Somewhere around 1980, I heard about PDP-11 systems that had side-panels designed by Corita Kent (a nun and pop artist, who amongst other things designed a stamp for the US post office, and gas storage tanks along the Boston southeast expressway). And in fact there's a picture of an installation at the Corita Kent web site. It looks like a PDP-11/23 to me.

At the time I first heard of these, I think they were cynically described as "Gordon Bell's contribution to the arts". The photo accords with my memory: computer with side-panels, desk side-panel(s), wall-hanging.

But my question is: were any of these actually sold? How many?


It seems that the answer is "no" according to this web page and this web page.

"In 1976, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a leader in the computer industry, commissioned the pop artist Corita Kent to design panels to adorn the sides of its computers, cubicle walls, and office furniture. Kent created six serigraphs of colorful swaths, but DEC never produced the panels."

The reason given seems weak:

"Unfortunately, a small but significant glitch ended the project soon after it began. Despite their best efforts, the only way engineers could figure out to attach Kent’s work to the computers without harming her prints was by using small magnets. But magnets, of course, were “anathema to memory disks,” as Nahil put it."

A bit of a let-down, really, but I have my answer.

  • 5
    How does site etiquette work here? Should I "accept" my own answer? It seems a little like self-promotion. – another-dave Jan 13 '19 at 4:06
  • 5
    That is, as strange as it may seem, actually the right thing to do. It preserves the information in a properly searchable manner for anyone who is looking for the answer in the future. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 13 '19 at 4:31
  • 3
    Hmm - site needs me to wait (another 14 hours at this moment) before I can accept my answer. Will do. – another-dave Jan 13 '19 at 13:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.