously "FRED" or "System 00". This Web page was my effort to establish facts and reference documents and other resources, to clarify the details and history about that system based on my access to it and documents about it. Thanks to Dave Ruske and Paul Robson among others, for obtaining documents, analysis, leading discussion and for additional information.

The System 00 is on exhibit at the Sarnoff Collection, part of artifacts once possessed by the former RCA Library, then David Sarnoff Library, before that collection was disbursed. The artifacts became in part the Sarnoff Collection, and documents became part of the Hagley's RCA collections. Some items referenced here are privately owned. Other Web pages on my site provide further history and details. Citations, links and reference to permissions are provided - contact appropriate owners for further use or information.

By 2018, there's been further work upon documents and artifacts at the Sarnoff and at the Hagley. Additional persons outside those institutions, requested those documents and examined some of those artifacts. That activity generated additional information and made available documents, recordings of software, and access-to physical artifacts. Some artifacts have been on public display. Consequently, there's more information available, about early RCA COSMAC development systems; and so more information to "cover" on this Web page, and on other Web pages on my Web site as linked here; and of course on other Web sites.

A general comment: Some would assume, there was some kind of master development plan to develop and design "COSMAC" computers as consumer products or engineering development tools; and so "FRED"s and named-model COSMACs were developed in coordination. And thus, they all fall into some kind of sequence. In my view, that's not what happened. It's hard to describe semi-coordinated activity, about various divisions of a large company, with small groups making various prototypes in a somewhat-secret fashion; and then, producing multiple products by model, with overlapping designs, software and features. The introduction of microprocessors during the development period is also confusing. But that's how it happened. Since I'm describing something incoherent - it makes my descriptions sound incoherent! Meanwhile, simple descriptions which assume a sequence and planning, therefore read clearly, and so "sound" as if they are "correct" accounts. - Herb Johnson

Quick summary of FRED and System 00

One section of this Web page, describes an early FRED-like development artifact, called "System 00". Documents on one "FRED" prototype, are described in another section. Yet another section, references information on early microprocessor-based COSMAC development systems made in production by RCA divisions. System 00 and FRED, consist of several boards of logic small ICs. Later COSMAC microprocessor products from RCA, contain single-chips or "LSI chips". Those LSI chips each contain much of the logic, programming, and I/O features, such as the CPU or video, which were prototyped and programmed in these earlier systems as many small logic-chips (like RCA's COSMOS 4000-series logic ICs; or TTL 7400-series ICs).

What is a FRED?" In my opinion, "FRED" is a convenient term, used by Joe Weisbecker and others at RCA in the early 1970's, to describe the concepts of a computer as a personal and educational and amusement device. Namely, "Flexible Recreational and Educational Device". But "FRED" was also used, to describe specfic hand-constructed computers (prototypes and development systems) in documents and publications. The "evidence" about FRED, is in publications and internal-company manuals by Weisbecker and his RCA associates in the 1970's, company internal documentation of prototypes, and numerous accounts later including from Weisbecker colleague Toni Robbi and Joe's daughter and digital engineer Joyce Weisbecker. But there was no "production" of some computer model with a "FRED" on its nameplate. There's notes on this Web page, which discuss the identification of documents and artifacts as "FRED", and opinions vary among those working with these documents and artifacts.

A computing artifact called "System 00", once held at and displayed at the RCA/David Sarnoff Library, and currently by the Sarnoff Collection, consists of several boards of small-scale digital TTL logic chips. It was constructed by Joseph Weisbecker and possibly by several colleagues, around 1971-72. RCA did not have microprocessors at that time, so it contains no microprocessors. However the general architecture of it became the general architecture of RCA's COSMAC 1801 chip set, and later the single-chip COSMAC 1802. System 00 has been on display at the Sarnoff Collection facility since its opening, as described below. The Sarnoff Collection has exhibited other computers from RCA or specifically from Joe Weisbecker's estate. They correspond to documents which describe "FRED" or "FRED 2" - technical manuals, reports internal to RCA, or articles in technical journals, etc.

