I wonder if anyone else here remembers the ITT SPE (International Telephone and Telegraph Stored Program Element)?
It was a specialized computer designed in the mid-50's and built in the early 1960s, used to facilitate communications between the USAF Headquarters, Strategic Air Command and the numerous missile bases throughout the United States. It had 64k of core memory -- when the thing was decommissioned in 1989, I got to see the core memory; little iron circles -- "cores" -- with a copper wire running through them. The command console itself was around 14 feet long, and there was no such thing as a "keyboard" -- we used PBIs (Push Button Indicators) to enter commands in octal, then pressed a button labeled "GO" at the end of the row of PBIs to make the machine process the command. There was a very large, loud line printer which kept an audit log of commands entered.
It used reel tape drives which were so tall that we had to stand on stepladders to mount a tape.
It used rows and rows of drum storage; this was a predecessor to disk drives -- magnetic storage where the magnetic surface was on a drum which rotated around, and the heads moved up and down over the rotating surface.
It used patch panels, much like old-style telephone switchboards, to translate between actual hardware and "logical" hardware.
It filled a room that was easily twice the size of a US football field.
And man it was loud.
Ironically, when it was decommissioned in 1989, the system that took its job over was an IBM series-1 customized and called "SACDIN" ... which was itself created in 1977.
I will have to post a few photos I have of the console when I have the chance to dig them up.