A Brief History of the Computer

Today, computers are ubiquitous. They are everywhere. You can’t walk more than 5 feet without finding yourself in close proximity to a computer of some kind. Modern are hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than the primitive computers of 40-50 years ago. They are fast, smaller, and capable of much more incredible things. How did we up with these amazing machines that are so commonplace today? Let’s take a look back through history.

Although under the technical definition, the abacus may be considered a primitive computer by some historians, we are going to jump right passed them.

The invention of the first modern (relatively) computer can be traced back to World War Two, and is credited to the brilliant English mathematician Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954). Turning created a machine which was capable of performing calculations and decoding secret German messages.

The next major innovation came in 1947 when Bell Telephone Laboratories developed the first transistor. This ground breaking developed helped kick the computer industry into high gear.

One of the first ever commercially produced computers was purchased by none other than the US Navy in 1950.The ERA 1101 as it was called, was built for ‘high-speed computing’ and was capable of storing 1 million bits of data (a lot back then) on a magnetic drum, which was a precursor to the modern hard drive.

In 1977 the Apple II hit the market. It was one of the first self-contained computers with the keyboard, hardware and monitor all built into one unit.

In 1982 IBM unveiled its Personal Computer to the world. It featured and impressive 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft´s revolutionary new MS-DOS operating system. It set the standard for the personal computers we still use today.