People

The history of technology has an incredible number of contributing people. While Charles Babbage (1791) is considered by many to be the ‘father of the computer’ for his creation of ‘the difference engine’, you could trace the true history of computing further back to Ramon Lull in 1275, or Leonard da Vinci in 1493. 

From there technology advanced meaningfully as luminaries like Alan Turing, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, and Grace Hopper joined the industry. 

History computer has compiled the most famous and important people in technology below:

Anton Braun – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Anton Braun was an instrument maker, mathematician, engineer, and mechanic. Who was Anton Braun? Anton Braun was an instrument maker, mathematician, engineer, and mechanic. He invented one of the first calculating machines (calculator).  Early life Braun was born on April 22, 1686 in Möhringen an der Donau (bei Tuttlingen), a small town on the upper...

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Jacques de Vaucanson – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Jacques de Vaucanson is a French engineer and inventor. Who was Jacques de Vaucanson? Jacques de Vaucanson (1709–1782) is a French engineer and inventor. He is responsible for creating the world’s first robots, the first automated loom, and building the first all-metal lathe.  Early life Jacques Vaucanson was born in the French town of Grenoble...

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Ada Lovelace – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Ada Lovelace is often called “the first computer programmer.”  Who was Ada Lovelace  Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician who wrote an algorithm for a computing machine in the mid-1800s. She has been called “the first computer programmer.”  Early life Ada Locelace was born in England on December 10, 1815. She was the only legitimate...

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Edgar Codd – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

Edgar Codd - Inventor Of The Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) Who is Edgar F. Codd - Creator of the Relational Database Management System? Edgar Codd is the creator of the relational databases model (RDBMS), an extremely influential general theory of data management, the foundation of RDBMS, used everywhere nowadays. Early Life and Education Edgar...

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Horace Hicks – Biography, History and Inventions

Horace HicksOn 6 November 1894, Horace David Hicks, an employee of Brown’s Lumber Company, Whitefield, New Hampshire, USA, got a patent (US patent 528596, assigned one-half to Brown’s Lumber Company) for adding machine with very interesting construction. Certainly, the adding device of Hicks remained only on paper and never went in serial production, but nevertheless...

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Willard Legrand Bundy – Biography, History and Inventions

Willard Legrand BundyWillard Legrand Bundy was born on 8 December, 1845, in Otego, New York. He was the first-born of Willard Douglas Bundy (9 Nov. 1815–22 Dec. 1889), and Elizabeth R. Bundy, née Gillespie (29 May 1817–2 Apr. 1894). Willard Legrand had two brothers: J. Leland (Lee) (1847-1910) and Harlow Elisha (1856-1916), and a sister—Prudence...

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Calvin Mooers – Biography, History and Inventions

Calvin Northrup Mooers in 1987Calvin MooersCalvin Northrup Mooers (1919-1994) was an American computer scientist, an influential figure in the early information science community, who had coined the term information retrieval in 1950, and so called Mooers's law in 1959: An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and...

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Joseph Licklider – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, or “Lick”, was an American psychologist and computer science pioneer. There are many claims for the “father” of internet technology. Only one has the title of computing’s “Johnny Appleseed”. This is a short biography of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider. Who was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider? Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, more affectionately...

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James Ritty – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

James Ritty was a saloonkeeper and the inventor of the cash register. Few know of James Ritty, but he is a man who has influenced the life of virtually everyone who lives in the modern world. Ritty is the inventor of the cash register, and can thus be considered one of the founders of much...

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Larry Roberts – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Larry Roberts is widely revered for his work that led to the creation of the modern internet. Who Was Larry Roberts? Larry (Lawrence) Roberts is known as the father of computer vision for his contributions to the field and to the creation of the modern internet. Roberts is one of the founders of the creation...

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John Vincent Atanasoff – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

John Vincent Atanasoff was a computer innovator and industry pioneer. Who Was John Vincent Atanasoff? John Vincent Atanasoff was an American engineer, physicist, mathematician, and computer scientist. Working with others, he spurred major innovations in the field of computing, ultimately earning the nickname of "the father of the modern computer." In this regard, he is...

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Robert Noyce – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Robert Noyce in the laboratory | Image: Courtesy of Intel Who Was Robert Noyce? Robert Noyce was an American inventor, engineer, and businessman. He made a massive impact on the field of computing in a variety of ways, including his invention of the Monolithic Integrated Circuit. He also co-founded two of the most influential computer...

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George Stibitz

Who Was George Stibitz George Stibitz was an American inventor and computer pioneer. He is best known for his time at Bell Labs, during which he helped to create the first ever digital computer. He was also instrumental in the development of a variety of computer-related devices, such as the Boolean logic digital circuits. Early...

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Claude Shannon – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Claude Shannon was an early pioneer of the Digital Age. Who Is Claude Shannon? Claude Shannon was an American computer scientist, engineer and mathematician. The ideas in his published papers helped jumpstart the fields of information theory and digital communications, paving the way for all the networks of electronic communications around the world that we...

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Ted Nelson – Biography, History and Inventions

Theodor Holm Nelson (aka Ted Nelson) is a cyber philosophy and IT specialist. Who Is Ted Nelson? Born in 1937, Theodor Holm Nelson is an American philosopher, computer scientist and sociologist. He specializes in the fields of information technology and cyber philosophy. Many of his ideas were responsible for helping create the conceptual structure of...

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Blaise Pascal – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal Who Was Blaise Pascal? Blaise Pascal was a famous French mathematician and philosopher. As a converter to Christianity, Pascal's beliefs would come to extensively influence the religion and its practice. He also engaged in extensive mathematical work, developing multiple theorems that would influence the field for centuries. Early Life...

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Norbert Wiener – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Norbert Wiener is an early 20th Century American mathematician. Who was Norbert Wiener? Norbert Wiener was a famous American mathematician who took the field of math and expanded it to a variety of other areas, ultimately culminating in the development of Cybernetics, an all-encompassing field that dealt with the interaction of feedback loops and behavior. ...

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Douglas Engelbart – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Douglas Engelbart was a computer visionary and inventor of the computer mouse. Who was Douglas Engelbart? Douglas Engelbart was an internet and computer pioneer. A visionary, Engelbart is responsible for many of the internet and computer products that we use extensively today, including the computer mouse. Indeed, in many ways, Engelbart's inventions have shaped the...

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Newman Marshman – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Newman Russel Marshman and his Orguinette in 1880 Who Was Newman Marshman? Newman Marshman was the inventor of the modern typewriter. As an African-American inventor, Marshman's achievement is even more remarkable when one considers the natural obstacles that he had to face in the course of obtaining his education and assembling the expertise necessary to...

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Lee Burridge – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Lee Burridge was an inventor of the typewriter. Who was Lee Burridge?  Lee Burridge was an inventor, manufacturer, and one of the typewriter inventors.  Early life Lee Burridge was born on September 22, 1861, in Paris, France. He was the son of Dr. Levi Spear Burridge and Emma Frances (Ogden) Burridge. Burridge was educated at...

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Heron of Alexandria (Hero) – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Heron of Alexandria is a Greek mathematician and engineer who is mostly remembered for devising a formula to calculate the area of a triangle. Who Was Heron (Hero) of Alexandria? Greek mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandria was active in his native city of Alexandria, a part of the Roman Empire. His work is representative...

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a well-known German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who lived inn the 17th and 18th centuries. Who Was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz? Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a well-known German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Noted for his independent invention of calculus and metaphysics, Gottfried von Leibniz remains one of the greatest thinkers in history....

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Ramon Llull – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Ramon Llull Who Was Ramon Llull? Ramon Llull (pronunciation: rəˈmoɲ ˈʎuʎ) is a polymath who was best known for his work as a mathematician, figure in philosophy and Christian mystic in Majorca. He wrote the first major piece of literature on Mallorca. Though he does not exactly have a background in computing as it is...

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Joseph Marie Jacquard – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Joseph Marie Jacquard Who Was Joseph Marie Jacquard? Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard was a French weaver who played an important role in the development of a programmable loom. Joseph-Marie Jacquard was the inventor of the first loom to weave designs into cloth. His invention also used punch card technology, which eventually helped make computers in...

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George Boole – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

George Boole was a mathematician, philosopher, logician and author of The Laws of Thought among other books. Who was George Boole? George Boole was a self-taught mathematician, philosopher, and logician. The majority of his professional life was spent as a mathematics professor at Queen’s College, Cork in Ireland. Boole worked in the fields of differential...

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Konrad Zuse – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Konrad Zuse was a German civil engineer, computer scientist, inventor, and businessman. Who Was Konrad Zuse? Konrad Zuse was a German civil engineer, computer scientist, inventor, and businessman. He was born in 1910  in Berlin, Germany. Zuse received a PhD in civil engineering from the Technical University of Berlin in 1934. Zuse gained prominence for...

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John von Neumann – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

John von Neumann, a mathematician, computer scientist, and physicist. Who Was John Von Neumann? John von Neumann (1903-1957) is best known as a mathematician and one of the leading figures in early 20th century mathematics. During World War II, he played an important role in atomic research. He worked on computational problems for the U.S....

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Charles Babbage – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Charles Babbage was a mathematician who created mechanical computing devices. Who Was Charles Babbage? Charles Babbage was a mathematician and polymath born in 1791, the son of a wealthy textile merchant. He studied mathematics at Cambridge and eventually became Lucasian professor of mathematics. At this point in his life he had already invented many calculating...

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William Higinbotham – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

William Alfred Higinbotham was an American physicist and inventor of "Tennis for Two." Who was William Alfred Higinbotham? William (Willy) Alfred Higinbotham was an American physicist who is credited with creating the first computer video game to display motion and allow interactive control with hand-held controllers in 1958. Known as “Tennis for Two,” it was...

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Alan Turing — Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Alan Turing was a mathematician, computer scientist, codebreaker, and philosopher. Who Was Alan Turing? Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, computer scientist, codebreaker and philosopher known for his Turing Test, an imitation game. He is best known, however, for his 1936 paper on the "Turing Machine," which defines the conceptual framework of a theoretical...

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Angela Ruiz Robles – Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Angela Ruiz Robles(1895-1975) was a Spanish teacher, writer, and the pioneer inventor for the mechanical precursor of electronic books. Who Was Angela Ruiz Robles? Angela Ruiz Robles (1895-1975) was a Spanish teacher, writer, and the pioneer inventor for the mechanical precursor of electronic books. In 1949 Aguiree awarded patent 190,698 for "Enciclopedia Mecánica". Ruiz Robles...

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Grace Hopper – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

Grace Hopper wearing her U.S. Navy Uniform Who Was Grace Hopper? Grace Hopper was an American  computer scientist and U.S Naval Officer, best known for her work on the A-0 compiler (aka A-0 System) and its successors A-1, A-2, A-3 (the first complete ALGOL 60 implementation), A-4, A-5 and A8. She invented one of the first...

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Aaron Hatfield

Aaron Hatfield's Adder On 26 September, 1854, a certain Aaron L. Hatfield of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, took out a US patent №11726 for machine for adding numbers. There is another calculating device from the time, made by another Hatfield, Jehu, from Glens Falls, New York, patented as Machine for calculating interest in 1844 (US patent №3574),...

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Dreamers 3

History of Computers and Computing, Internet, DreamersThe Dreamers and the GodfathersIn this section I'll present some people, who had a vision of or defined some aspects or features of communication networks, Internet and WWW, several decades (or even centuries) before their actual implementing as a global communication network of knowledge:Robert HookeClaude ChappeJules VernePaul OtletMark TwainNikola...

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Solomon Pool – Biography, History and Inventions

Solomon PoolSolomon Pool was born on 21 April 1832 at Elmwood on the Pasquotank, the Pool plantation near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His father, also Solomon Pool (April 28, 1787–Jan. 10, 1832), was a wealthy slave holding planter of English descent, from a family prominent in northeastern North Carolina since 1679 (first Pool, also named...

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Eduard Selling – Biography, History and Inventions

Eduard Selling - Biography, History and InventionsEduard SellingEduard Selling was born on 5 November, 1834, in Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany (the same town, where some time ago lived Johann Christoph Schuster, a brother-in-law of Hahn, and Johann Paul Bischoff), in a family of a professor.Selling studied mathematics at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München, where...

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Hugues Beaucourt

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Hugues BeaucourtHugues and Edmond BeaucourtOn 18 February, 1881, Hugues Beaucourt (1845-1919), a son of the famous organ-builder from Lyon—Hippolyte-César Beaucourt (1822-1888), patented (French patent 141208) appareil pour calculer, an interesting adding device with rotatable (similar to telephone number dial) input mechanism. Hugues Beaucourt succeeded his father's trade...

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Frank Bone

Frank BoneOn 26 October, 1886, Frank A. Bone of Lebanon, Ohio, county surveyor of Warren County, Ohio, patented a column keyboard adder (US patent 351487).Let's examine the adding machine of Bone, using the patent drawing (see below the drawing).The object of the invention is to provide a new and improved machine for adding numbers by...

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William Haines

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, William HainesWilliam HainesIn 1849, William M. Haines of Rochester, New York, patented a mechanical calculator (US patent 6403). The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) is still preserved in the National...

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Gustavus Linderoos

Gustavus LinderoosOn August 11, 1871, Captain Gustavus Linderoos (1818-1885) from Point Arena, Mendocino, California, filed a patent application for an adding machine. The patent (US patent 140146) was granted on June 24, 1873.The adding machine of Linderoos is similar to the ciclografo from 1650s, attributed to Tito Livio Burattini. The patent model of the device...

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Peter Lindholm

Peter T. Lindholm(Biographical info kindly provided by Lenora Lynam, an archivist in McPherson County Old Mill Museum, Lindsborg)In 1885 Peter T. Lindholm from Lindsborg, Kansas, applied, and in 1886 received a patent for a key-driven one column adding machine (US patent №343770, see the lower patent drawing). In 1886 Lindholm received also a Canadian patent...

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Alexis Petetin

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Alexis PetetinThe Adding Machines of Alexis PetetinThe french inventor Alexis Petetin from Besançon (Doubs), is a holder of two french patents (№110349, 27 Nov. 1875 and №163925, 27 April 1884) and one german patent (№32148, 24 Jan. 1885) for adding machines.Almost nothing is known about the inventor....