Here's a Web link to Dave Ruske's Web page that offers System 00 photos. Dave tells me to say: "photograph[s] by Z. Stachniak, courtesy of the David Sarnoff Library." See the linked Web page for details.

Dave Ruske said in July 12 2016 in a cosmacelf post: "The provenance for System 00 and its manual is pretty solid. ...I've seen the cover of the System 00 manual. The drawing on the cover appears to be a good fit for the "Personal Computer Model 00" in the Sarnoff Collection, it is called System 00 on the cover page, and it also says "By Joseph A. Weisbecker." If Weisbecker called it that, well, then that's what it's called. [And] Zbigniew Stachniak did some research on this system while working on his MCM/70 book, and, as shown in the book, he concludes that artifact is indeed System 00." Zbigniew obtained the manual at the time, from the David Sarnoff Library. The documents from that Library, were obtained by the Hagley Museum.

By the end of July 2016, Dave obtained a copy of the "System 00" manual from the Hagley. On the cosmacelf.com Web site, is a Web page of various early publications about the COSMAC. One of them is the PDF of the System 00 manual obtained from the Hagley Museum.

"FRED" prototypes as artifacts and documents are briefly described on this Web page, with links to further details and progress. In 2017-2018, more documents and artifacts from RCA have become available and have been used to recreate programs and emulated COSMAC "FRED"-class systems to run those programs. Here's another link to some details. As this is work-in-progress, this Web page will be updated with results. Consequently this Web page will become fragmented at times, until it's edited to be more cohesive. - Herb Johnson

Exhibits and public/Web discussions of RCA computers

Exhibits of the Sarnoff Collection

* System 00


The Sarnoff Collection Web site represents "Personal Computer Model 00" on its online database, described as "Joseph Weisbecker...1972". There are images of its four sides. Thanks to Dave Ruske of cosmacelf.com for identifying the database entry.

Here's my personal photos from the April 2014 opening of the Sarnoff Collection exhibit space, including System 00 and COSMAC artifacts.

Here's a photo of the computing portion of the Sarnoff Collection exhibit space. The Sarnoff Collection Web page doesn't have many photos of its exhibit space. But here's an excerpt of one such photo, which includes the orange backdrop of this exhibit. I discuss the exhibit and that photo, elsewhere on this Web page. under "Sarnoff Collection, Hagley Library".

[sarnoff] Here's close-ups of the "System 00", and of the VIP and Studio II. I'd need permission to quote completely the plaque in front of the System 00, I may do so at another time.

[System 00]

In Nov 2018, I had the opportunity to inspect the interior of the System 00. Here's my photos and interpretations of the internal construction of System 00. I conclude the System 00 was constructed of small TTL logic IC's; not CMOS logic, and without microprocessors.

* (likely) FRED 2

In late October 2017, the Sarnoff Collection exhibited a prototype COSMAC computer, as part of Joseph Weisbecker's collection of games he produced or "pitched" to gaming companies. In Aug-Sept 2017, I had the opportunity to examine that computer. I believe it's a "FRED 2" model. It certainly contains a 2-chip COSMAC CPU board. See my Web page on the computer, which has Web links to the exhibit's Web page.

* Other COSMAC computers, paper-based games from the Sarnoff

In May 2018, the Sarnoff Collection exhibited System 00, the "FRED 2" system and other computer artifacts, and Weisbecker games-on-paper, at the Vintage Computer Festival - East at InfoAge in Wall NJ. Here's a Web page I've created about the exhibition which includes photos and descriptions of the Sarnoff exhibit. - Herb.

