Historical Millstones in Computing history (mechanical and electronic related)

Links An recommended time line

  Oldest evidence that mankind uses items (pebbles etc) to count.
  Simple tools to assist with counting (carved wooden sticks / bones)
China Use of the Abacus as counting tool.
100bc Greece A complex planet position tool was constructed. Found in 1900 at the shipwreck near island Antikythera.
India - Arabian Discovery of the decimal numbering system.
Arabian - Europe Via the crusaders and the More settlement in Spain the decimal numbering system came to Europe.
  Europe changed from the Roman- to decimal numbering system.
John Napier, Scotland Napier bones (square wooden numbered rods) use for calculation. The amount of sticks represent the amount of digits.
Edmund Gunter, England
Constructs the predecessor of the Calculating Ruler.
William Oughtred, England Constructs the Calculating ruler with two movable sliders, logarithmic numbered.
Wilhelm Schickard,Tübingen, Germany, First mechanical calculator the "Rechenuhr".
Wilhelm Schickard constructs the first mechanical calculator.
Blaise Pascal, Paris, France, First Adding machine with tens-cary. He made a considerable number of machines.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Germany Discovery of the Stepped Drum. Together with Isaac Newton he shares the credit for the development of Calculus. The first four rule calculating machine. Two of them were build but were never came in practical use or in serial production.
He established the binary calculation, which is the basic form for all current digital computers.
G. Poleni, Italia Discovery of the Pin Wheel. He didn't succeed in building calculators with it.
C. L. Gersten Discovery and building a calculator machine with the Rocking Segment technology
Antonius Braun, Vienna, Austria Braun and Hahn build a calculator machine based on Leibnitz Wheels to make the first dependable four rule calculating machine. The counting wheels are concentric arranged around one stepped drum. Probably the first usable device produced in mass production.
This concept is used by mr. C. Hamann in his Gauss and in the Curta of mr. C. Herzstark.
Philipp Mathäus Hahn, Echterdingen, Germany
Charles Xavier Thomas, Colmar, France Build a better calculator than Hahn, based on Stepped drum technology. Thomas de Colmar is more commonly known for the first reliable machine which came in serial production, named Arithmometer.
It is a four digit multiplicand and six in the product. A remarkable aspect: The first machine did not have a crank for rotating the actuators, as did all the Thomas's subsequent machines; it was driven by pulling on a belt on the lower left corner of the machine. By 1865 500 machines have been made and more than 1000 the next 13 years. The machines build in 1870 soled to many countries including the US.
Micheal Faraday, UK Discovery of the Electro motor
Charles Babbage and JH Müller, UK Presented the concepts of the difference engine an automatic sequence control machine. The objective of the machines was the:
- computation and
- printing of mathematical tables,
by automatic sequential addition of multiple order of differences.
Charles Babbage, UK Presented a design for the "Analytical Engine". A mechanical machine having all the basic functions of a computer. Later he presented his design of the difference engine. He received enormous financially support, but he had never seen the machine working. (Please see item at 1853 as well.)
Pehr-Georg Scheutz and son Edvard, Stockholm, Sweden Build the first dependable /reliable difference Machine (link to details), on his own expenses. After reading the publications of Charles Babbage. The first printable calculation machine for mathematical tables.
Although not confirmed: "one of the keys to their success was the use of ball bearings, to reduce the friction energy".
Johan Philipp Reis Presented first practical telephone. 1876 Gream Bell Patented the application.
  First QWERTY keyboard.
Frank Stephen Baldwin, St Louis, Missouri, USA Mr. Baldwin got his patent of his pin wheel construction. Having completed his first machine in 1873, he moved to Philadelphia rented a small shop and sold his first 10 machines. In 1875 he made a rotary four-rules calculator which became known as the "Baldwin principle". This marked the beginning of the calculating machine industry in the US.
