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History of the Computer Industry in America

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.8 
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Only once in a lifetime will a new invention come about to touch

every aspect of our lives.   Such a device that changes the way we work,

live, and play is a special one, indeed.   A machine that has done all

this and more now exists in nearly every business in the U.S. and one

out of every two households (Hall, 156).   This incredible invention is

the computer.   The electronic computer has been around for over a

half-century, but its ancestors have been around for 2000 years.  

However, only in the last 40 years has it changed the American society.  

>From the first wooden abacus to the latest high-speed microprocessor,

the computer has changed nearly every aspect of peopleÕs lives for the


        The very earliest existence of the modern day computerÕs

ancestor is the abacus.   These date back to almost 2000 years ago.   It

is simply a wooden rack holding parallel wires on which beads are

strung.   When these beads are moved along the wire according to

"programming" rules that the user must memorize, all ordinary arithmetic

operations can be performed (Soma, 14).   The next innovation in

computers took place in 1694 when Blaise Pascal invented the first

Òdigital calculating machineÓ.   It could only add numbers and they had

to be entered by turning dials.   It was designed to help PascalÕs father

who was a tax collector (Soma, 32).

        In the early 1800Õs, a mathematics professor named Charles

Babbage designed an automatic calculation machine.   It was steam powered

and could store up to 1000 50-digit numbers.   Built in to his machine

were operations that included everything a modern general-purpose

computer would need.   It was programmed by--and stored data on--cards

with holes punched in them, appropriately called ÒpunchcardsÓ.   His

inventions were...


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