Who Invented the PC

Learn about who invented the PC. Most people don't know the answer, although no other gadget has completely transformed the world like the personal computer has. With personal computer systems, or PCs, affecting everything from big business to education, knowing a little more about the evolution of personal computers can promote an appreciation for how far they've come.

As with many technological inventions, many individuals made contributions toward a single device. Inventors, engineers and research companies helped make computers smaller while still expanding their power and capacity. In the beginning, it took trained people to use computers, and they were not readily available to anyone besides companies and government agencies.

So, perhaps the best way to answer the question "Who invented the PC?" would be to present the contributions of these individuals and companies in the form of a timeline:

1950: The simple mechanical brain was invented by Edmund C. Berkeley, and it was about 4 feet wide. It did math sums and was touted as an "electronic brain." This brain even had a name-Simon.

1955: Edmund C. Berkeley also developed the Geniac, a more powerful personal computer, for his company, Berkeley Enterprises. It was affordable, but still quite limited. It was known for being able to play tic-tac-toe, among other basic math functions.

1965: The Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-8 was a hit with amateur computer enthusiasts, although it cost $18,000.

1972: The HP 9830 was marketed to scientists and other tech specialists and featured a keyboard and small output screen.

1975: While the MITS Altair is often mistakenly credited to be the first personal computer, it was preceded by plenty of other worthy contenders. However, the Altair was the most successfully marketed personal computer to date, and its affordability and ease of use made it appealing to the home computer hobbyist. Among the Altair's fans were Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who wrote the Altair BASIC programming language, which was Microsoft's first big project.

1977: Enter Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The famous Apple II makes its appearance as a mass-produced computer that found its way into homes and businesses across the country. Key features included interactive graphics rather than switches and simple LEDs.

1981: The release of the IBM PC helped make "personal computer" a household word and set the new standard for sales.

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