Computer Exhibition at Terrassa Textile Museum, Spain

7 September 2011, Terrassa near Barcelona

I attended the Design History Society‘s Annual Conference in Barcelona in the first week of September, which was, as usual, hugely enjoyable. There were a number of cultural visits organised, and I chose to attend the visit to the Textile Museum in nearby Terrassa. Terrassa was apparently one of the main textile producing areas in Spain, and the centre of Catalan Industrial development at the start of the industrial revolution. The Museum is housed in a fantastically preserved Art Nouveau factory built towards the end of the 19th century, which is worth seeing in itself.

Temporary arrangement of computers at Terrassa
Bull (General Electric) mainframe

Personally speaking, however, I was fascinated to see they are in the process of putting together a whole section on computer history. At the moment, the space is cordoned off with tape (which I snuck under to get a better look!) and only some of the machines are set out on disply with others piled up ready to be arranged. Many of the usual suspects are there (IBM System/360, RAMAC and so on) but I was really pleased to see they had a Foxboro Fox 1, as I had never seen one in the flesh before (I used a great publicity shot of this bright green behemoth in my book ‘Computer’). It was even more impressive than I had thought.

The bright green Foxboro FOX 1 computer

I have been told the museum has encountered  problems with finalising the display, and there is obviously some way to go before it is complete, but I wish them all the best in their efforts to get this section up and running – we need more computers in museums! If you are anywhere near and have an interest – try and visit and give them some support.


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