A Look at the History of Desktop Computing

The first desktop computer was created in the early 1950s, and each computer thereafter had a unique design. Since then, desktop computers have changed considerably. Keep reading below to find out a little bit about how desktop computers have evolved over time, from their simple beginnings to the machines we know and love today that can surf the internet, stream multimedia, and play games in addition to crunching numbers:

The Punch Cards of 1801

In 1801, a French inventor called Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a loom that utilized punched wooden cards to construct fabric designs. While he didn’t invent a computer, early computers would be built using this design.

Computing Ideas in 1822

In 1822, the English mathematician Charles Babbage attempted to build a calculating machine that would run on steam. He hoped this machine would be able to calculate tables of numbers. This project was unfortunately a failure.

First Punch Card Machine Produced in 1890

In 1890, Herman Hollerith created a card system to calculate the census results. Not only was his idea a success, but he also managed to save the U.S government millions of dollars. He then went on to set up a company that would eventually become IBM.

The Turing Machine was Created in 1936

Alan Turing had the idea of creating a universal machine that would be capable of processing anything that is computable. The desktop computer we know today is based on this original idea.

The First Computer was Built in 1937

In 1937, J. V. Atanasoff, a professor of mathematics and physics attempted to build the first desktop computer. This computer contained no gears, belts, shafts, or cams. Just 4 years later, with the help of one of his students, Atanasoff designed a desktop computer that could solve 29 equations simultaneously. It was the first computer ever created to store information in its memory.

The ENIAC Was Created in 1943/44

In 1943/44 the ENIAC was created. This machine is considered the grandfather of digital computers as it fills a 20 foot by 40-foot room and has over 18,000 vacuum tubes.

The First Commercial Computer was Built in 1947

In 1947, the UNIVAC was built. This was the first commercial computer for government and business applications.

The Next Generation of Desktop Computers 1947 – 1962

This generation of computers wasn’t built with vacuum tubes; instead, they used transistors which were more reliable. During the years of 1947 and 1962, more than 100 different programming languages were created, and computers had operating systems and memory. Storage media such as floppy disks and tapes were introduced, as were printers for output.

Desktop Computing 1963 – Present Day

The invention of the integrated circuit brought about a brand-new generation of computers. With this invention, computers could be made more powerful, smaller, more reliable and they were able to run more than one program at a time. Not only that, but unlike early computers, they didn’t require huge batteries to run. Instead, these machines came with a wall adapter. You can find examples of such wall adapters at octopart.com – they are used to lower the voltage so that the computer gets the power that it needs and works correctly.

In 1980, MS-Dos was born, and in 1981, IBM introduced the first PC (personal computer) for office or home use. Just three years later, Apple introduced the Macintosh computer with its icon driven interface. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the Windows Operating System that we know and love was created.

The desktop computer was originally created not for entertainment or communication purposes, but because it was needed to solve some serious number crunching problems. Since then, desktop computers have changed a lot. There is even great tech for your suitcase. They are no longer used just for mathematical purposes. In fact, we can now use desktop computers to surf the internet, play games and talk to our friends online. As a result of all these improvements, we have seen the computer being used in all areas of our lives. Desktop computers are extremely useful pieces of equipment that will continue to evolve as time passes.