History of Computer

History of computer began many thousands years ago. The idea of computer is originated from simple computing machine like as Abacus, Pascalene, Napier bone etc.

The modern multipurpose computer has traveled very long modification to come in this condition.



Age of Mechanical calculators:


(a) Abacus: Abacus was the first mathematical computing machine, originated between 600 and 500 BC, in Asia Minor and is still in use in some countries. The round beads of wood or bone are used to perform addition and subtraction sliding back and forth on the rods (rack). Early merchants used the abacus to keep trading transaction.




(b) Napier’s Bone: The inventor of logarithms, Scottish mathematician, John Napier, invented a device called Napier’s Bone. It was a rectangular rod of wood or bone on which multiplication tables were inscribed.

Napier’s Bone

Napier’s Bone


(c) Slide Rule: It was invented by English mathematician William Oughtred in 1620. It performs multiplication and division by adding and subtracting. It uses the same principle of logarithm except it is represented on a scale instead of a table.

Slide Rule

Slide Rule


(d) Pascaline: The numerical wheel calculator, called Pascaline was invented by Blaise Pascal to help his father in tax calculation. The machine consists of a number of toothed wheels connected by gears. Each wheel consists of ten teeth representing the digits 0-9.




(e) Liebniz Step Reckoner: Reckoner is an improved form of Pascalene. It is given by German philosopher and mathematician, Gottfried Wilhem Von Liebniz in 1694. It can perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It can also extract square root by a series of repeated addition. The shift mechanism is applied for multiplication and division .In decimal system, multiplying a digit by 10, shifts it one place to the left and dividing a digit by 10, shifts it one place to the right. Shift mechanism duplicates this process.


(f) Arithometer: It was invented by Frenchman, Charles Xavier Thomos de Colmar. This machine performs addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


(g) Charle Babbage: Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, is known as father of computer science. He had designed difference engine (1822) and Analytical engine in 1833.

Difference Engine: the inspiration of building automatic calculating machine was arisen in Babbage’s mind by first commercial calculator designed by Thomas Colmar. It uses methods of finite differences to perform mathematical calculations. The difference engine was mind baby of Babbage, which never built. It was stream-driven, fully automatic, and controlled by set of instructions.

Analytical Engine: was pure mechanical computing machine made from thousands of cogs, geared wheels to perform computing. It has four main sections:

    • Store: Its capacity was 1000 words of 50 decimal digits to hold variables and results.
    •  Mill: If is a processing section where mathematical works are performed.
    • Input section: Punch cards are used lo input instructions.
    • Output section: The result or output was obtained in the form of hard copy.


(h) Lady Augusta Ada Lovelance: She was born on 10 December, 1815, as a daughter of illustrious English poet Lord Byron. The first programmer of the world and assistant of Charles Babbage, Lady Augusta Ada Lovelance was mathematician. She had written first instruction code in binary for analytical engine. She has coded first program to calculate Bernoulli numbers. A software language developed by the U.S. Department of Defense was named “Ada” in her honor in 1979.


(i) Dr. Herman Hollerith (1860-1929): he was born in Buffalo N.Y. in 1860 and educated at Columbia university school of mines. Dr. Herman Hollerith was designed machine which is called tabulating machines (TH) in 1886 to compute the U.S. census with very high speed. His method used punch cards to store data information which is fed into a machine that compiled the result mechanically.

The demand of Tabulating Machine increased, so to supply machines, TMC (Tabulating Machine Company) was established in 1896, which become IBM (International Business Machine) in 1923, leader amongst computer manufacturing company in the world.

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