a history of computers

Computer history, history time line, history of the PC, apple history,


Over the years I have been very interested in the development and history of computers. Recently there was an excellent television program spanning five weeks called "the triumph of the nerds". It covered the early years of the modern PC. "the seventies and eighties, Covering the rise and fall of companies like  Apple Amstrad and Altair, and the rise and rise of Microsoft,

All this development has only spanned 25 years, which astounded me. 1982 saw the first IBM desktop PC and I saw it launched in Newcastle, UK. I was also at a similar show that launched the Apple II, and the Amstrad PC1512. This prompted me to look for information on this fascinating subject and add it to my web page as a special feature. As anyone arriving to my site must have used a computer to do so it should be interesting to you.

Over the past few years there have been several articles in magazines such as PC PRO and I have information gleaned from these sources. I've tried to pinpoint the most important ideas and inventions behind the development of Information Technology (IT.)

Computing has so dominated technological and social advancement over the last 50 years that there is scarcely any idea area of life left that hasn't been touched by it. As a result, deciding which ideas to include, and what to leave out, has proven extremely difficult. I've selected the ideas that I consider the most influential and interesting, dating back to 500 BC.


You would think that at the beginning of the 21st century, you get the impression that PCs have existed for decades and always will. In fact, the PC has only just had its 22nd birthday.

On 12 August 1981 IBM released its first mainstream desktop system for the amazing price of $1,565 (1,100). Combining an Intel 8088 CPU running at 4.77MHz with 16Kb of RAM and the DOS operating system developed by a certain William Henry Gates, the IBM PC brought together at least three of the key players in computing history - IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

The IBM PC defined an era that continues to this day, and hopefully well beyond. But it was just one example of the many great ideas that have fuelled the exponential growth of computing in the last few decades.

I've detailed certain landmarks, but space restrictions mean I can't showcase every development and I've highlighted those I feel are the most interesting or thought-provoking. However, I'm sure I've left some very important developments of computer history out. If you think you've got a particularly essential one please send me an email.

Read on and enjoy this potted history of computers. I hope you'll find out a few things you didn't know about computing, or at least a few fond memories you'd forgotten


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My thanks to

PC-PRO magazine for the initial information.
who has a highly detailed history some of which is here.
who published the video "The Triumph of the Nerds"
Bob X Cringely
who wrote "Accidental Empires"  the book.
Ken Pollson
who has completed a great history covering the 20th century.
The Computer History Museum for a superb "Timeline"


Some other excellent sites to visit

Old computers.com 

A Brief history of computing

Apple Computer History links
Apple History
PC History org
computercertificationcenters Thanks to Elisabeth Murphy for this one

I also thank individuals and recommend sites for further information in the relevant sections.

Finally thanks to all of the web authors who have enabled me to bring this comprehensive history together. I have tried to name them in various parts of this history at the relevant article. If you have not been credited for your work please
e-mail me.

Computer history, a history of computers, history of the internet, windows history, history of windows, history of spreadsheets,