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This Week in Tech History: IBM’s First Automatic Calculator

On this edition of "This Week in Tech History", Chris tells us of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, a machine that could do the job of 12 people.

This week in 1876 – Thomas Edison of Menlo Park, NJ patented the mimeograph machine. He described it as a method of preparing autographic stencils for printing.

1944 – IBM dedicated the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator – better known as the Harvard Mark I. This wasn’t the kind of calculator you could throw in you backpack. This calculator used 765,000 electromechanical components and hundreds of miles of wire. It was 51 feet long, 8 feet high and 2 feet deep.

1955 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering sold its first transistor radios in Japan. While you may not know Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, you may know their new, and easier, name… Sony.

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. 27 years later, it is now a part of our everyday life.

And this week in 2012 – NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on the surface of Mars. It’s job was to investigate Martian climate and geology; including the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.

Written by Chris Graveline

Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for 14 years. He is a producer of Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline and the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

1687 posts

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