Computer history 1939-2000
This page provides an overview of the history of computers and digital technology from the beginning of the last century until the year 2000.
The history of the computer begins with the history of arithmetic, from early days on, people developed tools for calculations that could not
be easily made by heart. The abacus (abacus) was a good example of this. When the need for calculations became more complex tables with numbers
were developed to aid in multiplication. The slide rule was also an invention to make more complex calculations with limited accuracy easier,
but this disappeared over the years with the invention of the pocket calculator.
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Short overview of the history of computers
Charles Babbage, a mathematician, was very interested in astronomy. A great torment for an astronomer at that time, was the fact that
every calculation table inevitably contained errors. Babbage wondered if the tables could not be generated mechanically and for this he
invented the difference machine in 1822. He started building the machine, but building it was not easy. The machine worked mechanically
and the gear technology was not yet advanced enough to achieve a good result. Furthermore, Babbage kept changing the design of the machine.
A contemporary joke is that this is the first automation project that ran out of time and budget, just like (almost) all projects nowadays.
At the end of the 19th century Herman Hollerith constructed counting machines that worked on the basis of punched card input but it was
not until 1938 that the first computer was built by Konrad Zuse. Zuse's machine also still worked mechanically, but Zuse made it a lot easier
for himself by using the binary system. During the the Second World War, the development of computers took off quickly, because they were
used to decode messages that were encrypted with the German Lorenz cipher machine.
This computer was the Colossus and it was developed by Tommy Flowers and was the first electronic computer using electron tubes. The first
computer in America was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator), which took up several rooms, 18,000 electron tubes, 70,000
resistors, 10,000 capacitors, and contained 6000 different switches. The first computer in the Netherlands was the ARRA I at the
Computers got a lot smaller when the transistor was invented in 1947, but IBM claimed that worldwide no more than 7 computers would be
needed, which in retrospect is the best joke in history of computers. The magazine "Popular Mechanics" even predicted that one day there
would be a computer that only would weigh 1500 kilos. Nowadays there is more computing power in a simple mobile phone than in the
1500 kilo minicomputers from these years.
With the enormous development of electronics and semiconductors like transistors, the computer could become much smaller and faster.
Later, the transistors were integrated into a computer chip also called integrated circuit (integrated circuit, IC). The complexity of the
chips was improved in the 1970s so that the it became possible to integrate a complete processor (CPU) on a single chip. This made it much
cheaper to build computers.
Home computers from the period 1975-1985 included the Apple I, the Apple II, the TRS-80, the Commodore PET, the ZX-81, the Nascom, the
Commodore VIC-20, the BBC Micro, the MSX 1 and successors, the Commodore 64 and the Acorn-Atom. On August 12, 1981 IBM presented their
personal computer which heralded a whole new era. At the end of 1982, one computer was sold every second on weekdays. The PC became cheaper
and easier to use which led to more and more companies and households buying one. Developments continued, each year capacity doubles and
prices went down with 50 percent. Business people often use a laptop to work "on the road" on the computer. The ever-increasing miniaturization
led to the small Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with more and more options. Many appliances such as washing machines, VCRs, digital cameras
and so on, nowedays contain a computer to do all kinds of things. Meanwhile, the development of operating systems, storage media and networks
also went steadily up the last fifty years and that is aslo includede in this overview here.
Computer history with an overview by year
Konrad Zuse deployed in Berlin from 1927 mechanical engineering, and obtained his diploma in 1935. In 1938 Zuse completed the Z1, the first
programmable calculator in the world, this one didn't work entirely mechanically, but did work in binary. Unfortunately, the Z1 has
never worked reliably.
Konrad Zuse completed the Z1, the world's first programmable calculator in 1938, it still worked fully mechanically, but in binary.
In 1939 followed by the Z2, a test model that consisted of the mechanical memory of the Z1, a card reader, and a processor made up
of two hundred relays.
In 1939 Bell Telephone Laboratories completed this calculator designed by scientist George Stibitz. But already in November 1937 Stibitz decided to
to see if relays could be used to perform simple math functions, and he built a simple computer system The system consisted of the relays, a battery,
flashlights and metal strips cut from a tobacco can. Stibitz' colleagues later gave the name "K-Model" to this primitive computer because it was
built on his kitchen table. In 1939 the then management of Bell labs agreed to the construction of a large experimental model and the final
product was first put into service on January 8, 1940. The machine, the Complex Number Called Calculator (CNC), it had the capacity to add,
subtract, multiply and divide complex numbers.
George R. Stibitz Biography
In December 1941 the Z3 was ready, the first fully electromagnetic computer in the world, Konrad Zuse was more than three years ahead of the Allies.
The Z3 would later be proven to be Turing complete, qualifying this device for the "first computer" design. The Z1 and the Z3 are logically largely
the same design, however, the Z1 has never worked reliably due to precision problems.
In 1943, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) was completed, after demonstration of a proof-of-concept type in 1939, Professor John Vincent Atanasoff
gets money to build a real machine at Iowa State College. The ABC was the focus of patent lawsuits related to the invention of the
computer, which was solved in 1973 when was proven that ENIAC co-designer John Mauchly had seen the ABC shortly after it was operational.
Atanasoff was named the originator of several basic computer ideas, but the computer as a concept was declared unpatentable. A
working full-size replica of the ABC was completed in 1997 and is currently on display at the Computer History Museum.
The Colossus is considered to be the first electronic computer and went into production at the end of 1943. That made the top secret computer
two years earlier in operation than the publicly known ENIAC. It was used by the British during World War II to decipher German messaging.
The Colossus was made up of two large racks containing about 1500 electron tubes for the counters, shift registers and logic operations. It had a system
to read punched tapes with the Baudot code, just like the telex machines used at that time, but with photosensors instead of mechanical scanning. It
reading system reached a speed of 5000 characters per second. The Colossus could be programmed with a panel of switches, plugs and cables.
The Colossus computers were very successful and broke a huge number of top secret German messages. After the war, Bletchley Park (where the Colossus
computers were) closed and eight Colossus computers were destroyed for security reasons and the last two computers were moved to Cheltenham
and were decommissioned in 1960. The Colossus computers and their mission during the war were top secret and remained so for many years long after the
war. At the time, no one knew about the Colossus. This gave the American ENIAC the undeserved fame of the first programmable digital computer.
wikipedia Colossus computer
Harvard Mark I computer
This computer was actually an IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) that was called Mark I by the Harvard University staff. It was a
general purpose electromechanical computer used in the war effort during the latter part of World War II. One of the first programs on the Mark I
were initiated on March 29, 1944 by John von Neumann. Von Neumann was working on the Manhattan project at the time and had to determine whether
implosion was a viable choice to detonate the atomic bomb that would be used a year later. The Mark I calculated and printed also mathematical
tables, which had been the original purpose of British inventor Charles Babbage for his "analytical machine". The Mark I became
disassembled in 1959, but parts of it were put on display at the Science Center as part of the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
Other universities also had "Mark I" computers, but the Harvard Mark I is usually seen as the Mark I.
wikipedia Harvard Mark I computer
The Z4 computer, like the Z1, Z2 and Z3, was designed by the German engineer Konrad Zuse and built by his company Zuse KG and was completed
in September 1950 and sold to ETH Zurich in Switzerland. It was the world's first computer to actually be sold, beating Britain's Ferranti
Mark I and the UNIVAC I computer. The Z4 was the successor to the Z3 and like the Z3 it was an electromechanical machine.
In 1943, the Moore School of Electrical Engineering (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and the (military) Ballistic Research Lab joined forces
to design an electronic computer that would far exceed the existing computer. With a military budget of $150,000, they began
the construction of the ENIAC, it was a colossus of 30 times 3 times 1 meter, which used 140 kilowatts with 17,468 radio tubes and
demanded permanent cooling. Numbers from 0 to 9 were entered into the ENIAC from an IMB punch card reader and stored in different types of memories,
in electromechanical counting wheels, and in electronic memories consisting of pairs of vacuum tubes forming flip-flop circuits. The ENIAC
was able to perform 5000 additions and 300 multiplications per second.
wikipedia ENIAC computer
The Williams tube won the race for practical instant access memory. Mr Frederick Williams of the University of Manchester amended
a cathode ray tube by writing dots and dashes of phosphorescent electrostatic charge on a screen, thus creating zeros and ones.
To read them back a plate in front of the screen read the electrical charge and thus returned a one or a zero. The load was held only a
fraction of a second and had to be "refreshed". At that time, the memory had a large capacity of 500 to 1000 bits.
In 1948 the very first computer program was run on a computer, before that the steps were still entered manually. The researchers Frederic Williams,
Tom Kilburn and Geoff Toothill of the University of Manchester are developing the Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), better known as the Manchester "Baby".
The Baby was built to test a new memory technology (the Williams Tube) which was the first fast electronic random access memory for computers.
