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

Photo: ERNIE display at the Science Museum, London © LSA  March 2010.
| EXIT | ERNIE | Prize Draw Histories | Leaflets | Technology | Media | Science Museum | Acknowledgements |

The Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment, better known as ERNIE was commissioned to select prize winners of Premium Savings Bonds. The initial concept of the machine was devised by Mr S.W. Broadhurst and Premium Bonds were officially launched on 1 November 1956 by Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The first draw took place on 2 June 1957. Originally, there were 23 denominations of bond values. The minimum purchase was a £1 bond. The maximum purchase was a £500 bond.

In April 2019, ERNIE was replaced by a fifth-generation machine.

Prize Draw Histories
Prize Draw Histories
The prize draws change every so often to ensure the popularity of Premium Bonds is maintained.

Photo: Bob Hope and the first £5000 winning bond number.
ERNIE in Leaflets
ERNIE Leaflets Go on - buy a few more Premium Savings Bonds Buy Premium Savings Bonds
A selection of ERNIE leaflets and posters to encourage the purchase of Premium Bonds.

Leaflets courtesy of NS & I.

ERNIE Technology
ERNIE has evolved as the technology has advanced through the decades.

Photo: ERNIE Mark 1 on display in the Science Museum, London © LSA June 2008.
ERNIE in the Media
ERNIE has many famous friends who publicise his work, at events, in TV ads and in the Press.

Photo: Dame Judi Dench officiates and announces the lucky winners in the prize draw of 1st May 1962. "To that dear old gentleman 'ERNIE'- from Judi Dench".
ERNIE at the Science Museum
The launch of ERNIE 4 in 2004 was celebrated with a one day display of all four ERNIEs at the Science Museum in London.

Note: The ERNIE gallery closed on 1st September 2015 after more than seven years of being on show to the public.

Photo: ERNIE on display in the Science Museum, London © LSA June 2008.


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.

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated August 2019.

All logos and trade marks are the property of their respective owners and are used on the Light Straw site(s) for review only. Students and researchers are recommended to make their own independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information contained therein.