History of computers

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Early Computers

Abacus- The abacus was the original calculator used by moving pieces attached to a frame to calculate mathematical equations. This is still used currently by some people and can be faster than a calculator.


The Pascaline- Also called the Arithmetic Machine, was the first calculating machine made by Blaise Pascal, but can only add and subtract numbers.


Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine, and Analytical Engine- These two engines made by Charles Babbage are one of the first mechanized calculating machines that did calculations by constantly adding and subtracting numbers to the desired amount.


Herman Hollerith- Herman invented a punch card device that could calculate large numbers and was used in a census to process all the information


First-Generation Computers (1941-1956)

How do first-generation computers differ from earlier computers?

First generation computers started using electronic material rather than mechanics and was mostly based on programming and using binary and decimal code.


Colossus- This invention was the first electronic digital computer that was programmable, but was very large about the size of a room hence the name.


ENIAC- Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was a computer invented for the military to calculate artillery-firing tables.


EDVAC- Meaning Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer, the EDVAC was one first computers that used binary code we use today, rather than the common decimal system.


UNIVAC- This computer is just like the ENIAC and EDVAC except that it is just faster and more evolved.


Second-Generation Computers (1956-1963)

How do second-generation computers differ from first?

Transistors are definitely the staple of second-generation computers, making computers faster and cheaper because of the light weightiness of transistors.


Third-Generation Computers (1964 – 1971)

How do third-generation computers differ from second?

In the third generation, we see computers developing into what we see today. People started using mouse and monitors to work with computers as well as developed small chips where the wires were placed called silicon chips.


Fourth-Generation Computers (1971 – Present)

How do fourth-generation computers differ from third?

The fourth generation was where computers and technology started being used for personal work hence the popular “PC’s” at the time.


Altair 8800- This was one of the first microcomputers that sparked a series of other microcomputers used for personal work and not scientific or military work.


Apple I and Apple II- These were the first Apple computers created by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ron Wayne.


Macintosh- The Macintosh was one of the first computers that were not text based, but instead used pictures rather than words.


IBMPC- Created by Microsoft Bill Gates and IBM, the IBM was the first popularizer personal computer (PC).


Fifth-Generation Computers (Present – Beyond)

What will the fifth generation of computers look like?

Fifth generation computers all revolve around speed and the internet, as well as new types of technology like touchscreen and fingerprint scans.


IPod/IPad/IPhone- Made by the Apple Company these three are very common now, used for work, play, and social media, this technology continues to grow rapidly.


Android Phones- The largest competitor for Apple IPhones, Android phones provide many of the same functions and is one of the best smartphones in the world.


Google Glasses- One of the newest developed technology, Google Glasses bring the convenience of a smartphone into your glasses making it easier to access.


Hologram Technology- Although not fully accessible, holographic technology is being developed putting technology into thin air.



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"The Five Generations of Computers." Explained. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

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"The Engines - The Babbage Engine | Computer History Museum." The Engines - The Babbage Engine | Computer History Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

Bellis, Mary. "Herman Hollerith." About.com Inventors. About.com, 03 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

"Colossus." Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

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"Apple II History." Apple II History. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

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