A Computer Glossary

A Computer Glossary

The film “A Computer Glossary” was produced in 1968 for the IBM Pavilion at the San Antonio World Exposition. It shows the functioning of a computer, the information machine, with funny and instructive graphic animations. Ray and Charles Eames created a highly interesting short film.

The designer couple Ray and Charles Eames

Charles Eames and his wife and partner Ray are best known for their chair design or their famous house in Pacific Palisades near Los Angeles. They have shaped the design of the 20th century. It is little known that they have also produced numerous films, including more than fifty films, exhibitions and books for the computer group IBM.

Technique of representation

With the help of animations, characteristic aspects of the logic of electronic problem solving are presented. With its two image levels, the film provides an introduction to the functioning of a computer. A process and its cybernetic representation are illustrated by simple means. The film shows an animated sequence of an event on the first image level and the representation of this event in a flowchart on a second image level. Such flowcharts were the usual basis for the creation of computer programs in the 1960s. The diagram uses the then common classical symbols for data flow diagrams. With the help of templates, such processes were initially recorded manually. The careful analysis and exact representation of the sequence of the respective data flow is the decisive prerequisite for the correct creation of the program instructions for controlling the computer.


The film was made in 1968 by Glen Fleck, an employee of the office of Ray and Charles Eames, with support from Lynn Stoller of IBM. The film won a bronze medal at the Atlanta International Film Festival in 1969.

Hemisfair San Antonio 1968

The World Exposition San Antonio

The film by IBM and the Eames Office was first shown in 1968 at IBM’s Lakeside Pavilion at the Hemisfair World Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.

Performances in Germany

In the 1970s, he was presented by the US Information Agency in the foreign offices of the USA. We were able to see the film in 1973 at the Amerika Haus in Munich. A copy of the film is now in the National Archives in College Park. A digital copy is in the archive of zb Media. Here is information about the licensing possibilities

To learn more about Ray und Charles Eames visit Eames office page.