|BACK TO ARCHIVE LIST|
|Antiquity||The Abacus appears in China and Japan, and remains in use by Asians well into the 20th century.|
|1614||The slide rule is invented by John Napier.|
|1642||The mechanical adding machine is invented by Blaise Pascal.|
|1671||Leibnitz invents a machine that can both add and multiply.|
|1820||Charles X. Thomas improves on Leibnitz' design and produces a machine that can add, subtract, multiply and divide.|
|1833||Charles Babbage designs a fully programmable "analytical engine", having many of the features that are found in modern computers. It is mechanical and is to be run by steam. His machine is never built.|
|1850||Amadee Manheim designs the modern version of the slide rule. It will be used widely for the next hundred years.|
|1936||Alan Turing formulates the concept of the computer.|
|1946||ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), the first large-scale general purpose computer, is developed for the military. It has 18,000 vacuum tubes, and uses decimal arithmetic. Its program is implemented via physical connections and switch settings.|
|1947||The first generation of computers is built that have internally-stored programs that can be changed without modifying the hardware.|
|1948||The transistor is invented. It is much smaller than a vacuum tube, is "solid state", has no fragile glass envelope or hot filament, and requires no high voltage.|
|1951||UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) becomes the first commercially available electronic computer. It uses decimal arithmetic, has 5,000 vacuum tubes, and its memory consists of tanks of mercury.|
|1959||The integrated circuit is invented. It is the equivalent of many transistors, in a space that is orders of magnitude smaller.|
|1963||The computer mouse is developed.|
|1969||The ARPAnet is established by the military, to facilitate communication among research organizations. It will eventually evolve into the Internet|
|1971||The microprocessor is invented. It has no vacuum tubes: Instead, it utilizes integrated circuits.|
The first pocket calculator is sold.
The first Email message is sent.
|1974||CP/M, the first operating system for microprocessors, is developed.|
|1975||The Altair 8800, built from a kit, programmed by switches and with an output consisting of LEDs, is put on the market. It is the first commercial personal computer.|
The modem is invented.
The Apple II computer is developed. It uses integrated circuitry, has a color video display and a keyboard.
|1979||WordStar is the first word processing program.
VisiCalc is the first spreadsheet program.
|1981||IBM introduces the IBM PC, which utilizes binary arithmetic, has 16 Kbytes of RAM, a 160-Kbyte floppy diskette drive (no hard disk), and an 11½" black-and-white monitor. Speed is 4.77 MHz. Price in 2001 dollars: $3022
The first portable computer is sold. It weighs 23 pounds.
|1983||The DOS operating system is developed.
The IBM model XT reaches the market. It has 128 Kbytes of RAM, a 360 Kbyte floppy diskette drive, a 10 Mbyte hard disk, and a 12½" monochrome monitor. Price in 2001 dollars: $8,800
Microsoft puts MS Word (for DOS) on the market.
|1984||The Apple Macintosh is developed. It has a "graphical user interface" (a pictorial display) that will later form the basis of the Windows system.|
|1985||The first commercial CD-ROM drives are sold.
America Online, later to be known as AOL, is founded
Windows 1.0 is marketed It runs like molasses.
|1988||The first Internet worm is released, and causes havoc.|
|1991||The World Wide Web is launched.|
|1992||The number of Internet host computers reaches 1,000,000.|
|1993||Mosaic is the first Web browser program.|
|1996||The Palm Pilot "personal digital assistant" is introduced.
The number of Internet host computers reaches 10,000,000.
|2000||Microsoft is recognized as a ruthless monopoly.|
|2001||As of the beginning of the year:|
The number of Internet host computers had reached 100,000,000.
A high-end personal computer had 256 Mbytes of high-speed memory, a 250 Mbyte diskette drive, 60 Gbytes of hard disk capacity, a 19 inch high-resolution color monitor, a CD-ROM reader/writer, a high-fidelity sound system, and a network interface card. Speed was about 1 GHz. Price was under $3,000. And as of this writing (September, 2001), a 2 GHz machine is available.
|BACK TO ARCHIVE LIST|