Odhner, St. Petersburg, Russia, Construct and build the first commercial Pin Wheel calculator. The "Original-Odhner" building rights were in 1886 sold to "Grimme, Natalis & Co" in Braunschweig Germany and from 1892 sold to the german market as "Brunsviga".
Arthur Burghardt, Glashütte, Sachsen, Germany Improved the Thomas de Colmar calculator and build the first calculator factory in Glashütte, Germany. Often seen as the origin for the German calculator industry (Stepped Drum technology) Many followed in: Saxonia 1895,Peerless / Badina 1904,Gauss /Hamann 1905, Archimedes 1906, TIM 1907, Hermes 1911, Record 1913, Rheinmetall 1924. In Austria: Graber 1905, Austria 1906 (founded by father of Curt Herzstark), Delton 1908 (used Burghardts machines to assemble)
Herman Hollerith, USA Constructor of the first punch card machine. The Hollerith's Tabulating Machine Company was established
Dorr E. Felt, USA He patented the Comptometer. It was the first successful key-driven adding machine. (No lever or crank is needed). In 1887, he joined with Robert Tarrant to form the Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company.
William S. Burroughs, USA, The in 1885 successfully ended developed, Mr. Burroughs got his adding machines on 21 of august 1888 patented. The first Rocking Segment machine with industrial potentials.
Joseph John Thomson Discovery of the vacuum tube to carefully investigate the nature of cathode rays, which resulted in his discovery, published in 1897. Others gave the credits to Karl Ferdinand Braun. On survey Mr Thomson discovered the Electron!!!
William S. Burroughs, USA He began his adding and listing machine. He became one of the leading manufacturers of the adding and listing machines.
Christal Hamann, Berlin, Germany Developed the Gauss and the Berolina. Worked on the Proportional lever mechanism
Alexander Rechnitzer The Czechoslovakia Alexander Rechsnitzer, constructed the first electro motor driven Calculator. He own several patents in many countries. He moved over to Berlin in 1905. In 1910 he established in Vienna Austria the Autarith GmbH. Production quantities of the first Autarith, based on stepped drum technology, are low. He was find dead in New York 1022.
His patents are used after in many calculators, Madas is one of them.
William W. Hopkins, St. Louis, USA The Standard Adding Machine company made the first 10 key keyboard for an adding and listing machine. The Sundstrand company arranged the keys in the now known layout.
Otto Steiger, Munich, Germany Otto Steiger invented the Millionaire. This machine has a multiplying body which made direct multiplying possible. It was widely sold to europe and the USA.
Christal Hamann, Euklid-Mercedes, Berlin, Germany Mr Hamann developed a series of Euklid machines which embodies the proportional lever technology. In 1909 he build a difference engine for logarithmic tables
IBM established The Hollerith's Company was acquired by a new company. They changed name in 1924 to international Business Machines (IBM)
Monroe, USA, The first entirely handmade Monroe type was a prototype of the splitted stepped drum technology. It was the beginning of a very successful product. Manufacturer Nisa copied this technology.
Edwin Jahnz, Hans W. Egli SA, Zurich Swiss The first commercial success of the improved Rechsnitzer division control, was the Madas machine. Developed by Edwin Jahnz. Hans W. Egli SA produced the Millionaire (direct multiplication) as well.
W H Eccles, F W Jordan Publish the first flip-flop circuit design. An function crucial for electronic solid state memories
Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, Germany Discovery of the transistor as semiconductor , (germanium was used, he didn't published his findings, that's why the Bell labs, who did this are often mentioned as discoverers.)
Christal Hamann, DeTeWe, Hamann Manus, Berlin, Germany Hamann Manus was introduced in 1925. Designer was Christel (Christian) Hamann (1870-1947) worked at that time for DeTeWe in Berlin.
