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History of Computers. Definition of Computer. One who computes A device for making calculations A programmable electronic device that stores, retrieves, and processes information What was the first calculator or computer using the definition: a device for making calculations.

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definition of computer
Definition of Computer
  • One who computes
  • A device for making calculations
  • A programmable electronic device that stores, retrieves, and processes information

What was the first calculator or computer using the definition: a device for making calculations

mechanical calculators part 1
Mechanical Calculators – Part 1

An abacus is a calculation tool, often constructed as a wooden frame with beads sliding on wires. It was in use centuries before the adoption of the written Hindu-Arabic numeral system and is still widely used by merchants and clerks in China and elsewhere.

The origins of the abacus are disputed, as many different cultures have been known to have used similar tools. It is known to have existed in Babylonia and in China, with invention to have taken place between 2400 BC and 300 BC.

mechanical calculators part 2
Mechanical Calculators – Part 2

The Antikythera Mechanism is from ancient Greece (B.C.)

X-ray examination shows 30 miniaturized differential gears. The device was possibly used for calculating the position of the Sun, moon, and planets.

mechanical calculators part 3
Mechanical Calculators – Part 3

Diagram of the Charles Babbage difference engine from 1819.

Curta handheld mechanical calculator from 1948.

Blaise Pascal’s mechanical calculator from 1642.

mechanical calculators part 4
Mechanical Calculators – Part 4

The slide rule was invented by William Oughtred in 1625. The slide rule is based on Napier's ideas about logarithms - it has logarithmic scales that can be slid past each other to allow approximations to multiplication to be carried out quickly and easily.

Slide rules were in continual use by scientists and mathematicians right up until to the introduction of the first handheld calculator by Hewlett Packard in 1972.

first vacuum tube computer 1942
First Vacuum Tube Computer - 1942

The ENIAC was developed during the war to calculate ballistic tables.

It contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, covered 1800 square feet of floor space, weighed 30 tons, consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power.

In one second, the ENIAC could perform 5,000 additions, 357 multiplications or 38 divisions.

transistors replaced tubes
Transistors replaced Tubes

Transistors, like vacuum tubes, provide amplification and switching. They can be used in radios, televisions, and also computers. Computers were made with transistors from 1954 - 1959.

IBM 650 Business Computer

the integrated circuit was invented in 1959
The Integrated Circuit was invented in 1959

In 1959, the integrated circuit was invented which allowed many

transistors to be placed on a single semiconductor material (silicon).

From 1960 – 1963, almost all integrated circuits produced were

purchased by NASA for the Apollo program.

Beginning in the 1970’s integrated circuit technology was used to

create the brains of computers. These are known as microprocessors

or Central Processing Units (CPU).

intel began making cpu s for home computers
Intel began making CPU’s for home computers

1993 – Intel Pentium

1997 – Intel Pentium II

1999 – Intel Pentium III

1971 – Intel 4004

1974 – Intel 8080

1979 – Intel 8088

2000Intel Pentium 4

1982 – Intel 80286

2006Intel Core 2

1985 – Intel 80386

1989 – Intel 80486


The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation had a profound effect on socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain and subsequently spread throughout Europe and North America. The industrial revolution began an era of per-capita economic growth in capitalist economies.

  • What were the effects of the technological advances?
  • What happened to the price of the products?
  • What about all the people put out of work by the machines? How do you protect yourself from losing your job to a machine or computer?
information age
Information Age
  • Vast improvements in communication
  • Computers are EVERYWHERE
  • Instant access to all information from anywhere

1877Bell Telephone

2007Apple iPhone

where do we find computers today
Where do we find computers today?



Car Computer



what s next in computing
What’s Next in Computing?

Ditch the laptop and smart phone, your brain may directly interface to future computers for instantaneous access to all knowledge and infinite memory.

Nanotechnology will provide a new level

of miniaturization. This device is half the width of a human hair.

Humanoid robots may be common in the home in 10 – 20 years.

can we really predict where we will be in the future
Can we really predict where we will be in the future?

In a 1954 Popular Science Magazine, this was a prediction of what a home computer might be like in 50 years (2004).