politics & history A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers

Phil Gibbons
20 items Embed

Photographs of computers then and now illustrate the evolution of technology and the advances made in the fields of electronics, computer science, and consumer marketing. Huge devices initially developed to handle seemingly impossible calculations concerning national security and data storage ultimately would evolve into a unit that could be held in the palm of your hand.

The evolution of computers also denotes the effect technological devices have had on the individual and culture, as the accessibility of such devices increases both creativity and isolation. This sequence of computer photos over time is a literal representation of a rapidly changing world, one that demands speed and accuracy in exchange for human reflection and interaction.

1943 - British "Bombe," Used To Decode The Enigma Machine


1943 - British "Bombe,"... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo:  AntoineTaveneauxcc /wikimedia commons

The "Bombe" was used to decode the German coding device known as the "Enigma" machine. It was developed by Alan Turing at the British codebreaking center known as Bletchley Park.

1944 - Harvard Mark 1


1944 - Harvard Mark 1 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo: Pinterest

The first of four large protocomputers developed by Harvard University professor Howard Aiken. Based on a 19th century "computer" called the Analytical Engine, the computer was one of the first to use electromagnetic relay circuits instead of plugboards to streamline the moving of data.

1950 - ERA 1101, Aka UNIVAC 1101


1950 - ERA 1101, Aka UNIVAC 11... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo: Public Domain/wikimedia commons

Manufactured by Remington-Rand for the US Government's NSA, this machine was 38 feet long and 20 feet wide, and also was based on the design of the first stored-program computer in the United States.

1952 - UNIVAC 1


1952 - UNIVAC 1 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The UNIVAC 1 was developed by what ultimately became the Sperry-Rand Corporation for the US Department of the Census. This machine helped compute large sets of numerical data. UNIVAC is an acronym for Universal Automatic Computer. Fun fact, it appeared with Walter Cronkite in 1952 to predict the presidential election that year, where it correctly predicted Eisenhower.

1954 - IBM 701


1954 - IBM 701 is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo:  Dan/Wikimedia Commons

The IBM 701 was the first IBM computer manufactured in quantity. It was used primarily by US defense, nuclear research and weather agencies. Hosting Arthur Samuel's virtual checkers program, the IBM 701 was the first computer to host "artificial intelligence."

1962 - IBM 1401


1962 - IBM 1401 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The IBM 1401 was the first reasonably affordable, commercial computer produced by IBM. Thousands of these units were sold or rented as a cheaper alternative to larger, more expensive IBM predecessors. The first computer to sell 10,000 units, the IBM cost $2,500-a-month to run smoothly.

1965 - CDC 6600


1965 - CDC 6600 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo:  JitzeCouperus/Wikimedia Commons

After computer genius Seymour Clay threatened to leave CDC, they provided him with a laboratory to pursue his own work. The result, the Control Data's CDC 6600, which surpassed IBM and established Control Data as the manufacturer of the world's fastest computer. It included 100 miles of wiring, all installed by hand.

1968 - HP 9100 A


1968 - HP 9100 A is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list A Visual Guide To The Evolution Of Computers
Photo:  Rama/Wikimedia Commons

The HP 9100 A was the first desktop, a "personal computer" that operated like a calculator. It was manufactured by the Hewlett-Packard corporation.