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Many inventions have taken several centuries to develop into their modern forms and modern inventions are rarely the product of a single inventor's efforts. The bits and pieces of a computer (including the software) came together over many centuries, many people each adding a small contribution. Each of the inventions listed below were only one small step on the road to the ultimate goal.

  Early man counted by means of matching one set of objects with another set (stones and sheep).
Early tables, named abaci, formalized counting and introduced the concept of positional notation.
c3000 BC The Chinese abacus was developed about 5000 years ago. It was built out of wood and beads. The abacus was so successful that its use spread form China to many other countries.
c800 In the ninth century, the Persian mathematician Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi developed the concept of a written process to be followed to achieve some goal, and published a book on the subject that gave us it's modern name—algorithm.
1623 German scientist Wilhelm Schikard invented a machine that used 11 complete and 6 incomplete sprocketed wheels that could add and, with the aid of logarithm tables, multiply and divide.
1642 The mechanical adding machine was invented by a nineteen-year-old French boy named Blaise Pascal way back in the year 1642.
1801 The Jacquard loom not only cut back on the amount of human labor, but also allowed for patterns to now be stored on cards and to be utilized over and over again to achieve the same product.
1820 Charles Babbage, British mathematician and inventor, who designed and built mechanical computing machines - The Difference Engine, on principles that anticipated the modern electronic computer. 
1843 Ada Lovelace's set of instructions was a forerunner of modern computer program, and historians have credited her as the first computer programmer.
1890 Herman Hollerith devised a system of encoding data on cards through a series of punched holes, a punch card machine. This system proved useful in statistical work and was important in the development of the digital computer.
1939 In December 1939, the first prototype of the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC) was ready. The ABC showed some of the potentials of a computer and it amazed the University. So in 1939, Dr.John Vincent Atanasoff and his assistant Clifford Berry built the world's first electronic digital computer.
1940 Alan Turing introduced the concept of a theoretical computing device now known as a Turing machine.  The concept of this machine, which could theoretically perform any mathematical calculation, was important in the development of the digital computer.
1944 Howard Aiken with his colleagues at Harvard - and with some assistance from International Business Machines - by 1944 he had built the Mark I, the world’s first program-controlled calculator; an early form of a digital computer.
1946 John Mauchley, an American physicist, and J. Presper Eckert, an American engineer, proposed an electronic digital computer, called the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), completed in 1946 and is regarded as the first successful, general digital computer.
1947 Teams of Bell Labs scientists, such as Shockley, Brattain, Bardeen, and many others met the challenge.--and invented the information age. They produced the greatest invention of the our time: the transistor.
1951 Jay W, Forrester invented the first random-access magnetic core store (memory) for an electronic digital computer. He also supervised the building of the Whirlwind digital computer and studied the application of computers to management problems, developing methods for computer simulation.
1952 Grace Hopper was credited with devising the first computer compiler, a program that translates instructions for a computer from English to machine language.
1954 Machine vision used computers to analyze digitized images from a video camera. It was a breakthrough invention and the one of which Jerome Lemelson was most proud despite the hundreds of others that he produced over the next forty-five years.
1958 It was a relatively simple device that Jack Kilby showed to a handful of co-workers gathered in TI’s semiconductor lab. Only a transistor and other components on a slice of germanium. Kilby’s invention, called an integrated circuit, was about to revolutionize the electronics industry.
1966 The hand-held calculator was invented at Texas Instruments, Incorporated (TI) in 1966 by a development team which included Jerry D. Merryman, James H. Van Tassel and Jack St. Clair Kilby.
1967 Robert Heath Dennard invented the one-transistor dynamic random access memory DRAM in 1967. It has become the standard for the RAM industry and enabled the microcomputer revolution.
1968 Ted Hoff's knowledge of computers (then still very large machines) allowed him to design the computer-on-a-chip microprocessor (1968), which came on the market as the Intel 4004 (1971), starting the microcomputer industry.

Douglas Engelbart had invented a number of interactive, user-friendly information access systems that we take for granted today: the computer mouse was one of his inventions.

1973 Robert Metcalfe needed something that was fast, could connect hundreds of computers and span the whole building, Something like a local area network, which Metcalfe developed in a rudimentary form in 1973 and dubbed Ethernet.

The Internet and Transmission Control Protocols (TCP/IP) were initially developed in 1973 by American computer scientist Vinton Cerf.

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) invents protoype of the world's first personal computer, the Alto, with innovations including the first what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, first commercial use of a mouse, graphical user interface, and bit-mapped display. Its commercial descendant was the 8010 Star.

1976 In what is now the Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created a homemade microprocessor computer board called Apple I Personal Computer..
1977 Dennis C. Hayes and Dale Heatherington invent the PC modem in 1977, establishing the critical technology that allowed today's online and Internet industries to emerge and grow.
1982 The HX-20, the first notebook-sized portable computer is introduced by Epson.
1991 The World Wide Web is a system of resources that enable computer users to view and interact with a variety of information.



100 Inventions That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages (1983)
/ Bluewood Books 
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.

American Computer Pioneers
by Mary Northrup / Library Binding - 112 pages (July 1998) / Enslow Publishers, Inc.
This entry in the Collective Biographies series covers major players in the development of the computer, from Herman Hollerith, the inventor of punch cards, through the inventors of ENIAC and UNIVAC, as well as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Marc Andreessen of Netscape.