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Fawcett Plumb

Fawcett PlumbOn 17 June, 1881, Fawcett Plumb (1834-1919), a businessman, politician and prolific inventor from Streator, Illinois, (see biography of Fawcett Plumb), applied for a patent for keyboard adding machine. The patent (see US patent 256591) was granted in April, 1882. Besides the above-mentioned patent, Plumb was a holder of several other patents (at least...

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Shohé Tanaka

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Shohé TanakaAdding Machines of Shohé TanakaIn early 1890s the Japanese scientist and inventor Shohé Tanaka (1862-1945) (see biography of Shohé Tanaka), at this time making his doctoral studies in Berlin, Germany, devised an adding machine. In 1895 he applied for and later obtained several patents for such...

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Ezra Edgar Witter

Ezra Edgar WitterEzra Edgar Witter was a holder of many (at least 15) US and Canadian patents between 1888 and 1920 for various devices (mostly agricultural), like machines for making fences, marker for corn planters, corn harvesters, lubricator, match safe, hinge, etc. One of the patents of Ezra Witter was for adding machine (patent US423364...

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Jacot des Combes

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Jacot des CombesEugène Jacot des CombesYet another Parisian watchmaker (after Ernest-Narcisse Lobbé) invented an early keyboard adder in 1850s—Eugène Jacot des Combes was a holder of two french patents for adding machines (machine à additionner) (Brevet №43781 from 1 February 1860, and Brevet №68027 from 11 July...

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Edmund Dana Barbour – Biography, History and Inventions

Edmund Dana Barbour (Source: Harvard University Archives, HUGFP 125.32, Box 1, Folder Barbour)Edmund Dana BarbourEdmund Dana Barbour, the youngest of six children of Oliver Barbour and Mary Hutchinson, was born on 11 August 1841, at Henchman Lane, in the North End of Boston.Edmund's father, Oliver H. Barbour (12 August 1796–4 December 1866), a tailor by...

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Johann Reichold – Biography, History and Inventions

Johann Reichold - Biography, History and InventionsJohann ReicholdJohann Christoph Reichold was born on 17 January, 1753, in Equarhofen (a small village, located some 90 km west of Nürnberg), in Bavaria, Germany, where his father, the parson Johann Georg Reichold was in service.The father—Johann Georg Reichold was born in Berneck, Switzerland, in 1707, studied theology in...

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Fawcett Plumb – Biography, History and Inventions

Fawcett PlumbFawcett Plumb was born on 10 December, 1834, in Andover, Ohio, to Frances Merrill Plumb (1806-1899) and Laura Mary Hyde (1810-1854). Frances Plumb married to Laura Mary in October, 1830, and they had (at least) 6 children: Nelson (born 1833), Fawcett (1834-1919), Sara (1838-1921), John (1844-1921), Robert Kerr Porter (1846-1921), and Laura (b. 1847).Frances...

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Shohe Tanaka – Biography, History and Inventions

Shohé Tanaka in Germany in 1892Shohe TanakaShohé Tanaka was born on 12 June, 1862, in Yahata village, at the vicinity of Minamiawadji, now a town in Mihara District, Awaji Province, Japan.As a child, he demonstrated a good ear for music, and was fond of ningyo joruri (Japanese puppet theatre in which recited narrative and dialog...

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James Appleby

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, James ApplebyJames ApplebyIn 1850s James R. C. Appleby, a linsey maker and hosier from Shaftesbury, Dorset, England, devised a stylus managed calculating device (kind of a simple money abacus), a model of which managed to survive to our time (see the lower images).The device is labeled: "Accountant...

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Jabez Burns

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Jabez BurnsJabez Burns' AddometerOn August 24, 1858, Jabez Burns (1826-1888), an inventor from New York (see biography of Jabez Burns), took out the US patent №21,243 for a machine for adding numbers. The device obviously never went into production, and only the patent model survived to the...

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Gilbert Chapin

Adding Machines of Gilbert ChapinThe American Gilbert W. Chapin (see biography of Gilbert W. Chapin) is a holder of three quite interesting patents for calculating machines—US patent №99533 and US patent №106999 from 1870, and US patent 646599 from 1900. He is a holder also of several other patents, e.g. for bird-cage screen (US186711), for...

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Samuel Comfort

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Samuel ComfortSamuel ComfortSamuel Comfort (1837-1923) of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, (see biography of Samuel Comfort) attained considerable distinction as an inventor of improvements in mowing and reaping machines, sewing machines, etc., for which he received numerous patents (by age 24 Comfort held over 12 patents in the USA, and...

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Cathrinus Nikolay Arbo Collett

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Cathrinus Nikolay Arbo CollettCathrinus Nikolay Arbo CollettIn late 1860s, Cathrinus Nikolay Arbo Collett (see biography of Cathrinus Collett), a young Norwegian civil (railway) engineer, at that time working as an assistant and later a chief of the investigations department of Norwegian State Railways in Kristiania (Oslo), devised...

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Alexander Davies

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Alexander DaviesAlexander DaviesOn 18 June, 1867, Alexander Davies from Cleveland, Ohio, received a U.S. Patent 65883 for a slide bar adder, similar to the adding device of George Fowler, patented in 1863. The patent model of the device (see the lower photo) survived to our time and...

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Peter Forrester

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Peter ForresterPeter ForresterIn 1881 Peter C. Forrester from San Francisco, patented (US patent 249606) a keyboard adding machine (see the lower patent drawing).The device has dial-plates and indicators adapted to be moved by clock mechanism and an escapement, an oscillating plate M, with a groove for releasing said...

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George Phineas Gordon

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, George Phineas GordonGeorge Phineas GordonGeorge Phineas Gordon (see biography of George Phineas Gordon) was a famous American inventor (with more than 50 patents on his name), printer and businessman, who developed the basic design of the most common printing press ever, the Gordon Letterpress. At the end...

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Joseph Harris

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Joseph HarrisJoseph HarrisJoseph Harris Jr. from Boston, Mass., was a prolific inventor from the middle of XIX century. In 1861 he patented (US patent 31016) a simple adding device, somewhat similar to the earlier devices of Jabez Burns and John Ballou, and an inspiration for the later...

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Eduard Hammenstede

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Eduard HammenstedeEduard HammenstedeOn 31 March, 1882, Eduard Hammenstede of Cologne, Germany, received German patent No. 20443 on Schnell-Addirmaschine (Quick Adding Machine). The device was a column adder with a large numeral drum and keys, arranged in two rows and as whole looks very much alike the earlier...

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Johan Hellström

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Johan HellströmHellström's Räknemaskin (calculating machine)Johan Fredrik Hellström was a Swedish machinist, born on 5 March, 1838, in Stockholm. In 1857 he moved to Nyköping, and lived either there or in Stockholm until his death.In 1870s, Hellström devised an interesting adding device, which was announced in the Swedish...

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Milton Jeffers

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Milton JeffersMilton Clifford JeffersIn early 1860s, Milton Clifford Jeffers (1823–October 26, 1896), an agent and broker from New York, devised and in 1863 patented (US patent 40105) a simple adding device, quite similar to the earlier devices of Jabez Burns and John Ballou. In his patent he...

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Henry House

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Henry HouseHenry Alonzo HouseHenry Alonzo House (1840-1930) (see biography of Henry Alonzo House) was an extremely prolific American inventor, who secured over 300 US and foreign patents. Interestingly, one of his early patents (US Patent No. 109619) from 1870 is for a calculating device.The calculator of Henry...

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Alonzo Johnson

Alonzo JohnsonAlonzo Johnson, a machinist from Springfield, Mass., is a holder of two US patents for calculating devices: patent 73732 from 28 Jan. 1868 and patent 85229 from 22 Dec. 1868). The first patent is granted to Alonzo Johnson and James A. Loomis, who was also a machinist from Springfield. The patent models of both...

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Lewis Hosea and William Beardsley

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Lewis Hosea and William BeardsleyLewis Hosea and William BeardsleyOn 3 March, 1891, Lewis Hosea (see biography of Lewis Hosea), a lawyer and amateur mechanic, and William Beardsley (see biography of William Beardsley), a businessman, both from Cincinnati, Ohio, obtained a patent for keyboard adding machine (US patent...

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Samuel Kelso

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Samuel KelsoSamuel KelsoIn 1866 Samuel J. Kelso of Detroit, Michigan, patented (US patent №58347) a ciphering machine. It was an adder, quite similar to one of machines of David RothThe machine (see the lower patent drawing) can be used for adding, subtracting, and multiplying numbers of any...

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William Lang

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, William LangWilliam LangWilliam Lang was a businessman (founder of William Lang Co. of Brooklyn, manufacturer of metal goods) and prolific inventor from Brooklyn, New York. He patented a wide range of goods, including a windows shade pull, a speed-indicator, a fife, a curtain-pole ring, a box fastener,...

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Georges Lafond

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Georges LafondGeorges LafondIn 1899 the french engineer Georges Lafond from Paris patented (German patent DE148810, US patent US653250 and Swiss patent CH19395) an interesting watch-like circular adding machine (see the photo below). In fact, the patents described several different types adding devices, and only one of them...

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Charles Labofish

Charles LabofishIn the late 19th and early 20th century Charles Schachan Labofish, a Jewish immigrant from Odessa, Russian Empire, who came to America in 1888 (see biography of Charles Labofish), devised various machines (calculating machines, typewriters, log-sawing machine, cyclometers, indicating device for bicycles, etc.) and received some 15 US, Canada and Great Britain patents for...

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Ernest-Narcisse Lobbé

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Ernest-Narcisse LobbéErnest-Narcisse LobbéIn early 1850s Ernest-Narcisse Lobbé, a Parisian watchmaker and mechanic, created one of the first keyboard calculating machines in the world (after the machines of James White, Luigi Torchi, Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué and Du Bois D. Parmelee). The machine (so called Additionneur mécanique à touches) was...

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Max Mayer

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Max MayerMax MayerIn 1881 the german inventor Max Mayer from Munich devised an adding machine, which was patented in 1884 (german patent DE29206 27.04.1884 for Additionsmaschine). Later Mayer obtained 3 more german patents (DE35496, DE42043, DE44398) and a couple of french patents (162118 and CF162118).The machine was...

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Alvan Macauley

Alvan MacauleyIn 1895 the young engineer and lawyer James Alvan Macauley (see biography of James Alvan Macauley) became patent attorney for National Cash Register (NCR) in Dayton, Ohio. In the next 1896 he applied for his first patent for cash register (US patent No. 587042). The patent, assigned to NCR, was the first of a...

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William Robjohn

William RobjohnRobjohn brothers, Thomas and William, had both worked as organ builders in England before emigrating to the United States. First sometime in the middle 1830s emigrated the younger brother—Thomas Robjohn (born 24 Sep. 1809 in Tavistock, Devon, England–died 22 July, 1874). Then in 1857 emigrated the elder—William Robjohn (born 14 Feb, 1803, in Tavistock–died...

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David Marion Rush

David Marion RushDavid Marion Rush of Louisburg, Missouri, applied for a patent for ten-key non-printing manually operated adding machine on July 25, 1883, and the patent (U.S. Patent 292256) was granted on January 22, 1884.A part of the patent model survived to our time and it is kept now in the collection of National Museum...

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Jacob Schnarrenberger

Jacob SchnarrenbergerJacob H. Schnarrenberger of Springfield and Greenfield, Ohio, was a holder of quite a few (at least 7) US patents for calculating machines from 1888 until 1891 (most of patents are assigned to Thomas Reynolds of Springfield, one of the patents was granted to Jacob Schnarrenberger and his younger brother John Fred, one third...

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Albert Stettner

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Albert StettnerAlbert StettnerAlbert Stettner Jr., a mechanic from Berlin, Prussia, was a holder of 2 German (DE21236 and DE23098 from 1882) and 1 USA (US277627 from 1883) patents for keyboard adding machines. The patents DE23098 and US277627 are describing the same device. Let's examine the machine, using...

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Elmore Taylor

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Elmore TaylorElmore TaylorIn 1874, Elmore W. Taylor of Franklin, Indiana, patented a circular adding machine (US patent 155772), assigning one-half to his brother Richard T. Taylor. The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their...

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Charles Weiss

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Charles WeissCharles WeissOn August 31, 1886, Charles W. Weiss of Brooklyn, New York, received a patent (U.S. patent №348437) for an Electro Magnetic Adding Machine. Weiss acted as an assignor to the Kruse Check & Adding Machine Company in New York, a manufacturer of check machines,...

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Samuel Young

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Samuel YoungThe Machine for Adding Figures of Samuel YoungSamuel S. Young of Eaton, Ohio, USA, patented three simple calculating devices in the middle of 19th century.The first patent (US patent No 6602 from 1849) was for machine for adding figures. The second patent was for machine for...

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Semyon Korsakov – Biography, History and Inventions

Just as the telescope and the microscope provided the additional power to our eyes, the intellectual machines would limitlessly strengthen the power of our mind...Semyon Korsakov, 1832Semyon KorsakovIn 1817 the Russian Semyon Nikolaevich Korsakov (see biography of Semyon Korsakov) accepted a position in the statistics department of the Police Ministry in St. Peterburg. Inspired from...

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Gilbert Warren Chapin – Biography, History and Inventions

Gilbert Warren ChapinGilbert Warren Chapin was born on 1 August, 1847, in Springfield, Mass., to Joel Chapin and Amelia Parsons.Joel Chapin (1815-1852), born on 16 August, 1815, in Enfield, Conn., was seventh generation heir of the glorious Samuel Chapin (1598–1675)—a prominent early settler, selectman, magistrate and deacon of Springfield, Mass. (Actor Clint Eastwood is also...

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Johann Reichold

The arithmetic machine of Johann ReicholdThe article was written with the expert help ofMr. Stephan Weiss,www.mechrech.infoUntil now, the information about the calculating machine of the German parson Reichold was very scanty. It is only mentioned in the famous book "Die Rechenmaschinen" of Ernst Martin from 1925, but without any details. It seems the only reliable...

