The BRD systems were probably among the first personal accounting systems. They featured a mass storage drive and a Teletype or 'intelligent' Olivetti typewriter as a data entry/printing device.
Three version of the BRD systems were available:
• The Small Fry, the smallest system in the family. It used tape catridges for data storage.
• The larger capacity Dolphin and Purpoise. Both had dual 8" floppy disk drive.
About the BRD systems family, Randy Larson reports that:
In 1975 when I started working in BRD they were selling a computer that looked like a typewriter, the Olivetti A5, then the Olivetti P603 connected to a 8" floppy disc drive.
The A5 and the P603 were sold to small cities to do water billing statements, we also sold them to accountants, grain elevators, mainly used for accounting purposes.
The A5 was a piece of junk It was more mechanical than it was electronic. It was so bad that BRD built a computer that emulated the A5 using a Diablo terminal printer and their disk drives.
We had good luck with this system and sold quite a few of them. Some people used them till the late 1980's and they were very dependable... I spent 3 years working on just 10 Olivetti A5. The P603 were more reliable, and did not provide as many problems.
We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
In 1977 I was going to grad school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and saw a job posting for a programmer. I talked with Pat Hallett (Tom''s ex) who was living in Madison and involved in Special Education. She had been talked into buying a Dolphin for the Stoughton school district outside of Madison. They needed someone to write software for use in their Special Ed department. The district sent me to visit the BRD facility in January of 78, interesting little trip. Since there was so little memory, I wrote essentially a master program to swap out the various components of the system when needed. All that done in assembler, with everything on 8" floppies.
A circuit board component failed at some time, and I talked with someone who had me test voltages on the board to figure out which part was bad. Hardware service, circa 1978.
Monday 12th September 2016
Steve Wright (United States)
Kurt Guntheroth and I were the original developers of the 6800 based emulator. 1977 time frame, while we attended UW. Initially we wrote in machine code, without even an assembler. The first A5 prototype launched on my Altair 680 hobby computer. I commuted from Seattle to Bainbridge Island via ferry. - Mark
I worked for BRD in the mid to late ''70s writing software. I wrote several packages for the A5, and before that I wrote software for the P-603. I lived on Bainbridge Is., before moving to Seattle to attend UW. I knew Tom Hallet, his new wife and BRD marketing manager Judy, and several others. Get in touch with me if you are interested in learning more.
Friday 16th July 2010
Albert L. Pion (Oregon, USA)
Bainbridge Research and Development, Inc.
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Olivetti A5 or P603 assembler and BAL
Typevriter keyboard with numeric keypad and function keys