Their first program, consisting of seventeen instructions, written by Kilburn and ran on June 21, 1948. This was the first computer program in history
that ran on a digital, electronic computer with a stored programs.
Wikipedia EDSAC computer
In 1949, the EDSAC computer was built at Cambridge University using vacuum tubes and mercury delay lines for memory. The EDSAC project was
led by Cambridge Professor and Director of the Cambridge Computation Laboratory, Maurice Wilkes. An important advancement in programming was the
using a library of short programs called "subroutines" stored on perforated paper tapes that were used to
performing general repetitive calculations within a larger program. The EDSAC's main memory consisted of 1024 18-bit locations, but the
top bit was always unavailable due to timing issues so only 17 bits were used.
ERA 1101 computera
In 1950, the ERA 1101 computer (later renamed UNIVAC 1101) was delivered, a computer system designed and built by Engineering Research Associates
(ERA). The company's first customer was the United States Navy. The 1101, designed by ERA but built by Remington-Rand, was intended for very fast
calculations and could store 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, a technology ERA had perfected. Much of the basic architectural
details of the 1101 were reused in later Remington-Rand computers until the 1960s.
Wikipedia UNIVAC 1101
The first computer intended for general use and with a commercial purpose was the UNIVAC computer: the Universal Automatic Computer.
Remington Rand, a distant predecessor of today's UNISYS, sells the world's first computer to the US census bureau.
It is the UNIVAC 1. (Universal Automatic Computer). The device weighed a few thousand kilos, calculated with 5000 electron tubes with a
speed of thousands of calculations per second. The memory of 256 Kb was made up of ferrite rings. One of the most famous jobs
of the UNIVAC was predicting the outcome of the American presidential elections of 1952. After the 'calculation monster'
counted one percent of the votes he already knew that Dwight Eisenhower would win and he was right.
wikipedia UNIVAC computer
The ARRA (Automatic Relay Calculator Amsterdam) was the first computer of the Dutch Mathematical Center. The machine was made by Carel
Scholten and Bram Loopstra and it was a binary relay computer. The relays had an unreliable switching time of a few milliseconds
and came from an English war dump. The machine had a drum memory with 1024 words of 30 bits. The ARRA had sixteen different
instructions, including multiplication with and without remainder, and division with and without remainder. For the input and output of
the machine was a tape reader, reading paper, and a telex machine. The ARRA was so unreliable that the computer was practically useless.
The computer was taken apart in late 1952 nd there are no remnants of the ARRA left.
wikipedia ARRA computer
Testudo, originally known as ARCO (Automatic Relay Calculator for Optical Calculations, or Automatic Relay Computer
for Optics), is the first computer designed by Willem van der Poel and then actually built. He started working on it in 1947.
Van der Poel did not finish the computer itself; that was done by others. From 1952 to 1964 the Testudo was in use at the Technische
Physical Service for calculating lenses. There the computer was given the name Testudo, the Latin word for tortoise. This computer was
also very slow, but very reliable. An addition or a subtraction both took 30 seconds and a multiplication, division or square root
lasted 45 seconds each. The square root of 1 minus a number also took 45 seconds. This instruction was helpful for converting
of a sine into a cosine. The testudo did this overnight in 16 hours but an optical designer could do this in 8 hours. Afternoon at 5 o'clock
the Testudo was fed with data and the next morning the machine returned the result.
wikipedia Testudo computer (Dutch)
IBM 701 computer
In 1952 IBM produces the 701, the first machine in which the electromechanical circuits were replaced by electron tubes. The computer was
a lot smaller and above all faster machine, which achieves about 2200 operations per second. Initially intended only for government services and
scientific use. But soon the new technology was also applied for the business world. The system used 72 "Williams tubes" as memory, each of
which had a capacity of 1024 bits, yielding a total of 2048 words of 36 bits. Instructions were 18 bits long, 5 bits for the opcode meaning
32 different instructions and 12 bits for the address, numbers were either 36 bits or 18 bits long.
wikipedia IBM 701 computer
ARRA 2 computer
The ARRA II was a computer of the Dutch Mathematical Center, the letters stand for Automatic Relay Calculator Amsterdam II. In name only
it was the successor to the ARRA, because the design was completely different. But to the backers, the creators of the ARRA II couldn't ask
for money for a completely new machine. On November 1, 1952, Gerrit Blaauw joined Carol Scholten and Bram Loopstra
to create a reliable version of the ARRA. In December 1953 the ARRA II ran its first program and until mid-1956 the computer was
in continuous use. The ARRA II was entirely electronic, rather than electromechanical. The computer had drum memory with 1024 words
of 30 bits. The average speed of the ARRA II was about 40 instructions per second. The ARRA II could do hardware multiply and there
were 25 different instructions. Nothing of the ARRA II has survived.
wikipedia ARRA II computer (Dutch)
PTERA stands for PTT Electronic Calculator, built in The Hague by Leen Kosten and Willem van der Poel in 1953 at the Central Laboratory
of the PTT. The PTERA consisted of 700 electron tubes and 120 relays and had a drum memory of 2048 words (each 31 bits long). The machine
cost 100,000 guilders, which was little compared to machines from abroad. The input and output of the PTERA used a
punched tape. In September 1953 the computer was commissioned and in 1958 the PTERA was thoroughly demolished in a few hours when a ZEBRA
computer took its place. The uptime of the PTERA was about 50%. The other 50% of the time was repairing the computer, there is
nothing has survived.
page about the PTERA computer
IBM 650 computer
The IBM 650 was one of the first computers from the IBM company and also the first to be produced in large numbers. The computer was introduced
in 1953 and from 1954 to 1962 more than 2000 systems were sold, support ended in 1969. The IBM 650 was a decimal machine
with radio tubes and a drum memory and used punch cards for data entry.
wikipedia IBM 650 computer
Fortran is a programming language that has been specially developed for calculations in the exact sciences. The word Fortran is derived from The Formula
Translation System. Fortran is important for several reasons, firstly, it was the first higher-level programming language in general use, leaving
Fortran an important mark on all subsequent programming languages. Second, it was the first language that was standardized by ANSI (FORTRAN 66, FORTRAN 77,
Fortran 90, Fortran 95 and Fortran 2003), and compatibility with previous versions was preserved as much as possible. For decades it was the
most widely used language for engineering, science and technology issues.
wikipedia Fortran programming langiuage
The FERTA (Fokker's First Calculator Type ARRA, or Fokker Electronic Calculator Te Amsterdam) was an improved version of the ARRA II with
sophisticated bit-shifting instructions, created especially for Fokker by the Mathematical Center. Thanks to the improvements, the FERTA
was about twice as fast as the ARRA II. In May 1954, the development of the FERTA started and on April 1, 1955 the computer was handed over
to Fokker. The FERTA was used until 1963, when the computer was replaced by an X1 computer. Fokker used this machine
for calculating values of matrices used for the design of the wings of the Fokker F27 "Friendship".
wikipedia FERTA computer (Dutch)
The ARMAC (Automatic Calculator of the Dutch Mathematics Center) was the successor to the ARRA II. It was used internally in Mathematical
Centre. The computer was commissioned in June 1956. It took a year and a half to design and build the ARMAC. It was the last computer
which was built in the Mathematical Center. Unfortunately, nothing is left of it physically. The ARMAC's memory consisted of two parts:
drum memory, just like the ARRA II, and the newer and faster magnetic core memory. This magnetic core memory was used as
a buffer to store the contents of a track from the drum memory. The ARMAC's drum memory had 3584 words of 34 bits,
33 data bits and 1 parity bit. A clock pulse lasted 13.3 milliseconds. The core memory had twice 32 words and it lasted 20 microseconds
for a clock pulse. The computer consisted of 1200 tubes and consumed 10 kilowatts. According to Loopstra, the average speed of the ARMAC was
about 1000 instructions per second.
wikipedia ARMAC computer (Dutch)
The Z22 was the seventh computer model developed by Konrad Zuse (the first six were the Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4, Z5 and Z11 respectively). The most important
version jump from the Z11 to the Z22 was the use of vacuum tubes, as opposed to the electromechanical systems used in earlier models.
used. The first machines built were shipped to Berlin and Aachen. By the end of 1958 a working ALGOL 58 compiler had been built
for the Z22 computer. The Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences still has an operational Z22 that is on permanent loan at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. In total
55 of these Z22 computers were produced.
wikipedia Z22 computer page
The PETER (Philips Experimental Binary Electronic Calculator) was the first computer made by Philips. The computer became
designed by H.J. Heyn and Arie Slob and in 1956 the machine was ready. It was a small, but very fast computer for its time
some worked in parallel with fast drum memory and even faster core memory. But the PETER was also very unreliable. A word was 20 bits
long. The opcodes were 4 bits and addresses 12 bits. An addition took 15 microseconds.
wikipedia PETER computer (Dutch)
The ZEBRA was a computer and stood for Very Simple Binary Calculator. The ZEBRA was designed by Willem van der Poel and built by
Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd. in Great Britain. About 55 ZEBRAs have been sold all over the world, nine of which are in the Netherlands.