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Otto Büttner

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Otto BüttnerOtto BüttnerIn 1883 Karl Otto Büttner, a mechanical engineer from Dresden, Germany, patented (together with Carl Gustav Th. Heyde) his first calculating machine (German patent №DE26640).The dimensions of the machine are: 37 x 10 x 21 cm, weight is 5,4 kg.First machine of Otto Büttner...

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David Carroll

David CarrollOn May 2, 1876, David Carroll of Spring Creek, Pennsylvania, took out a US Patent №176833 (see the lower image of the patent drawing) for an adding-machine. The device obviously never went into production, and only the patent model survived to the present time (property of Smithsonian National Museum).The machine is made of wood...

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George Dudley

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, George DudleyGeorge DudleyFrom 1896 to 1912 George Wilson Dudley from Virginia was granted numerous (at least 15) patents in USA, Canada and Great Britain mainly for adding and printing machines, but also for attachments for adding and tabulating for typewriters, and for a vehicle wheel.Most of the...

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Fossa-Mancini

Fossa-Mancini's Indispensable MachineThe Italian Carlo Fossa-Mancini (1854-1931), was a talented hydro engineer, known for the design and building the aqueduct of the valley dell'Esino.For us Carlo Fossa-Mancini is interesting mainly for the creation of the adding machine Indispensable in 1890s (probably in 1893, first patent was granted in 1896). In 1898, at the Exposition Nazionale...

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Frederick Lincoln Fuller

Frederick Lincoln FullerIn the spring of 1888 the young inventor and self-taught engineer Frederick Fuller (see biography of Frederick Fuller) of Waterbury, Connecticut, saw a model of cash register, while working in the shop of the Specialty Manufacturing Company, a firm engaged in a special brass work, models of inventions, clock movements, etc., owned by...

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Christian Hergenroeder

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Christian HergenroederChristian HergenroederOn October 10, 1882, a patent for a simple adding device (US patent 263904) was granted to Christian W. Hergenroeder of Baltimore (see the image below).

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Milton Hinkle

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Milton HinkleMilton HinkleIn 1877 Milton W. Hinkle of Memphis, Tennessee, invented a simple adding device, which he patented on 5 March, 1878 (US patent 200911) (see the lower patent drawing). The machine was somewhat similar to the earlier devices of Jabez Burns and John Ballou. The patent...

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De Kerniea James Thomas Hiett

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, De Kerniea James Thomas HiettDe Kerniea James Thomas HiettOn 20 April, 1897, De Kerniea James Thomas Hiett (1854-1930), an inveterate calculator designer of St. Louis, obtained his first patent for calculating machine (US580863)—a multi column keyboard adding and printing calculator. Hiett will obtain quite a few patents...

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Calvin Holman

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Calvin HolmanCalvin HolmanCalvin James Holman (1827-1900) was a prolific inventor, a holder of numerous (at least 12) US patents for various devices, like sawing machine, vehicle spring, hand truck, sad iron, vehicle wheel, folding umbrella, etc. One of his patents (US153826) from 1874 is for an adding...

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Jehu Hatfield

Jehu Hatfield's Machine for Computing InterestOn May 6, 1844, a certain Jehu Hatfield of Glens Falls, NY, took out a US patent №3574 for a machine for computing interest, measuring lumber, and for other purposes. It is unknown how many devices were produced, but at least one managed to survive to our time (see the

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Leonard Nutz

Leonard Nutz(The biographical information kindly provided by Mrs. Jana Nutz Leavitt,the four-times-great-granddaughter of Leonard Nutz)On 17 August 1858 the machinist from Alton, Illinois, Leonard N. Nutz, received a patent (US patent №21236) for a single column adding device, which seems to be the fourth in the USA keyboard adder, after the machines of Du Bois...

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Otto Lilienthal

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Otto LilienthalOtto LilienthalNo mistake, yet another celebrity should be mentioned as an inventor of calculating device, after Leonardo Da Vinci, Blaise Pascal, Gottfried Leibniz, and other not so illustrious men. This time it's about Karl Wilhelm Otto Lilienthal, the German pioneer of aviation, known as the Glider...

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Francis Marston

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Francis MarstonThe Apparatus for Making Calculations of Francis MarstonIn 1842 a certain Francis Marston of Aston, Parish of Hopesay, County of Salop, England, was granted a British patent №9235 for Apparatus for Making Calculations (see the lower patent drawing).No details are known about this machine, most probably...

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William Macnider

William MacniderIn 1884, a certain William John Macnider of Greensborough, Georgia, applied for a patent for keyboard adding machine. The patent (US patent No. 322190) was granted on 14 July, 1885 (the administrator of the patent was Quintin Macnider, as William Macnider died meanwhile).After the first keyboard adding machine of Luigi Torchi from 1830s, there...

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David Nelson

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, David NelsonDavid NelsonIn April, 1860, David R. Nelson of Jackson, Ohio, patented (US patent №28006) a keyboard machine for adding numbers, one of the early calculators of that type, after the machines of White, Torchi and Schwilgué in Europe, and the key adders of his compatriots Du...

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Reuben Rodney James

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Reuben Rodney JamesReuben Rodney James' Adding MachineOn November 5, 1878, Reuben Rodney James (1826-1904) from Rising Sun, Indiana, took out a US Patent №209690 for an adding-machine. It seems the device never went into production, and only the patent model survived to the present time (property of

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Martial Roussel

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Martial RousselMartial RousselOn 3 October, 1853, Martial Roussel, a member of the Amiens Academy (Somme), applied for patent for additionneuse (adding machine). The French patent No. 17528 for 15 years was granted on 24 November, 1853.The adding machine of Martial Roussel was one of the early keyboard...

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Leonard Stowe

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Leonard StoweLeonard StoweIn the late 1870s the government clerk from Wellington, New Zealand, Leonard Stowe (see biography of Leonard Stowe) devised an adding machine, which he patented in 1880 in Great Britain and Germany (patent Nr. DE11907). The English patent for Stowe's Patent Calculating Machine (see the...

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Winter and Crary

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Winter and CraryWinter and CraryIn May, 1882, Mary E. Winter of Galesburg, and Cushman W. Crary of Chicago (assignor to Mary Winter), patented a keyboard adding machine. Interestingly, one of the early keyboard calculating machines in US and the world was also invented by an American woman, who's...

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Frank Baldwin – Biography, History and Inventions

Frank BaldwinFrank Stephen Baldwin was born on 10 April, 1838, in New Hartford, Connecticut, in the family of the master builder Stephen Baldwin, an owner of architectural business. Although technically not an architect, the master builder Stephen Baldwin was a very good professional, known for several buildings in the region, e.g. The Meeting House of...

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Orlando Lane Castle – Biography, History and Inventions

Orlando Lane CastleOrlando Lane Castle was born in Jericho, Vermont, on July 20, 1822, the third child (of eight, 4 sons and 4 daughters) to Augustus Castle and Almira Bostwick Lane-Castle (1795-1864). Their 8 children were: Sarah Celestia (1819-1864), Emily (1820-), Orlando Lane (1822-1892), William A. (1824-), Eunice Aurelia (1829-), Adoniram Judson (1832-1852), Alonzo (1827-),...

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Henry Alonzo House – Biography, History and Inventions

Henry Alonzo HouseHenry Alonzo House was a prolific American inventor and businessman who developed machinery and processes that have had a lasting impact on several industries. It was with great pleasure that we examined his calculating device from 1870 (see calculator of Henry Alonzo House), but this restless and fertile American genius, inventor and entrepreneur...

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Lewis Montgomery Hosea – Biography, History and Inventions

Lewis Montgomery HoseaLewis Montgomery Hosea was born on 16 December, 1842, in Montgomery, Alabama, to Robert Hosea (1811-1906), a Cincinnati businessman (a steamboat owner, Bank of Cincinnati director, and wholesale produce merchant), and Harriett (Moore) Hosea (1820-1875), a young painter. The couple had ten children: Harriett (b. 1838), Harrison (b. 1840), Lewis (b. 1842), Ella...

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Gersten

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 18th century, GerstenThe Arithmetical Machine of Christian Ludwig GerstenChristian Ludwig Gersten (1701-1762) (see biography of Christian Ludwig Gersten) was a good German scientist, professor of mathematics at the University of Gießen, primarily known by his book for a series of experiments, using the barometer.The interesting fact for us...

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Charles Stanhope

The calculating machines of Charles StanhopeThe British statesman and versatile scientist Charles Stanhope, Viscount Mahon (see biography of Charles Stanhope) devoted considerable part of his time and money to the developing of three calculating devices of an original design, and a logic machine (see The Demonstrator of Charles Stanhope).The calculating machines of Stanhope were manufactured...

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Orlando Lane Castle

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Orlando Lane CastleOrlando Lane CastleOn 24 November, 1857, Orlando Lane Castle (1822-1892), professor of Oratory, Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres at the Shurtleff College in Alton (see biography of Orlando Lane Castle), Illinois, received a patent for a calculating machine, called Improved arithmometer for adding (US pat. №18675...

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Brainard Fowler Smith – Biography, History and Inventions

Brainard Fowler SmithBrainard Fowler Smith was born in Madison, Indiana, on 4 July, 1849, to Samuel Fowler Smith (1808-1879), a merchant and Belvidere Roberts (1819-1866), a Yankee school teacher from Vermont.Samuel Fowler Smith (see the nearby photo from 1870s) was a remarkable man. Born in the Yorkshire village of Walton, England, on 22 Dec. 1908,...

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Leonard Stowe – Biography, History and Inventions

Leonard StoweLeonard Stowe was born on 11 March, 1837, in Trolly Hall, a large town house, still preserved in Buckingham, Aylesbury Vale District, South East England. He was the son of William Stowe (1791-1860), surgeon at Buckingham, and his wife, Mary. His eldest brother, William Henry Stowe (1825–1855), was an English scholar and journalist.Leonard Stowe...

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Wilhelm Küttner

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Wilhelm KüttnerWilhelm KüttnerThe german Wilhelm Küttner from Burgk bei Potschappel (near Dresden) received in 1894 a patent for a calculating machine (DE84269, 23.11.1894: Rechenmaschine mit Zwangsläufiger Bewegung der Registrirräder und des Tourenzählers), based on the pin-wheel mechanism, known in Europe as Odhner's wheel. Later Küttner received...

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Policarpo de Balzola

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Policarpo de BalzolaThe Teclado Aritmético of Policarpo de BalzolaIn the middle of 1840s the Basque mathematician and inventor Policarpo de Balzola (1813-1879), from Irún (Guipúzcoa), Spain, (see biography of Policarpo de Balzola) invented his machine Teclado Aritmético (Arithmetic Keyboard)—a calculating machine that had the appearance of a...

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Albert Ludlum

Albert LudlumIn March, 1887, Albert C. Ludlum (1867-1928), a young clerk in the Federal National Shoe & Leather Bank of the City of New York, applied for a patent for Adding and Writing Machine. The patent (No US384373), was granted in June, 1888, then in 1891 the patent was reissued (pat. No USRE11147). The machine...

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William Briggs

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, William BriggsWilliam BriggsOn 2 Dec. 1879 William Briggs of Stoughton, Massachusetts, received a patent for arithmetical calculator (US patent 222126). The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) is still preserved in...

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Hugo Cook

Hugo CookThe Indiana born engineer and instrument maker Hugo Cook (1856-1944) was a holder of many US patents from 1883 until 1925 for various devices (like sewing machine implements, bicycle spokes, autographic register, etc.), between them quite a few calculating machines. His first patent for adding machine (US430001) was granted in 1890.In 1891 Hugo Cook...

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James White

James WhiteMany thanks to Mr. Denis Roegel, Professor at Loria, France, for his seminal work on White's adding machineIn 1822, James White (1762–1825), an English civil engineer and prolific inventor (see biography of James White), published a very interesting book—A New Century of Inventions: Being Designs and Descriptions of One Hundred Machines, Relating to Arts,...

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Charles Cotterell

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Charles CotterellCharles Cotterell's Arithmetical CompendiumIn 1667, Sir Charles Cotterell (1615–1701), an English courtier and translator, suggested a calculating instrument, called Arithmetical Compendium (Instrument for Arithmetick). It was a combination of Napier's rods with a bead abacus, used to avoid writing down the partial products of multiplication using...

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George Farmer

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, George FarmerGeorge FarmerIn 1867, George Farmer of Flint, Michigan, patented a tallying instrument (US patent 69647). The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) is still preserved in the National Museum of...

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Alexander Rechnitzer

Autarith of Alexander RechnitzerWe have already examined the single-column adders of Charles Pidgin and Charles Weiss, which are the first adding devices with electromagnetic operation.In contrast with the above-mentioned machines however, the device of the next inventor—Alexander Rechnitzer, was much more sophisticated and was put in serial production, even though in small quantities and without...

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Herschell Filipowski

Herschell FilipowskiAbout 1860 the English mathematician, linguist, and editor Herschell Filipowski designed and published his Calculating Machine for Multiplication and Division, similar to the Napier's Bones, but actually based on the Slonimsky's theorem. It seems only 2 contrivances survived to our time (see the photos below), one at the Science Museum, London, and another in...

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Solomon Pool

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Solomon PoolEmery HamiltonEmery Manville Hamilton (see biography of Emery Hamilton) was an impressive engineer and inventor from New York, with more than 20 patents in his name in various fields like telegraph, typewriter, time recording device, etc. His first invention, an adding machine, he patented in July...

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Ferdinand Hebentanz

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Ferdinand HebentanzFerdinand HebentanzOn 23 April, 1873, Ferdinand Hebentanz, a watchmaker from Budapest, obtained an patent (Privileg) in Austria-Hungary for adding machines. In the patent are described several different devices: keyboard adding machine without engine, keyboard adding machine with engine (spring motor), and pointer (pen-setting) adding machine or...

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Niels Larsen

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Niels LarsenNiels LarsenIn 1876 Niels Larsen, a county surveyor in Cuming county, Nebraska, patented (see US patent No. 183403) a calculating machine for taxes and interest.The instrument is designed for calculating taxes and interest with speed and accuracy. It consists of three concentric cylinders, which are movable...

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Amos Mendenhall

Amos MendenhallIn 1867, Amos Mendenhall of Cerro Gordo, Indiana, patented a practical calculator (US patent 67786). The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) is still preserved in the National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (see the image below).The...

