The collection contains papers charting the development of LEO, the first business computer. It includes company correspondence dating from the 1950s, patent information, material relating to the development of systems and programming, and also includes many manuals, instruction and user training booklets.
LEO Computers Collection
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- ReferenceGB 133 NAHC/LEO
- Dates of Creation1946-1996
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description230 items
- LocationCollection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main John Rylands University Library.
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Collaborations between J. Lyons & Company, a British catering company with strong interests in new office management techniques, and Cambridge University led to the production of a series of important computers, called LEO - Lyons Electronic Office. LEO, operational in 1951, ran "the world's first regular routine office computer job". LEO Computers Ltd was formed in 1954 with Anthony Salmon, J.R.M. Simmons and T.R. Thompson as Directors. The company installed LEO computers in many British offices, including Ford Motor Company and the "clerical factory" of the Ministry of Pensions at Newcastle. LEO Computers Ltd merged with the computer interests of English Electric in 1963 to form English Electric LEO. Subsequent mergers eventually found LEO incorporated into ICL in 1968.
The collection is open to any accredited reader.
The material was acquired from the following sources: John Pinkerton (C1-C13, and C52-97); Peter Bird (A9, B1-B14, C98-C195); John Aris; Peter Byford; Gordon Foulger; A.L. Jacobs; G. Parry; Phil Andrews; Ann Sayce; Gordon Foulgar; Mike Hancock. Much of the collection was made available through the generous assistance of the Leo Computers Society: see http://www.leo-computers.org.uk/.
Description compiled with reference to: Peter Bird, LEO, the First Business Computer, (Hasler, 1994); David Caminer, John Aris, Peter Hermon and Frank Land, The World's First Business Computer: User-Driven Innovation, (London: McGraw-Hill, 1996) and John Hendry, The teashop computer manufacturer: J. Lyons, LEO and the potential and limits of high-tech diversification , Business History (1987) 29, pp73-102.