We could argue that the first computer was the abacus or its descendant, the slide rule, invented by William Oughtred in 1622. But the first computer that resembled today’s modern machines was the Analytical Engine, a device conceived and designed by the British mathematician Charles Babbage between 1833 and 1871.
Before Babbage came along, a “computer” was a person, someone who literally sat around all day, adding and subtracting numbers and entering the results into tables. The tables appeared in books so that other people could use them to complete tasks, such as accurately launching artillery shells or calculating taxes.
first analytical computer
In 1837, Babbage proposed the first general mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. The analytical engine contained an ALU (arithmetic logic unit), basic flow control, punch cards (inspired by the Jacquard loom), and onboard memory.
first programmable computer
The Z1 is considered the first electromechanical binary programmable computer, and the first truly functional modern computer. It was created by the German Konrad Zuse between 1936 and 1938.
First programmable electrical computer
The Colossus was the first programmable electrical computer, developed by Tommy Flowers, and was first demonstrated in December 1943.
First digital electronic computer
The ABC was the first electronic computer invented by American physicist John Vincent Atanasoff between 1937 to 1942. ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and construction began in 1943 and was not completed until 1946.
Although the ABC computer was the first digital computer, ENIAC is still considered by many to be the first digital computer because it was fully functional.
first personal computer
IBM invented the personal computer with the introduction of the first IBM PC in August 1981. Before then, the most common terms for small desktop computers were “micro computers,” “micros,” “home computers,” and “home computers.” similar terms.