Looking back at how the Fylde's famous Ernie has changed over the years

Premium Bond random number generator Ernie has taken a quantum leap, as the fifth generation of the technology has been launched.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 9:25 am
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 3:03 pm
Ernie, Mark 1

The new Ernie is a chip around the size of a grain of rice, whereas the original version - based at Premium Bonds in St Annes - was 3.5 metres long, weighed 1,500kg and was described as being the size of a van. Here’s a peek into the archives at how it used to look.

Ernest Marples, the then Postmaster-General, pressing a button to start up ERNIE (Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment) for the first Premium Savings Bonds draw, at St Annes, on June 1, 1957
A computer chip around the size of a grain of rice - the fifth generation of the Premium Bond random number generator machine known as Ernie

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Ernest Marples (left), then Postmaster General, and S.W. Broadhurst, General Post Office staff engineer, inspecting 'Ernie' (Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment) in May 1957, at the Premium Savings Bonds office in St Annes, ahead of the first Premium Savings Bonds draw
Post Office engineers checking 'Ernie' (Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment) at the Premium Savings Bonds office in St Annes, in May 1957, in readiness for the first Premium Savings Bonds draw
Ernie, the strictly impartial Premium Bond robot housed in the steel cabinet in the background, churning out the wining numbers in the monthly draw at the Post Office Bonds and Stocks Division at St. Annes, in December 1964