Big Blue gets beaten:
The Technological and Political Controversy of the First Large Swedish Computerization Project in a Rhetoric of Technology Perspective

Magnus Johansson

This article analyzes the rhetoric used in the Datasaab–IBM controversy when the first computerized national register and taxation system was created in the early 1960s.

The aim is to understand how Datasaab could establish a new technological frame and at the same time grow into what became Sweden’s first big computer manufacturer. (pdf-file 408 kbyte)

Automatic teller machines

A DataSaab Project During 1970-1985

Viggo Wentzel

Provides a description of the development of an automatic teller machine. This product from Ericsson and Omron featured high capacity and significant improvement in security and customer interface.

Swedish and Finnish banks used a large number of units for almost a decade. (pdf-file, 170 Kbyte)

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An Early Success for High-level Languages

Bengt Asker

Algol-Genius, an Algol 60 implementation with features from COBOL, was the brainchild of Börje Langefors.

In 1964, assembler was the dominant programming language, but Algol-Genius broke that trend among Datasaab D21 customers.

Algol-Genius programs were still in production in the late nineties. (pdf-file, 366 Kbyte)

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Central Computer for aircraft Saab 37, Viggen

Bengt Jiewertz

At the end of the 1950s it was decided that the multipurpose attack/fighter Saab 37 Viggen should be designed as a single seat aircraft. A central computer and a head-up display made it possible to dispense with the need for a human navigator. The computer was the central computing and integrating unit for all electronic equipment to support the pilot.

This computer, CK37 used in the Saab AJ37, was the first airborne computer in the world to use integrated circuits (first generation ICs). Almost 200 computers were delivered 1970 -1978. The function was reliable and the computers were still in operation, with upgrades, at the early beginning of 2000`s. (pdf-file, 865 Kbyte)

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A technological breakthrough in banking
Roland Mellbring

At the end of the 1960s the united Nordic saving banks prepared a common procurement of computer based teller terminals for a total of 1500 saving banks. A contract was signed with Saab (Datasaab) covering development, delivery and maintenance. This business turned out to be the biggest teller terminal project in the world at that time, and it had a great influence on the further development of the savings banks as well as of Datasaab.

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A pioneer work in the late 1950s

Bengt Jiewertz and Viggo Wentzel
Formerly of Saab AB and Datasaab


New electronic components as transistors and ferrite cores made it possible to start the building of small and fast computers during the second half of 1950s. The Swedish aircraft company, SAAB AB, finished SANK-1, a prototype computer, during 1960 and demonstrated its use both for military and commercial applications (see note).

One important part of the computer, the memory system, was an advanced design effort at that time. The work included the selection of transistor types and the design and testing of reliable transistor circuits to write and read information in the ferrite core memory.

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