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The History of the Computer

Sir Dig-a-lot | 7-13 yrs | Learning Pod, Interactive, Reading Pod

Learn Computer History with Sir Dig-a-Lot

One night Sir Dig-a-Lot came late and asked Rohan, “What do you want to learn today Rohan?”
“Tell me about the computer. When was it invented, its history,” Rohan eagerly asked.

Sir Dig-a-Lot took a deep breath and answered, “The first computer was a simple calculator made of a bunch of strings and beads. It was called the Abacus. It was used for simple calculations and was invented in 500 B.C.

Blaise Pascal then invented a simple calculator in the year 1642 which didn’t run on electricity, but gears and wheels. This was modified over the years and finally, in the year 1833, Charles Babbage invented the first modern computer.”

“But the computer that Babbage invented was only for general purposes and employed punch cards for input and a steam engine for power. It couldn’t be developed because of funding problems and lack of help to develop the parts. For his contribution he is still known as the ‘Father of the Computer.’

It was not until the twentieth century that electricity was used to run a computer. In the 1880s Herman Hollerith introduced punch cards and sorting machines for the United States Census Bureau to handle large amounts of data from the census. Hollerith’s company eventually became the core of what we know as IBM.”

Rohan interrupted the lesson. “Is my father’s computer made by Babbage? He calls it ancient?”

Sir Dig-a-Lot laughed and said, “No Rohan, your fathers computer belongs to an advanced era of computers- the third generation. The first generation of computers used vaccum tubes in 1940. They used punched cards or punched paper for the purpose of inputting information only. It was one of the most important inventions.

The invention of the transistor marked the beginning of second generation of computers in the year 1947. In the 1950s the computer ran on a chip. It was only in the year 1960 that computers were affordable and could be kept easily at home.

It was Jack St. Claire Kilby’s and Robert Noyce’s invention – the integrated circuit or microchip, that saw the use of computers in large numbers and also the beginning of the third generation of computers. Over the years the technology has developed greatly, to make it easy for you to use a computer. The 1980s may be the year when the computers we know today actually began being made.”

Rohan said, “No wonder my father complains about his computer. Technology is advancing every second.”

Sir Dig-a-Lot replied, “That’s right, Rohan. And someday you will contribute to it too. Now off to bed!”

For more such interesting history articles and videos, go to History for Kids.