The Lyons Electronic Office - LEOII/3 electronic programable storage computer, installed and first d
Lot 569W
The Lyons Electronic Office - LEOII/3 electronic programmable storage computer, installed and first demonstration run in May 1958,
Sold for £8,400 (US$ 14,118) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Lyons Electronic Office - LEOII/3 electronic programmable storage computer,
installed and first demonstration run in May 1958,
The first commercially sold computer.

Tape head reader unit, with split part operation and monitor controls for 'run' and 'halt', blue-painted faceplate and chrome removing pull;
Memory carriage unit, with 11-valve lineup (one missing, one vacuum loss), rectangular chassis with resistor boards below and rack hoops at each end;
Frequency Monitor Unit with CRT display, with square chassis and vision mixer valves on top, used in conjunction with the delay tube box;
CRT tube from the main control console, one of three tubes from the desk, (vacuum lost, gun end cracked);
A LEO magnetic tube drum, lockable lids and the tape protected in reel core.

A series of circuit diagram blueprints covering the magnetic drum reader, amplifier, storage and input circuits, all numbered and some with pencil annotations on slight changes to circuit paths; two punch cards, both processed by LEOII/3, showing punched number columns;
Newspaper 1 - The Review News, July 1957, the article covering the installation of LEOII/3 at Stewart & Lloyds;
Newspaper 2 - The Steel News, 15 July 1971, covering, surprisingly briefly, the LEOII/3 decommissioning task and the farewell message it printed;
The Farewell Message - the actual printout as churned through LEOII/3's printer rollers, now framed - in full layout it says:
70000 HOURS
124000000 CARDS
3640000 INVOICES
23 JUNE 71

Originally occupying an area measuring 80' x 32' 6", it was switched off, replaced and super-seeded by an IBM 360. - the memory unit 26.1/2in. (67cm) wide


  • The LEO timeline through history:

    1947 November - Lyons board agree to provide aid to Cambridge University to complete EDSAC

    1949 May - EDSAC completes first job Lyons agree to proceed with the building of LEO

    1951 November - Cadby Hall Bakery Valuations job runs live on LEO and thereafter each week: the world’s first regular routine office job

    1954 February - LEO pay-slips used for the first time as payment authorities for Lyons payroll.

    1954 November - LEO Computers Ltd formed

    1955 December - Pilot Ford payroll live on LEO I

    1956 February - First external order for LEO II for W.D. & H.O. Wills

    1957 May - Ford payroll running on LEO I reaches 10,000
    LEO II prototype operational
    Pilot running of Stewarts and Llyods payroll starts

    1958 May - LEO II/3 commissioned at Stewart and Llyods, Corby
    September LEO II/2 at W.D. and H.O. Wills, Bristol
    December LEO II/4 at Ford Motor Co Aveley, Essex

    M.B-L comments: "Leo I 1951 was the prototype. There were 13 of the second Generation Leo IIs made. Leo II/1 replaced Leo I the manufacturer’s computer. Leo II/2 was sold to the Wills Tabacco Co Leo II/3 was sold to Stuart and Llyods, Leo II/4 was sold to the Ford Motor Co. UK. It is interesting to note that Ford UK had a computer before its parent company in the USA. If the World’s first commercial computer is defined as the first computer sold and used by a company for commercial work then, as can be seen from the time line above, Stewarts and Lloyds LEO II/3 was the World’s first commercial computer."