For example, the ZEBRA was the first computer of the universities of Groningen, Utrecht and Delft. The drum memory of the ZEBRA consisted of 8192
words of 33 bits, of which 1 bit for the sign. The first version of the computer had 600 vacuum tubes, but later versions were complete
transistorized. The ZEBRA had two calculation registers and twelve auxiliary registers. The computer had no hardware multiplication and division.
An interpreter for Simple Code existed before the ZEBRA. Inverting a 30 by 30 matrix using a program written in Simple Code took 63 minutes.
Two ZEBRA simulators have been written for the PC, one by Willem van der Poel himself.
wikipedia Willem van der Poel
The X1 is the first computer that Electrologica has released. The X1 was a fully transistorized computer. In September 1956,
drafted the specifications of the X1. At the end of 1956 the detailed design was ready. And at the end of 1957, the X1 prototype did its first
calculation. The X1 was a binary computer, the word length was 27 bits. The memory consisted entirely of magnetic core memory and was
maximum 32768 words in size, of which 8192 words consisted of read-only memory. The X1 had an interrupt system that used an interrupt
generated when an input or output command was completed. Edsger Dijkstra and Jaap Zonneveld have the world's first ALGOL 60 compiler
written for the X1.
wikipedia X1 computer
The first chip or integrated circuit was made, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments sees a number of transistors on a picture
semiconductor materials together, building the first-ever integrated circuit (IC). The microprocessor will still
wikipedia Jack Kilby
Algol (programming langiuage)
Algol is a very influential programming language, its name is short for Algorithmic Language. The language grew out of the desire to
to create a machine-independent programming language that should resemble conventional mathematical notation as closely as possible. The language was
thus a response to the few other programming languages that already existed at the time, Cobol and Fortran. Algol was also the first language that
would combine all programming paradigms, all modern programming languages derive ideas from Algol. Ironically, the language definition was
so expansive that no one has ever managed to make a compiler for the entire language... Still, the
partial implementations, which use an interpreter. Algol-60 came out in 1960, as a result of work by John Backus,
Peter Naur and Edsger W. Dijkstra. The American Professional Association ACM decided that this language would become the default language for displaying
of algorithms in her journal Communications of the ACM.
wikipedia Algol programming langiuage
My birth year
This is the year I was born, so my year of birth coincides with the year of birth of the programming language Cobol!
Nice to mention that I once also obtained the practical diploma Cobol programmer but never used it
except in 1999 when I proofed an application year 2000 written in Cobol.
Cobol (programming langiuage)
Cobol was developed in 1959 on behalf of the US Department of Defense, it had to be a language that was easier
read, write and maintain it was then the common languages and which had to be usable on several types of computers.
The first version of Cobol dates from 1960, COBOL-60. The home of COBOL is the IBM mainframe, today COBOL runs
also on Microsoft Windows and Unix, among others. Traditionally, the language was aimed at ease of dealing with
(large) data files in a batch-oriented environment. Still at least 30 percent of all software currently in use
is written in Cobol, but finding good Cobol programmers is becoming increasingly difficult.
wikipedia COBOL programming langiuage
DEC PDP 1 computer
The PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) is Digital Equipment Corporation's first computer and it came on the market in 1959.
DEC called it a Programmed Data Processor rather than a computer for political reasons and the name PDP stuck after that.
This computer is legendary because it created the hacker culture at MIT and the first real computer game “Spacewar” on
this computer was developed. The PDP-1 used an 18-bit word memory of standard 4096 words. The PDP-1 consisted of 2,700
transistors and 3,000 diodes on various circuit boards in a 19-inch rack and the computing power was comparable to a portable
calculator from the early 1990s. The PDP-1 weighed approximately 730 kg.
wikipedia DEC PDP 1 computer (Eng)
The PASCAL (named after Blaise Pascal, also an abbreviation for Philips Akelig Snelle CALculator) was the second computer that Philips
has made. The PASCAL started out as a reliable PETER, but in the end it was decided to turn it into a brand new computer.
When it was finished, it was the fastest computer in the entire world, even faster than the X1. The high operating frequency, thanks to the very fast
drum memory and a new solution to the ten transfer problem resulted in the high speed. Philips used the
PASCAL at the Philips Physics Laboratory in Eindhoven to perform calculations on cryogenic materials, semiconductors, televisions
and hot air engines. This computer was later made a copy, the P3, the logical design and the speed was the same, but
the P3 was made up entirely of transistors. This computer was used in the research laboratory of Manufacture Belge de Lampes
Electrics in Brussels.
wikipedia PASCAL computer
First TTL IC
TTL technology was invented in 1961 by James L. Buie. Transistor-transistor logic or TTL is a standard for digital logic.
TTL works with integrated circuits of which the type number usually starts with 74. There are also TTL chips for military
applications. These have heavier specifications and the type number starts with 54. TTL chips use a supply voltage of 5 Volts.
They also have a number of digital inputs and outputs so that they can be linked to each other. Older home computers were
often largely made up of TTL chips.
DEC PDP 4 computer
The DEC PDP-4 was the successor to the DEC PDP-1 first delivered by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1992. Of the
intermediate tracks 2 and 3, no real copies were sold. The PDP-4 was actually a cheaper (and slower) version
of the PDP-1. The machine also weighed only 490 kg (instead of the 730 kg for the PDP-1) and about 54 units were sold.
wikipedia DEC PDP 4 computer
DEC PDP 5 computer
The DEC PDP-5 computer was the world's first true commercially produced computer and it appeared on the scene in 1993.
It was DEC's first 12-bit computer and the instruction set was the basis for the oh-so-famous PDP-8. The minimum configuration
of the PDP-5 consisted of a single 19-inch cabinet with 150 printed circuit boards containing more than 900 transistors. The machine became
offered with 1024 to 32,768 12-bit words toroidal memory. More than 1000 copies were built and sold.
wikipedia DEC PDP 5 computer
DEC PDP 6 computer
The PDP-6 was DEC's first "big" computer in 1964, it used 36-bit words, as did IBM, Honeywell, and General Electric. The
addressing remained 18-bit, as in previous DEC machines, and the machine came with a 32,768 word toroidal memory. In addition
the PDP-6 also contained 16 memory locations built up by fast flip-flops, and these were used as fast registers.
uses the first 16 memory locations of the memory. The PDP-6 weighed about 770 kg. Only 23 copies were made worldwide,
the machine was complex and expensive to build, but also difficult to install and get working at the customer's site.
Commercially, the computer was not a success.
wikipedia DEC PDP 6 computer
In 1965, Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs, a division of AT&T) worked with General Electric and MIT's Project MAC on the
writing an operating system called Multics. Unfortunately, Bell Labs decided the project was going nowhere and the group broke up
This left Bell Labs without a proper operating system. However, this system was the basis of the later Unix
wikipedia Multics (Os)
The DEC PDP-7 is a minicomputer made by Digital Equipment Corporation. The introduction was in 1965, it was the first
system that used their Flip-Chip technology and the price was only $72,000 USD at the time. The PDP-7 was the third branch of the Digital
18-bit machines with roughly the same instruction set and architecture as the PDP-4 and the PDP-9. Also a nice detail is that it is the
was the first wire-wrapped PDP machine. There are currently a few PDP-7 machines still running.
Like its predecessor, the X1, the X8 is made by Electrologica and was more or less upward compatible with the X1. The core memory
had a minimum of 16384 words and a maximum of 262144 words. A memory cycle lasted 2.5 microseconds. The X8 had three 27-bit registers
and a 54-bit register. All of these registers were usable as index registers. The X8 had hardware support for floating point
numbers. The computer had a separate communication processor that called CHARON (Central Auxiliary Body Autonomous Control Transfer Ancillary Equipment)
was named. This computer is called the X8 because this machine was designed to be eight times faster than the X1.
In the end, the X8 was about twelve times faster than the X1.
wikipedia X8 computer
Invention of the mouse by Doug Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute. At that time, people were already doing research there into things like
graphical user interfaces. The first mouse was still completely made of wood and used two discs that were at right angles to each other.
