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2 definitions found
 for grind crank
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  grind crank
   n., //
  
      A mythical accessory to a terminal. A crank on the side of a monitor, which
      when operated makes a zizzing noise and causes the computer to run faster.
      Usually one does not refer to a grind crank out loud, but merely makes the
      appropriate gesture and noise. See grind.
  
      Historical note: At least one real machine actually had a grind crank ? the
      R1, a research machine built toward the end of the days of the great vacuum
      tube computers, in 1959. R1 (also known as ?The Rice Institute Computer?
      (TRIC) and later as ?The Rice University Computer? (TRUC)) had a
      single-step/free-run switch for use when debugging programs. Since
      single-stepping through a large program was rather tedious, there was also
      a crank with a cam and gear arrangement that repeatedly pushed the
      single-step button. This allowed one to ?crank? through a lot of code, then
      slow down to single-step for a bit when you got near the code of interest,
      poke at some registers using the console typewriter, and then keep on
      cranking. See http://www.cs.rice.edu/History/R1/.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  grind crank
  
     A mythical accessory to a terminal.  A crank on the side of
     a monitor, which when operated makes a zizzing noise and
     causes the computer to run faster.  Usually one does not refer
     to a grind crank out loud, but merely makes the appropriate
     gesture and noise.  See grind.
  
     Historical note: At least one real machine actually had a
     grind crank - the R1, a research machine built toward the
     end of the days of the great vacuum tube computers, in 1959.
     R1 (also known as "The Rice Institute Computer" (TRIC) and
     later as "The Rice University Computer" (TRUC)) had a
     single-step/free-run switch for use when debugging programs.
     Since single-stepping through a large program was rather
     tedious, there was also a crank with a cam and gear
     arrangement that repeatedly pushed the single-step button.
     This allowed one to "crank" through a lot of code, then slow
     down to single-step for a bit when you got near the code of
     interest, poke at some registers using the console typewriter,
     and then keep on cranking.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  

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