IBM Destination Z - Group home

Artifacts Contest Winners

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:28 PM

The Destination z mainframe artifacts contest has closed, and one winner has been decided in each of the two categories—oldest mainframe artifact and most unique mainframe artifact.
With the help of our judges John Eells, a member of IBM's z/OS technical marketing and strategy team, and Bob Rogers, technical editor for IBM Systems Magazine, two winners have been decided based on their submission explanation and photo.
The winning submission for most unique artifact was submitted by Sav Mellor for a data recording device (DRD) and honeycomb and cartridges. In his forum post, Mellor says that “in the late 1980s, as customers were replacing these systems with newer high density real DASD, I was fortunate to rescue a DRD and some of the honeycomb and cartridges from a scrap metal truck. I kept these artifacts in my garage as a conversation piece until 2008.” Before moving out of the U.K., Mellor donated the pieces to The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.
Eells and Rogers both agreed this is the most unique artifact, with Eells stating, “I bet that few would even recognize the DRD, even if they recognized its tape cartridges or honeycombs.”

The oldest artifact winner is a Hollerith punch card from January 1958 used by Lloyds of London. Submitter Melvyn Maltz says that while working at the insurance company, each card represented an insurance premium or claim and was heavily printed on both sides with the details—anything from a small premium for a car up to several million pounds for an oil tanker.
Although the card itself predates the mainframe, Eells notes that much of early mainframe processing was based on the Hollerith card, making it the oldest artifact submitted that is associated with the mainframe. He points out that IBM in East Fishkill, New York, had a unit record area with keypunches and IBM 2540 card readers and card punches—even one or two sorters and collators at first.

In all, 32 entries were submitted. The submitters of the two winning entries receive a $50 gift card. See all entries in the forum. And thank you to those who participated commented on the artifacts and viewed the forums.

Valerie Dennis is site editor of