Mice with ball would be years away. The mouse really broke through with the introduction of the Apple-Macintosh computer in 1984.
wikipedia computer mouse
The floppy disk and floppy disk drive (FDD) was invented in 1967 by IBM engineer Alan Shugart. The first floppy drives used a
disk with a diameter of 8 inches, about 20 centimeters and a capacity of only 80 kilobytes. Home computer suppliers who
who had used magnetic tapes (compact cassette) until then, they quickly saw the possibilities of the new medium. The first
floppy disk in a home computer was the 5¼" version (about 13 centimeters), small enough to fit in a desktop machine, with a
capacity of 360 kB. Since these machines did not yet have a hard drive, the operating system was loaded from a floppy, and then
disc was replaced with another containing the application. Later machines had two drives so that the disk containing the
operating system could remain in drive A while the application disk was loaded into drive B. Later floppy disk versions could
handle 1.2 megabytes of data.
wikipedia Floppy disk
HP9100A programmable calculator
In 1968, HP released its first computer, and although it was actually a full-fledged computer, HP called it a "one-size-fits-all" for marketing reasons
programmable calculator. Although HP (Hewlett-Packard Company) had been around since 1939, in the early years they only made electronic
equipment. This was their first step towards building computers. The idea for the device came from the engineer Thomas "Tom" E. Osborne
and it was a feat of engineering because there were no integrated circuits in it, the CPU was entirely made up of discrete components.
Due to the similarities between Hewlett-Packard's and Olivetti's machines, a legal battle ensued, which was won by Olivetti
HP had to pay a hefty amount of royalties.
In 1970 the PDP-11 came out, PDP stands for Programmable Data Processor. The PDP-11 computers were produced by the American supplier
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). The PDP-11 was the successor to DEC's PDP-8 computer. The 16-bit architecture allowed the PDP-11 to use 64
kilobytes of memory address. In the long run, this was an important limitation. The PDP-11 was succeeded by the 32-bit in the 1980s
VAX mini computer from DEC.
wikipedia PDP-11 computer
In 1965, Bell Telephone Laboratories was writing an operating system called Multics, this project was halted and Ken Thompson continued
on his own initiative first on an unused PDP-7. Later a lot of new utilities were written by Ritchie and Thompson and others and the system
increasingly developed into a fully usable operating system on the PDP-7. To show what the operating system was worth, it was ported to the
PDP-11 in 1971, financing was available for this experiment because Bell Labs' patent department introduced a new word processing system
needed; this would be developed together with the new system. Meanwhile UNICS had changed to Unix. In 1973 almost the entire system was
rewritten in C, making it easier to transfer to other computer types and more and more users joined.
wikipedia Unix OS
A Japanese customer asks the young Intel Corporation if it wants to make a series of chips for a programmable calculator. That seemed like a
challenge to engineer Ted Hoff. He only finds individual chips difficult and unnecessarily complicated. Why not one programmable "logic device"
that can handle different tasks and its instructions from semiconductor memory well? Together with colleagues Les Vadasz, Stan Mazor and
Federico Faggin, Hoff gets to work, and in the end they manage to accommodate all circuits on one chip. The result is the very first
microprocessor, the Intel 4004. This processor ran at a clock speed of 108 KHz and could address a memory of up to 640 bytes.
The 4004 is a 4-bit processor. (8-bit architecture of which only 4-bits were used. This processor had 2300 transistors, which together
have as much processing power as the colossal ENIAC of a quarter of a century earlier. But it costs only 200 dollars, which is more
than 2000 times cheaper. The 4004 has a 16-pin chassis, for comparison, the current Intel Core has 1366. The 4004 has 2300 transistors on board,
so many had never been placed on one chip in those days. The 4004 chip has 46 (later 50) instructions and operates at a maximum of 740 kHz.
The 4004 requires a power supply of no less than 15 volts, which is almost 15 times as much as energy-efficient processors now. It is
not so that one instruction can be executed in one cycle, almost all instructions need several cycles. For that time it was a revolutionary invention.
wikipedia 4004 (Processor)
Pong was the first commercially successful game in 1971. It was in arcades, bowling alleys and snack bars and was packed in a fake wooden
case with a bright yellow front that says Pong in large black letters. Two control buttons, two bars and a ball on a black TV screen, that's it.
Thanks to its simplicity, the game is an instant and huge success, in the first year Atari sells 8500 cabinets for 1200 dollars (manufacturing
costs: 500 dollars)!
wikipedia Pong videogame
C (programming langiuage)
The programming langiuage C (created by Dennis Ritchie) is based on the programming langiuage B, which in turn was based on BCPL. It's a very
practical programming language that is more similar to Algol than to other predecessors such as in historical order Fortran, Cobol and BASIC. Pascal
is also a simplification of Algol, but in a different direction. While Pascal takes more distance from the machine it's on
must work, C is just close to the machine; it is relatively 'low-level'. The influence of C is so great that since then the
instance was conceived to write operating systems with (Unix was made entirely with C) it became a very popular language for
many applications. Within the Unix world, the C language is still the source code distribution for many programs and for "fast"
games was and still is popular.
wikipedia programming langiuage C
In 1972 HP released the HP-35 and this was the first pocket calculator and also the world's first scientific pocket calculator. Around 1970
HP co-founder Bill Hewlett encouraged his colleagues to create a pocket-sized "HP-9100 (their office calculator)" and this is how this calculator was born.
The "35" in the calculator's name came from the number of keys. The original HP-35 was available from 1972 to 1975. Internal the calculator
was made with a serial (1-bit) processor chipset made under contract by Mostek, which could handle 56-bit floating point numbers.
The Intel 8008 processor is a type of processor from Intel, which served as the successor to the 4004. This processor was the first 8-bit processor
and already contained 3,500 transistors. The address bus was 14-bit and could therefore address 16 kB of memory. Because the construction of a hardware with
a single processor was simple, it was widely used in laboratories and in technical education as study material. the processor
was little used in computers because the performance was not great and the processor required complicated electronics.
wikipedia 8008 (Processor)
The Intel 8080 was a microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel. The 8-bit CPU was released in April 1974 with a clock frequency of 2 MHz.
The 8080's wide 40-pin chassis allows the processor to use a 16-bit wide address bus and an 8-bit wide data bus, making the address space 64 kilobytes.
There are seven 8-bit registers, a 16-bit stack pointer and a 16-bit program counter, the first microcomputer on a single card was built on the basis of the 8080.
The 8080 was used in many early computers, such as the MITS Altair 8800 and the IMSAI 8080, laying the foundation for machines running the CP/M operating system.
The designers of the processors, after a disagreement with Intel, started their own factory and released the clone Z80 (Zilog),
this processor is much more extensive but otherwise fully compatible with the 8080.
wikipedia 8080 (Processor)
Altair 8800 computer
The Altair 8800 had no mouse, no keyboard, and no display. Based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor, incorporating 4800 transistors were
incorporated, it was the first personal computer. Customers had to assemble the Altair themselves and for programming, initially the data
was stored on audio cassettes. A certain "Bill Gates" together with Paul Allen wrote a programming language (Basic version) for this computer.
The input was done by pressing switches, the output was answer by flashing lights. The Altair had a total memory of 256 bytes and
cost 400 dollars as a kit.
wikipedia Altair 8800
Start of Microsoft
In 1975, Bill Gates (19) and Paul G. Allen (22), two childhood friends from Seattle, converted the programming language BASIC, which had been a popular
mainframe computer programming langiuage was, for use on a simple personal computer, the Altair. Altair Basic was operational in March and the
“Micro-soft” partnership was sealed in April, but wouldn't get its name until a few months later. In the years that followed,
they BASIC and they developed other programming languages, MS-DOS and MS-Windows.
wikipedia History of Microsoft
Basic (programming langiuage)
The programming language BASIC was intended to help people learn programming quickly. The name is an acronym for Beginners All-purpose
Symbolic Instruction Code. There is a great resemblance to the Fortran language. Microsoft wrote the first BASIC interpreter in 1975
the MITS Altair 8800 computer. This also became available on many other computers afterwards. Many old computers, including the original
IBM PC from 1981, came with a BASIC interpreter in ROM called BASICA, so that the computer immediately could be programmed. A variant of
BASIC was supplied on computers for home use (Commodore64 and others) around 1980 that standardized and extended by Microsoft: MSX-BASIC
(the MSX here stands for Microsoft eXtended). Microsoft would later also release BASIC interpreters for MS-DOS 3 (GWBASIC, 1985), bundled
with MS-DOS 5.0 (QBasic, 1991), with a graphical interface (Visual Basic 1.0 for MS-DOS and Windows, 1991) and bundled in the Visual Studio
package (1996). About the version Visual Basic .NET (also called VB7, 2002) Microsoft itself says that the language has changed so much
that all old users will have to learn it all over again.
wikipedia Basic (programming langiuage)
Apple I computer
Apple Computers, Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976 by high school leavers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who gave the new company a vision to
how people looked at computers. Jobs and Wozniak wanted to make computers small enough for people to have in their home or office.
Jobs and Wozniak started building the Apple I in Jobs Garage and sold it for $695. This system consisted of a master card that was
was screwed on a piece of plywood, a cabinet and a power supply were not included. Only a few of these computers were made.