Displays, Web discussions of RCA-produced "FRED"s and COSMAC systems

On April 2014, I exhibited a number of RCA development systems and related early COSMAC items, at a vintage computer show called VCF-East. On that Web page, you'll see a COSMAC "Microkit", a development system from RCA's Florida semiconductor division; a COSMAC "Microtutor" (courtesy the Sarnoff Collection) which was produced I believe in New Jersey. It's very close to the "Elf" design and hand-wired project as published in Popular Electronics. A modern construction of the Elf was on exhibit, as well as a COSMAC kit in small production today (2017) which operates much like the Elf.

A prototype and early coin-op arcade COSMAC system was curated by several people, in an online discussion group, from materials from the Sarnoff Collection and the Hagley Library in 2017-18. The physical hardware of that single, demonstration arcade machine, was possibly some kind of "FRED" of "FRED 2" development system, but designs for a coin-operated arcade machine were also uncovered from Hagley archives, and games on tapes were found at Hagley and possibly Sarnoff.

This Web page on my site, discusses the MicroKit ROM that is part of a MicroKit development system owned by Bill Degnan. Bill dumped the ROM and I disassembled it. The monitor ROM is very close to RCA's "UT4" ROM for which there is source and documentation, those support the disassembled source.

And of course, there's numerous RCA-produced COSMAC 1802 products, which are clearly identified by model. A Web search will find information by model on them. This Web page is limited to discussion and reference-to artifacts which in general preceed all but the earliest of those products, and which were not put into even modest production by RCA, for customer sale.

FRED and "Inventing the PC"

The 2011 book "Inventing the PC: the MCM/70 story" by Zbigniew Stachniak, references RCA documents, personal quotes, and other sources. It describes the history of COSMAC microprocessor development and development of related computing and logic tools by Joseph Weisbecker and his colleagues - and as assisted by his daughters. On page 33 there is an image of "System 00" - a copyrighted image courtesy of "the David Sarnoff Library". It's an image of the system on display at the Sarnoff Collection, from opening day to present.

The book shows evidence that the term "FRED" represents a range of systems, and even Joe's paper logic devices, as "FRED". Stachniak states (page 32) that Weisbecker's "computer concept" as "Flexible recreational and Educational Device or FRED." This includes a quote from Joe's daughter Joyce Weisbecker, herself an electrical engineer and game designer. Pages 32-33 quotes Joyce: "Everything my father did with computers was an attempt to get as much of a FRED computer into hobbyists' and children's hands as possible. In this sense, even his 'computer' books (the ones that played Tic-Tac-Toe against you and the ones who read your mind) were early versions of FRED, as were Think-A-Dot and the Computer Coin Games book".

Quoting from the book (pages 33 following), the context and construction of "System 00" is described. The emphasis is mine, not in the book.

"As a hardware concept, FRED went through a number of design phases due to the technological realities at RCA. Its first incarnation was the System 00 built by Weisbecker in 1971, at RCA Labs in Princeton NJ. Its design called for the FRED microprocessor, an 8-bit single-chip processor capable of directly accessing 64K of memory. Weisbecker designed the microprocessor in 1971 and originally presented its architecture in the RCA technical report "An Eight-Bit Micro-Processor". The FRED microprocessor was more capable than any of the microprocessors being developed at Intel at that time."

"Unfortunately for Weisbecker, in 1971 RCA did not have the technology to make the FRED chip a reality. He would have to wait until 1974 for the two-chip realization of his processor, and until 1976 for its single-chip implementation. By then RCA wasn't calling it FRED, but the COSMAC microprocessor."

end quote. Given that RCA did not produce even COSMAC CMOS chips until after 1971, System 00 as built in 1971 must be from then-available parts: small-scale TTL digital logic chips, not microprocessors. But the design of System 00, likely represents the design of the later COSMAC 1801/02.

