Which country invented the first computer ?



New Member
When reading computer books, some differences show up as to which country was responsible for the first computer. I've read that there was the Collosus from England
and Eniac etc from USA and even a 64bit computer used in Germany during World War 2 that was destroyed in an air raid.
Does anyone know who has first claim ? And when ? (I don't mean theoretical ideas on paper).


New Member
Some people believe the Chinese abacus was the first computer. It didn't even need electricity.

Real race cars don't have doors.


Southpaw'ed Member
Right, you need to define what you mean by computer. Computer is what they used to call people that performed calculations.
There was a great documentary on PBS called Triumph of the Nerds. MITS promoted the first "PC", the Altair 8800 in 1975.

success unshared is failure

[This message has been edited by StuTheWise (edited 11-24-99).]


Southpaw'ed Member
The following can be found at
Konrad Zuse, a German engineer, completes the first general purpose progammable calculator in 1941. He pioneers the use of binary math and boolean logic in electronic calculation.
Colossus, a British computer used for code-breaking, is operational by December of 1943. ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzor and Computer, is developed by the Ballistics Research Laboratory in Maryland to assist in the preparation of firing tables for artillery. It is built at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering and completed in November 1945.

Bell Telephone Laboratories develops the transistor in 1947.

UNIVAC, the Universal Automatic Computer, is developed in 1951. It can store 12,000 digits in random access mercury-delay lines.
success unshared is failure


New Member
Forgive me this post will likely be huge!!!A Chronology of Computer History:

3000 BC: Dust abacus is invented, probably in Babylonia.
1800 BC: Babylonian mathematician develops algorithms to resolve numerical problems.
500 BC: Bead and wire abacus originates in Egypt.
200 AD: Saun-pan computing tray is used in China; soroban computing tray used in Japan.
1000: Gerbert of Aurillac or Pope Sylvester II devises a more efficient abacus.
1622: William Oughtred develops the slide rule in England.
1624: Wilhelm Schickard builds first four-function calculator-clock at the University of Heidelberg.
1642: Blaise Pascal builds the first numerical calculating machine in Paris.
1673: Gottfried Leibniz builds a mechanical calculating machine that multiplies, divides, adds and subtracts.
1780: American Benjamin Franklin discovers electricity.
1822: In England Charles Babbage designs a Difference Engine to calculate logarithms, but the machine is never built.
1833: Charles Babbage designs the Analytical Machine that follows instructions from punched-cards. It is the first general purpose computer.
1842: Lady Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace and daughter of Lord Byron, the poet, documents Babbage's work and writes programs for Babbage.
1854: Irishman George Boole publishes The Mathematical Analysis of Logic using the binary system now known as Boolean algebra.
1855: George and Edvard Scheutz of Stockholm build the first practical mechanical computer based on Babbages work.
1884: Herman Hollerith applies for patents for automatic punch-card tabulating machine.
1886: William Burroughs develops the first commercially successful mechanical adding machine.
1890: Dr. Herman Hollerith constructs an electromechanical machine using perforated cards for use in the U.S. census.
1903: Nikola Tesla, a Yugoslavian who worked for Thomas Edison, patents electrical logic circuits called gates or switches.
1921: Czech word robot is used to describe mechanical workers in the play R.U.R. by Karel Capek.
1924: Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changes its name to International Business Machines.
1925: Vannevar Bush, builds a large scale analog calculator, the differential analyzer, at MIT.
1928: A Russian immigrant, Vladimir Zworykin, invents the cathode ray tube (CRT).
1931: First calculator, the Z1, is built in Germany by Konrad Zuse.
1933: First electronic talking machine, the Voder, is built by Dudley, who follows in 1939 with the Vocoder (Voice coder).
1936: Englishman Alan M. Turing while at Princeton University formalizes the notion of calculableness and adapts the notion of algorithm to the computation of functions. Turing's machine is defined to be capable of computing any calculable function.
1937: George Stibitz builds the first binary calculator at Bell Telephone Laboratories.
1939: John J. Atanasoff designs a prototype for the ABC (Atanasoff-Berry Computer) with the help of graduate student Clifford Berry at Iowa State College. In 1973 a judge ruled it the first automatic digital computer.
1940: At Bell Labs, George Stibitz demonstrates the Complex Number Calculator, which may be the first digital computer.
1940: Remote processing experiments, conducted by Bell Laboratories, create the first terminal.
1941: Colossus computer is designed by Alan M. Turing and built by M.H.A. Neuman at the University of Manchester, England.
1941: Konrad Zuse builds the Z3 computer in Germany, the first calculating machine with automatic control of its operations.
1944: Colossus Mark II is built in England.
1944: Mark I (IBM ASCC) is completed, based on the work of Professor Howard H. Aiken at Harvard and IBM. It is a relay-based computer.
1946: Binac (Binary Automatic Computer), the first computer to operate in real time, is started by Eckert and Mauchly; it is completed in 1949.

