• 1952

Hardware Description

Nicholas was the name given to an in-house computer built for, and partly by, the Theory Division of Elliott’s Borehamwood Laboratory. The design was started in early 1952 and Nicholas was completed in December of that year. The first major problem, consisting of trajectory calculations requiring a program of about 1,400 instructions, was begun on January 1st 1953. The application concerned a defence contract for a guided bomb. Many other (unrelated) applications followed. Nicholas provided a valuable in-house computing service for the Theory Group at Borehamwood until 1958. It was also used by customers, who could hire time at one old penny a second (£15 per hour). Nicholas was the first computer to use nickel magnetostrictive delay-line storage – hence the name. Only one Nicholas computer was built.