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A > AM INTERNATIONAL JACQUARD SYSTEMS > J100 - J500


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the AM International Jacquard Systems J100 - J500 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Thursday 28th April 2011
Jenny Robinson (UK)

I worked for Jacquard before it became AM Jacquard and also for a couple of Jacquard distributors. When Type-Rite came out I became the word processing queen and travelled all over Europe training Jacquard distributors. I guess it was late seventies and into the eighties. Those were amazingly happy days which I remember with great fondness. I worked with Norman Tinklin, Robin Bews, Barry Lawrence and Terry Hart. We had some wild times


Wednesday 9th March 2011
Carol Wollard (USA)

I worked for ATV on Daimler Street in Santa Ana - those were crazy times. No doubt, Typerite was the best word processing software I have ever used - I loved Jacquard computers - too bad they went by the wayside.


Tuesday 4th January 2011
Robert R. Heinz

I worked in Technical Support in the Santa Monica office in 1977 with Lynn Shelly and another gentleman I forget. I was responsible for supporting the Family Feud show at ABC Studios for 2 seasons. I got to sit backstage with Richard Dawson and Gene Woods during every taping and will never forget the fun

Thamkls!!


Friday 4th June 2010
Tom Mallen (Los Angeles, CA USA)

Just visited this site to see what might be available about Jacquard Systems. I was Director of Finance from May 1977 through the acquisition by AM International (formerly Addressograph, Multigraphics etc.) until the west coast office was relocated to New Jersey at the end of 1980. Remember Ken Rubin, Edgar Bolton, the investment group of celebrities that funded the startup company Magnatronics and the growth of this phenominally talented group. A true leader in the infant Wordprocessing arena. The AM acquisition helped the growth but AM''s problems denied an opportunity to become the premier product. Wordperfect and Word were far behind Jacquard''s capabilities in 1979.


Friday 11th July 2008
Art Cline (Dallas, TX)
MiTec

Wow what memories!

Fred, I was one of the four National Technical Support personnel that you mentioned.


Monday 7th July 2008
John Lerno (Westminster/Ca)

Hello Fred Rodney I used to work at ATV in the middle to late 80s on the Jacquard systems. Wow it is a small world seeing you here


Thursday 20th March 2008
Pat McAuley (Dublin, Ireland)

Hey Mike Hopkins, fancy you popping up on an Old Computer message board. Memory Ireland, memories flooding back of Ballsbridge and the Irish Sweeps Stake!!! Keep up the good work!!!!


Friday 30th November 2007
Fred Roney (Schaumburg, IL)

Updated email address. Motorola bought Symbol Technologies effective Jan,4 2007

FAME member. Former AM employee.


Friday 14th July 2006
Mike Hopkins (Adelaide Australia)

Nice to see follow ups to my post of nearly 4 years ago. I used to program in Super Basic on the J100. I still get some of those error codes coming into mind e.g. Error 48 - disk full and I think 36 was file not found.

Worked with John McGrann and Michael Harvey, other posters to this page, and Terry Fossey, mentioned at Memory Ireland.

Memory had a 'brave' project to develop an accounting system called MAX for the J100/500, using programmers in Zimbabwe. The project became known as MAD MAX.


Friday 30th September 2005
Fred Roney (Chicgao, IL USA)

I'm astonished that people still talk about or use these systems still. It definitely brought a smile to my face. I was employed by AM in 80-82, transferred from Varityper to Jacquard in 81, ended up with ATV Systems and FDR Field Service through the sale of the division. I was 1 of 4 National Technical Support personnel kept on to provide support for the Jacquard J100, J300, J500 series up until about 1989 with the sale to Decision Data, now Decision One.
If I remember right the J500's CPU was made up of 4 ALU's, the microcode was burned to PROMS and the max mem. was either 256k or 512k. And yes TypeRite was definitely ahead of it's time.
I wish you all well. It's nice to know some people on the planet still remember. I don't bother mentioning AM Jacquard much these days. Most people say AM who and what’s a Jacquard, isn't that some kind of loom?


