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Computer Trivia


Dragon Drop

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#1
The earliest electronic computers were just made privately, as experimental or demonstration or prototype models, mostly at major universities. But the first one that was commercially available (meaning anybody could buy one, if they happened to be extremely wealthy) was made by a well-known firm that still exists but is no longer in the computer business. Guess who?

Of course you could easily look it up, but that's cheating and you might go to Hell -- or, worse yet, to the Recycle Bin!
 

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nt62

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#2
Hello Dragon Drop.

... was made by a well-known firm that still exists but is no longer in the computer business...
... take issue with title - nothing trivial about computer history
IMO - what is trivial > endless Windows 10 Insider Updates.

To respond > depends on what decade >
UNIVAC -
MITS Altair -
The Curta -
Harvard Mark 1 -
The Relay Interpolator -
The First Collossus -
EDVAC -
ENIAC -
SSEC -
The CSIRAC -
EDSAC -
...
...
The IBM 650
The IBM 701
The Deuce, The Johnniac, The DEC PDP-8, Olivetti Programma 101,
IBM 360, HP2116A, etc... etc... etc... The Data General NOVA, Xerox PARC, WANG 2200, Tandem 16, Apple 1,
etc, etc, etc, etc, Apple 2, DEC VAX, TRS-80, Atari, Commodore, The Lisa, The Osborne, Compaq

I don't know ! :)
 

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Dragon Drop

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#3
You've made a pretty good list there. Most of those you named were commercially available, but a few (such as ENIAC) were only privately made.

What I meant by the question is, who made the first "computer" -- if you EXCLUDE computers that were only made privately, for demonstration purposes or as experiments, and were not available on the open market?

And I also mean to exclude the old punch-card devices (with names like Calculator, Tabulator, Collator, Accounting Machine, etc) which had wired control panels but no stored program, and were therefore just "electro-mechanical" rather than truly electronic. They were POWERED by electricity, but so is a light bulb. The "math, logic, and control" were done by mechanical parts rather than by electric circuits.

Within those restrictions, the earliest "computer" that I know of was the "Univac I" which came out around 1950. It was made by Remington, which now makes electric razors and other small appliances. It amuses me to think that every day there are millions of guys shaving with Remington razors and not knowing that they're using products of the first (as herein defined) computer manufacturer! :)

BTW, here's a good computer history timeline:
https://www.computer.org/cms/Computer.org/Publications/timeline.pdf
 

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Dragon Drop

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#4
In fact, Remington started out by making guns (in 1816). Then farm equipment, and then sewing machines. Then typewriters (in 1886). Then, in the early 20th century, other companies (such as Kardex, Rand, and Sperry) joined up with Remington, adding accounting/filing equipment and other office supplies to the mix. So it was a business conglomerate for years until it finally got into computers in the 1940's, inspired by ENIAC. It became one of the early giants of the industry, along with makers of office machines (IBM, NCR, Burroughs), electrical appliances (General Electric, Sylvania, Westinghouse), radios (RCA, Philco), military codebreaking devices (Control Data), and cameras (Honeywell). Today, for those going into business, computer manufacturing is a good place to start; but in those old mainframe days, just about every company that made computers had already built itself on some other manufacturing business first. To most of the public back then, computers were just a vague, unfamiliar and mysterious thing; so before they would trust your computers, you had to "prove yourself" by making something more familiar to them, like radios or farm equipment.
 

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strollin

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#5
... take issue with title - nothing trivial about computer history
The title uses the word trivia, not trivial, big difference between those two words. :cool:
 

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nt62

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#6
Hello Strollin.

... take issue with title - nothing trivial about computer history
The title uses the word trivia, not trivial, big difference between those two words. :cool:
trivia:

matters or things that are very unimportant, inconsequential, or nonessential; trifles; trivialities.
trivial:

of very little importance or value; insignificant:
commonplace; ordinary.
@ Dragon Drop
did put Univac at top of list !





 
Last edited:

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#7
Hello Strollin.

... take issue with title - nothing trivial about computer history
The title uses the word trivia, not trivial, big difference between those two words. :cool:
trivia:



trivial:

of very little importance or value; insignificant:
commonplace; ordinary.
@ Dragon Drop
did put Univac at top of list !
Trivia in the context that it was used: facts about people, events, etc., that are not well-known
Context is important!
 

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nt62

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#8
Thanks Strollin.

From my perspective, computer history is about technology and the history of its development.
Much of early computer development happened during difficult periods in history.
It often happens that major advancements in technology occur as a need.
This is how I would characterize computer history - very significant - with very significant brilliant engineers.

The development of
XEROX - Hewlett and Packard - IBM - DEC - MAC - DOS etc... has changed how the world functions.
I see no trivia here.

To include corporate activity, that is another issue and not, IMO, about technology itself.
My views are only about the technology, not the ancillary activities.

Thanks
 

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nt62

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#9
ok. Apologies. This is about trivia. ok. I missed the point.
 

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nt62

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#10
Speaking of trivia - Strollin eh - going back to 2011 (and Dragon Drop)
- don't know if you were a huge Seven Forums person going way back years.

I used to be the poster "mdmd" before going offline. Big supporter of Windows 8.0 on this forum.

Every day defending TILES and getting into all the back and forth stuff !!
 

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strollin

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#11
Speaking of trivia - Strollin eh - going back to 2011 (and Dragon Drop)
- don't know if you were a huge Seven Forums person going way back years.

I used to be the poster "mdmd" before going offline. Big supporter of Windows 8.0 on this forum.

Every day defending TILES and getting into all the back and forth stuff !!
I still hang out on Sevenforums as well as Tenforums.

I agree with you that nothing regarding computers and their history is trivial but this thread is regarding trivia.

Since we're talking trivia and which companies started out making other things before computers. IBM started out in the late 1800's as a butcher scale company.
 

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    Motherboard
    ASUS TUF Z370-Pro Gaming, Toshiba, MS, Dell
    Memory
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    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GTX 1050, Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Sound Card
    ATI High Definition Audio (Built-in to mobo)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell S2817Q 28", 15.6"
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160, 1366x768 (laptop)
    Hard Drives
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    PSU
    Corsair CX 750M
    Case
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    Coolermaster CM 212+
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M - used continuously since 1986
    Mouse
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    Internet Speed
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    Browser
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    Antivirus
    MSE on desktop, Defender on laptop
    Other Info
    Retired after working in the tech industry for 41 years. First 10 years as a Technician, the rest as a programmer/software engineer. After 1 year of retirement, I was bored so went back to work as a Robotic Process Automation Consultant.

Dragon Drop

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#12
Guess what, I was wrong about the Univac. In the course of my ongoing research (just for fun) about old computers, I've just now found out that the first commercially available electronic computer was actually the "Ferranti Mark I" in 1949. And that was in England!
 

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