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Univac Engineering Center (UEC) Industrial Design photographs, 1958-1961

Accession: 1985-261Identifier: 1985-261-III.-A. -6.


  • Creation: 1958-1961

Historical Note

The major projects from 1955 to 1963 were the Livermore Advanced Research Computer (LARC) and the UNIVAC III system. Additional projects include the Univac Solid State Computer (USSC).

The USSC was originally conceived in 1952 as Univac Calculating Tabulator (UCT), which was an improvement on the UNIVAC 60 and 120 tabulators with improved calculating capability. The concept was revised to include solid state technology (magnetic amplifiers) and delivered to the United States Air Force in 1956 as the Univac 409-3. The commercial version of this computer was sold in Europe in 1957 and the US in 1959 as the USSC.

In 1955 Sperry Rand UNIVAC Division was awarded a contract to build a super-computer for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), which was at the time the University of California Radiation Laboratory (UCRL). The design for the LARC was the responsibility of the engineering operations at Philadelphia. A second LARC computer was built for the David Taylor Model Basin, and both LARCs were delivered in 1960.

Upon the completion of the LARC project, in 1961, the Philadelphia engineering operations relocated to the newly constructed Univac Engineering Center (UEC), in Whitpain Township, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. This facility was constructed to accommodate the expanding operations at Philadelphia, and, unlike the 23rd Street facility, was custom-designed as an engineering center. The location of the UEC was determined based on the location of the center of the population density of the engineering employees. The site was selected by Phil Vincent, and purchased by Sperry Rand in 1956.

The design of the UNIVAC III system began in 1958. Possibly the most significant improvement on the UNIVAC design was the switch from vacuum tube to transistor technology. Many of the improvements made to the UNIVAC system design were drawn from the design of the LARC computer. The UNIVAC III data processing system was introduced in 1962.

Scope and Content

These photographs document the design and production activities at the Univac Engineering Center (UEC) of the Sperry Rand Univac Division between 1957 and 1961, particularly the LARC (I and II) and UNIVAC III projects. This subseries also includes various card punching and reading equipment designed during this period.

General Physical Description note

1109 items [negatives, color transparencies, prints: 4x5, 5x7, 5x8, 8x10]


From the Collection: 105 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

There are no viewing or listening stations for analog audio, video, or film in the reading room. To access this material, please place a digitization request for the item(s).

Film material is located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at

Physical access to unstable portions is granted at the discretion of the conservator. In order to increase access to unstable materials, digital copies have been created.

Processing Notes

Some of the negatives and transparencies have been masked using tape. In order to preserve the condition of adjacent films, these masked films have been left in their original glassine housings.

Related Names


Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA