Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mechanical Age (1450-1840)

The First Information Explosion

Johann Gutenberg (Mainz, Germany) invented the movable metal-type printing press in 1450. The development of book indexes and the widespread use of page numbers.

Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated.

Born as “Johann Gensfleisch” (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as “Johann Gutenberg” (John Beautiful Mountain).

Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty.

Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.

The First General Purpose "Computers"

oActually people who held the job title "computer: one who works with numbers."

John Napier (1614)

oLogs allow multiplication and division to be reduced to addition and subtraction. In 1617, he employ an ancient numerical scheme as the Arabian lattice, lays out a special version of the multiplication tables on a set of four-sided wooded rods, allowing users to multiply and divide numbers and perform square roots and cube roots.

Napier was so intelligent, many of the locals believed him to be in league with the Devil. Napier himself, and ardent protestant, accused the Pope of being the Anti-Christ, and in a document he considered to be his finest achievement, went as far as predicting the end of the world.

Napier was also a nobleman, a baron, the 7th Laird of Merchiston, and owner of a considerable estate. Napier was loved by all, and he was respected by many illustrious scientists and mathematicians of the age, to the point of being considered some sort of scientific superstar, with "fans" awaiting his next publication the way we await the release of a movie or pop album. Napier's "greatest hits" include such groundbreaking texts as A Description of the Admirable Table of Logarithms, and his invention of divining rods used as multiplication tables.

Wilhelm Shickard (1623)


Wilhelm Shickard, a professor at the University of Tubingen, Germany, invents the first mechanical calculator. It can work with six digits and carries digits across columns. It works, but never makes it beyond the prototype stage.

William Oughtred (1625)

oEarly 1600s, William Oughtred, an English clergyman, invented the slide rule. It is an early example of an analog computer.

Blaise Pascal (1642)


A French mathematician named Blaise Pascal invented the a mechanical calculation machine. He called it the Pascaline. The Pascaline was made out of clock gears and levers and could solve basic mathematical problems like addition and subtraction.

Gottfried Von Leibniz (1671)

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), German mathematician and philosopher invented a machine called the stepped reckoner that could multiply 5 digit and 12 digit numbers yielding up to 16 digit number.

Joseph Marie Jacquard (1801)

Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the automatic loom during the 1830s. The "store", the "mill" and the punch cards are the parts that are remarkably similar to "modern-day" computers. It introduced binary logic and a fixed program that would operate in real time.

Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1820)

oCharles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1785-1870) developed the Arithmometer and became the first mass-produced calculator n France. This device performed the same type of computations as Leibniz’s Stepped Reckoner, but was more reliable. These pinwheel-type mechanical adding machines were fixtures in banks accounting offices and stores.

Charles Babbage (1821)


Charles Babbage (1792-1871), eccentric English mathematician, invented the first modern computer design: a steam powered adding machine called “the difference engine”. He understood that long math problems were just repetitive operations. Therefore, the machine can automatically solve math problems.

In 1832, Babbage also invented the “analytical engine”. This engine was a mechanical adding machine that took information from punched cards to solve and print complex mathematical operations. Babage’s difference engine and the analytical engine are regarded as the first “thinking machines”. These engines were easy to operate and produced solutions at the turn of a hand crank. Babage’s inventions earned the title “father of computers”.

Ada Augusta Lovelace (1842)


The first program was written by Ada Augusta Lovelace (1815-1852) or
Lady Byron. She is credited as being the first computer programmer. The programming language Ada is named in her honor.

Learnings of the Week

Joyce Niko D. Perez IV-RIZAL




Carl Genrick Santamena said...

Thank you!!!!! You have helped me with my activity in omputer education!!!!! Please make some more articles!!!!!

mahasiswa teladan said...

hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)

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