Home Overview

A Timeline of Computing History


Electro-mechanical Computers from 1890 to 1945

1880 1890
1890 Herman Hollerith develops the Tabulating Machine for the U.S. Census Bureau
1890 1900
1897: Karl Braun invents the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) in Germany. The CRT is still a key component of many computer systems.
1900 1910
1904: John A.Fleming patents the diode vacuum tube, setting the stage for better radio communication.

1906: Lee De Forest developed the "Audion tube", a three-element vacuum tube (triode) essential to the development of the radio. The Audion tube would be a core component in electronic computers.

1910 1920
1918: A calculator that is based on binary makes its appearance thanks to the inventive work of J. Abraham and E. Bloch.

1919:William H. Eccles and F. W. Jordan, create the flip-flop electronic circuit. These components make binary-bit storage possible for the later development of electronic computers.

1920 1930
1927: Vannevar Bush builds a large-scale differential analyzer at MIT. This analog calculator was perhaps the largest computational device in the world in 1930.
1930 1930
1936: Konrad Zuse assembles the world's first binary digital computer (the Z1) in Germany. His request for further funding from the German government was turned down in 1938, Delaying further development of computers in Germany.

1937: Georges Stibitz invents the first binary circuit with relays that works with Boolean Algebra. It is called the "K-Model" because he builds it on his kitchen table.

1939: Working with his assistant,Clifford Berry, John Atanasoff begins to build the first electronic digital computer, the ABC (or Atanasoff-Berry Computer).

1940 1940
Starting in 1939 and finishing in 1944 Howard Aiken builds the first general-purpose electro-mechanical digital computer for IBM. Constructed at Harvard, the Mark I was officially called the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (or ASCC).
1943: The top-secret British code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park in England produced the Colossus computer. Alan Turing is often associated with the Colossus, it was under the leadership of Tommy Flowers that the Colossus was built.
1941: Atanasoff and Berry complete the ABC.
1946: The ENIAC is completed and revealed to the public. Created by J.Presper Eckert and John Mauchly the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator is hailed as the world's first general-purpose electronic digital computer.
1947: John von Neuman contributed to the ENIAC project and went on to build the EDVAC or Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer at the Moore School between 1947 and 1950. The EDVAC was a stored program computer.


Updated on February 12, 2000 by the webmaster at RBV Communications International