In 1671, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented a computer that was built in 1694; it could add and, by successive adding and shifting, multiply. Leibniz invented a special "stepped gear" mechanism for introducing the addend digits, and this mechanism is still in use. The prototypes built by Leibniz and Pascal were not widely used but remained curiosities until more than a century later, when Tomas of Colmar (Charles Xavier Thomas) developed (1820) the first commercially successful mechanical calculator that could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. A succession of improved "desk-top" mechanical calculators by various inventors followed, so that by about 1890 the available built-in operations included accumulation of partial results, storage and reintroduction of past results, and printing of results, each requiring manual initiation. These improvements were made primarily to suit commercial users, with little attention given to the needs of science.
Both of these men had enough time on their hands to individually build two of the first mechanical calculators in history. Unfortunately, Schickard calculator never even made it past the model stage and Pascal machine had several snags of its own; nevertheless, both of their discoveries helped lead to more advanced computing. The next so-called geek to make his way into the computing spotlight was Charles Babbage. In 1842, he developed ideas for a computer that could find the solution to a math problem. His system was rudimentary, using punch-cards in the computation; however, his ideas were far from basic.
This computer could not permanently store information however so a new development had to be made and in 1952 EDVAC was born. Now machines could “remember” information. Technologically, this was a huge advancement but could the developers see what might come of the future if a computer can remember what it has done? But walking talking computers that could think and speak on their own were a far cry considering these machines covered more than an acre in size. The invention of the integrated circuit in 1959 was the biggest development until 1971 when the microprocessor was developed.
This calculator consisted of over 2000 parts (The early 1996). A large problem that Babbage had would be many engineering problems which would not allow his engines to work correctly. He is remembered and is important to computer history because of his idea for the machines. His basic ideas of how the machine would process information is still used to this day (In the beginning 2004). As the late 1800’s came around, a man named Herman Hollerith developed a computing machine that can read into punched cards.
An early contributor to computers, Blaise Pascal was an inventor who invented a mechanical calculator called the “Pascaline”, which was used as an aid for his father, who was a tax collector. The one-function Pascaline could only add, and couldn't be sold due to its high cost. The archaic calculator was an inspiration to many inventors, who added and improved to it over the centuries. One inventor, Gottfried Leibniz, improved on it by adding subtraction, multiplication and division functions. Leibniz added a cylinder with ridges of incremental length which allowed the calculator to do more than just add.
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Now we look at Charles Babbage, who many say is the father of computers. Charles Babbage was a professor of mathematics. In the 1800's Babbage designed an automatic calculation machine. This machine was steam powered and could store up to 1000 50-digit numbers. Charles Babbage was so ahead of his time, that the machines that were used back then were not even precise enough to make the parts for his computer.
Our Society relies critically on computers for almost all of their daily operations and processes. Only once in a lifetime will a new invention like the computer come about. The fist computer, known as the abacus, was made of wood and parallel wires on which beads were strung. Arithmetic operations were performed when the beads were moved along the wire according to “programming” rules that had to be memorized by the user (Soma, 14). The second earliest computer, invented by Blaise Pascal in 1694, was a “digital calculating machine.” Pascal designed this first known digital computer to help his father, who was a tax collector.
In 1924, the company changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation. IBM made punch-card office machinery that dominated business until the late 1960s, when a new generation of computers made the punch card machines obsolete. The first fully electronic computer used vacuum tubes, and was so secret that its existence was not revealed until decades after it was built. Invented by the English mathematician Alan Turing and in 1943, the Colossus was the computer that British cryptographers used to break secret German military codes. The first modern general-purpose electronic computer was ENIAC or the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator.
The prototypes made by Pascal and Leibniz were not used in many places. They were even considered a little weird until, a little more than a century later, Charles Xavier Thomas created the first successful mechanical calculator. Thomas' calculator could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Many improved versions of the desktop calculator followed. By about 1890, the range of improvements on the calculator included accumulation of partial results, storage and automatic reentry of past results (memory functions), and a printing of the results.