RCA documents summarized on my Web site as referenced below, describe a 1973 prototype: a "COS/MOS breadboard of the COSMAC", constructed by a Florida division of RCA, "for the implementation of the FRED computer". Again, one of many "FREDs", and more are described.

notes about the MCM/70 book and author Zbigniew Stachniak: Dr. Stachniak is a curator of the York University Computer Museum; he's affiliated at that University. The book covers the MCM series of early Intel 8008 computers, developed in Canada and which are also part of that Museum. "McGill-Queen's University Press" published the book, and new and used copies were available as of mid-2016. I have corresponded with the author, and worked with him by email to identify and describe magnetic tape devices used with the MCM/70, for recovery of cassette data. In 2016 he found technical support to adapt a digital cassette tape deck to recover files; I don't know the results.

RCA "FRED" documents at Hagley Museum

COSMAC enthusiast Paul Robson, in discussion in Yahoo (now groups.io) group cosmacelf, posted in late June 2016 about his interests in replicating "the FRED computer". He makes reference to multiple versions of FRED, as noted in the Hagley collection accession "2564.54". I accessed the Hagley's online "search aids" under that number, and was directed to this Web link to documents from Billie Joe Call. Call was described as "designed circuit boards and wrote code for these systems...at the Solid State Technology Center". These documents were part of the 2009 Sarnoff Library, and at this point are simply named and described, and "subject to 25-year time seal". Other Hagley references to that restriction adds "...from date of creation".

Documents in the Call archive and described as "FRED" and dated include: FRED 2 schematics, 1974-75, FRED II schematics 1974, FRED 1.5 schematics, notes & correspondence from 1974. There are many COSMAC 180 documents, apparently including PC board layouts from 1976 (there was a COSMAC 180 development board). A Hagley "scope and content" statement describes FRED as "flexible recreational and educational devices, such as Studio II, II, and IV, VIP and Microtutor". I think this statement shows some confusion about these as products versus prototypes; and possibly confusion between "FRED 2" and "FRED II" which may be a transcription error not actual nomenclature - hard to tell. It's likely these were reviewed by people unfamiliar with the technology.

A more general search at that time for "fred cosmac" on the Hagley site, indicates only one result, the one just described. Likewise, "COSMAC" yielded four results: one set on COSMAC development tool products, one set with one reference to a COSMAC inspection system, one set with the RCA COSMAC VIP used on a "First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival" recording.

Initial Hagley release July 2016

In July 2016, Paul Robson contacted Lucas R. Clawson, a Reference Archivist / Hagley Historian at the Hagley. Paul obtained some of these documents, which reference FRED in some fashion. He's obtained permission to distribute, with the provision the documents are attributed to the Hagley Library. Just to be complete, I'm quoting that permission. The documents are at the cosmacelf groups.io discussion group, on its file archive, under the "FRED" folder (as of Nov 2019). HEre's a link to that location. You may need to be a "member" of that group to get access.

In a July 11 2016 email to Paul, Lucas Clawson the Reference Archivist and Hagley Historian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, responded to Paul's request for "FRED" documents and again to distribute the copies further. Lucas said, referring to the physical folders of identified FRED documents: "Iím glad this information is useful! I will try to get the other folders scanned and out to you by next week. You are welcome to share this information as long as you cite the source!" end quote. For Hagley's citations, read Guidelines for citation at the linked Web page. The suggested format for the set of documents Paul obtained at that date, suggests to me the following citation: "Documents on "FRED" developments at RCA, dated 1974-75; Fred Folder 1, Acc. 2464, Box 919 ;"Billie Joe Call" Collection, accession no. 2464.54; Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807". This is my conjecture. Other document sets would have other descriptor details.

My brief initial review, and Paul's reviews, shows they are hand-written schematics, parts layouts, instruction sets lists, and hand-coding; mostly titled "FRED II" and dated in 1974 and 1975. Many documents represent a multiple-board system of individual small logic chips, coding for an 1801 two-chip system with video, punched paper storage, and cassette storage. In mid-July 2016, Paul reconstructed a ROM monitor from hand-coded COSMAC instruction documents, and produced a consistent assembly source; which runs on an emulator he created. Check the cosmacelf groups.io discussion group's file archives for access to those documents and code.

