Lexikon's History of Computing

Evolution of Counting and Calculating Technologies

The following tables provide a brief chronology of the general evolution in counting and calculating technologies from the first manual processes to the use of modern devices.

 

EARLY MANUAL METHODS

4,000 B.C. Early cuneiform; early hieroglyphics

3,000 B.C. Early abacus; early Egyptian papyrus writings

2,500 B.C. Babylonian numbering system

1,500 B.C. Ancient Semitic alphabet

1,500 B.C. Early Egyptian counting dots

485 B.C. Early Greek counting pebbles

300 B.C. Hindu numerals

105 A.D. Early block printing in China

800 A.D. Arabic numbering system

1045 A.D. Moveable clay type used in China

1423 A.D. Early block printing in Europe

1539 A.D. First printing press in western hemisphere

 

MECHANICAL METHODS

1620 Edmund Gunter invents his slide rule

1623 W. Schickard's calculator-clock adding machine

1632 William Oughtred invents slide rule & circular rule

1642 Blaise Pascal's mechanical adding machine

1671 Von Leibnitz invents Leibnitz Wheel calculator

1801 Jacquard's first punch card machine

1808 Early typewriter machine

1833 Charles Babbage's Difference Engine

1850 First key-driven adding machines

1867 First marketable manual typewriters

1879 First electric lights

1879 First mechanical cash register

1880 Tabulating & adding machines in widespread use

 

ELECTRICAL DEVICES

1904 Fleming Valve vacuum tube invented

1909 First combination typewriter and adding machines

1914 First electric typewriter

1918 First automatic playback typewriter, w/paper tape

1921 Printing-tabulating machines produced

1926 Electromechanical analog computer built by Dr. V. Bush

1928 CRTs

1928 Punch card machines attached to mech. calculators

1936 Konrad Zuse works on his "Z" machines

1939 Harvard Mark 1 calculator project begins

 

VACUUM TUBE ELECTRONICS

1942 Atanasoff's electronic digital computer

1943 Colossus digital computer (1,500 tubes)

1946 ENIAC (18,000 vacuum tubes)

1948 IBM 604 electronic calculator

1951 Univac I, first commercial computer

 

TRANSISTORIZED ELECTRONIC DEVICES

1947 Transistor invented at Bell Labs

1953 TX-0 transistorized computer at MIT

1954 IBM 608 transistorized calculator

1954 TRADIC (Transistorized Airborne Digital Computer)

1956 Leprechaun transistorized computer at Bell Labs

1958 CDC 1604 transistorized computer

1961 IBM Stretch Computer

 

INTEGRATED CIRCUITS AND MICROPROCESSORS

1961 Fairchild markets first integrated circuits

1961 Emergence of time-sharing systems

1964 Texas Instruments makes IC hearing aid

1965 DEC PDP-8 is first mass-produced mini-computer

1964 First digital computer launched into space

1974 First microcomputers

1976 Intel's 8748 "computer on a chip"

1995 Intel's 100 Mhz Pentium processor chip

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