For years, the accepted pioneer with the digital age was the ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, perhaps because the story associated with growth was one worthy for tabloids and InventHelp TV Commercial.
As World War II was coming to a close, the Army had run less than mathematicians and were willing to recruit women. Six women were accepted to function on “Project PX” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering, under John Mauchly and K. Presper Eckert. The women’s job ended up program firing tables and ballistic trajectories using ENIAC. Their work laid the groundwork for programming. The completed machine was unveiled on Feb. 14, 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania. Within the armed forces had funded the cost of almost $500,000. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. It is widely considered to function as first computer invented, considering its highly functional status through the late 1950s.
However, its “first” status was challenged in court when Rand Corp. bought the ENIAC patent and started charging royalties. Honeywell Inc. refused to pay and challenged the patent in 1968. It was learned that Mauchly, on the list of leaders of the Project PX at the University of Pennsylvania, had seen an early on prototype of a tool being built at the Iowa State College called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer.
Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry began development on the ABC in 1937 and it always been developed until 1942 at the Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). Eventually, it could solve equations containing 29 variables.
In 1973, You.S. Federal Judge Earl R. Larson released his decision that the ENIAC patent by Mauchly and Eckert was invalid as well as the ABC was the first computer devised. However, the ABC was never fully functional, so the best selling opinion to this particular has the ENIAC as the first electronic computing machine. The Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History in Washington displays most from the remains of the ENIAC, alongside bits of the ABC.
However, there’s another twist to this tale. The most rudimentary computer is a digital device designed to just accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations and display the results. Germany’s Konrad Zuse created what was basically the first programmable calculator in the mid-1930s in his parent’s living room. Zuse’s Z1 had 64-word memory and a clock speed of 1 Hz. Programming the the Z1 required the user to insert tape create punch tape reader and then receive his results through a punch tape dispenser – making it possibly the first computer invented.