ERNIE Technology
ERNIE Technology
Since 1957 ERNIE - Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment has been generating prize numbers for holders of Premium Savings Bonds.








Photo: ERNIE at the Science Museum, London © LSA  June 2008.
| EXIT | ERNIE | ERNIE 1 | ERNIE 2 | ERNIE 3 | ERNIE 4 | Acknowledgements |
 
ERNIE

To date, there have been four versions of ERNIE (Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment). The earliest version used cold cathode tubes (valves) to generate random numbers. The latest version ERNIE 4 uses thermal noise generated by a special chipset. Each ERNIE is placed on a stage or in a setting which reflects the era in which it was designed. ERNIE has a 'wow' factor for being both a unique concept and a publicity draw for the product.

ERNIE 1  
ERNIE 1
ERNIE was designed and built in the Research Branch of the Engineer - in - Chief's Office of the Post Office and was installed at Lytham St. Annes by staff of the Preston Telephone Area.

ERNIE 1 was used for Premium Bond draws from 1957 to 1973.



Photo: ERNIE Mark 1.
ERNIE 2  
ERNIE 2
ERNIE 2 (1973-88) was designed to look like one of the sets from the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The 'computer' typeface was typical for the era.





Photo: ERNIE Mark 2.
ERNIE 3
ERNIE 3
A much streamlined ERNIE 3 came into being in 1988, which was developed by LogicaCMG, although the principle of generating random numbers has remained unchanged.




Photo: ERNIE Mark 3.
ERNIE 4  
ERNIE 4
With microchips and a printed circuit board, ERNIE 4 was built on a single motherboard and is no larger than an ordinary Personal Computer.




Photo: ERNIE Mark 4.
   
Acknowledgements

Disclaimer: These pages are an unofficial review of ERNIE and Premium Bonds. Photos copyright Light Straw Archives, as marked. Other photos and images used with kind permission of National Savings and Investments (NS & I). With thanks to the Science Museum, NS & I, and BT Heritage.

If you have a query about money or bonds held in National Savings, please visit the National Savings and Investments site. 


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