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John Pfeifer

John PfeiferJohn Pfeifer from Springfield, Ohio, was a remarkable inventor. He has taken out some sixty patents on calculating machines, cash registers, change makers, grave vaults, dictaphones, morgue tables, automatic curtain-hangers, signal devices, locks for automobiles, wrapping machines, and many others.Pfeifer's first patent for adding machine (US400359) was granted in 1889 (see the patent drawing...

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Solomon Pool 2

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Solomon PoolSolomon PoolIn 1873, Solomon Pool, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the time a principal of a school in Cary, NC, patented a small and handy adding machine (US patent 143184) (see the lower image).

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Stephenson

Stephenson's Adding MachineArchibald M. Stephenson (1844-1913) of Manteno, Illinois, took out a US patent №137167 for Adding Machine on 25 March, 1873 (see the lower patent drawing). Despite its very simple construction and operation, the Stephenson's adder was perhaps actively being sold as late as 1929, a period of 56 years!The patent model of Stephenson's...

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The History of Thomas Ross

The Robot Rat of Thomas RossThe brilliant electrochemical expert from University of Washington, Thomas Ross, certainly was not the first and only man, who can be credited for creating a thinking machine. Actually Ross got his original inspiration by the works of Clark Leonard Hull (1884-1952), an influential American psychologist, who studied logic and engineering...

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Cathrinus Nikolay Arbo Collett – Biography, History and Inventions

Cathrinus Nikolay Arbo Collett - Biography, History and InventionsCathrinus CollettCathrinus Nikolay (also spelled Nicolai or Nikolai) Arbo Collett was born on 30 March, 1841, in Buskerud hovedgård—the manor of his family near Åmot in Modum municipality, Norway. He was the first child of John Collett (1807-1891), a Norwegian landowner, and Antoinette Johanne (Smith) Collett (1811-1874)....

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George Barnard Grant – Biography, History and Inventions

George Barnard Grant - Biography, History and InventionsGeorge Barnard GrantThe American George Barnard Grant was born in Farmingdale, Gardiner, Maine, on 21 December, 1849, as the son of a Maine shipbuilder, descendant from families who came from Britain in 17th century. Grant attended Bridgton Academy in Maine, then studied for three terms at the Chandler...

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Fabrizio Mordente – Biography, History and Inventions

Fabrizio MordenteFabrizio Mordente was born in 1532 in Salerno, a town in Campania (south-western Italy).Until 1552 he studied philosophy and mathematics at the University of Naples. In the same year he left Naples and moved on to Crete, Cyprus, Palestine and Egypt, where he visited the pyramids and many places of Christian worship. From here...

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Pereire

Jacob-Rodrigues PereireIn the 1751 issue of the earliest scientific journal in Europe—the french Le Journal des Sçavans, was published a description of the calculating machine of Jacob-Rodrigues Pereire (1715-1780) (see biography of Jacob-Rodrigues Pereire). The description is only textual, without any sketches (see the original description of machine of Pereire). Besides this description, almost nothing...

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Axel Jacob Petersson – Biography, History and Inventions

Axel Jacob Petersson - Biography, History and InventionsAxel Jacob PeterssonAxel Jacob (also spelled as Jakob) Petersson was born in Ålem, Kalmar County, Sweden, on 4 March, 1834. He was the son of Andreas Petersson (1790-1870) and Catharina Margareta Petersson (nee Selin) (1798-1870). Axel Jacob had two brothers: Johan Alfred (1827-1870) and Karl Andreas (1830-1867), and...

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Joseph Bell Alexander

Joseph Bell Alexander's Calculating MachineIn the beginning of 1860s Dr. Joseph Bell Alexander (1821-1871) of Baltimore, Maryland, devised a rather interesting calculating machine, and on March 15, 1864, took out US Patent №41898 for it. It seems the machine never went into production and only the Patent Office model survived to the present (kept in...

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Fowler

The Ternary Calculating Machine of Thomas FowlerDuring the 1830's the englishman Thomas Fowler (see biography of Thomas Fowler) became the sole manager and partner of the only bank in the Torrington, Devon, Messrs Loveband & Co. He also became treasurer of the Torrington Poor Law Union. The tedious nature of the calculation of payments for...

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António Júlio de Azevedo Coutinho

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, António Júlio de Azevedo CoutinhoAntónio Júlio de Azevedo CoutinhoIn the early 1880s, the young Portugal António Júlio Rodrigues de Azevedo Coutinho (1860-1918) devised an interesting key adding device, which he patented in Brasil in 1882, and later in Germany (patent DE30421, 19 August 1884).António Júlio Rodrigues de...

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Friedrich Arzberger

Friedrich ArzbergerIn 186os the Austrian mining engineer and professor Friedrich (Fritz) Arzberger constructed one of the early column adding machines with keys (after the pioneering machines of of James White, Luigi Torchi, and Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué), although it possess only two keys—for 1 and for 3. The device looks like an experimental work and was probably...

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John Ballou Newbrough

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, John Ballou NewbroughJohn Ballou's Adding MachineOn March 13, 1860, a certain John Ballou of Cincinnati, Ohio, took out a US patent №27418, for a calculator. It seems the device never went into production and only the patent model survived to the present, kept in National Museum of...

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David Roth

The machines of David RothThe pin-wheel mechanism, known from the sketch of Leibniz and machines of Poleni (1709) and Braun (1727) was forgotten for a long time. It was not until about 1840, when two inventors almost simultaneously and probably independently designed pin-wheel calculating machines. First was the Polish Jew Izrael Abraham Staffel (see machine...

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Viktor Bunyakovsky

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Viktor BunyakovskyViktor BunyakovskyViktor Yakovych Bunyakovsky (Віктор Якович Буняковский) (1804-1888) was a famous Russian mathematician, member and later vice-president of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. He made significant contributions in the areas of number theory and probability theory, and is credited with an early discovery of the Cauchy-Schwarz...

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Marshall Cram

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Marshall CramMarshall CramOn 7 August, 1877, Marshall Moses Cram (1851-1938) of Mankato, Minnesota, received a U.S. Patent 193853 for an adding machine, similar to the later Centigrpah of Arthur Shattuck. In contrast with Centigrpah however, the device of Cram remained only on paper. Marshall Cram was a...

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Oskar Leuner

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Oskar LeunerOskar LeunerOskar (aka Oscar) Leuner (born about 1841) is a mechanical engineer from Dresden, who in 1870 established a workshop in his hometown. The workshop worked in the area of construction and manufacturing of scientific and technical instruments, mainly for Dresden Polytechnic College (Hochschule). Later Leuner...

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William Prehn Quentell

William Prehn QuentellWilliam Prehn Quentell (1861-1932) was a prolific inventor, a holder of at least 33 US patents (and many patents in Canada, Germany, France, and Great Britain), stretching over more than 40 years (the last was granted in 1931, the year before he died). His first patent (and most of the others) was for...

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Harry Humfrey Rumble

Harry Humfrey RumbleOn 15 September, 1890, the young architect and civil engineer Harry Humfrey Rumble (1866-1948), from Westgate-on-Sea, a small seaside town in northeast Kent, England, received a patent for keyboard adding machine. Next year, on 3 November, 1891, the machine was patented in USA (US patent 462384).Let's examine the operation of the machine, using...

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Andrew Stark

Adding Machines of Andrew Stark and La Verne NoyesThe American Andrew Stark (1852-1920) from Chicago was a prolific inventor from late 1800s and early 1900s. He is a holder of quite a few patents for agricultural machines and furniture like: grain-binders, harvesters, railway facilities, folding bed, sofa, fiber vessel, etc.In 1884 Andrew Stark patented two...

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Lawrence Swem

Lawrence SwemOn 8 June, 1886, Lawrence W. Swem, a jeweler of West Liberty, Muscatine, Iowa, patented a keyboard adder (US patent 343506), somewhat similar to the earlier adder of Marshall Cram from 1877 and the later Centigrpah of Arthur Shattuck from 1891.Lawrence Swem was a holder of 6 more patents for various devices like: lamp...

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Alfred Smee – Biography, History and Inventions

Alfred Smee - Biography, History and InventionsAlfred SmeeAlfred Smee (1818-1877) was a senior surgeon to the Royal General Dispensary and to the Central London Opthalmic Hospital, and also a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is known for publishing a series of books on a field he called electro-biology, the relation of electricity to the...

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Samuel Comfort – Biography, History and Inventions

Samuel ComfortSamuel Comfort Jr., son of George and Susan (nee Lower) Comfort, grandson of Samuel and Rebecca (Moon) Comfort, great-grandson of John and Mary (Woolman) Comfort, was born at the Comfort homestead near Morrisville, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, on 5 May, 1837. The Comfort and Lower families were both prominent members of the religious movement Society...

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Christian Ludwig Gersten – Biography, History and Inventions

Christian Ludwig Gersten - Biography, History and InventionsChristian Ludwig Gersten(Johänn) Christian Ludwig Gersten (or Gerstein) was born on 7 February, 1701, in Gießen, a town in the German federal state of Hessen.He studied law and mathematics at the University of Gießen and in the beginning of 1730s he travelled to London, England, to improve his...

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Hillerin de Boistissandeau – Biography, History and Inventions

Hillerin de Boistissandeau - Biography, History and InventionsHillerin de BoistissandeauThe French mathematician and inventor Jean-Baptiste Laurent de Hillerin de La Touche de Boistissandeau was born on 24 (baptized on 26) July, 1704, in Paris, the first child in the noble family of Jean-Baptiste de Hillerin de Boistissandeau (13.09.1664-14.05.1732), conseiller au Parlement de Bretagne et du...

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Heinrich Kummer – Biography, History and Inventions

Heinrich Kummer - Biography, History and InventionsHeinrich KummerThe information for Kummer in Russian sources is very scanty. It is mentioned only, that he was a teacher of music in St. Peterburg. Who was this mysterious person?Heinrich Gotthelf Kummer was a German musician, born on 8 November, 1809, in Dresden. He was the only son of...

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Alexander John Thompson – Biography, History and Inventions

Alexander John Thompson - Biography, History and InventionsAlexander John ThompsonDr. Alexander John Thompson was a British statistician, the author of the last great table of logarithms, published in the period 1934-1952. His table, the Logarithmetica britannica, gives the logarithms of all numbers from 1 to 100000 to 20 places and supersedes all previous tables of...

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Kummer

The adding device of KummerSeveral people experimented with versions of simple mechanical calculators, that involved strips of metal with numbers marked on them mounted in a frame, where a stylus was used to slide these strips up and down. A few names that usually rise to the top of the pile in this regard are...

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Henry Pottin

Henry PottinIn the middle 1870s the French engineer Henry Pottin patented the first key-set crank operated machine and made first attempt to record the items in addition. The Pottin invention implemented two of the prime principles of the first workable recording-adders; one is the depressable key-set feature and the other is the recording of the...

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Claude Dechales

Claude DechalesThe French Jesuit mathematician Claude Dechales (1621–1678) was best remembered for his book Cursus seu mundus mathematicus, a complete course of mathematics, published in Lyons in 1674. Dechales published also several other books, and in one of them—L' art de naviger demontré par principes & confirmé par plusiers observations tirées de l'experience, published in...

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Juri Diakov

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Juri DiakovJuri DiakovAround 1874, the Russian military engineer from S. Petersburg, captain Juri I. Diakov (Юрiй И. Дьяковъ), devised a simple row adder, one of many adding devices based on Abaque Rhabdologique of Claude PerraultThis simple and cheap device went in production in the late 1870s (see...

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William Gubelmann

William GubelmannWilliam Samuel Gubelmann (1865-1959) was an US inventor and businessman, who held hundreds of patents, mainly in the field of adding machines, accounting machines and cash registers. In 1959 Popular Mechanics magazine called Gubelmann the father of all calculating machines in use today. The New York Times said that his inventions formed the basis...

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Moore family

Moore familyMoore family from New York (Charles Carroll Moore (1827-1902), Jacob Bailey Moore (a brother of Charles) and Frank Coddington Moore (1864-1929, a son of Charles), are holders of 3 US and 1 German patents for calculating machines (Jacob Moore was a holder of another US patent from 1868 for window-shade fixture (Pat. No. 75446),...

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Jacob Auch – Biography, History and Inventions

Jacob Auch - Biography, History and InventionsJacob AuchThe German Jacob (also Jakob) Auch was a very good mechanic and clock-maker, interesting for us with his remarkable calculating machineJacob Auch was born on 22 February, 1765, in Echterdingen (near Stuttgart, Württemberg), to Johann Andreas Auch (1733–1787), a baker, and Christina Henn (1736–1782). Jacob had a younger...

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Johann Paul Bischoff – Biography, History and Inventions

Johann Paul Bischoff - Biography, History and InventionsJohann Paul BischoffJohann Paul Bischoff was born on 20 February, 1736, in Sonneberg, Thuringia, to Johann Jacob Bischoff (1706-1757) and Anna Margaretha Dreßel (1707-1767). Johann Jacob Bischoff and Anna Margaretha Dreßel married on 31.1.1729 in Sonneberg, and from 1729 until 1749 they had 11 children (5 sons and...

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Cesar Caze – Biography, History and Inventions

Cesar Caze - Biography, History and InventionsCesar CazeNot a whole lot is known of the life of the French Huguenot César Caze, sieur d'Harmonville et du Vernay (Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries).César Caze was born in Lyon, Rhone, in January, 1641, as the first...

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Louis Couffignal – Biography, History and Inventions

Louis CouffignalLouis Pierre Couffignal (1902-1966), a French Mathematician and Cybernetics pioneer, was born in Monflanquin, Fâcheries, on 16 March 1902, in a humble family: his father Guillaume Couffignal (born 1858), was a chief cantonnier, his mother, Marie Deroux-Couffignal (born 1871), was a tailor.After attending a primary school at Monflanquin, in 1913 Louis enrolled in the...