There are other boxes at Hagley, of "FRED" documents not included with this July 11th release. The Hagley Web site provides a database which describes their holdings, some online access to scanned documents, some considerations for visitors, and a contact for more information. However, I subsequently have impressions from other visitors to the Hagley, that access to these folders is generally limited to visitors on-site. The Hagley's Web pages suggest one can hire from a list of local persons, for those persons to obtrain access. And some who have obtained access, were only permitted notes and personal-use-only photos. I don't pretend I have full or complete understanding of the Hagley's terms of use and/or procedures.

Sarnoff Collection and RCA "FRED" documents

The Sarnoff Collection obtained a number of boxes of documents from the former David Sarnoff Library, as well as the bulk of the physical artifacts from the Library. The bulk of the Library documents went to the Hagley. A catalog of some artifacts held by the Collection, can be found at The Sarnoff Collection Web site. Some are described on other Web pages of mine. Sometime around 2015-16, the Sarnoff Collection apparently turned over some RCA COSMAC-related documents, including ones not acquired from the Sarnoff Library, to the Hagley Library.

A FRED manual

Prior to 2015, I obtained a PDF scan of a "FRED Manual" of July 1972, likely copied from a document of Joseph Weisbecker. At a later time, while working directly with Anthony "Toni" Robbi - a colleague of Weisbecker who contributed to FRED development - I obtained from Toni, copies of what turned out to be missing pages from that FRED manual. Toni's copies happen to have hand-stamped sequence numbers and so can be identified uniquely. I combined the two documents into a single PDF. In addition, the FRED manual includes a series of numbered "FRED Notes", memoranda, which describe what amounts to upgrades and changes to the FRED computers supported by the FRED Manual.

A number of these "FREDs" were constructed, for further development of software and hardware which became the COSMAC 1802 microprocessor and related early development platforms. The timespan of these particular documents is about July 1972 to July 1973.

This FRED system, like System 00, consists of several boards of logic ICs. They implement the instruction set of System 00 and of the later COSMAC microprocessors; and some of the I/O features used in later RCA microprocessor development products and TV-gaming devices. Details are in the document. - Herb Johnson

notes, May 2018: I was advised that the FRED manual document, has a missing page. The page is marked "page 19" and is between pages marked 18 and 20. Hand-stamped sequence numbers also suggest a missing page as Robbi document "30319". June 10 2018: Kevin Bunch was informed about the missing page. He examined imaged documents previously obtained from the Hagley Library. In document Assession 2464.09, M&A 874, folder 24, he found the missing page in sequence with the other pages previous and following. I've added the imaged document to this version of the "System 00" manual. Clearly it's at a different scale than the Robbi copy of the document, but the content and type font and layout is consistent.

Here's the resulting PDF'ed FRED document, of about 150 pages, which represents the "FRED system manual" of July 1972 and updates as noted here. It includes "FRED Notes" which update or discuss the FRED computers produced.

Executing cassette program tapes and instruction sets

June 2018: There's an ongoing effort to read and "decode" archived audio cassettes used for COSMAC programs. This linked Web page references that activity in 2018. Some questions led me to examine the "FRED" system manual about cassette operations. Here's my analysis of 1972 cassette data format and operations from the manual - Herb

As part of the cassette activities, Marcel van Tongren reported in June 2018, on some Sarnoff Collection tapes and his EMMA 02 emulator. Certain tapes from the collection, decoded to load the games as recorded, did not run on his "FRED" emulator under its 1801 instruction set. Then he examined the instruction set documented for System 00. Its CPU is a collection of TTL small-logic ICs, not the LSI 1801 or 1802 microprocessor chips. He determined and emulated the System 00 version of CPU instructions, and "yes, [the games] run fairly 'ok'".

Marcel and I resolved many differences between the System 00, 1801 and 1802 instruction sets as follows, on June 13-15 2018, as below. In Oct 2018, Marcel refined this list and it's on his Web site. Use his list rather than mine; his emulators have "proven" his findings.

