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    13 Absurdly Massive Early Computers

    Technology from the days when bigger meant better.

    1. 1944


    Engineer John von Neumann stands with the Harvard Mark I, an electromechanical computer.

    2. 1944 / Via

    British code breakers used The Colossus to decrypt coded German messages at the end of World War II.

    3. 1946 / Via

    ENIAC, the world’s first general-purpose computer, weighed 27 tons. Among other things, the so-called "Giant Brain" was used for calculations for the development of the hydrogen bomb.

    4. 1949

    Flickr: nasacommons / Via

    Analog Computing Machine, an early version of the modern computer, is located in the then-Engine Research Building at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio, which is now part of NASA.

    5. 1951 / Via

    Harwell's 1951 model called The WITCH was short for Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing.

    6. 1951


    Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whirlwind incorporated 4,500 vacuum tubes, 14,800 diodes, and took up 3,100 square feet of floor space.

    7. 1954 / Via

    IBM's Naval Ordnance Research Calculator could perform 15,000 operations per second, making it the most powerful computer of its time.

    8. 1957 / Via

    Norwich City Council’s first computer is delivered to the City Treasurer’s Department. Elliott Brothers was an early UK computer company.

    9. 1956 / Via

    IBM 305 RAMAC. Each of those massive towers is a hard disk drive holding a whopping 5MB of data.

    10. 1956 / Via

    The Bendix G-15 cost around $60,000.

    11. 1961


    The IBM 7080

    12. 1962 / Via

    BRLESC I had 4096 72-bit words of memory, the equivalent of 36k.

    13. 1964 / Via

    UNIVAC 1108 stored a then scarcely imaginable 1MB of data.

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