Sunday 16th January 2005
Anthony Dodd (United Kingdom)

It was interesting to stumble across this site. I first started work as a programmer working for Memory Computers, Dublin (1985-87). I had great pleasure in working on the J100 & J500 (later). It had a very simple and intuitive basic language support, the operating system was simple to use. Commands such as sprcat (super cat), still stick in my mind to this day. I agree with all the comments that the word processor on the jacquards was way ahead of it's time. While at memory I started working on a new breed of Motorola machines, running Unix V, and I remember distinctly thinking how cumbersome vi was in comparison, the nearest thing I came to type-rite was word perfect a few years later. I was involved in developing systems and supporting systems for a great number of installations throughout the city. I remember my last involvement with the J500s was with respect to installing the new breed of laser printers arriving on the market. There we're problems with the J500s inability to support the XON/XOFF protocol used by these printers.


Monday 10th January 2005
Tim Trent (UK)

Back in 1979 I joined the UK company as a baby salesman. Damn these machines were good. For me they set the WP standard. They beat Wang hollow.

I loved the cut and paste and copy and paste rulers. Thsi was pretty much the forrunner of "highlight and select" really.

At a trade show we were next to a shredder manaufacturer. He knew as little about coimputers as we did. but I did manage to get him to find out of he offered an optional RS232C connection to his shredders!


Friday 18th July 2003
Tom Morgan (Sacramento CA)

It's very interesting to see these other postings regarding the J100 and J500 because I worked for Jacquard in Santa Monica on both of these systems. They were pretty revolutionary for their time, especially the J500 and you guys got to see some of the follow-on products after I left the company in 1979. I actually worked for them during 2 time periods and was a test technician on the J500 in 1979.


Tuesday 22nd April 2003
Ruth Cust (Sydney, Australia)

My first 'real' job was as a technician (they called us 'engineers') on Jacquards and AMTexts for the Australian distributors - Computer Resources, later AM Jacquard, then Datronics, in the late '70s early '80s. I remember the Irish J505 - we sold them here.

For a while they were great business - TypeRite, accounting programs, inventory control. It absolutely boomed.

We installed J100s with 14 or 16 J105s in TAFE Colleges around Sydney. I now teach in one of the Colleges, and the Jacquard sign is still above the door to the old Jacquard room in the basement of my building 20 years later. It has PCs in it now. Sigh.


Monday 28th October 2002
Mike Hopkins (Australia)

I used to work for the Irish distributor of Jacquard, a company called Memory Computer, based in Dublin. Memory's engineers actually developed the modifications to the J500 which turned it from a single user into a multi-user (up to 3 concurrent users) machine. From my recollection it had a maximum memory of 128kb (yes kb not MB). I believe they may have sold the design back to Jacquard, or AM-Jacquard as they became. Memory went on to manufacture its own PC like machine which was compatible with the Jacquard line, but not with the IBM PC. It included a cassette tape drive controllable from the keyboard, which was aimed at the dictation / word processing market. The Jacquard line had, what was at the time, a very good word processing application called Type-Rite. Memory Computer listed on the London Stock Exchange in the early 80's but went bust a few years later.

Mike Hopkins


Friday 30th September 2005
Fred Roney (Chicago, IL USA)

I had a few more memories come back.
The last Pertec drive used was a 24BM Drive. 3 fixed internal platters and 1 removable. Each platter was 6MB. It used a linear motor (Voice Coil), a grate and gratitude systems for positioning the heads. Quite a challenge to align.
Also used was the Control Data Corp CDC9762 80MB drive, interfaced through a Systems Industries Controller or Formatter.
Some systems had a Pertec Reel-Reel Tape drive with compliance arms, no vacuum column. Use of this device also required the use of a Pertec controller or formatter. NRZI and PE formats.

Can you believe this, one of the last support calls I did (around 1988) was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing had a J300 system installed with 2 CDC9762 drives. Among other things, they used it to communicate over the internet to other contractors and University research centers.


Monday 20th June 2005
Robert Harvey (London, United Kingdom)

I got a J500 up and running in the Bank of Credit and Commerce to word process the annual accounts while our computer division were still struggling to use other systems. We brought a second J500 in later and then upgraded one to a three screen J505 with a 5Mbyte fixed and 5Mbyte removable hard disc system. We continued to use this sytem until the the late 80s when PCs took over. TypeRite was well ahead of its time and in my opinion was not equalled until WordPerfect 5.1 hit the market.

