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H > HONEYWELL > H316 - Kitchen computer   

H316 - Kitchen computer

And now something for the ladies...

Torin Darkflight kindly sent us following information and picture about this rather weird machine:

"This odd-looking and almost laughable computer was released by Honeywell under the official name H316 Pedestal Model, but was featured on the cover of a Nieman-Marcus catalog under its more commonly-known name, the "Kitchen Computer".
The Kitchen Computer is most likely where the classic recipe storage cliché originated, as this was the primary use advertised for the Kitchen Computer. In fact, storing recipes was about all the Kitchen Computer was capable of doing. The recipes were programmed into the computer and it would store them for you. In other words, it was an electronic recipe storage box, nothing more.

Supposedly it was quite a chore to program recipes into the Kitchen Computer, mainly because it took about two weeks to learn how to program the thing. However, the Kitchen Computer was shipped with some recipes already programmed into it. Could this be the iMac of it's time? From box to dinner in only 10 minutes? I doubt it, but we can imagine the pre-programmed recipes were included so anyone who purchased the Kitchen Computer could begin using it right away rather than having to suffer through learning how to program it first.

When one thinks of computer hardware, they often think of a monitor or a keyboard or a printer. Well, the Kitchen Computer has perhaps the oddest piece of "hardware" I have ever heard of -- a cutting board. Yes, a cutting board! This oddity was most likely added so the food could be prepared right there without having to walk away from the recipe display, considering the Kitchen Computer isn't as portable as a good old-fashioned cookbook (It weighed a staggering 150 pounds).

Other specifications for this system include 4KB magnetic core memory (Expandable to 16KB) and a system clock speed of 2.5MHz. I was not able to find any information about the display, but I imagine it has to be some kind of text display (Who'd want to read recipes using LEDs and binary code?). I also could not find any information about the CPU, or whatever the 60s version of a CPU was. This system is so obscure I had a quite difficult time finding detailed specifications for it. Supposedly the H316/Kitchen Computer is based on the DDP-516 (Also made by Honeywell), so perhaps some of the specifications are similar. However I couldn't find any way to verify that.

The Kitchen Computer was obviously geared towards housewives who loved to cook. However any housewives who wanted one of these had to shell out A LOT of green, considering the Kitchen Computer sold for $10,600 when it was first introduced (You could buy about four new cars for that much money in 1965!). This price tag included the built-in recipes mentioned earlier, and also included a cookbook and an apron (Oh boy do I hear the laughter now).

Not much more I can say about the Kitchen Computer. But one things for sure: regardless of how much of a computer geek I consider myself, I'd rather use a good old-fashioned cookbook."

The display itself was actually a binary display, not a text based one. You needed to learn how to just read it!

The language used on the Kitchen Computer was called "BACK"

There is no record of any Kitchen Computers ever being sold.

A small reference has been found about the actual computer part of the machine being used in the initial creation of ARPNET, but it yet has to be confirmed...

In addition to being sold as a "kitchen appliance" it powered the Mergenthaler Linotype Paul Ltd., Linotron 505.


Contributors: Jake Wasdin, Torin Darkflight

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Somebody HAS got ONE! Stephen Walters

Thursday 25th May 2023
Stephen Walters (United Kingdom)

this is one of the very few WMI ever envisioned, as distinct from the MMI, which dominate the world even in this decade, and more current HMI, which are gradually replacing the MMI. No WMI ever created will ever need to be replaced.

Tuesday 1st November 2022
Vernon Hamilton (US)

This was almost certainly more of a publicity stunt than a real product $ the Nieman Marcus Christmas Catalogs often had some outrageously-expensive and impractical "gifts" in them, like "matching His-and-Hers aeroplanes" or "your very own life-sized Noah''s Ark replica" which no one was ever expected to actually *buy*, but would get people taking about "did you see that crazy thing they had in the catalog this year?" I''m sure both Honeywell and Nieman Marcus knew full well that no one in their right mind was going to pay $10K (equivalent to nearly $65K today!) for a "kitchen appliance" that required a computer-science degree to do anything with! :)

Tuesday 9th May 2017
The Valeyard


NAME  H316 - Kitchen computer
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  1969
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Recipes were programmed into it, but language/software is unknown
KEYBOARD  Small array of buttons and switches
CPU  Unknown
SPEED  2.5 MHz
RAM  4 KB magnetic core, expandable to 16 KB
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  Unknown, probably some kind of text display
SIZE / WEIGHT  150 pounds
BUILT IN MEDIA  Magnetic core memory
POWER SUPPLY  475W at 125vAC
PERIPHERALS  Unless you count the cutting board...unknown
PRICE  $10,600

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