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Timeline created by Joe Wildcat
  • 1081

    The Loom

    The Loom
    In France, Joseph Marie Jacquard invents a loom that uses punched wooden cards to automatically weave fabric designs. Early computers would use similar punch cards.
  • Calculating Machine

    Calculating Machine
    English mathematician Charles Babbage conceives of a steam-driven calculating machine that would be able to compute tables of numbers. The project, funded by the English government, is a failure. More than a century later, however, the world's first computer was actually built.
  • The Turing Machine

    The Turing Machine
    1936: Alan Turing presents the notion of a universal machine, later called the Turing machine, capable of computing anything that is computable. The central concept of the modern computer was based on his ideas.
  • The Start of the First Computer

    The Start of the First Computer
    Atanasoff and his graduate student, Clifford Berry, design a computer that can solve 29 equations simultaneously. This marks the first time a computer is able to store information on its main memory.
  • The UNIVAC is made

    The UNIVAC is made
    Mauchly and Presper leave the University of Pennsylvania and receive funding from the Census Bureau to build the UNIVAC, the first commercial computer for business and government applications.
  • COBOL is Created

    COBOL is Created
    Grace Hopper develops the first computer language, which eventually becomes known as COBOL. Thomas Johnson Watson Jr., son of IBM CEO Thomas Johnson Watson Sr., conceives the IBM 701 EDPM to help the United Nations keep tabs on Korea during the war.
  • The Computer Chip

    The Computer Chip
    Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce unveil the integrated circuit, known as the computer chip. Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his work.
  • DRAM chip

    DRAM chip
    The newly formed Intel unveils the Intel 1103, the first Dynamic Access Memory (DRAM) chip.
  • Floppy Disk

    Floppy Disk
    Alan Shugart leads a team of IBM engineers who invent the "floppy disk," allowing data to be shared among computers.
  • Apple 1 is Born

    Apple 1 is Born
    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak start Apple Computers on April Fool's Day and roll out the Apple I, the first computer with a single-circuit board, according to Stanford University.
  • Radio Shack

    Radio Shack
    Radio Shack's initial production run of the TRS-80 was just 3,000. It sold like crazy. For the first time, non-geeks could write programs and make a computer do what they wished
  • Word Processing

    Word Processing
    Word processing becomes a reality as MicroPro International releases WordStar. "The defining change was to add margins and word wrap," said creator Rob Barnaby in email to Mike Petrie in 2000. "Additional changes included getting rid of command mode and adding a print function. I was the technical brains — I figured out how to do it, and did it, and documented it. "
  • Acorn Computer

    Acorn Computer
    The first IBM personal computer, code-named "Acorn," is introduced. It uses Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system. It has an Intel chip, two floppy disks and an optional color monitor. Sears & Roebuck and Computerland sell the machines, marking the first time a computer is available through outside distributors. It also popularizes the term PC.
  • Computer with GUI

    Computer with GUI
    Apple's Lisa is the first personal computer with a GUI. It also features a drop-down menu and icons. It flops but eventually evolves into the Macintosh. The Gavilan SC is the first portable computer with the familiar flip form factor and the first to be marketed as a "laptop."
  • Windows is Born

    Windows is Born
    Microsoft announces Windows, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. This was the company's response to Apple's GUI. Commodore unveils the Amiga 1000, which features advanced audio and video capabilities.