History of the Personal Computer (PC)


The Jacquard Loom


In 1804 Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the 'Jacquard Loom.' This was a device used for weaving and allowed workers to weave with less skill and more productivity. It was automated, controlled by a chain of hole punched cards that would move certain wires.

Punch Cards Being Used to Store Information


In 1834, Semen Korsakov was the very first person to begin using punch cards to store and retrieve information in his 'machine for comparing ideas' and a few other machines of his creation. The machines held the punch cards in indexes which were chosen mechanically, and then compared the information on the cards to other data.

Analytical Engine


In 1837 mathematician Charles Babbage first proposed the Analytical Engine. This machine was to be the very first computer, but due to a lack of government funding it was never completed. However, Babbage's design introduced many crucial functions that we still use, such as the memory and processor. It was also able to change the instructions on the punched cards that it processed.

Analytical Engine Partially Built


In 1910 Henry Babbage, the son of Charles Babbage, constructed a small part of the Analytical Engine and used it to make a few inaccurate calculations.



In 1918 William Eccles and F.W. Jordan built the very first 'flip-flop,' named the 'Eccles-Jordan Trigger Circuit.' A flip-flop is a type of circuit that is still used today to store information in computers.



In 1931 Konrad Zuse created 'Z1,' the first freely programmable computer. The Z1 was operated with punch tape (strips of paper with holes punched to store data), and contained many of the same parts that computers today use. It was freely programmable with the use of replaceable punch tape.

Complex Number Calculator


In 1939 George Stibitz created the complex number calculator, a non-programmable computer used for -you guessed it- calculating complex numbers. This computer was built out of flash light bulbs and telephone relays. In 1940 it became the first computer to be used long distance with a telephone line, and helped pave the road toward the first digital computers



In 1941 Konrad Zuse (the creator of the Z1) finished the Z3, the very first programmable and completely automatic computer. It was digital and data was stored on punched film. The computer was used for military purposes during World War II.



In 1943 the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator was created by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. This computer was 1800 square feet and weighed around 50 tons. The computer was regarded as a 'giant brain' as it was able to solve mathematical problems thousands of times faster than a human.

Manchester Mark 1


In 1949 the Victoria University of Manchester created Manchester Mark 1, one of the first computers capable of running a pre-stored program. It was used to run a mathematical program for nine hours straight, but its development was terminated shortly after it's creation.



In 1952 Alexander Sandy Douglas created the first 'graphical computer game.' The game was created on the EDSAC, an early British computer and was called OXO. It was a digital version of Tic-Tac-Toe.



The Company IBM created the 701 in 1953, it's first electric computer. The 701 became the first mass produced computer with 19,701 computers sold. It was designed for use in scientific calculation.

Whirlwind Machine


The Whirlwind Machine was created by MIT in 1955. The computer was the first to use real-time graphics, magnetic-core RAM, and was the first computer created for purposes other than replacing non-electronic equivalents, desgned originally to create a flight simulator.



In 1976 the very first apple computer was introduced by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The computer was advertised as a computer for hobbyists.

Personal Computers Become a Widespread Industry

1977 - Present

After Apple introduced the 'Apple II' in 1977, competition and demand for PC's became larger and larger. Companies such as Windows, IBM, and others began pedaling out personal computers. Software began to develop by various companies and continues to do so. The invention of the Internet increased demand further, and today PC's are still being mass produced and continuously improved.