My second job out of school was baby sitting a Ferranti Mark 1 digital computer called FERUT which had been relocated from the University of Toronto to the Structures Laboratory (M-14) at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa.

Main operating console for the Ferranti Mark-1 computer.

Main operating console for the Ferranti Mark-1 computer.

FERUT has the distinction of being the first commercial programmable electronic digital computer ever sold in Canada and only the second sold in the North America. (Remington Rand’s UNIVAC 1 was the first, having been delivered to the U.S. Census Bureau in June of 1951, four months after the delivery of the first Ferranti Mark 1, making it the second commercial computer in the world and the first in North America.)

In 2014, I learned that I may be the last living person (assuming that I’m still alive when you’re reading this!) to have ever worked on Canada’s first commercially sold computer. You can learn more about FERUT and my early adventures with computer maintenance at

I left that job in early 1960 to go north to the Distant Early Warning Line (DEWLine) in the Arctic, an adventure that I document on my web site titled “Adventures from the Coldest Part of the Cold War.”