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James Alvan Macauley – Biography, History and Inventions

James Alvan MacauleyJames Alvan Macauley, (he preferred to be called Alvan, to avoid name confusion with his father), was born on 19 June, 1872, in Wheeling, West Virginia, to James Alexander (Addison) Macauley and Rebecca Jane (Mills) Macauley (1849-1906).James Alexander Macauley was born in Maghrehar, Fermanagh county, Ireland, on 8 November, 1840. In his infancy...

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Jacob Auch

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 18th century, Jacob AuchThe Adding Device of Jacob AuchThe German Jacob Auch (1765-1842) was a very good mechanic and clock-maker (see biography of Jacob Auch), interesting for us with his remarkable calculating machine.Auch was born in Echterdingen, a small town near Stuttgart. In the same town, from 1781...

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Jewna Jakobson

The Mechanical Calculating Machine of Jewna JakobsonThe Jewish clockmaker and mechanician Jewna Jakobson (or Jacobson) lived in the second half of 18th century in the town of Nieswiez (a significant part of the population of Nieswiez was Jewish at that time, over 700 people) on the territory of former Lithuania, then Poland, then Russia, and...

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Charles Felton Pidgin – Biography, History and Inventions

Charles Felton PidginCharles Felton Pidgin was born on 11 November, 1844, in a house in Felton place at Boston Highlands, Roxbury, Massachusetts, to Mary Elizabeth (Felton) Pidgin (born 1823) and Benjamin Gordon Pidgin (1820-1882). Charles had two younger sisters—Mary Felton (b. 1848) and Nancy, who died young. Benjamin Pidgin was a varnisher, while Mary Elizabeth,...

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Michael Bouchet

Michael BouchetMichael Bouchet (1827-1903) from Louisville, Kentucky, USA, was a holder of two USA patents for single-column adding devices (known also as single digit adders)—Patent №251823 from 1882 (assigned 1/2 to Bennett Downs Mattingly, a local distiller) and Patent №314561 from 1885.Monsignor Michael Bouchet was a Frenchman, born in the farm of his parents Michael...

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Jean-Baptiste Schwilgue – Biography, History and Inventions

Jean-Baptiste SchwilgueJean-Baptiste Sosime Schwilgue was born on 18 Dec. 1776 in Strasbourg, France, in a house located at the intersection of Rue Brûlée and rue la Comédie (Luxhof). He was the second son of the civil servant François-Antoine Schwilgue (1749-1815) and Jeanne Courteaux (1750-1784). François-Antoine was native from Thann in Grand Est (Schwilgue (or Schwilcke)...

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John T. Campbell

The Addition Machine of John Tenbrook CampbellIn 1859 the young carpenter from Rockville, Indiana, John Campbell, patented a 5-positional adding device (called Addition Machine), similar to these of the French Jean Lépine and Hillerin de Boistissandeau from 1720s.John Tenbrook Campbell was born on 21 May 1833, in a farm near Montezuma, Parke County, Indiana, to...

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Chaim Zelig Slonimski – Biography, History and Inventions

Chaim Zelig SlonimskiChaim Zelig Slonimski (also known by many name variations through Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, and the funny Russian version Зиновий Яковлевич Слонимский) was born in a poor orthodox Jewish family on 31 March, 1810, in Byelostok (Byelostok or Bialystok was one of the many towns in Russian Empire (now in Poland), that had a...

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Maurel and Jayet

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Maurel and JayetThe arithmaurel of Maurel and JayetIn 1841 in Paris the young French student François Timoléon Maurel (later a good French clockmaker) devised and in the next 1842 patented (patent No. FR14529) his first calculating machine for multiplication and division, which certainly can be used...

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Jan Józef Baranowski

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Jan Józef BaranowskiJan Józef BaranowskiThe Polish economist, financier, linguist, engineer and inventor Jan Józef Baranowski (see the biography of Baranowski) was the author of many technical inventions, 17 of which have been patented in France. Interestingly, at least 4 of them are for calculating devices: Machine propre...

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Johann Conrad Gütle – Biography, History and Inventions

The first man, who was flashed upon to use the electricity for calculation purposes, was probably a German mechanic, showman, electrifier and miracle healer, physicist, chemist, teacher, author, and mail order company owner, named Johann Conrad Gütle (1747-1827). Gütle was a self-taught scientist, who from 1780 worked as a traveling experimenter, organizing demonstrations at fairs...

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Chaim Zelig Slonimski

Chaim Zelig SlonimskiThe Polish/Russian Jew Chaim Zelig Slonimski (see biography of Chaim Zelig Slonimski) was a Hebrew publisher, astronomer, inventor, and science author, a prominent figure in this humble website, due to his inventive calculating machines.Slonimski was born on 31 March, 1810, in Byelostok, in the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire. His family provided...

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Brown

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, BrownGeorge Brown's Rotula ArithmeticaGeorge Brown (1650-1730) is a Scottish arithmetician and minister, known for the invention of an arithmetical instrument, called Rotula Arithmetica—a device for simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.Brown attended Aberdeen's Kings College, matriculating in 1664 and graduating in 1668. Then he worked as a...

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George Calder

George CalderIn 1895 George Calder Jr. (1830-1897), a prominent businessman and inventor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, obtained a patent for cash register and indicator (US patent 543980).Let's examine in short the calculating machine of George Calder, using the patent drawing (see the image below).

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Charles Corliss

Charles CorlissIn 1868, Charles Corliss, a farmer and landowner from Haverhill, Massachusetts, received two patents (one of the patents is granted to him and Nelson Spofford, another inventor from Haverhill, who was a holder of quite a few US patents for various devices) for instruments for adding and registering numbers (US patents US79209 and US79272)....

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Fowler’s Tools

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, FowlerFowler's Adding MachineOn 14th July, 1863, George B. Fowler of Chicago, Illinois, was granted his first patent (US39222) for an adding machine. In 1890 Fowler received a second patent (US432266) for improved version of his device.George B. Fowler was born in Long Island in 1834. In early...

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Pioneers

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, PioneersThe pioneersSome of the greatest people in European scientific history are involved in this affair. Admittedly, there are others, who attempted to create such devices, but nothing had survived to our time, e.g. the Dutch Jesuit-mathematician Jan Ciermans (1602-1648), who mentioned in a 1640 book, Annus Positionum Mathematicarum,...

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William Hart

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, William HartHart's Mercantile Computing MachineThe William Hart's story had many twists and turns (see biography of William Henry Hart). He was a watchmaker, jeweler, businessman and prolific inventor. Hart had quite a few patents for various instruments and devices, like second-hand holder and screw-end finisher (US patent...

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Nystrom

Nystrom's CalculatorIn late 1840s the young swedish immigrant in USA John William Nystrom, who lived in Philadelphia, invented a calculating device, which was presented and received a First Premium at the Franklin Institute Exhibition in 1849. Later Nystrom received a patent for his calculating machine (US patent №7961, March 4, 1851). In an article of...

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Walter Snelling

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Walter SnellingWalter SnellingOn 9 May, 1882, Walter C. Snelling of New York, received the US patent No. 257775 for an adding machine (column adder) with capacity up to 999 (see the lower patent drawing).The machine of Walter Snelling looks like it has a simple and reliable construction,...

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Brainard Smith

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Brainard SmithKeyboard Adders of Brainard Fowler SmithBrainard F. Smith (see biography of Brainard Fowler Smith) of Sacramento was a holder of two patents for key adding machines (US360118 from 1886 and US363972 from 1887). The second patent (US363972) was granted to Brainard Smith and Arthur Shattuck and...

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Cyrus Spalding

Spalding Adding MachineCyrus G. Spalding of Boston, Massachusetts, was a holder of two US patents for adding machines: №146407 from January, 13th, 1874 and №293809 from February 19th, 1884.The second patent of Spalding (see the lower patent drawing) is for a device (an improved version of the first patent's device), which had an additional wheel

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Thomas Strode

Thomas StrodeThomas T. Strode from Coatesville, Chester county, Pennsylvania, took out three patents for calculating devices—US30264 from 1860 for an adding machine of Calculating Clock and Pascaline type, and two patents for circular stylus-operated adding machines (US49168 from 1865 and US74170 from 1868).The adding machine from the first patent is a pin operated 4 (or...

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George Phineas Gordon – Biography, History and Inventions

George Phineas GordonGeorge Phineas Gordon was born on 21 April, 1810, in Salem, New Hampshire, where his family had lived for more than 150 years. He was the second son of the merchant Phineas Gordon (1781-1850), and Mary (White) Gordon (1780-1852). The family had seven children: Louisa, Mary, Cuthbert, George, Wealthy, Adeline, and Edward.Phineas Gordon...

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Jacob Leupold

The Calculating Machine of Jacob LeupoldIn 1727, after the death of the prominent german scientist, instrument maker, physicist and mathematician Jacob Leupold (1674–1727) (see biography of Jacob Leupold) was published the 8th volume of his encyclopedia Theatrum Machinarum. This volume, entitled Theatrum arithmetico-geometricum is the best illustrated work on calculation and measurement published during the...

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Giovanni Poleni – Biography, History and Inventions

Giovanni PoleniGiovanni Poleni was born on 23 August, 1683, in Venice, Italy, to Jacopo (Giacomo) Poleni (1655-1737) and Elisabetta Broiuola (or Brugnol, Brajola or Brogiola). Jacopo Poleni was a well educated "middle class" Venetian, a literate and a poet, but searching for glory, he entered as a volunteer at the army of Emperor Leopold I...

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Edmund Dana Barbour

Edmund Dana Barbour (Source: Harvard University Archives, HUGFP 125.32, Box 1, Folder Barbour)Edmund BarbourIn 1872, a certain Edmund D. Barbour from Boston, Massachusetts, received two very interesting US patents for calculating devices (U.S. patents №№130404 and 133188), describing a machine, which seems to be the first representative of so called direct-multiplication devices (in the same...

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Arthur Burkhardt – Biography, History and Inventions

Arthur BurkhardtIn 1876 Curt Dietzschold (1852-1922), a German mechanical engineer from Dresden was invited to come in Glashütte (a small town in Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge, which was the birthplace of the German watchmaking industry), and to became a co-owner and head of the company Strasser & Rohde (a workshop for the construction of computing machinery, precision...

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Joseph Edmondson

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Joseph EdmondsonJoseph Edmondson's circular calculating machineIn 1883 Joseph Edmondson from Halifax, England, received three Great Britain patents for a circular calculating machine, based on the stepped-drums mechanism (patents №GB188316, GB18830016 and GB188300016). The machine was manufactured for some time in Halifax, by the company Blakey, Emmott...

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Axel Jacob Petersson

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 18th century, Axel Jacob PeterssonAxel Jacob PeterssonThe Swedish engineer Axel Jacob Petersson (see biography of Axel Jacob Petersson), was a universal inventor and is famous with several books and articles, and the construction of railways and viaducts, including the famous railway bridge Järnvägsbron i Minnesund (launched in 1879...

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Charles Pidgin

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Charles PidginCharles PidginThe US statistician, romance novelist and amateur engineer Charles Felton Pidgin (1844-1923) (see biography of Charles Felton Pidgin) from Boston, Mass., was a holder of quite a few patents (at least 10) for various devices, like indicator, apparatus for compiling statistic (Pidgin's system for census,...

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Eduard Selling

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Eduard SellingEduard SellingIn 1886 the professor of mathematics at the University of Würzburg, Germany, Eduard Selling (1834-1920) (see biography of Selling) received a patent for a calculating machine with very interesting construction.Since 1877 Selling had been commissioned by various ministries dealing with actuarial matters, especially on...

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Abraham Jakub Stern

Portrait of Abraham Stern (with one of his calculating machines) from 1823, artist Jan Antoni BlankThe problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.Charles BukowskiAbraham Jakub SternThe Polish Jew Abraham Jakub Stern (see biography of Abraham Stern), a mathematician, inventor, translator, and...

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Emory Seymour Ensign

Ensign Electric Calculating MachineEnsign Electric Calculating Machine is a highly developed, electrically driven adding and subtracting machine, particularly suited for multiplication (by repeated addition) and semi-automatic division (subtraction and division are done by complementary addition).It was devised and patented by the mechanician from Illinois Emory Seymour Ensign (1878-1944), in the beginning of 1900s. The first...

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Clarence Locke

Locke AdderClarence E. Locke (1866-1945) from Kensett, Iowa, USA, was a holder of 2 US and 2 German patents for a calculating device—slide bar adder, which became popular as Locke Adder. The first patent is №689680 from December, 1901, the second is №779088 from January, 1905 (see the lower patent drawing). Locke was a holder...

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William Pratt

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, William PrattWilliam Pratt's Arithmetical JewellThe calculating device called the Arithmetical Jewell was designed by William Pratt in 1616, and described in the book of the same name (The Arithmeticall Jewell: or the use of a small Table Whereby is speedily wrought, as well all Arithmetical workes in...

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Moses and William Pullen

Moses and William PullenAbout 1870 Moses Pullen, 50 years old teacher of Southwick (near Shoreham, Sussex), commenced his work on an adding machine. On 4 June, 1874, a British Patent No. 1948 was granted to Moses and his son William Pullen, of High Bentham, near Settle, in the county of York, for an invention of...

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Frederick Warren

Frederick Parsons Warren around 1868 (© Michigan State University)Calculating Engine of Frederick WarrenIn 1864, Frederick Warren, a young man of exceptional abilities from Three Oaks, a village near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, then soldier in the Civil War (12th Regiment of the Michigan Infantry), read an article for the Difference Engine of Charles...

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Elizur Wright

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Elizur WrightElizur WrightIn 1860s, Elizur Wright (see biography of Elizur Wright), an American mathematician and abolitionist, sometimes described as the father of life insurance in the United States, invented his Arithmeter (a large cylindrical slide rule, equivalent of a linear slide rule some 20 meters long). He...

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The thinkers

In this section will be examined some people, who have only theoretical, but nevertheless rather important place in the history of computers. The modern computer is far ahead of the initial idea of a powerful machine, that can carry out billions of arithmetical operations at lightning-fast speed. Computers are powerful because they are able to...

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Charles Goldfarb

Charles Goldfarb—the Godfather of Markup LanguagesThe idea of markup languages was apparently first publicly presented by the engineer William W. Tunnicliffe (1922-1996) from Washington, D.C. In September of 1967, during a meeting at the Canadian Government Printing Office, Tunnicliffe gave a presentation on the separation of information content of documents from their format. In the...