Wozniak left Apple in 1983 because he was not very interested in managing the Apple Computers company. I build a Aplle 1 replica just for fun.
wikipedia Apple I computer
The Z80 (my first love as a processor) came into being in 1974 when Federico Faggin left Intel to start the Zilog company with Ralph Ungermann.
Faggin previously worked as chief designer on the Intel 4004 and the 8080 processors, among other things. The Z80 is an 8 bit processor and was officially released
in 1976. The processor is opcode compatible with Intel's 8080 (which was a very smart move), but had more instructions, registers, and addressing methods.
The Z80 was designed for use in computer terminals, printers, cash registers, but many home computers have also been made
based on the Z80 computer such as the TRS80, the Sinclair computer series, the Philips P2000 and the well-known MSX computers. Even today there is still
a club of avid hobbyists building designs for the Z80 microprocessor. The chip is still available.
wikipedia Z80 (Processor)
My won page about the Z80 (Processor)
INS8060, of SC/MP (Processor)
In 1976, National Semiconductor released the INS8060 or SC/MP (pronounced scam) processor as a Simple Cost-effective Micro Processor. The processor had
a few odd quirks like a 12 bit program counter and four bank switch address bits and the odd ability to use one control pin to control three
processors on a single set of memory making it very easy to create a multiprocessor system. It also had to reduce costs
a 1 bit ALU so the processor was not really fast. But it was a nice simple design and the well-known electronics magazine Elektuur built several
systems along. This was my first encounter with a microprocessor. Sinclair released a board called MK14 with an SC/MP processor on it. For
the hobbyist it was a nice and relatively cheap processor, in the industry it did not catch on.
wikipedia SC/MP (Processor) (Eng)
My own page about the SC/MP (Processor)
TRS80 Model I computer
This was a computer in the form of a thick keyboard, which was connected to a separate monochrome monitor. The computer had a BASIC language
in ROM and was standard equipped with 4 kB RAM and a cassette recorder could be connected to it, on which software and data could be stored.
The first BASIC version was a simple version (level 1). This was soon replaced by a more comprehensive Microsoft licensed
version (level 2). The TRS-80 model 1 level 2 could also be expanded with a so-called Expansion Interface (EI). This made it possible to
more memory (up to 48kB) and a connection for a parallel printer. This also made it possible to further expand the computer with (up to 4) diskette drives (single sided,
single density 5¼" floppy drives) and a serial connection RS232. In addition to BASIC, programs could also be developed in so-called assembler or machine language.
Many hobbyists have expanded the model 1 themselves with hardware changes such as speeding up the processor (from 1.7 to 2.5 MHz), displaying lowercase letters
(lower case), expanding the memory in the keyboard, etc. In the Netherlands on October 1, 1978 the 'TRS-80 Users Association' was founded that
Published the magazine 'Remarks' every two months.
wikipedia TRS80 Model I computer
Apple II computer
The Apple II was a home PC built with the Motorola 6502 microprocessor with 16 kB of memory. This computer is connected to a (colour!) TV, the
data is stored on cassette tapes. The memory was 4 kB, expandable to 64 kB. This Apple II became a huge success and Apple II delivers Apple
the first millions dollars. It was a turnkey system with built-in keyboard, sound, color graphics and optionally a floppy disk drive. At a price
of $2600, it was the most expensive home computer.
wikipedia Apple II computer
Atari 2600 gamecomputer
The Atari 2600 game console, which was originally called the Atari VCS (Video Computer System), can be regarded as the primeval father
of all modern game computers. More than thirty million of these were sold in total, and hundreds of them were sold, along with other companies
millions of games were sold. The device only really became popular when the game Space Invaders was released. The system was built around
a 6507 processor and a custom TIA video chip and had no less than 128 bytes of Ram.
wikipedia Atari 2600 computer
Commodore PET computer
In June 1977, Commodore released the Commodore PET (Personal Electronics Transactor) and it was one of the first personal computers
and it was the foundation for the entire 8-bit production line that Commodore would set up. The computer contains a MOS 6502 processor and up to
96 kB internal memory and the video chip was a TTL video circuit in the first models and later a MOS 6545. The computer had built-in BASIC
programming language in ROM memory.
wikipedia Commodore PET computer
The MK14 computer is based on National Semiconductor's SC/MP CPU (INS8060) and comes standard with 256 bytes of RAM and 512 bytes of ROM. It
used an eight-fold red seven-segment display, and there was also an optional VDU that supported 32×16 text or 64×64 images. Input was
a keypad with 20 membrane keys and a reset switch. Cassette-based and PROM-based storage were optional extras as was a very
simple sound card. It was a real hobby computer that you could expand yourself and the basic model had to be programmed in HEX
machine code. I never owned an original one but I build a fully working replica.
wikipedia MK14 computer (Eng)
The Intel 8086 processor was both the first 16-bit processor and the first x86 processor and was released in 1978 by Intel.
Intel released a version of the 8086 a short time later, the 8088, which ran in 16-bit internally but had an 8-bit bus on the outside, this processor
was chosen by IBM for the first IBM PC. The 8086 was released in clock speeds from 4.77 (the speed in the first PC) to 10 MHz. Lots of PC clones
had an option to switch the processor between the original 4.77 MHz and 8 MHz. Instructions were executed between 4 and 200 clock cycles.
wikipedia 8086 (Processor)
ABC 80 computer
In 1978 the ABC 80 (Advanced BASIC Computer 80) was introduced, it was a personal computer developed by the Swedish company Dataindustrier AB (DIAB).
The ABC 80 was built around a Z80 and 16 KB ROM with a fast semi-compiling BASIC interpreter. It had 16-32 KB RAM as main memory and a special
(supplied) tape recorder for program and data storage, but could also be extended to disk drives and many other peripherals. The ABC 80 became
used in schools and offices in Scandinavia and parts of Europe but was also used for industrial automation and scientific measurement and
wikipedia ABC 80computer (Eng)
Acorn Atom computer
The Acorn Atom, which was also known in the Netherlands as the Hobbit Computer, is a hobby computer from 1979 dating from the company Acorn.
Computers Ltd. The design was by Sophie (Roger) Wilson who was working there at the time. The Atom was delivered as a kit or complete
built, with a detailed manual, the complete schematic with a technical documentation. It was a machine that was ideally suited for all
kinds of experiments. It was based on the 6502 processor, for many users a it was an important fact that in addition to BASIC,
an assembler in ROM was also included. Everything, but also everything, was on the machine and well documented.
wikipedia Acorn Atom computer
Motorola 68000 (Processor)
The Motorola 68000 processor was a very popular processor in home computers in the 1980s. Including Commodore, Apple and Atari used these
processors. The Philips CD-i player also worked with a 68000 processor. Architecture type was CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) and
the number registers was 8 x 32-bit data registers and 8 x 32-bit address registers.
wikipedia Motorola 68000 (Processor)
In June 1981 the Texas Instruments TI-99 was launched, the computer was connected to the antenna input of a television via a separate
little board. Saving data was done with a cassette recorder, and there was also a connection for a joystick. On top of the device was a
expansion slot into which modules could be inserted. Unfortunately, the computer had very limited graphics capabilities other than a self-te
defining character set. Partly because of this, the computer was eventually dumped on the market for below cost. What was special about this one
computer was Texas Instruments' proprietary TMS9900 (16-bit chip processor) itself.
wikipedia TI-99 computer
Atari 400 / 800 computer
In 1979 Atari introduced a series of 8 bit home computers based on the MOS Technology 6502 processor. The first models were
the Atari 400 and 800 and ultimately these computers were the biggest competitors for the Commodore 64. The computer was faster and had more
graphics capabilities, only the sound was less than that of the Commodore 64. Eventually the market went to 16 bit computers and
the Atari 8 bit series disappeared from the market.
wikipedia Atari 400 / 800 computer
Acorn System 1 computer
In March 1979 the Acorn Microcomputer (later renamed Acorn System 1) was introduced, with a 6502 at 1MHz, which was intended for use in
in laboratories, but was also fairly popular with hobbyists due to its low price. In 1980 Acorn developed this computer to the System 2
and finally to the System 3, System 4 and System 5. All Acorn System systems could be paired with an external keyboard that also
was used for the Acorn Atom.
