Project History

In late April of 2019 Adam Bradley and Chris Blackburn were sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing for an IBM 360 Model 20. This eBay listing was unusual mainly because it didn’t actually list the computer as an IBM 360, but rather as an “seltene Anlage “Puma Computer IBM 2020” which roughly translates from German into “rare plant “Puma Computer IBM 2020”.

The content of the advert text was similarly odd:

“Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
wir bieten Ihnen eine relativ seltene Anlage Puma Computer IBM 2020 wohl aus den 1980er Jahren in Rot mit Zubehör, Regal mit Rollen u.a. an. Einzelne Teile sind gekennzeichnet mit den Nummern: SYSTEM 360, IBM 29, 3504, 2020, 1403, 3125, 5471, 2415, 2311, 2203, 2501, 2560, 2152. Da diese Anlage schon längere Zeit in einem älteren Haus steht, wissen wir nicht, ob diese komplett ist. Ob alle Teile da sind, ist für uns als ausführende Firma im Auftrag des Hauseigentümers nicht bekannt. Einzelteile sind im schlechteren Zustand und möglich korrodiert.Die Maße sind unterschiedlich, max. Höhe 1,7 m ca. Insgesamt sind sechs Teile in den Maßen ca. 1 x 1 m, Tiefe ca. 60 cm. 

Bedingung für die Abgabe: Abholung in Nürnberg ebenerdig (2 Stufen) innerhalb von 14 Tagen.

Viel Erfolg und Spaß beim Bieten!
Am 08.04.19 hat der Verkäufer die folgenden Angaben hinzugefügt:Umfang: ein Mercedes-Benz Sprinter voll.”

This translates to:

“Dear Sirs and Madames,

we offer you a relatively rare plant Puma Computer IBM 2020 probably from the 1980s in red with accessories, shelf with rolls u.a. on. Individual parts are identified by the numbers: SYSTEM 360, IBM 29, 3504, 2020, 1403, 3125, 5471, 2415, 2311, 2203, 2501, 2560, 2152. Since this system has been in an older house for some time, we know that not, if this is complete. Whether all parts are there is not known to us as an executing company on behalf of the homeowner. Items are in worse condition and possibly corroded.
The dimensions are different, max. Height 1.7 m approx. In total, six parts in the dimensions of approx. 1 x 1 m, depth approx. 60 cm.

Condition for delivery: Collection in Nuremberg at ground level (2 levels) within 14 days.

Good luck and fun bidding!

On 08.04.19 the seller added the following information:
Scope: a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter full.”

Heres a screenshot of the original advert:

Luckily, there were photos. The photos below are the only ones that the advert had on it:

As you can probably tell, these aren’t the clearest photos, but they gave us enough of an idea of what was there… a once in a lifetime find. We decided we had to have it. Adam put in a bid of around 500 Euros and we waited. The advert finished the following day around midday. Luckily, Chris and Adam work together and as such the next morning in the office was rather tense! There was quite a flurry of bidding activity right at the end of the auction and with seconds to go and an exclamation of “Screw it!” Adam entered a bid of 4500 Euros. The hammer fell on 3710 Euros! We were now the proud owners of one IBM 360… or so we thought!

Read the blog to learn the saga that unfurled further and how we eventually tackled the problems we discovered. The core parts of the acquisition story are detailed in these posts:

Post 1

Post 2

Post 3