I have made yet another attempt, and this time I was closer to success. However, there appears to be a new problem...
I used an extra workstation to copy the bootable i486 system to a USB flash drive. (Actually, I first tried using a 2GB SD card for lack of a flash drive, which proved to be disastrous.) That was a slight challenge, but I somehow accomplished the feat. I then booted the VAIO (PCG-SR33K) with the PCMCIA-attached CD-ROM drive, seeing as it does not boot via USB and has no floppy drive. After booting into the live system from the CD-ROM, I noted the device files of my drives: /dev/hda for the internal IDE hard disk, and /dev/sda for the USB flash drive. Then, I invoked the installer like so: "ttylinux-installer -m /dev/sda1 /dev/hda1."
The process appeared to go well until the step after "i> Mounting ttylinux CD-ROM on /dev/sda1 ... OK"
> "ls: /tmp/ttylinux/cdrom/packages: No such file or directory
> /sbin/ttylinux-installer: line 241: SOURCE_ARCH: unbound variable
> i> Installing ttylinux distribution packages.
> /sbin/ttylinux-installer: line 247: SOURCE_ARC: unbound variable
The installer then existed with exit code "1," having copied seemingly nothing to /dev/hda1, and leaving no bootloader ("Operating System Not Found").
Any suggestions from here? Was the flash drive not set up correctly?