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History of Computer Hardware

Post by Jawad Ahmad Riaz

Computer was referred as the machine which can carry the task of computation form the end of the 19th century. However now it is not just a calculation machine, it has diversified applications and it has even revolutionized the industry. If we make a deep analysis regarding the history of the computer we have to go back in 16th century. However the true progress in this field started in early nineteenth century.

Early Digital Computers
If we briefly analyze the history of computer hardware, we can see innumerable changes in the hardware overtime. Zues was introduced in Germany in 1941; it uses binary coding for its operation. It involves the lector mechanical computing mechanism. Then after one year in 1942 Attansoff Berry computer came to surface with electric binary computing mechanism. Its origin was USA. Colluses Mark was a UK based technology and it emerged in 1944. It was also based on binary numeral principle. In the same year in Harvard, Harvard Mark IBM ASCC was introduced. ENIAC was introduced in 1946; it had its origin from UK. The modified version of ENIAC was introduced in 1948, as in 1949 EDSAC, Manchester Mark and CSIRAC came forward. The early computers and the associated hardware were really expensive and heavy. For example first portable computer weighed about 25kg.


History of Associated Hardware

With the development in computers, the hardware of the Pc was also improved. The first mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963. it was a relatively instable device which was set at a 90 degrees angle . This mouse had no ball. The optical mouse was invented in 1980; it did not receive widespread popularity during the early phase of its invention. First portable computer was introduced by IBM in 1975, it was of the size of a small suit case and it also required external power in order to operate. The use of random access memory (Ram) started in 1951. This memory was earlier known as magnetic core memory. The invention of Ram can be contributed to An Wang and Jay Forrester. Core memory was the base of early computers which was replaced in 1970 by integrated silicone RAM chips. The first hard disk was introduced by IBM, it was used in IBM 305RAMAC. It became part of the first IBM computers in 1960's. It has a data transfer rate of about 8,800 characters  per second.


Development in Additional Hardware
Today computer is far more than a calculation device. It can serve many other countless purposes like networking and web browsing, advance computing requirements etc. The other important hardware devices like printers, web cam, audio systems and web servers are also part and parcel of today’s PC. Hence their history is also very important. Let’s read when the first laser printer came into use. The first laser printer was conceived by Gary Starkweather in 1969. However it did not become popular unless IBM introduced their branded laser printer known as IBM 3800 in 1976. It was as large as a room. The first web server was introduced in 1991, which was used by Tim Berners while discovering World Wide Web at CERN. This web server was a next workstation which helped in putting out first web page online. If we go through the history of the hardware, 70% contribution in this field can be contributed to the IBM. Another important invention of this company was floppy Disks. Floppy disks were invented in 1970 and they were used till 1990’s however today there use is history. These remarkable inventions changed our lives now the world has become a global village due to the spread of networking technologies. However the foundation for these technologies came from early development in hardware.

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