Timeline of the History of Computers

Brief Timeline of the History of Computers | HTR

Let's face it—our lives revolve around computers. If anything, they're incorporated into almost everything from cellphones to vehicles. 

Things weren't always like that, though. There was a time when computers did not exist—when people had to do things manually.

Who invented these electronic devices? How did computers evolve into hardware that enhances workers productivity and became a leading entertainment device to play games and stream videos?  

Curious to know more about the history of computers?  Check out the timeline below to better understand the history of computers.

The History of Computers Timeline

1936: Alan Turing, a mathematician and cryptanalyst, invents the universal machine (later known as the Turing machine)—a device that is capable of solving any algorithm. Essentially, it’s the simplest form of a computer.

1941: Professor John Atanasoff and his student Clifford Berry build the world’s first digital computer at Iowa State University. Not only is it capable of parallel processing, but it also has regenerative memory (i.e. the computer is able to store information).

1969: A team of developers produced UNIX, one of the world's first operating systems. Developed for Bell Labs, it quickly became the system of choice among companies and government entities. Due to its slow processing, however, it never made it to the home PC market.

1976: Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs establish the Apple Computer Company. Shortly afterwards, they release the Apple I, which includes a circuit board. Available at a number of small retailers, it came with a tape-interface that you had to purchase separately.

1977: Radio Shack releases the TRS-80 Micro Computer System. Sold through their stores, it is one of the earliest mass-produced home computers. It came with 4KB of memory, a Zilog Z80 processor, a video monitor, and a QWERTY keyboard.

1981: IBM releases its first computer called, “Acorn.” Later renamed the IBM PC, the device ran on a 4.77 MHz Intel microprocessor and had 16KB of memory. A few months later, the computer is named “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine.

1983: Apple releases a desktop computer called “Lisa.” Meant for business users, it is one of the first devices to include a graphical user interface (GUI). However, its performance was mediocre at best as it had a tendency of crashing.

1985: Microsoft releases the first Windows operating system. Created for MS-DOS, it was produced in response to the growing demand for GUIs.

1994: Desktop computers become gaming machines as more and more games hit the market. Some popular titles include “Command & Conquer”, “Theme Park”, and “Little Big Adventure.”

2001: Apple releases the Mac OS X operating system. That same year, Microsoft unveils Windows XP, which features a redesigned GUI.

The Evolution of Computers

And there we have it...a history of computers timeline, and how they have changed significantly over the past several decades.

Well, we haven’t been around as long as the computer but, we’ve definitely seen lots of change over the 30 years that we’ve been in business. So when it’s time to rent a desktop, we are here to help. Our inventory is stocked with the latest PC or Mac computers to meet your organization’s computing needs. Give us a call at 888-520-5667 for more information.