wikipedia Acorn System 1 computer
Ada (programming langiuage)
In the 1970s, the United States Department of Defense was concerned about the large number of different programming languages
was used for military projects. In 1975, the Higher Order Language Working Group (HOLWG) was formed to
find a way to reduce this number. The working group wrote a series of documents with requirements for a standard language
had to comply and a tender was launched for a new programming language and four companies were hired to
further develop their proposals under the code names Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. In May 1979 the Green proposal,
designed by Jean Ichbiah of Honeywell Bull, chosen and named Ada. The reference manual was approved on
December 10, 1980 (Ada Lovelace's birthday). The US Department of Defense Demanded the Use of Ada for Any
software project that they funded if more than 30% of new code was released (although there are often exceptions to this
rule were allowed). The rule was officially abolished in 1997. Similar requirements exist in other NATO countries. The
language became an ANSI standard in 1983 and an ISO standard in 1987. Ada 95 is the combined ISO/ANSI standard (ISO-8652:1995)
and is the most recent Ada standard. The original goal to increase the number of programming languages within the Ministry of Defense
reduction has been achieved. In 1983 there were more than 450, in 1996 there were "only" 37.
wikipedia Ada (programming langiuage)
The Sinclair ZX80 was a simple home computer developed by Clive Sinclair's Sinclair Research company in 1980.
was released. It was the first computer to be sold for less than £100 in Britain
for £99.95. The ZX80 could only be ordered by post, and was delivered as a kit to assemble yourself, then it was
the price is £79.95. The machine had a white plastic case and a small blue membrane keyboard and it had to
television set. The display had 24 lines of 32 characters, for generating the video signal
the ZX80 used a combination of (very simple) hardware and software, so that it could only see an image
generate when no program was running, i.e. when the machine was waiting for a keystroke of
the user lost the video signal. Programs could be stored on audio cassettes. The computer used
as CPU a Zilog Z80 clone, the NEC 780C-1 chip, and had 1 KB of RAM (optionally expandable to 16 KB)
and a Sinclair BASIC editor/interpreter along with the operating system in a 4 KB ROM.
wikipedia Sinclair ZX80
In 1980, HP launched the Hewlett-Packard series of 80 small scientific desktop computers. The HP-85 featured a
CPU and keyboard and an integrated monitor, with a ROM-based operating system, 16 KB dynamic RAM, a tape drive
for DC-100 cartridges (210 kB capacity, 650 B/s transfer) and a thermal printer. Give both the screen and the printer
displays images in addition to text, and the printer can copy whatever is displayed on the screen. The machines were
built around an HP patented CPU codenamed Capricorn that ran at 625 kHz and had a BASIC interpreter in ROM
(32 kB). Programs can be stored on DC-100 cartridge tapes or on external disk/tape units. For the bigger ones
HP-86 and HP-87 series, HP also offered a plug-in CP/M processor card with a separate Zilog Z-80 processor.
wikipedia HP 80 series
Intel 8051 (Processor)
In 1980 Intel released the 8051 microcontroller and I have designed many circuits and devices (modems) with this processor myself.
The 8051 is an eight bit CISC processor that has been marketed in many types, including by many other manufacturers of which Atmel is the
is best known. The system normally had 4 kb rom and 256 bytes ram on board which was a big challenge for the programmer. But there could also
64 kb ROM and 64 kb RAM can be connected externally, while sacrificing many I/O pins. By default, the processor had a number of
Timers multiple interrupt lines and an internal serial uart on board and many programmable I/O pins. The processor wasn't expensive either and
was used as a central processor in many devices. Even today this processor is still used and it still is
wikipedia Intel 8051 processor
Comodore VIC 20
In 1981 the Commodore VIC 20 came on the market as one of the first home computers. The biggest difference with its successor
the Comodore 64 was the limited memory of 5kB RAM and 20kB ROM. The RAM was expandable again with an external module (cartridges) of,
for example, 16kB. VIC stands for Video Interface Chip, what the 20 stands for is not clear. Despite the limited memory, many
games were available for this computer, making it very popular.
wikipedia Comodore VIC 20
Philips P2000 computer
In 1981 Philips introduced the P2000 home computer and it was a fairly advanced computer for the time. The P2000 existed
from a Z80 microprocessor at 2.5 MHz., 4 KB ROM, 16 KB RAM and 2 KB video RAM. A Teletext was used for video
chip that matched the video capabilities to Viditel and Teletext (40 characters and 24 lines). The computer had a flat
cabinet with a permanently mounted keyboard. On top were two slots, one for a Rom cartridge and one for an I/O cartridge.
The special feature was a built-in mini-cassette drive that was very fast and where the retrieval and writing were fully automatic.
The computer was relatively expensive but of very good quality hardware that could take a beating and the P2000 was therefore
quite popular in education.
wikipedia Philips P2000
MSX 1 computer
In 1982, ASCII Corporation introduced the MSX standard, its abbreviation meant 'Machines with Software eXchangeability', although 'MicroSoft
eXtended' is also used. Basically, MSX software could run on any computer that had the MSX logo on it. This for that time
revolutionary idea caught on, partly because of Microsoft, who wrote the BIOS, BASIC and operating system for the machines. Big brands like
Philips and Sony released several MSX home computers. It was not a success in America and England; partly because of this, the production of
MSX computers ended in 1992. Ultimately, more than 5 million systems were sold.
wikipedia MSX 1 computer
ZX Spectrum computer
In 1982 Clive Sinclair introduced the ZX Spectrum as a successor to the ZX80 and ZX81 computer. Although the name of this computer would first be ZX82
ZX Spectrum was chosen because this computer could work with colors. Striking about this computer were the small rubber
keys and the ability to program via key combinations. There were many games available for this computer. The computer
Like its predecessors, it featured a Z80 microprocessor and a special ULA (Uncommitted Logic Array) chip specially designed for the ZX.
Spectrum was made and where many functions were accommodated. In 1984, the Spectrum+ was released with a larger housing and
a keyboard with hard plastic keys.
wikipedia ZX Spectrum computer
Comodore 64 computer
The Commodore 64 (also C64 or CBM64) is a well-known but also rather unconventional home computer from the Commodore company from the early days.
for hobby and home use. It is still the best-selling computer of all time with an estimated number of 17 to 30 million copies.
The device came on the market in 1983, the housing consisted of a kind of thick keyboard, with the computer part located under the keys
was located. The Commodore 64 was connected to a television set, which served as a monitor for image and sound. The Commodore 64, which
should have been the VIC-30 but never came on the market under that name, was developed by Commodore as a successor to the VIC-20. It
number 64 refers to the working memory of 64 kB, under BASIC, however, only 38 kB was free for the user.
wikipedia Comodore 64 computer
C++ (programming langiuage)
C++ is a programming language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup at the Bell Labs during 1983-1985. C++ is an extension
of the programming language C, before 1983 Bjarne added Stroustrup as features to C and called it "C with Classes". He combined
the use of classes from Simula's and object orientation along with the speed and efficiency of the language C. The taals
C++ was very popular, large parts of windows were written in it, but the programming language was also for fast games. The
language has been surpassed by the language java and the C# but it has served as the basis for both of the aforementioned languages.
wikipedia C++ (programming langiuage)
HP-150 (also known as HP Touchscreen or HP 45611A) was a compact, powerful computer and it was based on the Intel 8088. It was one of
the world's first touchscreen computers. Despite running a modified MS-DOS version, the computer was not IBM PC compatible. The 8088
CPU ran at 8 MHz (the IBM PC at 4.77 MHz) and with the help of add-on cards, the main memory could be increased from 256 kB to 640 kB. It
however, motherboard had no option for an 8087 math coprocessor. Invisible to the user, the HP 150 also runs the "Terminal Operating"
System" (TOS) for the terminal emulator and as a layer under MS-DOS.
wikipedia HP 150
Tulip System 1 computer
In 1983 Compudata (at that time not yet Tulip computers) brought the Tulip System 1 onto the market. It was a full-fledged 16-bit microcomputer with an 8086 processor
on board running at 8 Mhz. With this computer, they were even slightly ahead of the IBM PC on the market, which ran on an 8088 (and 16-bit CPU with an 8-bit
bus) and at half the speed of the Tulip computer. The first System I ran under CP/M 86, but after the arrival of the IBM PC, the switch was quickly made
to MS-DOS. By default, the System I had 128Kb of RAM, which was upgradable to 896 KB, and it had an option for an 8087 math coprocessor.
wikipedia Tulip System 1 (Eng)
Apple Macintosh computer
Introducing Apple Macintosh, the first home computer with a graphic display. The Macintosh or Mac for short is the name for a series
computers marketed by the American company Apple. The first Macintosh was mainly introduced in 1984 as a cheap successor
of the Apple Lisa, a computer that already had a visual and mouse-driven user interface like the Macintosh and those are the days
was far ahead, but was not a success mainly because of its high price. The Macintosh is in many ways the founder of what is now called the PC.
