# The History of Computers

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The History of Computers

Thousands of years ago calculations were done using people’s fingers and pebbles that were found just lying around. Technology has transformed so much that today the most complicated computations are done within seconds. Human dependency on computers is increasing everyday. Just think how hard it would be to live a week without a computer. We owe the advancements of computers and other such electronic devices to the intelligence of men of the past.

The history of the computer dates back all the way to the prehistoric times. The first step towards the development of the computer, the abacus, was developed in Babylonia in 500 B.C. and functioned as a simple counting tool. It was not until thousands of years later that the first calculator was produced. In 1623, the first mechanical calculator was invented by Wilhelm Schikard, the “Calculating Clock,” as it was often referred to as, “performed it’s operations by wheels, which worked similar to a car’s odometer” (Evolution, 1). Still, there had not yet been anything invented that could even be characterized as a computer. Finally, in 1625 the slide rule was created becoming “the first analog computer of the modern ages” (Evolution, 1). One of the biggest breakthroughs came from by Blaise Pascal in 1642, who invented a mechanical calculator whose main function was adding and subtracting numbers. Years later, Gottfried Leibnez improved Pascal’s model by allowing it to also perform such operations as multiplying, dividing, taking the square root.

Technology continued to prosper in the computer world into the nineteenth century. A major figure during this time is Charles Babbage, designed the idea of the Difference Engine in the year 1820. It was a calculating machine designed to tabulate the results of mathematical functions (Evans, 38). Babbage, however, never completed this invention because he came up with a newer creation in which he named the Analytical Engine. This computer was expected to solve “any mathematical problem” (Triumph, 2). It relied on the punch card input. The machine was never actually finished by Babbage, and today Herman Hollerith has been credited with the fabrication of the punch card tabulating machine.