1947: Alan M. Turing publishes an article on Intelligent Machinery which launches artificial intelligence.
1949: EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) supports the first tests of magnetic disks.
1951: Maurice V. Wilkes introduces the concept of microprogramming.
1951: Whirlwind computer becomes operational at MIT. It was the first real-time computer and was designed by Jay Forrester and Ken Olsen.
1952: First computer manual is written by Fred Gruenberger.
1954: Gene Amdahl develops the first operating system, used on IBM 704.
1958: Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments makes the first integrated circuit.
1959: COBOL is defined by the Conference on Data System Languages (Codasyl), based on Grace Hoppers Flow-Matic.
1960: DEC ships the first small computer, the PDP-1.
1960: First electronic switching central office becomes operational in Chicago.
1960: Removable disks first appear.
1961: IBM delivers the Stretch computer to Los Alamos. This transistorized computer with 64-bit data paths is the first to use eight-bit bytes; it remains operational until l971.
1964: IBM announces the System 360, the first family of compatible computers.
1964: BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Language) is created by Tom Kurtz and John Kemeny of Dartmouth. First time-sharing BASIC program runs.
1968: Integrated Electronics (Intel) Corp. is founded by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce.
1972: Intel introduces the 8008, an 8 bit microprocessor.
1975: Cray-1 supercomputer is introduced.
1975: The first computer store opens in Santa Monica, CA.
1977: DEC introduces its first 32-bit superminicomputer, the VAX-11/780.
1978: Total computers in use in the U.S. exceed a half million units.
1978: The first COMDEX trade show is held.
1980: Microsoft licenses UNIX operating system from Bell Laboratories and introduces its XENIX adaptation.
1980: Total computers in use in the U.S. exceed one million units.
1981: Commodore introduces the VIC-20 home computer, which sells over one million units.
1981: IBM enters the personal computer market, creating a de facto standard.
1982: Sun Microsystems is founded.
1982: Microsoft licenses MS-DOS to 50 microcomputer manufacturers in the first 16 months of availability.
1983: Total computers in use in the U.S. exceed ten million units.
1984: Apple introduces the Macintosh computer.
1984: IBM introduces the PC AT (Advanced Technology). IBM merges with Rolm Corp., which becomes a telecommunications subsidiary.
1986: The number of computers in the U.S. exceeds 30 million.
1987: IBM introduces its PS/2 family and ships over 1 million units by year end.
1988: Cray Research introduces the Cray Y-MP, a $20M supercomputer.
1988: Sun Microsystems surpasses the $1 billion sales mark, and introduces 80386-based workstations.
1988: A nondestructive worm spreads via the Internet network and brings several thousand computers to their knees.
1989: DEC announces a workstation using Mips Computer's RISC microprocessor.
1989: Intel announces the 80486 microprocessor and the I860 RISC/coprocessor chip. Both chips have over one million transistors.
1989: The number of computers in the U.S. exceeds 50M units.
1989: The battery-powered notebook computer becomes a full function computer including hard and floppy disk with the arrival of Compaq's LTE and LTE/286.
1989: The first 80486-based computers are introduced.
1990: Microsoft introduces Windows 3.0.
1990: Microsoft's fiscal year revenue ending 6/30/90 exceeds $1B.
1990: Microsoft along with IBM, Tandy, AT&T and others announced hardware and software specifications for multimedia platforms.
1991: The Federal Trade Commission launches an investigation into Microsoft's business practices.
1991: Intel introduces the 486SX, a lower priced 486 chip.
1991: Microsoft rolls out DOS 5.0 with great success.
1992: IBM releases OS/2 Version 2.0 and ships over 1M units.
1992: Microsoft introduces Windows 3.1 and ships nearly 10M units.

1992: The core of Apple's lawsuit versus Microsoft Windows is dismissed.
1992: Microsoft introduces Windows for Workgroup. The first version of NT
1992: Intel says its next microprocessor will be called Pentium instead of 586.
1993: Novell unveils NetWare 4.0.
1993: IBM introduces the F series of the AS/400.
1993: - Microsoft unveils Windows NT.
1993: Pentium-based systems start shipping.
1993: Microsoft outlines the Plug and Play and Microsoft at Work (MAW) initiatives.
1993: IBM debuts its first workstations based on the PowerPC chip.
1993: IBM announces OS/2 for Windows, which upgrades the Windows environment to OS/2.
1994: Macintoshes using the PowerPC start shipping.
1994: Intel introduces the 486DX4 clock-tripling microprocessor
1995: Microsoft releases Windows 95 as its newest OS.

When you stop and think about all that you've done with your life...are you satisfied?
Your future is only limited by your willingness to make it better.
-SkySlash C.1999


New Member
Er, Um, Thanks Skyslash.
Did you forget one ?
How about CSIROAC in Melbourne, Australia, commisioned on 25 Nov 1949 and still working (supposed to be only one from first generation still alive), 1000 ops per second. (Probably did my tax return this year (lol)).
Be great if we had an area of computer trivia where we can keep your list on permanent display and others could add to it. (Maybe it's been done ?).
Anyway, I did mean electronic, but not after reading your list. Very interesting !


New Member
Actually I have a longer list with the CSIROAC but its about 8 pages of 6-point font text. I tried to edit it for this post, but I'll post it anyone wants to see it.

When you stop and think about your life...
....are you satisfied?
Your future is limited only by your Imagination
-SkySlash C.1999


New Member
I didn't see anyone mention the ABC computer.



New Member
You Bet SkySlash. Would like to see the list.
I love this sort of stuff.
Would it post ? Is there a maximum size ?
Who else is interested in SkySlash's info' ?


New Member
Three cheers for SkySlash! That's the kind of answer I like to read!

BTW, SS's post may not be 100% exhaustive. I looked for "Napier's Bones", the Jacquard loom, etc, but maybe I missed a few. Nice chronology, tho!


New Member
It was the Russians who invented the first computer. They re-wrote the history books and said they invented electricity, telegraph, computers, apple pie and so forth back in the late 40s-50s. Just goes to show you that you can't believe everything your government tells you.