Early Days

Early Days of Computers (1939 - 1949)


  • Computers go back a lot farther than most people think. A lot of unknowing people think that computers are a recent invention, past 30 years, but it goes back a lot farther. Hewlett-Packard is founded in Palo Alto, CA in 1939. What we now know as HP, invented the first type of computer called the 200A Audio Oscillator. A few years later in 1942, Atanasoff-Berry computer is invented. It is a full size machine that looks nothing like the computers nowadays. These inventions cause a major stir in technology. In 1943, the U.S. Navy and MIT start Project Whirlwind to create a flight simulator. They scrapped the idea because they didn't create exactly what they had hoped for.

  • Harvard Mark-1 was the next type of computer that was invented in 1944 by Howard Aiken who worked for IBM. The Mark-1 was a room sized relay-based calculator. In the same year, Tommy Flowers brought out the Colossus which was a computer that was invented to break Nazi enigma codes in World War II. This computer was kept a secret until 1970. 1945 was the year Konrad Zuse invented the first algorithmic programming language and first functional program controlled electromechanical digital computer. It is the same year that electronic storage was introduced with the EDVAC. IBM came out with the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator in 1948 and this computer helped plot the course for the 1969 Apollo flight to the moon.


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