024 > Terry Froggatt & Elliott’s
A photo of Terry Froggatt's Elliot 903. In 1963, Tony learned to program using an Elliot 803. Tony: “I suddenly found something I could do! I thought, wow, this is wonderful. It felt natural to me.”

024 > Terry Froggatt & Elliott’s

Recently, two of my biggest eBook related problems were solved in one fell swoop by Terry Froggatt and his Elliott 903.

Problem One: Elliott Automation History Gaps:

I have some great audio interviews with Tony concerning his time at Elliott’s and how his life was turned around when he discovered the wonderful world of computing.

BUT some details are a bit sketchy and I hadn’t yet found anyone who could help me paint a bit more of a detailed picture.

That was until Terry Froggatt got in touch (after a recent RAL lecture)

Photo of the (now demolished) Elliott Automation building on Elstree Way. When viewed from the air, it formed the shape of a letter E. A discreet choice for a company developing weapons systems for aircraft. At least it didn't form an X.

Terry joined the Airborne Computing Division of Elliott Brothers at Borehamwood in 1966 and remains an Elliott computer enthusiast to this day. He has very kindly offered to help me research and document Tony’s time at Elliott’s.

Thank you so much Terry!

Problem Two: Reading a paper tape:

There are many reels of fragile paper tape in the archive. I’ve always wondered what is on the tape, and always assumed that it was likely that the contents would remain a mystery.

Some of the tapes in the Tony Pritchett Archive. Photo by Terry Froggatt.

Well, I just can’t believe my luck because as well as helping me with my research, Terry has also kindly offered to scan all the paper tape in Tony’s archive!

You see, Elliott computer enthusiast Terry is a proud owner of:

> An industrial Arch 9000 (aka 903) originally used at Mobil’s Coryton refinery,
> A commercial 903, (probably) originally from Warwick Hospital
> A military Elliott 920M, (last used in a Jaguar aircraft.)

It will be absolutely wonderful to know what is on the paper tapes and to archive the information!!

I’m also really looking forward to hearing what Tony’s paper tape sounds like when ‘played’ as if mechanical organ musical notation.

(Paper tape is pretty similar looking to mechanical organ ‘tape’).

I thought Terry would consider this a bit of a daft request, but it turns out that operators did listen to the paper tape in order to spot errors.

Music software was also available for the Elliott 903, as demonstrated by Terry in the clip above. If you would like to find out more about music software for the 903, you can do so here in this article by Andrew Herbert.

And you can find out more about How Terry is able to do this using his equipment and software that he’s authored in the eBook.

THANK YOU TERRY!

Some paper tape that was used to deck the halls at Elliott's around the time of Flexipede’s birthday, Christmas 1967. Image courtesy of Terry Froggatt.
Close Menu