Stretch/Harvest Bibliography

Reunion Photos on the web

The only ones to come into view so far are from John Carter.
    John Carter

Web Links

We searched the web for 'stretch computer' and were inundated with sites that advised how to relax at your PC or how to extend your I.T. budget. When we winnowed the chaff, we found some wonderful historical surveys, profiles of people, old photographs, reminiscenses, award citations, etc. Here are what we think are the best. (Let us know what we missed, and we will extend the list.)

  1. Bob Bemer:
  2. Eric Smith:
  3. Livermore Labs:
  4. Mark Smotherman:
  6. Gordon Bell:
  7. Virginia Tech:
  10. Manchester Univ:
  11. Jeremy Myers:
  12. Dr. Dobb's Jour:
  13. IBM Corporation:
  16. "Ever Onward"

[1] is from one of our own, Bob Bemer.

[2] Smith's site stands out as the work of an individual strongly concerned with preserving the history of early computers.

In granting our request for permission to link to his site, Smith asked:

"Aside from the reference manuals, which I have, are you aware of any Stretch hardware or software documentation still in existence? The Harvest reference manual makes references into a multi-volume Stretch theory of operation manual, but I haven't been able to find that or anything else about the hardware, or anything at all about software.

"The Computer History Museum has the nearly complete Livermore Stretch in storage, but they don't seem to think that they have any documentation."

If you have something that he could add to his collection or know about additional materials, please write to Eric Smith at

[3] George Michael and a long interview with Norm Hardy.

[4] Smotherman's site has a good short history of the Stretch project and links to some other sites. There is also an account [5] of Harwood Kolsky's memories of working with John Cocke.

Also, in responding to our request to link to his site Smotherman wrote: "I have just briefly updated the page with a few items that I've been meaning to add. Perhaps the most interesting to you is the availability on-line of a 7030 Reference Manual (dated August 1961) -- however it's a huge pdf file that won't download quickly over dial-up connections. I've included a link to it on my web page (it's in Al Kosow's collection).

"(BTW, I would love to get any corrections or additions to my overview page.)

"I hope that someone will contribute a write-up of the reunion to the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing."

[6] Bell has assembled a 44 chapter book on-line of source materials about early computers. Chapter 34 is by Erich Bloch. It comes from a 1959 EJCC paper. The acknowledgements provided the names of four previously unlisted people in the everyone file: J. F. Dirac, J. A. Hipp, O. L. MacSorley, L. O. Ulfsparre.

[7] is a very broad and deep history of computing. [8] is a directory to a whole bunch of photographs including pictures of Blaauw, Bloch, and Cocke. [9] has a picture of a Univac I and a brief mention of Stretch.

[10] History of computers in 20 minutes and with a British emphasis. [11] The author calls this "A Short History of the Computer - b.c. to 1993 a.d.". It is short, but nicely done. There is a one line reference to Stretch, plus a bum link to the IBM history site.

[12] This is a fairly standard history, but if you want to see how far we have come, then check the system specs. The PC you are reading these words on runs 2000 times faster than Stretch, but Stretch cost 4000 times more. That comes out to a factor of 8,000,000 in price/performance improvment over the course of 40 years.

[13] The IBM history site. Click on 'Using the Archives' to get to the search function . Then go to the bottom of the page and click on 'Advanced Search' to get to [14]. I searched for 'stretch', 'Stretch', and '7030' and got nothing. Eventually, I searched for 'computer'. This led into a very interesting area which referenced many papers from the 1940's through the 1980's. Here are the descriptions of three of them. Unfortunately, the papers are not on line. You can only request a paper copy.

Item #13586 -- Los Alamos and National Laboratories

Articles and reports on Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and other laboratories of the Atomic Energy Commission and its successor, the U.S. Department of Energy, focusing on their use of the IBM-701, STRETCH, and other computers.

Item #13587 -- Machina ex Machina

Excerpt from book, "The Elegant Solution" (1967), by Jean Ford Brennan. Napier, Pascal, Leibnitz, Babbage, Boole, binary systems, early calculating machines; von Neuman, Stibitz, Aiken, ENIAC, UNIVAC, IBM's early computers, computers in 1960s.

Item #13674 -- Computer Development at IBM

Conference presentation by Cuthbert C. Hurd (1976), later published as chapter in "A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century" (1980), covering IBM 701, 650, 705, Magnetic Core Memory, STRETCH, and other early IBM computer accomplishments.

Sometime later I did a Google search for 7030 and found this IBM page [15] specifically for Stretch. (Again, the papers can be had only in printed form.)

[16] has an animation, with pictures (is that the Stretch console?) and the words of the IBM song, "Ever Onward". John Carter, who supplied this link, notes that the song of the Plant Managers is especially poignant. I asked the author for permission to link to his site and got this note in response (slightly shortened):

I received (your note) while I was on the phone with my dad, Bob Flaherty, and he said he had just spoken to you. Small world isn't it?

The animation wasn't really supposed to be for mass consumtion, I originally made it about 2 years ago when the company the I was working for outsourced its entire IT department to IBM. It was more as a fun thing for me and my co-workers.

The animation runs fast on all computers. It shows my lack of skill at flash animation. This was actually my first attempt. Question for you though. Does the music sound too fast, like a 33.3 LP being played at 45 rpm? If it does, try upgrading your flash player.

And of course you can link to my page.

Tim Flahery

Hardcopy Links

Here are four sources for a review/summary of the Stretch/Harvest project. Please send us suggestions for extending the list.

Bill Collier

Last updated November 8, 2002.