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Rene Grillet de Roven – Biography, History and Inventions

Rene Grillet de RovenLittle is known about René Grillet de Roven (see the calculating machine of René Grillet), Sieur Grillet Maistre Horlogeur, as he was titled.As it is clear from his name (spelled also René Grilliet), he originates from the town of Roven (Rouen), in the northwestern France, the capital city of Normandy, the same...

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Emery Hamilton – Biography, History and Inventions

Emery Hamilton - Biography, History and InventionsEmery HamiltonEmery Manville Hamilton was born 22 January, 1838, in Alfred, Allegany County, New York. He was the second child in the family of Horace Green Hamilton (15 Feb 1810-24 Mar 1896) and Catherine M. Burdick (26 Dec 1818-5 May 1896). Emery had an elder sister, Mary Lavantia (b....

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Christel Hamann – Biography, History and Inventions

Christel Hamann - Biography, History and InventionsChristel HamannChristian (sobriquet Christel) Bernhard Julius Hamann was born on 27 February, 1870, in Hammelwarden, near Oldenburg, Germany, to Georg Wilhelm Christian Hamann (b. 1834), a border guard and later usher in Ellwürden, and Catherina Margaretha Louise (b. 1837).It seems Christel Hamann owes his interest in the mechanics and...

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Thomas Hill – Biography, History and Inventions

Thomas HillThomas Hill was born to Thomas Hill (1771-1828) and his second wife, Henrietta (Barker) Hill (1774-1824) on 7 June, 1818, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Hill's father had emigrated to the United States from England in 1791 for religious reasons. In his new country, he began as a farmer, started a business as a...

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Nikola Tesla – Biography, History and Inventions

Nikola TeslaThe great inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was also a great dreamer. In 1893, he started his wireless investigations and several years later he described his futuristic vision: a means of tapping the sun's energy with an antenna, possibility to control the weather with electrical energy, outlined machines that would make war an impossibility, and...

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Mark Twain & Computing

History of Computers and Computing, Internet, Dreamers, Mark TwainThe telectrophonoscope of Mark TwainThe great American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835–1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the latter often called "the Great American Novel".In 1898 Twain met Jan Szczepanik (1872–1926)...

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William Hopkins – Biography, History and Inventions

William Hopkins - Biography, History and InventionsWilliam HopkinsWilliam Wallace Hopkins was born on 16 November, 1850, in Boone County, Indiana, USA, to Albert Hopkins (1818-1905) and Margaret Caldwell Hopkins (1830-1907) from Kentucky. William was the first child, and had 4 brothers and 3 sisters.William was interested in mechanics and construction of machines since his youth,...

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Semyon Korsakov – Biography, History and Inventions 2

Semyon KorsakovSemyon Nikolaevich Korsakov (Russian: Семён Николаевич Корсаков) was born on 14 January, 1787, in Kherson, modern Ukraine (then part of the Russian empire) in the noble family of the famous Russian military engineer Nikolai Ivanovich Korsakov (1749—1788) and Anna Semyonovna Korsakova (nee Mordvinova) (1765—1849).The founder of Russian Korsakovs family was Ventseslav Zigmund Korsak (1370-1435),...

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Pehr-Georg Scheutz – Biography, History and Inventions

Pehr-Georg ScheutzPehr Georg Scheutz was born in Jönköping, Sweden, on 23 September, 1785. His father, Fredrik Christian Ludvig Schieutz, was born in Copenhagen of German parents. Together with his wife, Johanna Christina Berg, he ran the popular inn and wine merchant's business Fortuna in Jönköping. Besides the inn, Fredrik Schieutz was responsible for providing refreshment...

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Abraham Jakub Stern – Biography, History and Inventions

Abraham Jakub SternAbraham Jakub Stern (also known as Avraham Yaakov, Abraham Ya’akov, Avram Yaakov, Авраам Штерн, etc.) was born on 31 December, 1768, in Hrubieszów, a town in south-eastern Poland (from the 18th century until the beginning of the 20th century Jews made up a considerable majority of Hrubieszów's population and controlled trade, industry, and...

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Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué

Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué(A much more detailed description of the Schwilgué's key-driven machine can be found in the article of Mr. Denis Roegel: An Early (1844) Key-Driven Adding Machine, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, №1, pp. 59-65, January-March 2008)In 1844 the French Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué from Strasbourg (see biography of Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué), together with...

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Joseph Abraham Valentine Turck

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, Joseph Abraham Valentine TurckJoseph TurckJoseph Abraham Valentine Turck (1870-1956) was a famous figure in the world of mechanical calculators. He is the author of about 40 patents in this area, first received in 1899 (pat. №US622091), and the last in 1956. Some of his patents are...

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Staffel

Izrael Abraham StaffelThe Polish Jew Izrael Abraham Staffel was born in 1814 to an impoverished family in Warsaw, Poland, then part of the Russian Empire. His primary education he got at an elementary religious Jewish school, and later entered as an apprentice in a watchmaking factory. There he learned the Polish language, which enabled him...

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Claude Perrault

Portrait de l'Architecte Claude Perrault, Musée de l'Histoire de la Médecine, ParisThe Abaque Rhabdologique of Claude PerraultThe Parisian doctor of medicine Claude Perrault (see biography of Claude Perrault) was a remarkable person—a typical encyclopaedic scientist from the end of European Renaissance. Graduating as a doctor of medicine, in his long life he was interested and...

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Samuel Webb

Samuel WebbSamuel J. Webb (1862-1909) was a businessman and prolific inventor from Minden, Louisiana. He invented more than 200 devices (for many of them he obtained patents), and the most popular of them was his cotton compress from 1880s, which was advertised and sold as the largest and most powerful compress in the worldThe interesting...

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Webb

Charles Henry Webb in 1877Webb's Adder and Ribbon AdderThe American poet, author, journalist and inventor Charles Henry Webb was a very interesting person. Born on January 24th, 1834, in New York, he received his preliminary education in his native place, and in early youth he ran away to sea. He was absent three years, and...

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L. Frank Baum – Biography, History and Inventions

L. Frank Baum - Biography, History and InventionsL Frank BaumIn 1901 the famous American author Lyman Frank Baum (1856–1919) published a 245 pages illustrated novel, The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale. In this book he described a device, which can be viewed retrospectively as an early foreshadowing of features, analogous to those obtainable in...

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Policarpo de Balzola – Biography, History and Inventions

Policarpo de Balzola - Biography, History and InventionsPolicarpo de BalzolaPolicarpo de Balzola was born on 26 January, 1813, in Irún, Basque Country, Spain. He was the third child of Miguel de Balzola Garamendi Emparanza y Arribalzagogesacoa from Guernica, a parish organist and choirmaster and María Josefa Iparraguirre from Irún, a cloth merchant (Policarpo had elder...

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Dreamers

Why is the computer such an important machine? Can you answer my question? If you are a child, you can say Because it plays such wonderful games... If you are a mathematician, you can say Because it calculates every function in an instant... If you are a musician, you can say Because it gives me...

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James Lewis Dalton – Biography, History and Inventions

James Lewis DaltonJames Lewis Dalton (Jimmie) was born on 28 December 1866, in Dalton Farm (a homestead near Ponder, Ripley county, Missouri). He was the son of William Marion Dalton and his second wife Mary Caroline (Myatt) Dalton (b. 9 October 1838 in Dickson, Tennessee—d. 12 April 1890 in Ripley, Missouri).William Marion Dalton was born...

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Wilhelm Ostwald – Biography, History and Inventions

Wilhelm Ostwald - Biography, History and InventionsWilhelm OstwaldFriedrich Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932) was a German chemist, one of the founders of the field of physical chemistry, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities.In 1910 Ostwald was in Brussels and met Paul Otlet, and they...

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Martin Wiberg – Biography, History and Inventions

Martin WibergThe Swede Martin Wiberg (September 4, 1826-December 29, 1905) was born in Viby, Scania. In 1845 he enrolled at Lund University to study medicine, but for financial reasons turned to the study of science and became a Doctor of Philosophy in 1850.He was very interested in printing business and wished to develop a composing...

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Maxwell Newman – Biography, History and Inventions

Maxwell NewmanThe famous english mathematician Maxwell Newman was born as Maxwell Hermann Alexander Neumann in Chelsea, London, England, on 7 February 1897. His father was the German Jewish immigrant Hermann Alexander Neumann, originally from the German city of Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz, Poland), who had emigrated with his family to London in 1881 at the age...

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Giovanni Poleni

The calculating machine of Giovanni PoleniThe professor of astronomy, meteorology and mathematics and Marquis of the Holy Roman Empire Giovanni Poleni (1683-1761) (see biography of Poleni) was one of the famous European scientists of the beginning of the 18th century.In 1709 the young professor published his first book—Miscellanea, a small collection of dissertations on physics...

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Frank Baldwin

Frank BaldwinThe state of calculating machine design by 1870s can be seen in a note, appearing in a 1872 issue of the popular US magazine Manufacturer and Builder: ”If a reliable calculating machine could be manufactured to retail at a low price, say five dollars, with which addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division could be done,...

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David Roth – Biography, History and Inventions

David RothThe Austrian Jew David Roth was born in 1808 in Cassovia (now Košice in Slovakia, but then it was part of Hungary and as such within the Hapsburg Monarchy). At this time, anti-Semitism was particularly strong in the Hapsburg monarchy (e. g. Jews had to live outside the town), but the Roth family was...

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Manipolatore Aritmetico of Niccola Guinigi

Manipolatore Aritmetico of Niccola Guinigi(Created with the expert advice of Mr. Silvio Hénin, Milan, Italy)In 1850s (or even earlier) Count Niccola Guinigi-Magrini, a nobleman from Lucca, Italy, designed and produced a simple dial adder (which he called Manipolatore Aritmetico—Arithmetical Manipulator) with a unique design that summed eight-digit figures up to 99,999,999. Now the only survived...

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Thomas Hill

Thomas HillThe improved arithmometer of Thomas Hill from 1857 was the first popular key-driven calculating machine, manufactured in the United States (it seems the key-driven adding machine of his compatriot Parmelee from 1850 remained only on paper). It is fourth (or fifth, since the machine of his compatriot Orlando Lane Castle was patented in the...

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Ramon Verea – Biography, History and Inventions

D. Ramon Verea y Garcia, on the front page of El Eco de Galicia newspaper, Nr. 229, Buenos Aires, 28/02/1898Ramon VereaThe Galician Ramón Silvestre Verea Aguiar y García was born on 11 December, 1833, in the farm of his family in the small rural community of Esmorís, parish San Miguel de Curantes, Pontevedra, to Juan...

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Willgodt Odhner

The arithmometer of Willgodt OdhnerIn one interview, Frank Baldwin claimed that: "It was about this time that one of my 1875 models found its way to Europe, falling into the hands of a Mr. Odhner, a Swede. He took out patents in all European countries on a machine that did not vary in any important...

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Willard Legrand Bundy

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Willard Legrand BundyWillard Legrand BundyIn the end of 1880s Willard Legrand Bundy (1845-1907), an owner of jewelry store in Auburn, New York, (see biography of Willard Legrand Bundy), devised the first electric-cash register in the world. The device was patented in 1890 (US patent Nr. 443475).Willard Bundy...

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Wales

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 20th century, WalesCharles WalesCharles Wales, a genius of mechanical motion and a native of Maryland, who lived in early 1900s in Detroit, filled his first patent application for adding machine in September, 1902, and when in 1903 the US patent No. 745539 was granted, he decided to establish...

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Tito Livio Burattini

The Calculating Machine of Tito Livio BurattiniThe Italian Tito Livio Burattini (see biography of Burattini) was a typical universal genius of the late European Renaissance. He was a skilled architect, astronomer, mathematician, optician, mechanic, etc.In 1650s Burattini created a calculating device (so called ciclografo), which in 1658 (or even before) has been donated to the...

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René Grillet de Roven

René Grillet de RovenIn 1673 the Parisian mechanician and watchmaker of His Royal Highness King Louis XIV—René Grillet de Roven (see biography of René Grillet), published a small book Curiositez mathematiques de l'invention du Sr Grillet horlogeur a Paris. The book describes several different inventions, but the majority of it is devoted to his arithmetic...

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Melvin Lovell

Melvin LovellStarting from 1869, the young carpenter by trade, Melvin Newton Lovell (1844-1895) from Erie, Pennsylvania, later a woodenware manufacturer and successful businessman, was granted numerous patents for various devices, between them several patents for adding machines (cash registers).Lovell's fist patent for cash register and indicator (US445959) (see the lower patent drawing) was granted in...

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The History of Johann Strasser

The Orchestrion of Johann StrasserAfter the musical automata of the french mechanics Jacques de Vaucanson and Pierre Jacquet-Droz, in the end of 18th century came the time of the mechanical organ (known as the orchestrion), which was intended to replace automatic organs of the period, with their unchanging tone color and dynamics. A large, complex...

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Thomas Fowler – Biography, History and Inventions

Thomas FowlerIn 1777 Thomas Fowler was born to Hugh and Elizabeth Fowler of Great Torrington in North Devon, UK. The Fowler family were poor, Hugh was a cooper, and Thomas received only a rudimentary education. He was apprenticed to a fell-monger (seller of skins) at the age of 13. Despite this unpromising start in life...

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Emanuel Goldberg – Biography, History and Inventions

Emanuel Goldberg on the pages of Life magazine, 1943Emanuel GoldbergIn the 1920s the German scientist Emanuel Goldberg of Zeiss Ikon (see the Knowledge Machine of Emanuel Goldberg), Dresden, pioneered the electronic retrieval technology and library automation.Emanuel Goldberg was born as Эмануэль Гольдберг on 31 August 1881, in Moscow, in the Russian Jewish family of Colonel...

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Emanuel Goldberg

History of Computers and Computing, Internet, Dreamers, Emanuel GoldbergEmanuel GoldbergIn the 1920s the German scientist Emanuel Goldberg (see biography of Emanuel Goldberg) of Zeiss Ikon, Dresden, pioneered the electronic retrieval technology and library automation. Goldberg designed, built and demonstrated a "photoelectric microfilm selector" which contained many, if not all, of the concepts history of science...

