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The First Computer

The history of computers is very interesting and colorful. If you want to know who made the first computer, then read further to know more.

The answer to the question who made the first computer in the world, is not an easy one. There was never a perfect computer developed like the one which we are using today. It developed gradually and with combined efforts, the perfect machine was made. Hence a single person cannot be given the credit of making the modern computer. However, Charles Babbage is known to have conceived the idea of the computer first. Hence, he is also known as the ‘Father of Computers’.

The First Computer

Charles Babbage was a British math professor. It was he who thought of building an analytical engine, which was the first mechanical computer which could store programs. It was in the year 1837, almost 100 years before the origin of computers. It is really extraordinary for a person to think of building a machine which was way ahead of its time. But then, unfortunately, the analytical machine was never completed because of political, legal and financial obstacles. Then, almost a century later, in the year 1936, Konrad Zuse made world’s first program controlled computing machine in Germany. Many believe that it was Zuse who made the first computer. His machine was named as Z1. Because of the war during that time, Zuse faced many hardships for building his machine. And it paid off well. The Z1 developed by Zuse had a 64-word memory and each of these words contained 22 bits. This was when the first programmable computer was developed. Later, Zuse developed Z2 and Z3 machines.

Around the same time in the year 1937, at the Iowa State University, the first electronic digital computer was made. It was called ABC which stood for Atanasoff-Berry Computer. It was developed by John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. It took Atanasoff and Berry a few years to build this machine. The ABC was the first digital computer. Then later in the year 1943, a project was initiated by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. They began their project in the year 1943 and it took almost 3 years to build this machine. It was known as ENIAC. It stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. It was the first digital computer and the one which could be re-programmed. This machine was massive and it took more than 1500 square feet of space. It had numerous vacuum tubes, capacitors, relays, resistors, etc. This mammoth machine weighed almost 30 tons.

The First Personal Computer

Personal desktop computers were possible because of the invention of microprocessors. Microprocessor is a miniature chip which is equivalent to thousands of transistors. Because of this chip, the size of the CPU decreased. However, the credit for making the very first computer for personal use goes to Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS) which developed a computer kit known as Altair 8800. After its development, there was a rising demand for this product. And hence commercially, Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack) developed its machine in the year 1977. It had a keyboard and also a cathode-ray display terminal (CRT).

Then later in the year 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computers developed the Apple I and later Apple II, which had their own version of microprocessors. And then in early 1980s, IBM brought in its IBM PC, which was IBM’s own microcomputer model. In the later years, the burgeoning field of computers saw more and more developments and


The First Laptop

Like how personal computers evolved gradually, in the same manner, laptops too evolved. The very first portable computer was developed by Xerox PARC and they named it Xerox NoteTaker. Though this machine was never mass produced, but then it served as a prototype for other machines to be followed. And then the first portable laptop computer was made by Osborne Computer Corporation and was named Osborne 1. Adam Osborne created this machine. Computers are still evolving and changing gradually. We can see more and more technological developments in this field now, replacing older systems and programs. All it is doing is helping us and reduce our workload.