Computers have gone through several revolutionary stages in terms of types and classifications. In this blog, I created a listing of each of the first Computers starting with the first programmable computer leading up to the shapes and configurations today. Please be advised that early computing device inventions such as the abacus, calculators, tablet machines and difference machine are not included in the list.
First Programmable Computer
Konrad Zuse from Germany created the original Z1 original in his parent’s living room in 1936 to 1938. Z1 was considered to be the first electrical binary programmable computer.
The First Digital Computer
Abbreviated for Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the ABC was first developed by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry in 1937 and continued to be developed until 1942 at the Iowa State College, the current Iowa State University. On October 19, 1973, US Federal Judge Earl R. Larson signed his decision that the ENIAC patent by Eckert and Mauchly was invalid and named Atanasoff the inventor of the electronic digital computer.
The ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. The computer occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the Judge ruled that the ABC Computer was the first digital computer many still consider the ENIAC to be the first digital Computer.
Because Judge’s ruling on the case was never appealed, the ABC should be the first digital computer. As the ABC was never fully functional, however, ENIAC should be considered as the first functional digital computer.
The First Stored Program Computer
The early British computer, known as the EDSAC is considered to be the first stored program electronic computer. The computer performed its first calculation on May 6, 1949 and was also the first computer that ran graphical computer game.
The First Personal Computer
In 1975, Ed Roberts used the term “personal computer” when he introduced the Altair 8800, although the first personal computer has been considered to be Kenback-1, which was introduced at a price of $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights.
The Micral is considered to be the first commercial non-assembly computer. That computer was installed with an Intel 8008 processor and sold for $1,750 in 1973.
The First Workstation
Although never been sold, the title of the first workstation should be awarded to Xerox Alto that was introduced in 1974. The computer was revolutionary at that time and included a fully functional computer, display, and even mouse. The computer operated like many computers we use today, utilizing windows, menus and icons as an interface to its operating system.
The First Laptop Portable Computer
The first laptop computer was Osborne I, a portable computer developed by Adam Osborne. The laptop weighed 24 pounds and came with a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, and a modem.
IBM PCD later released the first IBM portable in 1984. It weighed in at 30 pounds. IBM PCD then announced in 1986 its first real laptop computer, PC convertible, weighing 12 pounds. IBM ThinkPad 775CD was introduced in 1994. The ThinkPad was the first notebook with built-in CD-ROM.
The First IBM Compatible PC Computer
IBM shipped its first electric computer, the 701, in 1953. Later IBM introduced its first personal computer, namely “IBM PC”, in 1981. The computer was code named and still sometimes referred to as the “Acorn”. It had an 8088 processor, 16 KB of memory, expandable to 256, and ran on MS-DOS operating system.
The First PC Clone
The first PC clone was developed by Compaq. “Compaq Portable”, 100% compatible with IBM computers and there software, was released in March 1983.
The First Apple Computer
The first Apple computer, known as the Apple I computer, was designed by Steve Wozniak in 1976.
The First Computer Company
Founded in 1949 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly who helped creating ENIAC computer, Electronic Controls Company was the first formal computer company. The company was later renamed EMCC or Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, which released a series of mainframe computers under name “UNIVAC”.
The First Multimedia Computer
Tandy Radio Shack became one of the first companies to build computers based on MPC standard in 1992, with its introductions of M2500 XL/2 and M4020 SX computers.