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William Henry Hart – Biography, History and Inventions

William Henry Hart - Biography, History and InventionsWilliam Henry HartWilliam Henry Hart was born in the state of New York in 1829.Hart and his family moved to Kirksville, Missouri from Maysville, Wisconsin in 1867. In Kirksville Hart opened a jewelry store in the square, doing business as W. Hart Jeweler. In 1874 Hart ran for...

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Philipp Matthaus Hahn – Biography, History and Inventions

Philipp Matthaus HahnAlready at his lifetime the German vicar Philipp Matthäus Hahn was known in church circles through his theological writings, with princes and nobles by his large astronomical clocks and machines and the upper middle class through its pocket watches, scales and his calculating machine (see calculating machine of Hahn).Philipp Matthäus Hahn was born...

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The History of Babbage

Some time in 1821, the young english mathematician Charles Babbage (biography), checking calculations for improving tables for a navigational book, and disappointed by numerous errors in these calculations, shared with a friend—"I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!". It is quite possible, remarked his friend.It was during the course of this...

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first digital library Michael Hart

History of Computers and Computing, Internet, Birth, first digital library Michael HartMichael Hart and Project Gutenberg—first digital libraryIn the beginning of 1970s came a time, which was dreamed by the pioneers like Herbert Wells in his World Brain and Paul Outlet in his Universal Network for Information and Documentation. Time to establish something like a...

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Herbert Wells – Biography, History and Inventions

Herbert Wells - Biography, History and InventionsHerbert WellsHerbert George Wells (21.09.1866–13.08.1946) is an internationally famous English author, a prolific writer in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary, best known however for his work in the science fiction genre. Wells is often referred to as The Father of Science Fiction. Everybody knows his...

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Jacob Leupold – Biography, History and Inventions

Jacob Leupold - Biography, History and InventionsJacob LeupoldJacob Leupold was born on 22 July, 1674, in Planitz, near Zwickau (Electorate of Saxony), in the family of George Leupold (1647-1707), a cabinet-maker, turner, sculptor and watchmaker from Johanngeorgenstadt (Erzgebirge), and Magdalena Leupold.Since early childhood he had an interest in various mechanical things and as he described...

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Percy Ludgate – Biography, History and Inventions

Percy LudgateThe modest accountant from Dublin Percy Ludgate (1883-1922) is a very interesting figure in the world of calculating machines. Starting some time about 1903 to work on his hobby (calculating machines) nightly, until the small hours, and initially completely independently from Charles Babbage, he managed to design an extremely interesting and original universal calculating...

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Johann Helfrich von Muller – Biography, History and Inventions

Johann Helfrich von MullerJohann Helfrich von Müller was born in Cleve (a town in the northwest of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany), on 16 January, 1746, in the family of Lorenz Friedrich Müller (1715-1796), a colonel of the artillery, who worked as an architect and chief engineer in Giessen, and Maria Magdalena Josepha Hambloch (1726-1800). Johann...

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Samuel Morland – Biography, History and Inventions

Samuel MorlandThe English diplomat, mathematician and inventor Samuel Morland, interested for us in the context of his three calculating machines (see calculating machines of Samuel Morland) was born in 1625 at Sulhamstead Bannister, Berkshire, England. He was the son of the Rev. Thomas Morland, a rector of the parish church there.Morland entered Winchester School in...

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Willgodt Odhner – Biography, History and Inventions

Willgodt OdhnerThe swedish mechanic and inventor Willgodt Theophil Odhner was born in Westby, parish of Dalby in northern Wärmland province of Sweden, on 10 August, 1845, as the first born in the family of the forester and surveyor Theophil Dynamiel Odhner (1816-1863) and Fredrika Sofia Wall (1820-1874). Theophil suddenly died at the age of 46...

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de Lépine

The Machine Arithmetique of de LépineIn 1735 was published the first book of six volume set of Jean Gaffin Gallon—Machines et inventions approuvées par l'Academie Royale des Sciences, depuis son établissment jusqu'a présent; avec leur description, in which are described several calculating devices.Gallon was a colonel in the French army, and later the chief engineer...

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The History of People Behind Modern Computing

Aiken, Howard Hathaway Jacobson, Jewna Scheutz, Pehr and Edvard Atanasoff, John Vincent Schickard, Wilhelm Auch, Jacob Schwilgué, Jean-Baptiste Selling, Eduard Bundy, Willard Slonimski, Chaim Zelig Babbage, Charles Smith, Brainard Beardsley, William Kummer, Heinrich Stanhope, Charles Baldwin, Frank Kempelen, Wolfgang von Stibitz, George Barbour, Edmund Kilby, Jack Stowe, Leonard Bollée, León Kircher, Athanasius Stern, Abraham Jakub Bouchet,...

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León Bollée

León BolléeAfter the first two machines, representing the class of direct-multiplying machines of Barbour and Verea, which remained relatively unknown, appeared a third one, which had a much better future—the machine of León Bollée (see biography of León Bollée) of Le Mans, France, which won a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition.Most early calculating...

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Wilhelm Schickard – Biography, History and Inventions

Wilhelm SchickardWilhelm Schickard (see the calculating machine of Schickard) was born in the morning at half past seven on 22 April, 1592, in Herrenberg, Germany. Herrenberg is a small town, located in the area Württemberg in the southern part of Germany, some 15 km from one of the oldest university centers in Europe—Tübingen, which University...

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James White – Biography, History and Inventions

James WhiteMuch of the scarce information, available for the life of James White, a civil engineer and author of the remarkable book A New Century of Inventions, comes from biographical statements in the above-mentioned book.James White was born in 1762 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire (150 km northwest of London), at that time a thriving market town,...

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Reynold Johnson – Biography, History and Inventions

Reynold JohnsonReynold B. Johnson (1906–1998)Reynold B. Johnson (1906–1998) was a remarkable American inventor, one of the IBM company’s most prolific inventors, specializing in electromechanical devices. He was an owner of more than 90 patents, and is said to be the “father” of the hard disk drive, automatic test scoring equipment, microphonograph technology, a type of...

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Luiggi Torchi

Luigi TorchiThe machine of Luigi Torchi from Milan was most probably the first full-keyboard/direct multiplication machine in the world (at least it was first practical keyboard calculator, because there is an earlier key-driven adding machine, described by the English engineer James White, but it seems the machine of White remained only on paper).Very little is...

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Gauss of Christel Hamann

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 20th century, Gauss of Christel HamannGauss of Christel HamannThe German engineer Christel Hamann (1870-1948) (biography of Hamann) is an outstanding figure in the world of mechanical calculators. He is a holder of many patents in this area and the constructor of countless mechanisms and calculators, let's mention only...

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Hopkins

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 20th century, HopkinsWilliam and Hubert Hopkins machinesThe Hopkins brothers, William and Hubert, from Saint Louis, are the holders of more than 30 patents for 10-key adding machines and calculating mechanisms.The older brother, William W. Hopkins (1850-1916), (see biography of William Hopkins) worked as a minister, but was interested...

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Troncet

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, TroncetCalculators of Louis TroncetAfter the slide adders of Claude Perrault, Caze and Heinrich Kummer, in 1889 the frenchman Louis-J. Troncet (b. 1850), a teacher (in Buzançais, département de l'Indre) and director of a school (in Reuilly), created his version of this type of calculator, which he called...

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Samuel Butler – Biography, History and Inventions

Samuel Butler (1835–1902), self portrait from 1878 (Photo credit: St John's College, University of Cambridge)Samuel ButlerIn the 13 June 1863 issue of The Press newspaper in Christchurch, New Zealand, was published a correspondence Darwin among the Machines (you can see the full text of the correspondence at the bottom of the page, or to click...

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Emile Baudot – Biography, History and Inventions

Emile BaudotThe first widely adopted device to encode letters, numbers, and symbols as uniform-length binary sequences was the multiplexed printing telegraph, created in early 1870s by the French inventor Émile Baudot. The telegraph of Baudot revolutionized communications and made his name synonymous with rapid telegraphy. As a result the baud, abbreviated from Baudot, came to...

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Friedrich Kaufmann and the Trumpet Player (Complete History)

Friedrich KaufmannThe Kaufmann family from Dresden (see the lower image), Saxony (Johann Gottfried Kaufmann (1751-1818), his son Johann Friedrich Kaufmann (1785–1865), and his grandson Friedrich Theodor Kaufmann (1823–1872), are famous with the construction of several ingenious musical instruments at the beginning of the 19th century—Harmonichord (in 1810, one of the many attempts to fuse the...

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The History of Athanasius Kircher’s Automata

Athanasius KircherThe prominent German Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) (see biography of Athanasius Kircher) was a famous 17th century scholar, who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of egyptology, music, optics, magnetism, geology, linguistics and comparative religion. Kircher's best-known work today is his Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652-54), which was a vast study of...

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Friedrich von Knaus – Biography, History and Inventions

Friedrich von KnaussFriedrich von Knaus(s) (1724-1789), was a German watchmaker, mechanician and inventor, who built clockwork mechanisms which could, in a simple way, play musical instruments, write short phrases, or conduct other individual, specialized tasks. It is believed, that namely Knaus created the first writing automaton.Friedrich von Knaus was born on 7 February, 1724, in...

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William Beardsley – Biography, History and Inventions

William BeardsleyWilliam Henry Beardsley was born on 13 November, 1850, in Hamilton, Ohio. He was 8th generation heir of the early settler William Beardsley (1605-1661), a mason, one of the first settlers of Stratford, Connecticut, who brought his family (wife and three children, as after arriving in America, from 1636-1646 Beardsley and his wife had...

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Edmund Callis Berkeley – Biography, History and Inventions

Edmund Callis Berkeley (the image is property of the University of Minnesota)Edmund Callis BerkeleyEdmund Callis Berkeley was born in Manhattan, New York, on 22 February, 1909, to William and Ellen Berkeley.His primary school was St. Bernard's School for Boys, an elite, private all-male elementary school in Manhattan, which Edmund attended from 1918 till 1923. Then...

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Jan Józef Baranowski – Biography, History and Inventions

Jan Józef Baranowski - Biography, History and InventionsJan Józef BaranowskiJan Józef Baranowski was born on 7 September, 1805, in Śmiłowiczach (now Смілавічы, Беларус), in the family of Polish nobleman Marcin Baranowski (from Grzymała clan) and his wife Maryanna z Szalkiewiczów.Jan Józef was educated in a noble boarding school in Śmiłowiczach, then in a classical gymnasium...

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Tito Livio Burattini – Biography, History and Inventions

Tito Livio BurattiniTito Livio Burattini (known also under his polonized names Tytus Liwiusz Boratini, Boratyni or Buratin), interesting for us mainly in the context of his calculating machine (see calculating machine of Burattini), created in the late 1650s, was born on March 8, 1617, in an old and wealthy family of the local rural nobility...

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Dorr Eugene Felt – Biography, History and Inventions

Apparently, Dorr Eugene Felt (right) and his sponsor Robert Tarrant also shared an interest in fishing :-)Dorr Eugene FeltDorr Eugene Felt was born in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin on 18 March, 1862. He was the eldest of the twelve children of Eugene Kincaid (11.Apr.1838-21.Jul.1915) and Elizabeth (Morris) Felt (29.Apr.1839-1.Mar.1920), and is a descendant in the...

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The History of Digg

Digg of Kevin RoseKevin Rose is an American Internet Entrepreneur, known for his several Internet start-ups. He is the co-founder of Revision3, Pownce, WeFollow and Diggnation. His masterpiece however is the social-bookmarking website DiggRobert Kevin Rose was born on February 21, 1977, in Redding, California. Most of his childhood was spent in Las Vegas, where...

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Frederick Fuller – Biography, History and Inventions

Frederick FullerFrederick Lincoln Fuller was born on 11 April, 1861, in Norwich, Conn. He was the first son of Charles Chester Fuller (1832-1880), a mill owner, and Lucy May (Stead) Fuller (1834-1922). Frederick had an older sister—Mary L. (1857-1911), and a younger brother—Charles Owen (1867-1957).Fuller family were heirs of the early settler John Fuller, born...

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Jules Verne – Biography, History and Inventions

Jules VerneThe great French novelist and poet Jules Gabriel Verne (1828–1905) is best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.In 1889 Verne wrote an intriguing short story "In the Year 2889", following a day in the life of a news mogul 1000 years in his future,...

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Karel Capek – Biography, History and Inventions

Karel Čapek as 17 years old young man, Prague, 1907Karel CapekIn the middle 1889 Dr. Antonin Teuchmann (1825-1890), a reputable local physician and mayor of Úpice, a small town in north-east Bohemia, went to the nearby mining village of Malé Svatoňovice, to see his younger colleague, the 34 years old Dr. Antonín Čapek, and to...

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The World Wide Web of Tim Berners-Lee

The World Wide Web of Tim Berners-LeeTim Berners-Lee used to say: "I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and—ta-da!—the World Wide Web."So how this "simple" invention happened?In March, 1989, a physicist and a computer nerd in CERN (European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland), Timothy...

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Charles Labofish – Biography, History and Inventions

Charles Labofish - Biography, History and InventionsCharles LabofishIt seems Charles Schachan Labofish was from a German Jewish family, but he was born in Odessa, Russian Empire, in April, 1861 (most probably as Карл Лейбовиц). In 19th century Odessa was an important Russian town with a large Jewish population.In 1884 Charles married to Rose Ethel Lamlec....

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Philipp Matthäus Hahn

Philipp Matthäus HahnThe cylindrical calculating machines of the German parson Philipp Matthäus Hahn (see biography of Philipp Matthäus Hahn) were the first fully functional popular four-species mechanical calculating machines (the earlier machines of Braun remained relatively obscured and unknown to the public).Philipp Hahn was a skilful mechanician, who was engaged in making clocks and planetariums....

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Vladimir Lukianov

Hydraulic Integrator of Vladimir LukianovVladimir Sergeevich Lukianov (Владимир Сергеевич Лукьянов) was born in Moscow, on 17 March, 1902, in the family of an insurance agent. In 1919 he graduated from a Moscow classical high school and entered the building department of the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering. He graduated in 1925 and was sent...