In 1922 he developed a new type of calculating mechanism, so called Schaltklinke (switching-latch-wheel),
Before becoming chief engineer of DeTeWe he designed several calculators. Hamann Manus looks like and Odhner type pinwheel calculator from the outside but the mechanism was entirely different. Production continued until the 1970s when the calculator division was sold to the American Smith-Corona Co.
Burroughs portable adding machine The Burroughs company produces a line of portable adding and listing machines. Prior to those, the machines were quit havy to call them portable.
Tape Recorder Germany's AEG introduces the first tape recorder
Conrad Zuze, Germany First Mechanical Calculator automat the Z1.
HP, Palo Alto USA Two Stanford university graduates William Hewlett an David Packard form their Hewlett-Packart company in Palo Alto Ca. USA
Conrad Zuze, Germany Sucessor of the Z1 the Mechanical Calculator automat the Z2.
Conrad Zuze, Germany First Mechanical "Programmable" calculator automat the Z3.
IBM, USA Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper of IBM unveils the first computer programmed by punched paper tape, the Harvard Mark I
Stored Program Architec-ture John Von Neumann designs a computer that holds its own instructions, the "stored-program architecture
Curt Herzstark, Germany - Lichtenstein, First pocket calculator the Curta 1. The curta 2 was the follow up.
USA First, non-military, electronic computer (vacuum tubes) Digital calculator automat named: ENIAC ("Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer"), is unveiled, built by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania
  John von Neumann proposed his Computer Architecture. Stil the basic of modern computers.
Bell Labs, USA First publication of the Transistor by Bardeen & Bratain at the team of William Shockley (see also 1923)
- William B. Shockley and
- Walter Brattain and
- John Bardeen, at
Bell labs, in Murray Hill, in
New Jersey, USA
First practical application of a Transistor. In 1954 the first silicon transistor was build at Texas Instruments. In 1956 the Nobel price of Physics is rewarded to the three gentleman.
USA Claude Shannon founds Information Theory and coins the term "bit
Werner Jacobi, Siemens, Germany Discovery of the IC (Integrated Circuit). A number of transistors on the same substrate, in this case 5 transistors on geranium, as amplifier. The application was a hearing aid.
Remington Rand USA Remington Rand purchases Eckert-Mauchly Computer.
in 1955 Remington Rand merges with Sperry to form Sperry Rand
USA The first commercial computer is built, the Univac (the Universal Automatic Computer)
Jay Forrester, at MIT A team led by Jay Forrester at the MIT builds the "Whirlwind" computer, the first real-time system and the first computer to use a video display for output
USA First computer with magnetic tape memory. And invention of the core memory
Texas Instruments, USA First silicon transistor was build
Remington Rand, USA Remington Rand introduces UNIVAC 1103, the first computer with magnetic-core RAM
IBM, USA, IBM's San Jose labs invent the hard-disk drive
Mountain View, CA, USA William Shockley founds the Shockley Transistor Corporation in Mountain View to produce semiconductor-based transistors to replace vacuum tubes, and hires Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and others. You might call it the first step of establishing Silicon Valley.
IBM, USA Werner Buchholz of IBM coins the term "byte
IBM, USA Apr 1957: John Backus of IBM introduces the FORTRAN programming language, the first practical machine-independent language
Fairchild Semiconductor in Mountain View, CA, USA Oct 1957: Several engineers (including Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore) quit the Shockley Transistor laboratories and form Fairchild Semiconductor in Mountain View, using funding from Fairchild Camera and Instrument
Germany First Full Transistor Computer named 2002.
Jack Kilby, at Texas Instruments, and Robert Noyce Fairchild, Ca, USA First working planar transistor the basic technology fo the IC (first on geranium substrate) demonstrated. He won the 2000 Nobel price in Physics. Mr. Robert Noyce was a half a year later, at Fairchild, with his IC on silicon substrate. The later milestone were related to the scale of integration. SSI, MSI, LSI, VLSI. From small to very large scale integration. The number of transistor on a chip follows the Moore law, it doubles every 2 years.