Computers without mouse and window controls a la MS-DOS were hardly available around 2002. The first Macintosh ran at 7.83 MHz while
clock speeds of nearly 500 times higher in 2003. The original Mac operating system (MacOS) was phased out around 2002 and
replaced by the BSD Unix-based Mac OS X.
wikipedia Apple Macintosh computer
HP Laserjet printer
In 1984 HP introduces its first LaserJet as a brand name for the line of laser printers on the market, this HP LaserJet was the world's first desktop laser
printer. Canon supplied both mechanisms and cartridges for all HP laser printers. It was a 300-dpi printer and it used an 8MHz Motorola
68000 processor and was able to print in various character fonts. It was controlled with PCL3. Due to the high memory costs, the first
LaserJet has only 128 kilobytes of memory. The first LaserJet was a quick replacement for daisy wheel impact printers with text only and the
noisy dot matrix printers. The LaserJet Plus followed in September 1985.
wikipedia HP Laserjet
Atari ST computer
The Atari ST is a home computer that was popular from 1985 to the early 1990s. Officially, "ST" stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two,
which related to the 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internal processor. The Atari ST was based on the Motorola 68000 CPU chip, with a minimum of 512
kilobytes of RAM and a 3½-inch floppy disk drive as storage medium. It looked like the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga that were also based
on the Motorola 68000. The 520ST was an all-in-one device, similar to earlier home computers like the Commodore 64. At the time the 520ST
came out, consumers wanted a full-fledged keyboard, including cursor keys and a numeric keypad. As a result, the 520ST was a bit large,
if one wanted to move the keyboard, the entire computer had to be moved.
wikipedia Atari ST computer
Comodore Amiga computer
In 1984 Commodore bought Amiga Corp. Op, they hoped to continue the success story of the Commodore 64. In July 1985 the new Amiga was presented
in New York, the device was way ahead of its time in many respects. It supported a color palette of 4096 colors and could display in 4-channel
stereo (2 channels per stereo channel) in 8-bit format. Because of this, It is in many ways the first true multimedia computer for home use.
Long before Windows, Amiga also had a graphical interface with overlapping windows, a system introduced by Apple. The operating system AmigaOS
also supported multitasking, shared libraries, and using the right mouse button. Back then it was already possible for programs to run
wikipedia Comodore Amiga computer
Windows 1.0 (Os)
The very first Windows version came out in 1985 and was called Windows 1.0 and weighed 1 MB in total. Windows 1.0 packaging stated that in 256 KB
memory should be able to run, but a New York Times reviewer wrote: Running Windows in 512 KB is similar to donating
of syrup at the South Pole. This first version of Microsoft Windows was not a great success. It was more of a graphical extension of MS-DOS and besides
the windows could not overlap, because this principle was patented by Apple.
wikipedia Windows 1.0 (Os)
In 1985 I worked for Micro Technology as an embedded software developer and (co-) hardware designer and we were already known for our MSX Modems.
The common standard at that time was V23 (1200/75 baud) and V21 (300/300 baud). I was responsible for updating the modems to PTT standards
in software and hardware and to have our modems passed the PTT / KEMA inspection.
MSX 2 computer
In 1986, a more advanced MSX2 computer was released by the MSX computer manufacturers, initially competed with the Atari ST series
and later with the Commodore Amiga. Unfortunately for the MSX2 there were already several 16-bit computers. The MSX2 standard, however
advanced, was still based on an 8-bit architecture and could not compete with the much faster, more modern and with larger memories
equipped 16-bit Atari's and Commodore's. An advantage was that diskettes created with this MSX-DOS operating system could be read
by MS-DOS machines and that custom CP/M programs could be used on.
wikipedia MSX 2 computer
Windows 2.0 (Os)
Windows 2.0 came out in 1987 and it was an improved version of Windows 1.0 and very similar to it. Two variants were released in 1988:
Windows 2.1/286 and Windows 2.1/386. These used the capabilities of the Intel 80286 and Intel 80386 chips, such as protected mode. An important
change from Windows 1.0 was that windows could now overlap each other.
wikipedia Windows 2.0 (Os)
IBM introduces the Personal System/2 (PS/2) systems, the PS/2 Model 30 has an 8 MHz 8086 on board. Models 50 and 60 a 10 MHz 80286 and model 80
a 20 MHz 80386. Model 50 has a new kind of video card with VGA. This makes it possible to display 256 colors simultaneously with a resolution
of 320x200 and 16 colors at 640 x 480.
wikipedia PS/2 computer
Motorola 68030 (Processor)
Motorola 68030 is a 32-bit microprocessor in Motorola's 68000 family. Released in 1987, 68030 was the successor to Motorola 68020, and became
followed by Motorola 68040. The 68030 was used in many models of Apple Macintosh II and the Amiga of the Commodore, Sun 3/80 desktop workstation,
Atari TT and various unix workstations and laser printers.
wikipedia Motorola 68030 (Processor)
In 1987 I was still working for Micro Technology as an embedded software developer and (co-)hardware designer and we brought the cheap (but later
also fairly detested) MT-Plus modem that was supplied by the Postbank for their Girotel telebanker package. There were also V22 modems at this time
on the market that were (1200/1200 baud full duplex) but we were still using our old modem technology and that was still V23 (1200/75 baud) and
V21 (300/300 baud). I was responsible for making the modems meet the PTT standards in software and hardware and our
modems through the PTT / KEMA approval.
Laser 128 computer
In 1988, the Hong Kong company VTech launched an Apple II clone. Before that, VTech made electronic games and educational toys.
Instead of simply copying the Apple II's basic input output system (BIOS), they completely reverse engineered the system and
sold it for a much lower price than the comparable Apple II. Although Apple filed a lawsuit to withdraw the Laser 128 from the market,
was unsuccessful and the Laser remained one of the few Apple "clones" available for sale.
wikipedia Laser 128
In 1988 I developed the MT1200 modem for Micro Technology, our first modem that supported V22 as a PC plug-in card and therefore also 1200/1200 full duplex
communication support. In addition, the modem also supported the old V23 (1200/75) and V21 (300/300) standard. All our modems came with
the very good data communication package Mightycom that was also developed by me. I was responsible for keeping the modems up to PTT standards
meet in software and hardware and our modems through the PTT / KEMA approval. Modems were widely used in this period for so-called BBS
approach systems where messages and a lot of software were exchanged.
Intel 486 (Processor)
In 1989, Intel introduced the 80486 processor as an optimization of the 80386 processor. The 80486 processor could deliver instructions in fewer clock pulses
run and was almost twice as fast as the 80386 at the same clock speed and had an internal cache added. To the instruction set
and functionality, however, had hardly changed. The 80486DX2/66 was the first processor where the clock speed of the bus and processor
were divorced. The 80486DX2/66 ran internally at 66 MHz, the motherboard ran at 33 MHz. The 80486 was also the first processor to use cooling
needed to work properly.
wikipedia Intel 486
MT Quintet (Modem)
In 1989 I developed the MT Quintet V22Bis modem for Micro Technology, our first modem that supported V22Bis as a PC plug-in card and therefore also 2400/2400 full duplex
communication support. In addition, the modem also supported the old V22 (1200/1200), V23 (1200/75) and V21 (300/300) standard. All our modems came with
the very good data communication package Mightycom that was also developed by me. I was responsible for keeping the modems up to PTT standards
meet in software and hardware and our modems through the PTT / KEMA approval. Modems were widely used in this period for so-called BBS
approach systems where messages and a lot of software were exchanged. The speed of the modems doubled almost every six months and every company tried the
to be first, also we tried.
Windows 3.0 (Os)
Windows 3.0 came out in 1990, with Windows 3.0 a big step was taken and it also got a slightly different appearance, which was mainly graphically better because
it supported VGA cards. Version 3.0 sold more than 10 million copies. Windows was the best-selling operating system at the time.
In Windows 3.1 the word processor was added in the form of Word which made it even more popular plus a number of games including solitaire and
wikipedia Windows 3.0 (Os)
Finnish student Linus Torvalds announced on Usenet in 1991 that he had created a new operating system similar to Minix. "It has already
worked..." he says jokingly, calling the operating system Linux. In 1992 version 0.12 of Linux appears under the GNU general public license.
GNU is a collection of software without a properly functioning kernel and Torvalds has a properly functioning kernel. The result is GNU / Linux, still it
heart of every distribution.
wikipedia Linux (Os)
In 1991 I developed the MT3242 and the MT2242 modems for Micro Technology, these two modems also supported MMP5 and V42Bis data compression so that
speeds of up to 19200 baud were possible over a standard telephone connection. The MT2242 was cheaper and only supported V22Bis (2400/2400 baud) as
base rate, the MT3242 supported V32 (9600/9600 baud) as base rate. These modems had an 80186 processor and all the internal software for the
modem and the compression protocols were written in the language 'C'. These modems were also delivered with the very good data communication package Mightycom
which was also developed by me but also with a FAX program that was developed by me. I was responsible for updating the modems to PTT standards
in software and hardware and to have our modems passed the PTT / KEMA inspection. During this time, modems were also used in addition to BBS systems
already used for the Internet (Usenet).
