Complete Story


Travel Back in Time With These Vintage Computers

Today's svelte devices owe their clunky predecessors everything

By today's standards, the Univac I was a clunky behemoth of a machine. It filled an entire room, weighed as much as four cars, and had an adjusted-for-inflation cost of around $8 million. But when it accurately predicted the outcome of the 1952 presidential election, it sold the public on computers.

Mark Richards pays tribute the Univac I and other computing trailblazers in his book Core Memory. It travels the annals of bits and bytes, from the 1890s, when nobody could imagine a modern computer (much less carrying one around in their pockets), to the 1990s, when the stylus became a (thankfully short-lived) status symbol.

"We stand on the shoulders of giants," Richards says. "That's an oft-used cliche, but if you're picking up your iPhone to read the president's tweet, there's a lot of people that got you there."

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

Printer-Friendly Version