Hey, That DOES Compute!

No, Neanderthals didn’t do Netflix and cavemen didn’t click & collect, but modern computing does stretch way, waaaay back to the stone age: the 1950s!

Quick Computer History

The first computer was conceived as a machine of cogs and gears as far back as the 1880s (a few were even steam-powered!) but only became practical in the 1950s and ’60s with the invention of semiconductors, the computer mouse, and the graphical user interface (GUI), a way to interactively click on the screen to get information instead of knowing code. In the 1970s, a hardware company called IBM emerged as the computing leader.

In the 1980s software became increasingly important, and by the 1990s a software company called Microsoft had become the computing leader by giving ordinary people tools like word-processing…and Solitaire.

During the 1990s computing became more personal, and the World Wide Web turned URLs into website names that people could read. A company called Google (heard of them?) then offered free access to the vast public library we call the Internet, and soon everyone’s gateway to the web was the new computing leader.

In the 2000s computing evolved yet again, to become a social medium as well as a personal tool. So now Facebook challenges Google, as Google challenged Microsoft, and as Microsoft challenged IBM. And let’s hold off on VR, AI and Quantum computing until another time.

Click to expand image

That’s just the highlights, but for a full computer history timeline click the graphic to the right, or visit G2.com.

And here are some more amazing predictions for what tech innovations are headed our way soon. 

MOTAT has an amazing collection of really unique, innovative and sometimes crazy (“What were they thinking?”) computer objects in our ever-growing collection. After lockdown, you really have to visit and check out our tech exhibits to appreciate everything that’s on offer. (Just get ready for the parents to get all misty-eyed about their old Newton…um, just ask them about it.)

MOTAT Computer Collections Slide Show

Now check out a few real computers from MOTAT’s awesome collection, and click here to explore even more.