SYSTEM 00		1802				1801
code	ASM		code		ASM		code	ASM	

0N	IDLE RN		0N		LDN RN (N<>0)	0N	undef
31	BNZ		31		BQ		31	undef
			3A		BNZ		3A	BNZ
			39		BNQ		39	undef
			60		IRX		60	?OUT 0
			68		undef		68	?IN 0
			6N		in/out		6N	in/out
			70		RET		70	RET
			71		DIS		71	DIS
			78		SAV		78	SAV
			7N		various		7N	undef if N<>0,1,8
CN	PNI RN *	CN nn nn	Long br/skip	CN	undef

* = Put lowest nibble of D to lowest nibble in register N (unconfirmed)
? = see "IN/OUT 0" notes below
RN = register N 

Marcel noted: "The [System 00 manual] document uses a notation like 'D->R0(N)' as some kind of assembler code", there is not use of mnemonics (IDLE, BNZ, LDN, etc.). So Marcel has referenced or created mnemonics to reference the binary instructions. He could not find System 00 examples for all, such as "CN".

Marcel commented on some COSMAC cassette and their analog/audio encoding: "The SYSTEM 00 [identified and decoded tape] files I have loaded / converted so far are all in the FRED or PM System tape format. I have however seen some tapes with a format that I donít recognize, possibly the initial tape format used or a SYSTEM 00 format? - Marcel

The "FRED" manual of 1972, has a page Figure 9, "instruction summary". The corresponding document from the "System 00" manual is provided here.

IN/OUT 0 notes: In July 2019, Ian May noted that RCA's documentation for the 1801 "IN 0" and "OUT 0" instruction was inconsistent over time. The RCA document MPM-101 "User Manual for the COSMAC Microprocessor" printed May 1975, designates those 1801 instructions; a late Sept 1975 datasheet does not. As Ian wrote to me: "I believe that this is yet another case of RCA altering data sheets at a later date. The earliest data sheet I have found for the 1801 is dated 9-75 and does not list 60 & 68 as valid instructions, though it still lists a state code of 6 for "I/O instruction execute" meaning that N=0 & 8 can still be detected. My guess is that by the time that the 9-75 1801 data sheet was printed RCA were far enough along in the design of the 1802 to realise that INP/OUT 0 was going to be impossible to use without additional hardware. Since they had deleted the third status code pin (perhaps to provide "Q" since it is not provided on an 1801), there was no longer a simple way to detect I/O with N=0. So they then decided to remove INP 0 and OUT 0 from the 1801 to make the upgrade path easier (and ignoring their previous example code)."

Interview with Toni Robbi, colleague of Joe Weisbecker

In November 2013, at the first opening of the Sarnoff Collection, I worked as a "docent" or explainer and assistant to visitors. One of the visitors was a work colleague of Joe Weisbecker in the 1970's, an engineer from RCA, Anthony "Toni" Robbi. In front of the "System 00", I recorded our discussion about Weisbecker and "FRED" computers; this linked document is a text transcript.. Used with later permission by Toni Robbi.

In the interview, Toni says the "System 00" in front of us was actually a computer Joe Weisbecker "built in his basement for his own use...made out of T-squared L components and several boards". There were several "FREDs" built later, by several people including Toni. Toni also discussed automotive uses of the COSMAC microprocessor.

More: I corresponded with him later, about his work with Chrysler on a COSMAC controlled emission and ignition system they produced called "Spark Control". It appeared on many Chrysler vehicles in the mid-1970's, and effectively cut emission for the then new EPA "California" emission standards. I exhibited a SCC Spark Control Computer module in April 2014 at a vintage computer show about COSMACs. A few years later, I assisted Toni in providing some of his RCA documents and artifacts to The Sarnoff Collection.

Background information on this site, Hagley and Sarnoff Web links

Related Web pages on this site

is a 2014 document of mine, which provides a summary of RCA Research Reports of 1973, 74, 75. These reports are available on the Hagley Web site. My document gives a rough chronology of RCA's COSMAC development. It describes the history of the term "FRED" - a term of convenience and conceptual description, not the name of a specific computer.

