Built in 1965 by Westinghouse engineer James Sutherland, the ECHO IV was so big, “it looked more like the home was built to house the computer instead of the other way around.” In 1994, The IEEE Annals of the History of Computing reported that “the accompanying photo from an early article on the machine shows Jim Sutherland at the console with his wife putting a raincoat on daughter Sally while Jay and daughter Ann look on. The food is supposed to symbolize how ECHO had the potential to track the groceries, and the raincoat was in case ECHO learned to predict changes in the weather, which it never did.”
There’s more on ECHO (Electronic Computing Home Operator) in Popular Mechanics and in Dr. Dobbs, including this picture
I think it was actually 1966 that ECHO 4 was built, but the IEEE article does say that the parts were scrapped (and thus acquired by Sutherland) in 1965. Sutherland and his family are still alive (all 5 in the Post-Gazette picture). When I last saw ECHO 4 in the 1970’s, it was using a real IBM Selectric typewriter for I/O. ECHO 4 is now in a museum somewhere in California, but not on display. It might make an interesting article for someone to interview Sutherland again and post a piece like “45 years of the home computer – then and now.” Contact me if you want his contact information, or just look him up in the telephone book. He is long retired and has lots of time to talk.
We run a Smart Home business in Atlantic Canada and would love Mr. Sutherland’s contact information if he has the time to talk.
Cannon Smart Homes
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