Computers Over the Decades

Computers Over the Decades

Imagine landing at work to a desk FULL of files, papers and the all important roladex with not a computer in sight. There certainly wouldn’t have been the need for IT support! If you remember such times; what were they like? Over the years computers have evolved and advanced significantly, meaning today we have every piece of information required at the click of a button.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane;

1930s Calculating Machines

Considered the world’s first ever programmable computer, the calculating machine was created by Berlin born Konrad Zuse. Using his parents’ living room to design a prototype, Zeus used metal plates, pins and old film to create a machine that could easily add and subtract.

The 1940s Mathematical Robot

By the 1940s technology really started ‘hotting up’ with the introduction of the ENIAC created by John Mauchly. Designed to aid the army with ballistics and analytics, this machine had the ability to calculate thousands of problems every second. If you’re imagining a neat little desktop sized box then think again. The ENIAC required a 1,500 square foot room to accommodate its 40 cabinets, 6000 switches and 18,000 vacuum tubes. Imagine the IT Support requirements for this!

Sticking With Matchs in the 1950s

With the 30s and 40s creating computers designed to solve maths related problems, the 1950s focussed heavily on use for scientific and engineering research. In 1954 the JOHNIAC was introduced and operated successfully for 13 years by RAND researchers before its demise.

The 1960s Programma 101

Of course everything changed in the 60s! Alongside peace and music festivals the Italian made Programma 101 was introduced to the market and sold as a desktop computer to the ‘average customer’. Prior to 1965, computers remained reserved for engineers and scientists. The Programma 101 however offered features helpful to everyone. This machine was the size of a typewriter and was equipped with 37 keys and an in-built printer.

1970s Introduced The Mouse

A surge in technological advancements meant the Xerox Alto could not only print documents, it could send emails. This computer included a screen, keyboard and mouse and was designed for use by everyone including children. It’s suggested that the Xerox Alto influenced Apple designs in the 80s.  

The 1980s Apple’s Macintosh Changed the Computer Industry

In 1984, Steve Jobbs introduced the world to his Macintosh computer, a brand that has only strengthened over time. Similarly to the Xerox Alto, the Mcintosh was available to everyone and included a screen (small at 9 inches), keyboard and mouse. What was prevalent about this design was the interface of windows and icons. The Macintosh was extremely light in comparison to previous machines weighing just 22 pounds. If you were lucky enough to afford one, the Apple Macintosh would have set you back £2,092. This is the equivalent to just under £5,000 in today’s money.

Stepping into the 90s with the iMac G3

The iMac G3 was customisable and quirky with its Bondi blue clear casing. Alongside the now standard screen, keyboard and mouse, this machine included USB ports and was designed to be portable. Introduced in 1997, again by Steve Jobbs, it’s suggested that the 800,000 computers sold in the first five months of launch actually saved Apple from going under. Imagine that!

2000s and Laptops

In a bid to make computers as portable as possible, laptops increased in popularity in the early 2000s. Thanks to Steve Jobbs in 2008, the first ever MacBook Air was introduced to the world. Brave enough to remove the CD drive this machine measured 0.76 inches thick and changed the industry forever.