The History of Computers


Whether you know it or not you depend on computers for almost every
thing you do in modern day life. From the second you get up in the morning to
the second you go to sleep computer are tied into what you do and use in some
way. It is tied in to you life in the most obvious and obscure ways. Take for
example you wake up in the morning usually to a digital alarm clock. You start
you car it uses computers the second you turn the key (General Motors is the
largest buyers of computer components in the world). You pick up the phone it
uses computers. No mater how hard you try you can get away from them you can\'t.
It is inevitable.
Many people think of computers as a new invention, and in reality it is
very old. It is about 2000 years old .1 The first computer was the abacus. This
invention was constructed of wood, two wires, and beads. It was a wooden rack
with the two wires strung across it horizontally and the beads were strung
across the wires. This was used for normal arithmetic uses. These type of
computers are considered analog computers. Another analog computer was the
circular slide rule. This was invented in 1621 by William Oughtred who was an
English mathematician. This slid ruler was a mechanical device made of two rules,
one sliding inside the other, and marked with many number scales. This slide
ruler could do such calculations as division, multiplication, roots, and
logarithms.
Soon after came some more advanced computers. In 1642 came Blaise
Pascal\'s computer, the Pascaline. It was considered to be the first automatic
calculator. It consisted of gears and interlocking cogs. It was so that you
entered the numbers with dials. It was originally made for his father, a tax
collector.2 Then he went on to build 50 more of these Pascaline\'s, but clerks
would not uses them.3 They did this in fear that they would loose their jobs.4
Soon after there were many similar inventions. There was the Leibniz
wheel that was invented by Gottfried Leibniz. It got its name because of the way
it was designed with a cylinder with stepped teeth. 5 This did the same
functions of the other computers of its time.
Computers, such as the Leibniz wheel and the Pascaline, were not used
widely until the invention made by Thomas of Colmar (A.K.A Charles Xavier
Thomas).6 It was the first successful mechanical calculator that could do all
the normal arithmetic functions. This type of calculator was improved by many
other inventors so it could do a number of many other things by 1890. The
improvements were they could collect partial results, a memory function (could
store information), and output information to a printer. These improvement were
made for commercial uses mainly, and also required manual installation.
Around 1812 in Cambridge, England, new advancements in computers was
made by Charles Babbage. His idea was that long calculations could be done in a
series of steps the were repeated over many times.7 Ten years later in 1822 he
had a working model and in 1823 he had fabrication of his invention. He had
called his invention the Difference Engine.
In 1833 he had stopped working on his Difference Engine because he had
another idea. It was to Build a Analytical Engine. This would have been a the
first digital computer that would be full program controlled. His invention was
to do all the general- purposes of modern computers. This computer was to use
punch cards for storage, steam power, and operated by one person.8 This
computer was never finished for many reasons. Some of the reasons were not
having precision mechanics and could solve problems not needed to be solved at
that time.9 After Babbage\'s computer people lost interest in this type of
inventions.10 Eventually inventions afterwards would cause a demand for
calculations capability that computers like Babbage\'s would capable of doing.
In 1890 an new era of business computing had evolved. This was a
development in punch card use to make a step towards automated computing, which
was first used in 1890 by Herman Holler. Because of this human error was reduced
dramatically.11 Punch Cards could hold 80 charters per card and the machines
could process about 50 -220 cards a minuet. This was a means of easily
accessible me memory of unlimited size.12 In 1896 Hollerith had founded his
company Tabulating Machine Company, but later in 1924 after several mergers and
take-overs International Business Machines (IBM) was formed.
An invention during this time ,1906, would influence the