Wolfenstein 3D (Game)
The game that brought the ID company's breakthrough was Wolfenstein 3D, a first person shooter with smooth 3D visuals then unprecedented in
computer games, and with a violent game-play that captivated many players. After they basically created an entire genre by this game.
Wolfenstein 3D is one of the first First Person Shooters ever and therefore very revolutionary and important in game history. You play the game as B.J.
Blazkowicz and will have to go through several floors to finally get to floor nine where you have to defeat the final boss. Except for
the nine regular levels you also have a bonus level, which is logically located on the tenth floor. However, you are not obliged to get this
to finish the game.
wikipedia Wolfenstein 3D (game)
The introduction of the Pentium processor in 1993 was a big technical step for Intel. Logically, the processor would
number 80586 or i586, but the name was changed to Pentium (the Greek numeral for five), because numbers are not registered as trademarks
could become. As with the 80486, the processor's instruction set was virtually unchanged. The emphasis with the Pentium was on speed. The
The Pentium's major innovation was that it was superscalar, meaning it can execute multiple instructions at once. Logic in the processor
certain or two consecutive instructions depended on each other; if not, they were sent to the two different execution units in the processor.
wikipedia Pentium (Processor)
Mosaic en Netscape
In February 1993, NCSA launched the first web browser for the World Wide Web with a fully graphical interface, called Mosaic. With this, this company
the foundation for almost all current browsers, this graphical web browser managed to unleash a revolution in a short time. One of Mosaic's programmers was
Marc Andreessen, who afterwards went to work for the newly founded company Mosaic Communications, which was later renamed due to disagreements over the name
wikipedia Mosaic browser
MTD Dolphin (Modem)
In 1993 I developed the Dolphin modem for Micro Technology Datacom (MTD) the successor of the company Micro Technology, this modem supported
V32Bis that supported (19200/19200 baud) as a base rate on a standard telephone line allowing, together with MMP5 and V42Bis data compression
speeds of up to 57600 baud were possible. The modem also supported FAX and we were one of the first to implement Voice over Data
so that, in addition to data, speech could also pass over the same line at the same time. This modem had a new Rockwell modem chipset and data base control
processor was again an 80186 processor and all internal software for the modem and the compression protocols were written in the language 'C'. Also this one
modems were delivered with the very good data communication package Mightycom that was also developed by me, but also with a FAX program and MT-Voice
that was developed by me. In addition, we also supplied MT-Edit and MT-Archive and a few other programs with our modems. During this time,
modems are still used for BBS systems but also more and more for the Internet.
Iomega Zip Drive
The Iomega Zip drive was a removable floppy disk that resembled the 3.5 inch floppy disk. However, the Zip could store 100MB of data on 1
disk. Later the storage capacity became 250 MB and even 750 MB. A major problem with the Zip was that there was a design flaw, some copies
were malfunctioned by the Click of Death, rendering the zip disk unusable. Today, Iomega also supplies standard recording and playback equipment,
such as CD and DVD drives.
wikipedia Iomega Zip Drive
Internet explorer 1.0
The NCSA that initially created the browser mosaic handed over commercial exploitation to Spyglass in 1994. This one signed a deal with
Microsoft, which then remodeled the program into Internet Explorer 1.0 and released it in August 1995. Internet Explorer 1.0 is very short in
Internet Explorer (version 2.0) was first included with Windows in December 1995. By this time, Microsoft was beginning to see
that it had underestimated the World Wide Web.
wikipedia Internet explorer 1.0
Java (programming langiuage)
Java originated in the early 1990s in a small subsidiary of Sun Microsystems led by James Gosling. The working name Oak was chosen when going to
looked outside while looking for a name and saw an oak (English: Oak). However, it turned out that a programming language with that name already existed, so
they chose "Java", a reference to coffee. Initially, people wanted to promote Java as a programming language for all kinds of electronic devices, such as
televisions, remotes, and refrigerators, but later Sun figured they could use their (still not too popular at the time) language well
in a web environment. On November 13, 2006, Sun released portions of Java as open source software, under the GNU General Public License (GPL). on May 8
In 2007, Sun released the last parts of Java under the GPL, except for a few minor portions that Sun does not own the copyright to. Java is now, na
the acquisition of Sun by Oracle is still owned by Oracle.
wikipedia Java (programming langiuage)
Windows NT (Os)
In 1996, Windows NT was released, the appearance of which was very similar to that of Windows 95. In the years that followed, no
new versions of Windows NT, but a number of updates, the so-called 'Service Packs'. This version is also considered to be the first
really stable Windows. The man who developed NT came from the team that developed their VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation
worked. Some aspects of VMS are therefore still somewhat recognizable in Windows NT. Nice detail is that the abbreviation WNT per letter just one further in
the alphabet stood for VMS.
wikipedia Windows NT (Os)
Deep blue (Chess)
On May 11, the computer defeated man, which happened in America where world chess champion Garry Kasparov played chess against the computer Deep Blue and
the computer won. The year before, Kasparov still won against the computer, but in the meantime it became stronger and more powerful. Kasparov was very impressed
of his loss.
wikipedia Deep blue (Chess)
MTDS GSM modem
After the modem market collapsed due to Rockwell's one dollar modem chip, MTD, the largest modem manufacturer in the Netherlands, unfortunately went bankrupt. We
made a new start with MTDS and developed software for GSM telephones and we developed the SMS technology (which our then director became a millionaire with
has become), I developed a complete GSM data communication stack in C++ and we developed a PCMCIA card for laptops to
phone to establish a (9600/9600 bps) data connection. This was the beginning of Data over the GSM network. After I cooperated
to Symbian at Psion in London for the GSM protocol stack part, I quit embedded programming and switched to the Internet
and application programming.
Windows 98 (Os)
In 1998, Windows 98 (version 4.10.1998, codename Memphis) was released by Microsoft for microcomputers, a graphics operating system that
was still based on MS-DOS 7.1. Windows 98 was an updated version of Windows 95 but it had integrated AGP support and
functional USB drivers. It also includes support for using multiple monitors. The integration of Internet Explorer in Windows 98
was a controversial move by Microsoft and the reason for the American judiciary to start a lawsuit that dragged on for years.
wikipedia Windows 98 (Os)
Apple Imac computer
The Apple iMac is a desktop computer from Apple, where the 'i' of iMac stands for internet. The computer is a big part of Apple's consumer offering
since its introduction in 1998. The iMac has since taken four clearly distinguishable guises, always integrating the display and computer
is central. The iMac computer is relatively well known in popular culture due to its recognizable appearance and Apple's successful marketing. The
iMac and other Macintosh computers are often featured in movies, commercials, and TV shows.
wikipedia Apple Imac computer
In early 1998, Intel had a hard time selling the Pentium II chips because they were quite expensive and many customers chose the cheaper AMD K6-233 processor.
So Intel made a new CPU called Celeron that was similar to the Pentium II but without L2 cache. Today Celeron processors
still available as dual-core and run at faster speeds and with cache built directly into the core CPU.
wikipedia Celeron (Processor)
USB Flash disk
In 1999, the company M-Systems (an Israeli manufacturer of flash memory storage products) released the first USB flash drive. Her company became
acquired in 2006 by their previous competitor SanDisk. M-System was best known for developing and patenting the first flash drive in 1995
were marketed as DiskOnChip.
wikipedia M0System flash disk
C# (programming langiuage)
C# (pronounced "C sharp") is a programming language developed by Microsoft in response to Sun's Java and partly backtracking
on C++. According to some, the language is better than Java, according to others it is not. One of the accusations is that it is not entirely
Java is neither entirely C++ and thus tries to set its own standard while it is not an original development. With this kind
tactics Microsoft often tries to bend markets to its will. That the language would be specially designed for .NET (dotnet)
being as some claim is not correct. The designer of the language C# is not the first the best, Anders Hejlsberg was the man
behind the design of Turbo Pascal, Delphi and Visual J++. The language is very comprehensive and consistent in data types and design.
wikipedia C# (programming langiuage)
My processor chips collection
Some people collect old computer systems, I did too but space becomes an issue very soon. Its easier to collect
the different microprocessors and support chips and so I decided to do that. Sometimes it is hard to get an old microprocessor, sometimes you can still buy them. But a
lot of old microprocessors I get from disassembling old computer boards. Some microprocessors are special to me and they have their own page on this website. I
also try to tell something about these processors and try to link to other information like wikipeadia and datasheets that I also collect. The collection is organized according to the
first year the microprocessor came out.
My processor chips collection page (Eng)
Last update: 12-05-2022
All pages on this Web site are copyrighted by Hein Pragt, unless otherwise noted. I strive for accuracy but cannot be held
responsible for any errors in the content. For questions about the content of this site or persmission to copy you can contact me at:
). Heinpragt.com is registered under KvK number: 73839426.