A Brief History on the Invention of the Computer: When Was the First Computer Really Invented?
The invention of the computer is a complex issue that still sparks arguments similar to the debates over who invented the internet. This is because many individuals contributed small pieces to the larger puzzle of computer evolution. As such, it is nearly impossible to single out one inventor for the computer. While the abacus is recognized as the earliest invention of what is now considered the computer, when looking for an actual mechanical machine that works autonomously, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is the first proper computer.
The Difference Engine is an impressive creation that calculated numbers and provided prints of the results without human intervention. Babbage went ahead to create the Analytical Engine, which utilized integrated memory for the first time. However, due to funding issues, neither of these designs was produced in ample supplies. With the twist of fate, one cannot help but wonder how fast computer technology would have progressed in the world had Babbage been able to get his early computers into every home during the early 19th century.
The computer evolution progressed 100 years after Babbage’s early computers when Konrad Zuse created the first computing device called the Z1. Even though it was mechanical and used punched tape, it was a significant breakthrough. It was yet another twist in history since the Z1 was destroyed in Germany during World War II. However, Zuse survived the war and launched the first commercially sold computer, the Z4, by 1950. When citing the first digital computer, it usually comes down to an argument over whether it was the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (called the ABC) in the early 1940s or the ENIAC computer around the same time frame. There was a patent battle between these two university-created machines, and the ENIAC is generally given credit today as the first digital computer.
In the 1930s, Alan Turing in the U.K. invented the fundamental mechanisms that created computers as we know them today. After slow evolution through the 1950s and 1960s, Hewlett Packard sold the first desktop computer on the market in 1968, the H.P. 9100A. Although not many people had one, it gave a head-start to the 1970s when what we designated the P.C. finally became a reality. While many might think that Apple started it all, the credit generally goes to the Altair 8800, just before Apple ultimately changed the world.
In conclusion, it is clear that the invention of the computer is a complex issue, and it is impossible to single out one inventor. Numerous people contributed small pieces to the larger puzzle of computer evolution. Although the abacus is considered the earliest invention of what is now recognized as the computer, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is the first proper computer. Alan Turing in the U.K. invented the fundamental mechanisms that created computers as we know them today in the 1930s. After slow evolution through the 1950s and 1960s, Hewlett Packard sold the first desktop computer on the market in 1968, the H.P. 9100A. The Altair 8800 is generally credited with starting the personal computer era before Apple ultimately changed the world. The computer has come a long way since its early days, and it is exciting to think about what the future holds for this world-changing technology.