Invisible Airs, Contraptions, Bristol, UK

bnr#55 => Invisible Airs, Contraptions, Bristol, UK

LEO Algorithm (Lyon’s Electronic Office)

Object: 28
Date of origin: 1951
Author/inventor/context: J. Lyon & Co, English Catering Firm, John Simmons
In the early 20th Century, women poured into the centrally supplied, 250 strong shops of the Lyon's & Co. Tea company. They were safe houses, where liberated women could sit in the vicinity of strange men and eat cake and sip tea. With 64 tubes of mercury and 5,000 thermionic valves, the Lyons Electronic Office became the world's first business computer, automating the consumption of confectionery from Thursday, November 29th 1951 when a flock of clerks, the order processors and fact checkers handling the data before calculation, received their final pay packet. The LEO algorithm recites, comprises and scales these practices as they are recorded, stored and processed.

Alexandra Sofie Jönsson