History of Computer: A Brief Timeline

Necessity is the Mother of Inventions. The saying holds true for computers also because computer were invented as a result of man’s search for fast and accurate calculating device. In this blog post we will explore History of Computer in detail for beginner’s point of view. The computers technology evolve from room computers to smart gadgets.

What is abacus?

History of Computer-abacus

The earliest device that qualifies as a digital computer is the “abacus” also known as “soroban”. It was developed 5000 years ago or around 600 B.C. It was consist of a rectangular rack of wood having the parallel wires inside. Each wire keeps a fixed amount of beads on it. The beads were free to move across the wire. This device allows the users to represent numbers by the positioning of beads on a rack. Abacua could perform Simple addition and subtraction.

John Napier’s computer:

John Napier was a Scottish mathematician developed a calculating device and used rods in it. It was based on logarithmic t

able. The device known as Napier’s Bone, also known as Cardboard Multiplication Calculator. It was designed in the early 17th century and had been used till 1890. The device widely used by bookkeepers and accountant.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662):

Blaise Pascal was a French scientist. He developed the first mechanical adding machine in 1642 known as Pascaline Calculator. He used the wheels in this machine. Each wheel displayed the digit 0 to 9.It performed the addition and subtraction directly but multiplication by repeated addition.

Von Leibniz (1646-1716):

In 1671, a German scientist Von Leibniz developed the first calculating machine for direct multiplication and other arithmetic operations. It was similar to Pascaline but more accurate and reliable. It may be next version of Pascaline.

History of computer-Von

Charles Babbage (-1871):

History of computer- Babage

He was mathematics professor at Cambridge University UK. He developed a calculator for mathematical calculations in 1822 named Difference Engine. It worked by steam power and was fully automatic. Difference Engine could also print results. In 1842, Babbage came out with his new idea of Analytical Engine. It was the first programmable computer. It worked by steam power and required only one person. Its average speed was 60 additions per second. Charles Babbage also known as father of today’s digital computer.

Punch cards by Herman Hollerith.

In 1890, an American scientist Herman Hollerith chose the punched card as the basis for storing and processing information. He built the first electro-mechanical punch-card tabulator. The stack used to maintain the cards. The solution of different problem could store on difference stack of cards. The invention of punched cards revolutionized the modern data processing. IBM and other computer manufacturers started to produce computers that used punch cards. The punch cards could store data and results produced by computer. These computers could process 50 to 250 cards per minute.

ENIAC- First electronic digital computer 

History of computer-ENIAC

The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) was the first all-electronic computer. It developed at the Moor School of Engineering of the university Pennsylvania, U.S.A by a design team led by Professors John P. Eckert and John William  Mauchly in 1946. ENIAC developed as a result of military need. It occupied 1500 square feet space and consumed 140 kilowatts of power. It could perform 5000 additions per second. ENIAC was based on decimal number system rather than a binary number system.

The Idea of modern stored program EDC.

Dr. John Von Neumann was a mathematician came out with his idea of stored program technique. Moving forward to history of computer, The basic idea behind the stored program concept is a sequence of instructions. Memory used to store data of the computer for the purpose of automatically directing the flow of operations. The stored program feature considerably influenced the development of modern digital computer and because of this feature we often refer to modern digital computer as stored program digital computers.

The commercial computers known as Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC) and Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) were based on stored program concept.

UNIVAC (1951):

In 1951, John William Mauchly (designer of ENIAC), developed first digital computer named Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC).It was the first computer developed for commercial use. The data and program were fed to computer by magnetic tape.

EDVAC (1946-1952).

EDVAC stands for Electrical Discrete Variable Automatic Computer. It was based on Stored Program Concept of Dr. John Von Neumann. The stored program concept is that a sequence of instructions as well as data can be stored in the memory of the computer for the purpose of automatically directing the flow of operations. This computer stored data and instruction in binary form.

History of Computer: Advancement in Computers during 1950’s and 1960’s.

Advancement in 1950’s-1960’s:

In early 1950s, two inventions which would improve the computer field and cause the beginning of the computer revolution. as we are discussing History of Computer, the inventions were the magnetic core memories and the Transistor Circuit Elements. Both these advancement enable machines to become smaller and more economical.

The computer of that time was expensive and difficult to operate. The computer could solve only single problem at a time.

Some important accessories began to manufacture were as follows:

  • Printer
  • Card reader
  • Cathode ray tube

These computers were used in business for the following purpose:

Inventory management

  • Billing
  • Accounting
  • Payroll management
  • Ordering Supplies

Recent advancement in computer technology.

A fourth generation computer, which is what we have now, has Very Large Scale Integration VLSI   technology. VLSI technology made it possible to place thousands of transistors on a single chip. This advancement continued and its result was the introduction of personal computer (PC). Intel and Motorola Corporation were very competitive in manufacturing of computer processor chips during 1980’s.

Scientists are now at work on the fifth generation computers-a dream, but not yet a reality. They aim to bring us machines is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI).AI used to develop machines with human-like qualities such as learning, seeing and hearing etc. In nature, it will not do just data processing but knowledge processing. The technologies which are used to develop these machines include quantum computation, molecular technology and nano technology. In short, till tail of this blog we discussed in detail the history of computer from A to Z.


The History of Computers is a remarkable journey that has spanned centuries of innovation and technological advancements. From the ancient abacus and mechanical calculators to the emergence of electronic computers and the advent of personal computing, computers have evolved from massive machines to portable devices that have transformed every aspect of our lives.

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