Comptometer, Fa Sumlock UK First desktop all electronic calculator with nixie display, named Anita.
Fairchild, USA First 4 transistor IC (Integrated Circuit) The first commercial available IC or the "chip" was born.
Frederico Faggin, Fairchild, USA, First silicon gate IC technology, with the self aligned gates, which is the basic circuit-technology for all the current Computer chips.
He moved to Intel and developed the first CPU (Central Processing Unit).
We use the name Chip as general name for an IC. The name comes from the slice of a pure silicon bar, as tin as a potatoes chip. The slice is called wafer. The number of IC's on a wafer is decreasing by the year.
Intel, Santaclara, Ca, USA Gorden Moore and Robert Noyce, both came from Fairchild, found Intel
Ca, USA The computer network Arpanet is inaugurated with four nodes, three of which are in California (UCLA, Stanford Research Institute and UC Santa Barbara) Arpanet was the predecessors of the internet
Sanyo, Japan, First Pocket electronic calculator.
Edgar Codd, IBM, USA Edgar Codd at IBM introduces the concept of a relational database
Intel, Santaclara, Ca, USA Intel introduces the first commercially successful 1K DRAM chip type number 1103
USA The first practical optical fiber is developed by glass maker Corning Glass Works
Frederico Faggin, Ted Hoff & Mazor of Intel,
Santa Clara, Ca, USA
First first universal Microprocessor / CPU (Central Processing Unit) named Intel 4004. and had 2300 transistors.
Alan Shugart and David Noble, IBM IBM invents the floppy disk
Intel, Santaclara, Ca, USA Intel introduces the 8008 microprocessor, whose eight-bit word allowed to represent 256 characters, including all ten digits, both uppercase and lowercase letters and punctuation marks
DoD, USA The Global Positioning System (GPS) is invented by the USA military, using a constellation of 24 satellites for navigation and positioning purposes. The inventers: Bradford Parkinson, Roger L. Easton, and Ivan A. Getting
USA Ray Tomlinson at Bolt, Beranek and Newman invents e-mail for sending messages between computer users, and invents a system to identify the user name and the computer name separated by a "@"
AES, Canada Automatic Electronic Systems of Canada introduces the "AES-90", a "word processor" that combines a CRT-screen, a floppy-disk and a microprocessor
Motorola, USA Martin Cooper at Motorola invents the first portable, wireless or "cellular" telephone
Stanford Uni, Ca, USA Vinton Cerf of Stanford University coins the term "Internet" and
Robert Metcalf of the Palo Alto Researce Center built a networking system: the Ethernet.
Until 1979 he promoted the ethernet as standard for persanal computers, at several companies.
Intel, Santaclara, Ca, USA Intel introduces a CPU named 8088
Sharp, Japan Japan's Sharp develops the LCD or "Liquid Crystal Display" technology
MITS, USA Ed Roberts invents the first personal computer, the Altair 8800
USA The Scelbi-8H, the Mark-8 and the IBM 5100 Are consumer computers seen daylicht in the same year.
  Donald Chamberlin at IBM's San Jose laboratories invents SQL (SQL = Structured Query Language a database language)
  Microsoft founded
  Ed Roberts invents the first personal computer, the Altair 8800
  HCC founded by Steve Worziak
Apple, USA Apple founded and production of the Apple I.
  MOS silicon technology used for 6502 microprocessor
  Apple II based on the 6502, 8 bits micromprocessors
  Berkley Unix
  Oracle founded
  First 16-bits microprocessor 20 000 transistors
  The Compact Disk or CD was born.
  3.5 inch flopy DSDD
  Sun workstations
  The Apple Lisa computer
  Lotus 123 spreadsheet program for DOS
  The Mac or the Apple Macintosh with a GUI (Grafical User Interface)
  MS Windows
USA, Alpha, Power PC and Pentium. All three 32-bits microprocessors.