Computer History: Going Down Memory Lane

Do you love the convenience that computers offer? If you do, you might want to know how and when the ingenious machines came to be. Just like any other invention, the first computer was developed to meet the needs of a select group of society. However, the machine that Charles Babbage invented back in 1822 is parallel to the PCs we have today. It was an analytical engine, only meant for solving number problems. But, unlike today’s advanced computers, it did not have the capability of sending emails and browsing. Over the years, the computer has been evolving. Let’s look at major developments in computer history.

The 1800s to 1930s: Ancient mechanical computers

As mentioned earlier, Babbage was the first person to come up with a computer-like machine. In this era, three mechanical computers were formed including difference engine no.1, analytical engine, and the difference engine no.2. While not completed during Charles’ lifetime, the engine’s design inspired later models.

The 1930s: Electro-Mechanical computers

These had some similarities with the modern computers. They used relays and vacuum tubes. The 1930s differential analyzer used mechanical internals; however, it utilized electric motors as a source of power. One fascinating point about these devices is that they were either digital or analog, including the Complex Number Calculator, which was intelligently developed by George Stibitz.

The 1940s: The era of electronic computers

These form the third bunch of machines in computer history. The electronic computers came about when World War II was at its peak. Their main objective was to decrypt codes used by Germans during the war. It used paper tape and vacuum tubes. It was also able to perform some basic logical functions such as yes/no and true/false. The Colossus and the Baby were some of the computers in this age. They were the first to use Random Access Memory and other features including punch cards, patch cables as well as switches.

The 1950s: Commercial computers

In the previous years of computer history, the early computers only concentrated on solving mathematical, scientific and defense problems. The commercial computers optimized business operations such as accounting and banking.  UNIVAC was the first commercial computer produced in the USA. Still in the same era, IBM computers were developed.

The mid-1950s: Transistor Computers

In this stage, vacuum tubes gave way to transistors. At the same time, the computers became smaller. They also used less power, were quieter and produced less heat.

The 1960s: The microprocessor and microchip

The development of the microchip is among the most important advancements in computer technology. The microchip further reduced the size of the computer, making it useful both in businesses and in homes.

The 1970s to 1990s: Personal computers

Personal computers were first developed in the 80s all the way to the 90s when the first notebooks start production. Minute integrated circuits characterize the personal computer.

The 2000s: The inception of mobile computing

Today, computing has gone a notch higher. With your smartphone, you can run all the operations your PC can. This has made the accessibility of information easier and less costly.

Watch this video on computer history to more info: