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Iowa State professor John Atanasoff liked fast cars and scotch, according to interviews he gave. After driving to a bar in Illinois, he had a few drinks and sketched out on a napkin a concept out for an electronic device that could perform math functions with signals from vacuum tubes. The ABC Computer was built in 1941. It could perform multiplication, but worked stopped on the project after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Atanasoff never returned to it.
Courtesy of the Computer History Museum.
See footage of the ENIAC's creators with their computing machine in action, bright lights, vacuum tubes and all.
"I was already wearing a plastic pocket protector and thick black glasses--taped together--so I didn't need something to increase my social dysfunction."
"I bought my first computer when I was 15 in 1980. It was an Apple II, which back then was the most popular PC in the U.S."
"I still had to re-key them everytime I wanted to change programs, but this wasn't too bad as the TI-58 only had enough memory for about 240 instructions."
See the men, women, and metal behind the making of the ENIAC.
Editors: Kari Dean McCarthy; Mike Yamamoto
Production: Bernie McGinn; Jennifer Guevin; Vincent Tremblay
Design: Ellen Ng