I also used the DataRite product on it. This used a COBOL like language with a form system that automatically generated the enviroment section of the source code. Of course you had the luxury of using TypeRite to edit the DataRite source files. The 16 bit error codes from the J500/505 werevery detailed and particularly useful when debugging applications. They were logically structured so the high bits told the programmer which subsystem had generated the error which was often enough to establish the error in my code.

There was also a spelling checker called SpellRite. We experimented with this but made little practical use of it because it was very slow. You ran SpellRite as a batch program which generated exception files. These files were then manually checked and used to update the dictionary and to correct spellings if I recall correctly.

One of my more interesting experiments was to demonstrate that AM could typeset documents directly from a J500 disc because they used a Jacquard computer in their phototypestting system. All that the technician operating the phototypesetter had to do was set up some macro to translate key control sequences into the equivalents of styles. (I believe that we could also have sent our documents for typesetting over a phone line if we had wanted to). My boss did not approve of this experiment and it came to nothing in the end.

There is some doubt on this site as to the amount of ROM containing the Jacquard's microcode. From memory I think that it was 128Kbytes because I am sure that the system's total addressable memory space was 256Kbytes. But I could be wrong. I do recall that the J505 upgrade involved replacing a lot of dil packaged ROM chips.


Thursday 11th September 2003
Cy foughty (Portland, OR)

I can't believe I stumbled across this site! This is great. I worked for ETV computer systems in Amarillo, Texas USA and later we moved to Dallas. We built a "modern" ( at the time) hard disk and tape backup subsystem for the J100 and J500. We also had a cpu upgrade board. I beleive we called it the J300. That was a long time ago. Actually Skip and Steve Butterfield designed and built the first ones. Later I moved the manufacturing to Dallas.

The products breathed new life into the old systems. This was from 1983 to 1987. We sold the storage subsystems to Memory Ireland, Jacquard France, and othjers. I can't remember the distributor in Australia.

We sold a lot of systems directly. I personally installed storage systems in NASA, the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center in New York city for Amercian Express, Texas Supreme Court and Appeals courts, and many others.

This does bring back old memories. Really good ones. To this day, I still think that Type-Rite has word processing features that still aren't in Word or any other place. Really good features like the math filter bar to work on columns. If you think about it, it was the first spreadsheet and it was integrated into the word processor. These were great systems.

So to be so windy but it was a good time for me.


Monday 3rd November 2014
Fred Roney (Schaumburg, IL/US)
2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1982/02/06/page/61/article/business
Link to a very short 2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article on AM selling Jacquard to Applied Technology Ventures of Santa Ana, CA.


Monday 3rd November 2014
Fred Roney (Schaumburg, IL/US)
2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1982/02/06/page/61/article/business
Link to a very short 2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article on AM selling Jacquard to Applied Technology Ventures of Santa Ana, CA.


Monday 3rd November 2014
Fred Roney (Schaumburg, IL/US)
2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1982/02/06/page/61/article/business
Link to a very short 2/6/1982 Chicago Tribune article on AM selling Jacquard to Applied Technology Ventures of Santa Ana, CA.


Wednesday 22nd October 2014
sean

I worked on the Manafacture of the M55


Monday 3rd March 2014
Steve Baker (UK)

I joined Jacquard from Wang in 1979. (Hi Jenny and Tim) the Type Rite software was good, but boy was the hardware dated compared to Wang. If only the J500 could have multiuser. After 9 months it was all over - I sometimes wonder if the £80ks worth of J100 I sold to an insurance co. inBristol ever shipped. Never mind I earned a lot of commission!


Wednesday 7th November 2012
Tom Morgan (Vallejo, CA)

Here is a hi back to Ken Rubin - Laura and I still remember flying out to Riverside with you for dinner one evening and spending a weekend at Mammoth with you as well. Hope things are good with you - those were fun times back in Santa Monica


Sunday 11th March 2012
DAVID BROWN (RIVERSIDE CA.)

