When Was The First Computer Invented?
Invention of The First Computer
The first and easiest way to answer the question is to answer it from the perspective of who invented the first machine bearing the name. That accolade goes to Charles Babbage, an English London-based Mathematician, who invented the first mechanical computer back in 1822.
This very first incarnation did not resemble a computer as we know it. It was the first appearance of what would become known as the ‘difference engine’, which is considered to be the first actual computing machine.
Other Notable Contributors to the Evolution of the PC
- Moving forward some 110 years, Berliner Konrad Zuse created the Z1, thought to be the world’s first fully-functioning electrically-driven prototype computer.
- We entered the era of electric computers, the first of which came to be when Tommy Flowers created The Colossus, which famously helped British code breakers crack the Enigma code in the mid-1940s.
- Around the same time, John Vincent Atanasoff and Cliff Berry created ‘The ABC Computer’, which was the first electronic digital computer in existence. Created at Iowa State University, it used 270 vacuum tubes and was able to solve quite complex maths problems. It was comparable in size to a UK pool table.
- The first Computer Company that primarily dealt with Computers was The Electronic Controls Company and it was formed in 1949 by Messrs Eckert and Mauchly. The enterprise would later be renamed EMCC and was behind the UNIVAC computer line.
- The first commercial computer came into existence in 1950, when Konrad Zuse created the Z4. The computer, the only one of its kind, was sold to a Swiss Tech Institute. This was Konrad Zuse’s 2nd major breakthrough.
- The first mass-produced computer made an appearance in 1964 when The Programma 101 was launched in New York at a major World Fair. Created by Pier Giorgio Perotto, it was put into production by Olivetti. Just under 50,000 were sold at a cost of around £25,000.
- The first PC or Personal Computer, as we would describe it, came in the form of the Altair 8800. It was created by the MITS company in 1975 and gained exposure when it was featured on the cover of Popular Electronics Magazine, a well-subscribed National interest publication.
The history of computers goes back almost 200 years and contains a series of historic ‘firsts’. Each electronic pioneer driving the other to make computers faster, smaller and more powerful. This competition has led us to the marvels we see today.
The question of who actually invented the computer has a specific and easy answer, as we did at the beginning. However, there have been so many great minds involved in getting us where we are today, that it would seem unfair to settle on just one of them. Charles Babbage started it all, but many great inventors helped the concept on its way.
To them all...We thank you!