This document "COSMAC 1801, 1802 "dates'", from 2014, has a chronological description of developments about or related to the COSMAC 1802 microprocessor. It specifically identifies "FRED" - in quotes - as a quote "TTL implementation". Admittedly, I confuse several computers as "FRED"; that's the confusion from the referenced RCA documents.

The above document, has direct references to the RCA Research Reports of 1973, 74, and 75, which I summarize on this linked Web page. Selected pages are quoted and referenced on that page. The full reports are or were available from the Hagley's RCA document collection.

This is my document about the development of the Sarnoff Collection. I live one mile from that facility. I worked there as a technical volunteer - as listed on their Web site. It's housed at The College of New Jersey, in Ewing NJ. All my information in this document, has referenced sources and/or is my own experience, or quotes from other's first-hand experiences. The above document shows how the David Sarnoff Library was divided between documents to the Hagley, artifacts to what became the Sarnoff Collection, and various pieces elsewhere.

My own connection to the Sarnoff Collection: As a resident of the New Jersey county where both the former Sarnoff Library and the Sarnoff Collection reside, I read local newspaper accounts of the progress of both - the disbursement of the Library and the development of the Collection and its facility. I worked with the Sarnoff Collection and its first curator, Emily Croll, before and after the Collection's opening, for about two years total. I personally spoke to the former Sarnoff Library director. I personally handled and examined and identified, many of the microprocessor and digital devices in the collection, and other technology. I developed means to preserve from further deterioration, digital ICs in then-poor condition. I assisted as a docent (explainer) at a number of events, and attended other Sarnoff Collection events. Since 2017 to present mid-2018, I've worked with the current curator of the Sarnoff Collection, Florencia Pierri. She has actively produced exhibits which cover COSMAC works and Joe Weisbecker's works, and curates and archives those artifacts with interest and enthusiasm.

Sarnoff Collection at TCNJ and Hagley Library

A link to the Hagley Museum Web site's "digital" online collection of RCA Solid State Division documents, including the "Billie Joe" collection with FRED / COSMAC documents.

The processing of the entire Sarnoff Library collection and related donated private collections, is a result of a multi-year effort to review and curate what's described as "3000 shelf feet" of RCA documents from the David Sarnoff Library obtained in 2014. Over time, this Web link may change: use terms in this description to find the Hagley's RCA documents. Also: as of June 2016, "RCA Laboratory News" for the early 1970's are available online, under "date range 1971-1980". As a result of specific grant funding, documents related to RCA's development of COSMAC microprocessors and other computers will become accessable by scholars and by the public. They claim the Sarnoff Library will be completely processed (presumably electronically cataloged) by 2017. (Completion was announced late in 2017.) The Hagley Library is a scholarly organization; they proceed based on funding and on rules of academic scholarship. See their Web site for details and how to obtain or access documents.

A link to The Sarnoff Collection Web site..They have an online database of a portion of their holdings. You can browse visually, or search by text string. Dave Ruske confirmed to me the System 00 as a physical exhibit is in the database.


On the Sarnoff Collection Web home page as of mid-2016, there's a montage or series of photos. One of the photos is a view of the exhibit space, file "InnovationsExhibition_website.jpg". In the far background of that photo, shown in the center of this excerpt, is an orange panel with photos and items mounted on it. There's an object in a brown box with pale-blue front. That's a poor image of "System 00", on exhibit as part of other computing artifacts, which that orange panel depicts. My personal photos of the exhibit, when it opened April 2014, are shown at the top of this Web page.

In 2017, A FRED2 system with 1801-class 2-chip processor, was curated by the Sarnoff Collection and myself. It was part of an exhibit of Joe Weisbecker's interests in games and teaching of logic and computing.

Copyright © 2019 Herb Johnson

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
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