What Was The First Computer Ever Made – Long before they found their way into homes around the world, computers were the preserve of universities, research institutes and corporate headquarters. After all, the bright, large size of the 1960s can fill their home.
The invention of the microprocessor – Intel’s 4004 was the first to be sold in 1971 – changed all that. Manufacturers were able to create small devices that fit into consumers’ homes.
What Was The First Computer Ever Made
The original Apple Macintosh, released in 1984. Scroll through the gallery to see more images from his book. Credit: John Short
What Was The First Computer?
The story of how computers entered our homes is not one of technology, but one of marketing and design, according to author and journalist Alex Wiltshire, whose new book, “Home Computers: 100 Icons That Defined the Digital Generation,” tells the industry first. history through its powerful forms.
“The technology was already there,” he said in a phone interview. “But what was important was the idea of putting it into a form that could be bought and used easily.”
The first models in Wiltshire’s book were aimed at the hobbyist and industry insider. These so-called “kit” computers only performed basic tasks, such as binary arithmetic, and their appeal was in adding new features or otherwise modifying the hardware. In other words, they were all functional and formless — “computers for computers,” as the author put it.
Wiltshire’s book contains many of the most important computers of the era, captured attractively by photographer John Short. Pictured here is an example of the first “kit” model, the Minivac 601 which was mainly used by businesses to familiarize employees with computers. Credit: John Short
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But the arrival of user-friendly machines like the Commodore PET in 2001 and the Apple II in 1977 heralded a change.
“There was a big shift in the idea of, ‘What if these computers were embedded, delivered and designed in a way that anyone could use?’ – that they won’t need people to learn design languages or computers, or to furnish several rooms in their homes,” Wiltshire said.
“What if there were these things that people could buy off the shelf and plug into their TVs?
“That’s when the concept of the ‘home computer’ was born, and it was under construction.”
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The biggest challenge was for the computers to “not be scary,” Wiltshire said. “Anything they could do to say, ‘Hey I could be in your house, I’m not hiding and I’m not going to take it.’
Indeed, while some of the first models boasted of their processing power – with names like Intertec Superbrain, with a high image, for example – others were sold in reception methods.
Genie, Acorn, Aquarius, Rainbow, Apricot and Alice are just some of the enticing brand names to appear in Wiltshire’s book, which is based around the collection at the UK’s Center for Computing History (giving his choice a bit of a British slant).
The “portable” Philips P2000C weighed 15 kilograms and was equipped with a 9-inch green-screen monitor. Credit: John Short
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This message was often emphasized by colorful keyboards and round, invisible casings in shades of beige and gray. But, in the early days of the industry, there was little consensus about what a computer should look like.
The QWERTY keyboard, still the standard today, was widely adopted from the beginning. But everything else was experimental. Some computers had small monitors built in, while others were integrated into the TV. Storage appears on the side, on the bottom or completely isolated on external disks. Sharp’s MZ-80K had a small cassette drive, while the ICL Merlin Tonto even featured a telephone receiver.
But, they are all connected with a simple look and greatness. Take the Osborne 1, the first portable computer aimed at a business audience. It may have weighed 11 kilograms, but as announced in 1981, it could store “the equivalent of 1,600 typed pages on floppy diskettes” – much more than an old backpack compared to its size.
Computers’ interfaces were still far from intuitive, and often required users to enter lines of code and text commands to open and use programs.
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Wiltshire said that the industry “had no connection to the wider world of design” and that design decisions “were made by senior management and marketing.”
“A lot of the beauty of the hardware as it appeared on the box was deceptive,” he added, “because you still have the following wires going into the monitor and into the disk drive.”
The money can also be deceiving. Add-ons, disks and external hardware often brought de facto prices above those advertised. And cost was, in Wiltshire’s opinion, a major driving force in developing the first machines — understandably so, given that the 1980s proved to be a tough economic time for computer firms. “Companies came and went,” the writer said. “It was a gold rush.”
Osborne declared bankruptcy two years after the launch of its aforementioned computer, with other major players such as Spectravideo and Oric also falling in a decade-long price war. The industry was also affected by a lack of standardization, which made it more difficult to develop software and games that were compatible across multiple platforms.
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Microprocessors rapidly grew in power, and the development of point-and-click graphical interfaces made computing more user-friendly than ever before.
By the 1990s, the stagnation was continuing, with Microsoft’s Windows operating systems – which were not tied to any type of computer – starting to dominate the market. A consensus began to emerge, too, about what a computer should look like: a rectangular box with a monitor on top and a keyboard in front.
“It meant people knew what to expect, and retailers knew what to sell,” Wiltshire explained. “It wasn’t a good thing. It needed to be placed on a desk, and (even then) you were limited where you could put it, but it was a necessity in the continuing evolution of computing in the home.”
Then came the iconic Apple iMac G3. Produced in a variety of bright colors, this new generation of Macintoshes exploded on billboards, TV screens and, finally, people’s homes in 1998. Its whiteness and (as it seems) wireless design was accompanied by a presentation emphasizing its simplicity in comparison with the greatness of the time. PCs. “Step one: Connect,” went one of Apple’s iconic TV ads. “Step two: Connect. Step three…there is no step three.”
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Apple’s iconic iMac G3 came in a variety of bright colors and was marketed as easier to use than the bulkier PCs of the time. Credit: John Short
Fittingly, the iMac G3 is the last model featured in Wiltshire’s book. It marks the end of an era and the beginning of another – one in which personal computers have become coveted inventions.
“People accepted that this beige box would sit on their desks, and they had to be patient,” the author explained. “Then Apple said, ‘It doesn’t have to be like this – this could be a good thing.’ It can be beautiful… and it will be part of your daily life, not just something you do at work. ‘Seventy-five years ago, the world was introduced to ENIAC, the first electronic, programmable, general purpose, digital computer, in an exhibition that not only brought the first lights of the computer age, but also shaped the popular ideas of computing. it still exists today.
ENIAC is short for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, and although it was close in design to modern computers, it was not the first electronic computer. However, its competitors were all experimenting with what ended up being murky or top secret projects whose lives were not made public until the 1970s.
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Nevertheless, when ENIAC made its debut in front of the news cameras in February 1946, it looked like part of what would become a stereotypical giant electronic brain. It cost US$500,000 (about US$7.2 million in $220), weighed 27 tons, stretched in a U-shape 80 feet (80 m), covered 1,800 square feet (167 sq m), and submerged 150 kW of electricity to power 18, 800 radio valves or vacuum tubes.
By today’s standards, it would make less than a pocket store pocket calculator, but when it was built, it represented a leap forward in calculation speed of several orders of magnitude.
It began life in 1942 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania with the support of the US Army Ordnance Department and the Ballistic Research Laboratories as part of the project to create gunnery tables for new weapons that are being developed for the US experiment after joining. The Second World War.
At that time, this work was given to computers. No, that’s not a typo. Before the Second World War, computers were people, and during the war, due to being a menial job and the desire to free men from combat work, it was often done by women. In this case, hundreds of them.
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Enter physicist Dr. John W. Mauchly, who was already entertaining the idea of building an electronic computer for research