Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Nixdorf - Branded Entrex Data/Scope Terminal

These were all posted on Flickr back on September 15, 2007
He says... "This machine has been found in a barn... and is now looking for its long lost identity!"
3250 01
S? 5? 18693
mastro "TL" files 2°, 3°
mastro "LS"   "   1°, 4°

Deeper research shows that these photos were posted by
Matteo Cassese from this picture on his Flickr Photostream:

And we may have found him on Facebook here:

Meaningful comments on this system, all found at:

This is a data entry terminal from an Entrex 480 Key to Disk System used for high volume batch data entry back in the 1980's. Entrex sold this system to Nixdorf Computer AG on an OEM basis. Years later Nixdorf Computer acquired Entrex Inc of Burlington MA and later renamed the company to Nixdorf Computer, moving its US headquarters to this location. It was the most successful of data entry systems at that time competing with Inforex, IBM, DataPoint, FourPhase and others. From Extrex came many start up companies in high tech, a venture minded gang, lots of fun. Basically this is a dumb terminal that gets it intelligence from a shared processor, in this case a Data General Nova (look alike DCC mini computer). Typically there would be 32 data entry operators connected to this mini-computer, they replaced key punch operators and punched card & equipment.

Linda Lopeke 
PhonoJack is correct but for the dates. The Entrex 480 is from the mid-70s. [I programmed this system circa 1974.]

I don't know the machine, but the keyboard layout is that of an 80-column Hollerith card punch.

James Dorris
I used to repair these during my time with Nixdorf Computer Corporation. The 480 system did indeed run in the DCC mini. It had 32K of core memory and a wire wrapped back plane. This was my introduction to the IT world.

James Dorris
Sorry I meant Data General DCC clone.

It is a dump terminal and it was used for Data entry on the Nixdorf 620 system. It is the original design from the company Entrex, Burlinton MA.

So where is this Data/Scope terminal now?  

I contacted him, and asked.  He said:
"I sold this terminal on eBay a while ago...It seemed to go in good hands. If I remember correctly to the UK to someone who had a parent that used to work at Nixdorf."

Based on the timeframe of his message where he says "This piece is *ON SALE*", this was sold sometime in the fall of 2008.  According to the URL, the title of that auction was: 
"Nixdorf Computer mod 3250 Vintage Museum interest", but unfortunately, any archive is long gone.

So, our hopes are, the new proud owner of this rare Nixdorf (Entrex) Data/Scope might find this page, and let me know that they have it, and what they are doing with it.

We'd love to know!

Best to all!

UPDATE 09/04/2019
What appears to this exact terminal has popped up on in Bray, Wicklow, Ireland about 3 years ago.  We created another page/post for that here.

Also, I noticed that one of these above images on flickr got a new comment 2 months ago, worth mentioning and reposting here!


This is not a dumb terminal. It is dumber than a dumb terminal. It is a data entry key station as part of a key-to-disk system. I use to work on a competing product, the UNIVAC 1900 CADE (Computer-Assisted Data Entry) system. Unlike dumb terminals that have some logic of encoding key strokes into ASCII characters, sending the ASCII characters to the computer, receiving ASCII characters from the computer, storing the ASCII characters in its internal RAM, and displaying the ASCII character on the screen, data entry key stations have no ASCII encoding ability and no internal RAM storage. A portion of RAM on the central computer serves as storage for each key station's display. Pressing a key sends a key scan code to the central computer. The central computer encodes the key scan code into EBCDIC characters that are stored on a disk drive. The central computer can lock the keyboard or unlock the keyboard. It can shift the keyboard to numeric or alphabetic mode. It can make an electronic click sound on the key station's speaker when a key is pressed or make no sound when a key is pressed which indicates the keyboard is locked. It generates a low-tone beep on the key station's speaker which indicates a record is complete or generate a high-tone beep and flash the screen when the operator presses an invalid key. 

The key-to-disk system is used for high-speed heads-down data entry where data entry operators enter data from source documents that are grouped in batches. A second operator re-enters the data from the same source documents to verify the data entered by the first operator. After all the batches of source documents are verified for accuracy, a data entry supervisor writes the verified data as EBCDIC characters on 9-track magnetic tape which is then brought over to a mainframe computer for input processing. The supervisor can generate reports from the central computer by having it keep track of each operator's productivity in key stroke speed (I use to average 18,000 keystrokes per hour), key strokes inputted, records inputted, errors created, etc.

These key stations cannot be used as a terminal connected to a computer with an RS-232 serial cable. It has no internal logic to output or input ASCII characters.


  1. Hi Folks, thanks for the interest! I still have this exact machine, it's been in my wardrobe since about 2006(?), shortly after I bought it on ebay from an Italian seller. I'm the dude in Ireland. I've powered it up a few times over the years, it does display but it scrambled (like a screen of text with another screen of text on top of it, the two offset!) I think Nixdorf associated with Panasonic etc. in the States, and I've gotten lots on leads on this particular machine, one being that it's a Digital clone. I tried to dismantle it to at least give it a go of compressed air but I could find absolutely no way of doing so and just left it alone. I also have two large Nixdorf laptops from about 1990 and a Nixdorf portable :D

    1. Tony, so glad to hear from you, here! Thanks so much for sharing here... I've tried to contact you over about this very machine. Do you think you could email me, please?
      Much appreciated!