Rare IBM 704 Salesman’s Model
This very rare working Salesman’s model of an IBM 704 Computer dates to the late 1950s. There is a short video below of it working.
It is offered in original condition. There is a small corner chipped off the plastic back of the tape deck and the bottom row of switches on the console is a later replacement.
If like me you don’t have the cupboard space for a full scale vintage IBM mainframe computer, then this might be the next best thing! It is also the best desk toy I have seen in years and a very rare if not unique example of its type.
Models such as this were reputedly made for IBM during the 1950s and 1960s to give to their salesmen. As such they would have been made in very small quantities only. I only know of a few similar salesman models held in public museums and none of theirs light up. This therefore is the only ‘working’ example I know of, and would surely have impressed any prospective clients. I can just imagine someone back in the 1950s sitting behind their big desk saying to the IBM sales rep “Yes I’ll place an order but only if I can keep your model”.
The detail on this iconic IMB 704 example is actually very good. It is constructed out of wood and painted plastic with cast metal details and is mounted on an American Walnut plinth. The whole thing is very untouched and internally it has a motor hidden in the tape deck which when the external white button is pressed, sets off in quick series the bulbs in the console unit. It is beautifully engineered and would have been pricey to make. Power was via a 9v square battery which someone has later added an AA battery casing to. Therefore now it runs off of 6 x AA batteries.
Production of the IMB 704 only took place between 1955-1960 so it is fair to assume this example dates to this period. There is small speculation that it perhaps dates to the early 1960s instead as a commemorative model for an employee etc, but there is nothing to suggest the piece has been put together retrospectively any later than that.
This would be perfect for public display or just on your own desk at home.