I WAS THE COMPANY DELIVERY DRIVER FOR JACQUARD SYSTEMS IN SANTA MONICA CA. IN THE BEGINING DAYS OF THE COMPANY IN THE 70''S MY FIRST JOB. I REALLY LIKED THE PEOPLE I WORKED WITH AND FOR I GOT LAID OFF WHEN A INVESTER CAME ON BOARD HATED TO GO BUT I WENT TO IBM AND BECOME A RICH MAN IN THE COMPUTER BUSINESS. THANKS JAQUARD SYSTEMS FOR LETTING ME GO OR I JUST MAY HAVE BEEN A DRIVER ALL MY LIFE. FUN TIMES


Sunday 11th March 2012
DAVID BROWN (RIVERSIDE CA.)

I WAS THE COMPANY DELIVERY DRIVER FOR JACQUARD SYSTEMS IN SANTA MONICA CA. IN THE BEGINING DAYS OF THE COMPANY IN THE 70''S MY FIRST JOB. I REALLY LIKED THE PEOPLE I WORKED WITH AND FOR I GOT LAID OFF WHEN A INVESTER CAME ON BOARD HATED TO GO BUT I WENT TO IBM AND BECOME A RICH MAN IN THE COMPUTER BUSINESS. THANKS JAQUARD SYSTEMS FOR LETTING ME GO OR I JUST MAY HAVE BEEN A DRIVER ALL MY LIFE. FUN TIMES


Sunday 19th February 2012
Tim Trent (United Kingdom)

Just found Wikipedia didn''t have a page about AMJ. It does now. Hope I did enough on it that it doesn''t get $d. Loads to add, but I cant find many secondary sources, the kind they need to cite things in the articles.


Friday 20th February 2009
Tom Chesek (Harrisburg Pennsylvania/USA)

I received training on the J100 system and service them while employed at AM International in Harrisburg PA. PA Blue Shield, Book of the Month Club, and Hershey Foods are the customers that I recall using the J100 systems. I still have my 1979 Data Pro Honor Roll coffee mug with AM Jaquard Systems logo on it. I wish I had at least an electronic copy of a J100 system brochure.


Friday 12th December 2008
Ken Rubin (Seattle WA USA)

For the UK folks, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Norman Tinklin back a decade or so ago. I''m in London this week and his cheery voice is still on his phone answer message so may be I''ll have a chance to say hello again. Cheers to all!

Ken


Monday 7th July 2008
John Lerno

I remember doing the cats eye adjustment on the old pertec drives...remember when if you made the mistake and jiggled the drive how the head would slam back ....those were the days


Wednesday 25th June 2008
John Rouse (England)

I worked for Varityper, and was trained on the Jacquard machines. I even went to Pertec for a course on disk drives. I remember the "little man" adjustment, to get the voice coil operated heads to align with the data tracks.

I spent some time at High Wycombe on the commissioning, with a real character called Fritz - the first engineer I'd met who wore a bow tie.


Thursday 4th May 2006
John McGrann (Ireland)

I worked on J100's and J500's for a Jacquard distributor in Ireland, Memory Computers, I still have a J100 brochure. I wrote a system for a J100 using a product called Data-Rite, does anybody remember it ? I reckon that I was one of the few who used it. I moved from development into sales and sold J500 Type-Rite word processors, we used to beat Wang quite a bit. We had a guy Terry Fossey who decoded the J500 O/S and made it mulit user so we coul sell 3 user J500s !!


Wednesday 7th April 2004
Ken Rubin (Seatle, WA)

Hi Tom, et al;

Thought I'd add a note since I am the one who breathed the first breath of life into the first J100. I recall working with Tom and I'm sure he remembers me - the others, well... you can blame me I suppose.

Cy, there's a good chance that the motherboard you got from Steve and Skip was based on the redesign that was completed just before AM international sold off the Jacquard Assets. I still have the DataPro Awards that were bestowed on the J100 and J500 - they nicely cover blank wallspace in my den/office. Jacquard built a lot of systems and was one of the key players and very instrumental in forging the way for desktop systems.


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