Computers: An Illustrated History
by Christian Wurster / Hardcover: 480 pages / TASCHEN America Llc; (February 2002)

Discover the fascinating history of computers, interfaces, and computer design in this illustrated guide that includes pictures of nearly every computer ever made, an informative text describing the computer's evolution up to the present day
Computer: A History of the Information Machine
by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray / Paperback: 368 pages / HarperCollins;   (August 1997)

This history of the computer explores the roots of the industry's phenomenal development, tracing not only the development of the machine itself--beginning with Charles Babbage's well-known 1883 mechanical prototype--but also chronicling the effects of manufacturing and sales innovations by such companies as Remington and National Cash Register that made the boom possible.
The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal
by Mitchell M. WaldropPaperback: 512 pages / Penguin USA; (August 27, 2002)

If you had to choose just one 20th-century computer pioneer that we couldn't do without, it would have to be the man behind the Dream Machine.

ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer
by Scott McCartney / Hardcover - 262 pages / Walker & Co
Eckert and Mauchly later lost the patent on their machine when it was claimed that another early experimenter, John Atanasoff, had given them all the ideas about ENIAC that mattered.
The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quantum Computer
by Georges Ifrah / Hardcover - 356 pages (October 2000) / John Wiley & Sons
The author has great respect for our ancestors and their work, and he transmits this feeling to his readers with humor and humility. His timelines, diagrams, and concordance help   the reader who might be unfamiliar with foreign concepts of numbers and computation keep up with his narrative.

The Universal History of Numbers : From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer
by Georges Ifrah / Hardcover: 656 pages / Wiley; (November 19, 1999)
Dubbed the "Indiana Jones of numbers," Georges Ifrah traveled all over the world for ten years to uncover the little-known details of this amazing story. From India to China, and from Egypt to Chile, Ifrah talked to mathematicians, historians, archaeologists, and philosophers.
Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

by Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon (Contributor) / Paperback - 304 pages (1998) / Touchstone Books
Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past -- and the future -- of the Net specifically, and telecommunications generally.

DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00 / Also VHS
The incredible breakthroughs and refinements that have marked the development of the computer are so familiar that they have lost some of their power to amaze


American Computer Museum
Located in Bozeman, Montana, USA is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of computer and information age history anywhere on public display!
Babbage's Calculating Engines 1832-1871
Charles Babbage's calculating engines are among the most celebrated icons in the prehistory of computing. His Difference Engine No. 1 was the first successful automatic calculator and remains one of the finest examples of precision engineering of the time. The Science Museum of London has a working model of the Difference Engine Number 2 on display.
A Brief History of the Internet
From the Internet Society

The Calculators Museum
The Museum of HP Calculators displays and describes Hewlett-Packard calculators introduced from 1968 to 1986 plus a few interesting later models. There are also sections on calculating machines and slide rules as well as sections for buying and selling HP calculators, an HP timeline, collecting information and a software library.

Charles Babbage Institute
The Charles Babbage Institute is an historical archives and research center of the University of Minnesota. CBI is dedicated to promoting study of the history of information technology and information processing and their impact on society.

Computer History
Within our time line you will find a very detailed section listing key events to the evolution of computers. Computer history from B.C. to today, includes people and company profiles.
Computers in the Office
SciTech, Carbons to Computers series from the Smithsonian Institution. As we continue to barrel through the information age, it is hard to imagine conducting business without computers.

Computer Museum of America
The mission of the Computer Museum of America is to preserve the major milestones in the development of the computer industry and to chronicle these milestones for the enrichment and education of all. Our exhibits highlight the history of data processing and the contributions of pioneers in the field.

The Computer Society
From the history of the computer. Presented by The Computer Society.

SciTech, Carbons to Computers series from the Smithsonian Institution.

Article by J. B. Browning for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The computer is a defining symbol of 20th century technology - a tool that has transformed businesses and lives around the world, increased productivity, and opened access to vast amounts of knowledge.Chosen as the #8 greatest engineering achievement of the 20th Century by the National Academy of Engineering.

History of Calculating Machines
Blaise Pascal dosen't get all the credit. What about Wilhelm Schickard and Leonardo da Vinci.

The History of Computing Project
The foundation (tHoCF) is dedicated to the history of computing in the widest meaning of the word. The foundation's collection of historical documentation provides the raw material of future history. It is used by students, historians and museums around the world.
A History of the Computer
Computers have their beginnings back in pre-history, starting with the abacus. Have a look! Timeline from the PBS series "Triumph of the Nerds".
A History of the Microprocessor
You've arrived at Intel's interactive history of the microprocessor. Lots of COOKIES at this site.

PARC History
Xerox Corporation gathers together a team of world-class researchers in information sciences and physical sciences and gives them the mission to create "the architecture of information." The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) officially opens its doors in Palo Alto, California on July 1, 1970.
A Short History of the Web
Has told by Tim Berners-Lee.

Software History Center
The Software History Center is dedicated to preserving the history of the software industry, one of the largest and most influential industries in the world today. 
The Virtual Museum of Computing
This virtual museum includes an eclectic collection of World Wide Web (WWW) hyperlinks
connected with the history of computing and on-line computer-based exhibits available both
locally and around the world.


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