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Tony Sale Goes Octal

On a happier note, today is the 80th birthday of Tony Sale, all-round genius and digital hero. His most famous project was the 14-year rebuild of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer. Working only from a few preserved circuit diagrams, some old photos and the memories of those originally involved (including inventor Tommy Flowers), he painstakingly rebuilt the 2,500-value-powered machine with his team. You can go and see Colossus running nearly every day at Bletchley Park, where it stands on the original site of Colossus Number 9 in H-block, home of the National Museum of Computing. Tony is often found with his masterpiece and is normally more than happy to be quizzed on it’s operation.

More recently, Tony featured in Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention, a great BBC science show. He was showing off George, the walking remote-controlled robot that he built SIXTY YEARS AGO. Tony Sale, ahead of his time. Have a great birthday!

Here’s Tony demonstrating Colossus to a gentleman who seems to be asking him some Quite Interesting questions…


(Photo from


Edit: @JoelGreenberg has reminded me that it’s George the Robot, not Gordon!

Published inBletchley Park

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