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John Ballou Newbrough – Biography, History and Inventions

John Ballou NewbroughJohn Ballou Newbrough was humbly born on 5 June, 1828, in a log cabin in the farm of his family a couple of miles north of Mohicanville, Ashland, Ohio, to William Newbrough (1791-1878) and Elizabeth Newbrough, nee Polsley (1795-1875).William Newbrough was a British American (Newbrough family comes from Aberdeenshire, Scotland), born in Maryland....

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Johann Müller

The calculating machines of Johann Helfrich MüllerThe German engineer and master builder—Johann Helfrich Müller (1746-1830) (see biography of Johann Müller) is a very interesting figure in the world of mechanic calculators, not only for his small calculator, an improved version of the machine of Philipp Hahn, which he created, but for his plans to build...

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Pafnuty Chebyshev – Biography, History and Inventions

Pafnuty ChebyshevPafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev (Пафнутий Львович Чебышёв) (1821-1894) was a prominent Russian mathematician, professor on algebra, number theory, and probability at St. Petersburg University and member of many Academies. His contributions to the science include distribution of Prime number theory, prove of fundamental limit theorems in probability theory, theory of polynomial approximations to functions, theory...

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George Stibitz – Biography, History and Inventions

George StibitzGeorge Robert Stibitz was born on 20 April, 1904, in York, Pennsylvania. His mother was the former Mildred Amelia Murphy, a math teacher before her marriage, and his father was George Stibitz, a professor of theology. George had a brother—Earle, and two sisters—Mildred and Eleanor.George's childhood was spent in Dayton, Ohio, where his father...

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Elizur Wright – Biography, History and Inventions

Elizur WrightElizur Wright III (his father and grandfather were also named Elizur Wright) was born on 12 February, 1804, in South Canaan, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA. He was the first child of Elizur Wright (1762-1845) and his second wife Clarissa Richards Wright (1771-1843). Elizur Wright-father already had 6 children from his first marriage, and will...

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Ryoichi Yazu

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 20th century, Ryoichi YazuThe Jido Soroban (Automatic Abacus) of Ryoichi YazuIn his short life the Japanese inventor Ryoichi Yazu (1878-1908) was mainly interested in mechanics of flight and in 1890s designed one of the first airplanes, but remained best known for his invention of Japan's first mechanical calculator...

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Oliver Evans and the Automated Mill (Complete History)

Oliver EvansOliver Evans (1755–1819) was an American inventor, engineer and businessman, a pioneer in the fields of automation, who has been called the first great American inventor. Between his long series of accomplishments was designing and building the first fully automated industrial process in middle 1780s, a flour mill in Newport, Delaware.In 1782, Oliver and...

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Giovanni Fontana – Biography, History and Inventions

Giovanni FontanaMore then half a century before the extraordinary machine drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, the first technology manuscript of the Italian Renaissance was produced by a Venetian scholar and engineer—Giovanni Jacopo Antonio de la Fontana (known also as Johannes Fontana de Venetiis).Giovanni Fontana was born in the early 1390s in Padua (or in Venice),...

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The History of Wolfgang von Kempelen

Wolfgang von KempelenThe Austro-Hungarian versatile nobleman, scholar, architect and inventor, Wolfgang von Kempelen (see biography of Wolfgang von Kempelen), was mainly known for his fraudulent chess-playing Turk automaton, created in 1769. The Turk was considered the most famous illusion in history (it was exhibited with great succees in Europe and USA as late the 1854,...

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Athanasius Kircher and the Llullistic method (Complete History)

Athanasius KircherThe german Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) (see biography of Athanasius Kircher) was a famous 17th century Jesuit scholar, who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, medicine and music theory. Kircher's best-known work today is his Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652–54)—a vast study of Egyptology and comparative religion. His books, written...

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William Jevons – Biography, History and Inventions

William JevonsWilliam Stanley Jevons (1835–1882) was an English economist and logician, a major figure, both in Britain and internationally, in the fields of political economy and social reform. Jevons is most often credited with being the first theorist to make economics a mathematical discipline, and he is regarded as one of the founders of the...

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Charles Peirce and Allan Marquand – first electrical logical machine

Charles Peirce and Allan MarquandCharles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) was a famous American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist. Peirce was an innovator in many fields, including philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, mathematics, statistics, research methodology, and the design of experiments in astronomy, geophysics, and psychology, but he considered himself a logician first and foremost (he was...

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Charles Stanhope and the Demonstrator (Complete History)

Charles StanhopeThe name of British statesman and versatile scientist Charles Stanhope (1753-1816) (see biography of Charles Stanhope), 3rd Earl Stanhope and Viscount Mahon, was mentioned several times in this site, concerning his mechanical calculators (see calculating machines of Charles Stanhope). Now it is time to pay attention to his pioneering work in the world of...

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Juanelo Turriano – Biography, History and Inventions

Juanelo TurrianoThe first android in the Western World, a completely mechanical figure which simulated a living human or animal, operating with apparently responsive action, is believed to have been constructed in 1525 by Hans Bullmann (?-1535) of Nuremberg, Germany. Bullmann actually reportedly produced a number of extremely ingenious figures of men and women that moved...

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Leon Bollee – Biography, History and Inventions

Leon BolleeLéon-Auguste-Antoine Bollée was born on 2 April, 1870, in Le Mans, France, in the family of Amédée-Ernest Bollée (1844-1917), who was the most important pioneer of steam road vehicles in France.Bollée family were well known in France bell founders (working in this trade since 1715). Native of Lorraine, the grandfather of León Bollée—Ernest-Sylvain Bollee (1814-1891)...

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William S. Burroughs – Biography, History and Inventions

William S. BurroughsWilliam Seward Burroughs was born in Rochester, New York, on 28 January, 1857 (some sources state his year of birth as 1855, or even earlier) to Edmund Burroughs (1826-1892), a mechanic, and Ellen Julia (Whipple) Burroughs, a homemaker. Edmund was such a fervent admirer of William Henry Seward (1801-1872), the famous abolitionist and...

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Jabez Burns – Biography, History and Inventions

Jabez BurnsJabez Burns was born in London on 12 February, 1826, as second child in the family of William Gibson Burns (1801-1879) and Elizabeth Horrock (or Herricks) (1790-1861). Jabez had a sister, Mary (1822-1910).William Burns had a younger brother—Jabez Burns (1805–1876), who became a famous English nonconformist divine and Christian philosophical writer and whose name...

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Jorge Luis Borges – Biography, History and Inventions

Jorge Luis Borges - Biography, History and InventionsJorge Luis BorgesJorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986)In 1939 the famous Argentine writer and librarian Jorge Luis Borges published in Buenos Aires an essay entitled La bibliotheca total (The Total Library), describing his fantasy of an all-encompassing archive or universal library.A...

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Robert Hooke – Biography, History and Inventions

Robert Hooke (1635-1703), a modern portrait from Rita Greer, a history artist (there are no surviving images of Robert Hooke, only two written descriptions of his appearance survive)Robert HookeVarious attempts for transmitting messages overland date back to millennium before Christ, and include an ingenious uses of homing pigeons, heliographs (mirrors), flags, torches, and beacons, but...

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Paul Otlet – Biography, History and Inventions

Paul OtletThe Belgian Paul Marie Ghislain Otlet (1868–1944) from Brussels was an author, entrepreneur, visionary, lawyer and peace activist, and which the most important for us—he is one of several people who have been considered the father of information science. Otlet started his work on how to collect and organize the world's knowledge in 1890s...

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Curt Herzstark – Biography, History and Inventions

Curt HerzstarkCurt (Kurt) Herzstark (the inventor of the remarkable Curta calculator) was born on 26 January 1902 in Vienna. He was the first-born of Samuel Jakob Herzstark, an Austrian Jew, self-taught engineer and businessman, and his wife, the "native" Austrian Marie Amalie Herzstark (nee Toman), a book-keeper. Later the family had another son, Ernst Herzstark...

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Wolfgang von Kempelen – Biography, History and Inventions

Wolfgang von KempelenWhat is behind the person, who created two hotly debated technical sensations from late XVIII century—the mechanical chess player called the Turk and the Speaking MachineJohann Wolfgang Ritter von Kempelen was born on 23 January 1734 (baptised in St. Martin's Cathedral under the name Wolfgangus Franciscus de Paola Joannes Elemosinarius) in Preßburg, Habsburg...

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Athanasius Kircher – Biography, History and Inventions

Athanasius KircherThe Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher was an authentic scientific superstar in his time, honoured with the title "master of a hundred arts" and later dubbed also "the last Renaissance man", "one-man intellectual clearing house", "the first scholar with a global reputation", "a giant among seventeenth-century scholars" and "one of the last thinkers who could...

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La Verne Noyes – Biography, History and Inventions

La Verne NoyesLa Verne W. Noyes was born on 7 January, 1849, in Genoa, New York, in the house (see the lower photo) of Leonard R. Noyes (1815-1891) and Jane Jessup Noyes (1820-1896). La Verne was a heir (8th generation) of the early settler Rev. James Noyes (1608-1656), who migrated to the new world from...

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Charles Stanhope – Biography, History and Inventions

Charles StanhopeThe British statesman and versatile scientist Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope and Viscount Mahon, was born in London on 3 August, 1753, as the second son in the noble and rich family of Lord Philip Stanhope (1714-1786), 2nd Earl of Stanhope, a British peer, Fellow of the Royal Society and a conspicuous figure in...

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George Barnard Grant

George Grant's Calculating MachinesBetween 1872 and 1898, the American George Barnard Grant (see biography of George Barnard Grant) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, patented and manufactured in his company Grant Calculating Machine Company of Lexington, Massachusetts, several models calculating machines. He received four patents for calculating machines—in 1872 (US Patent №129335), 1873 (№138245), 1887 (№368528) and 1888

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Ramón Verea

Ramón VereaIn 1878 Ramón Silvestre Verea García (1833-1899), a Spaniard, newspaper publisher in New York, patented a direct-multiplying machine, which proved to be the second patented machine of this type (after the machine of Edmund Barbour), 10 years before the first popular direct-multiplying machine of León BolléeMost early calculating machines carried out multiplication as a...

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Jean-Paul Garnier

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Jean-Paul GarnierJean-Paul GarnierIn 1843 the French watchmaker Jean-Paul Garnier (known as Paul Garnier) obtained a 6-years patent (see Brevet d'invention No. 15915) for a computer (see the lower patent drawing). The device seems to have a simple and reliable construction and a watch-like result mechanism (dials).Jean-Paul Garnier...

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Samuel Morland

The Calculating Machines of Sir Samuel MorlandThe polymath Samuel Morland (see biography of Samuel Morland), was a notable English academic, diplomat, spy, inventor and mathematician of the 17th century, credited with early developments in relation to computing, hydraulics and steam power. He is an important person for this site, because in 1660s he devised a...

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Basile Bouchon – Biography, History and Inventions

Basile Bouchon - Biography, History and InventionsBasile BouchonThe first industrial application of a (semi)-automated machine was made in the early eighteenth century by a modest textile worker from Lyon, France.Basile Bouchon, working in one of the many silk centers in Lyon, invented in 1725 a way to control a loom with a perforated paper tape....

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Alonzo Church – Biography, History and Inventions

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Henri Maillardet – Biography, History and Inventions

Henri MaillardetAround 1800, the Swiss mechanician and clockmaker Henri Maillardet (1745-1830), who worked then in London, created an extraordinary automaton, known as the "Draughtsman-Writer".In fact, Maillardet's "Draughtsman-Writer" was a part of large collection of automatons (some 10 machines), created (or at least demonstrated) by him in early 1800s. The "Draughtsman-Writer" (see the lower images) had...

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Salomon de Caus – Biography, History and Inventions

Salomon de CausJean Salomon de Caus (1576–1626) was a French Huguenot engineer and scientist, who spent his life moving across Europe. He worked as a hydraulic engineer and architect under Louis XIII from 1623 till his death in Paris in 1626. de Caus also was in service of the Prince of Wales and designed gardens...

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Villard de Honnecourt – Biography, History and Inventions

Villard de HonnecourtThe French Villard de Honnecourt is an enigmatic and power-minded medieval person, considered by some people as a precursor of the great Leonardo da Vinci (in 1859 Prosper Mérimée compared Villard to Leonardo for his multiplicity of interests).Very few is known now about him (he pictured himself as a soldier and a master...

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Paul Baran – Biography, History and Inventions

Paul BaranThree people can be credited as inventors of packet-switched networks, thus laying foundations for Internet: Paul Baran, Leonard Kleinrock and Donald DaviesPaul A. Baran was born in the town of Grodno (then in Poland, now in Belarus) as Павел Баранов (Yiddish given name "Pesach", one of the most commonly observed Jewish holidays, usually in...

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François Willème and the Photosculpture (Complete History)

François WillèmeNaturally, the first technology for producing kind of 3D models by mechanical means, which might be considered to be to some extent analogous to today’s 3D scanning and rapid prototyping (3D printing) technologies, was developed by a sculptor. In 1859 the French François Willème, who characterized himself as a painter, sculptor and photographer, and...

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Vannevar Bush – Biography, History and Inventions

Vannevar BushVannevar Bush was born on March 11, 1890, in Everett, Massachusetts, in a family of the Universalist minister—the Reverend Richard Perry Bush of Provincetown, MA, and Emma Linwood (Paine) Bush. Vannevar had two sisters. As a child, he was sickly and was occasionally bedridden for long periods of time. Still, he was self-confident and...

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Claude Chappe – Biography, History and Inventions

Claude ChappeClaude Chappe was born on Christmas day (25 December) 1763, in the small French town of Brûlon, some 200 km southwest of Paris, to Ignace Chappe d'Auteroche and Marie-Renée de Vernay de Vert. Besides Claude, Ignace and Marie-Renée had nine children (but three of them died in infancy, so remained 5 boys and 2...

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Thomas de Colmar – Biography, History and Inventions

Thomas de ColmarCharles-Xavier Thomas, also known as de Colmar, was born on 5 May, 1785, at number 8 rue Rapp in the town of Colmar, the capital of the Alsace wine region. He was the son of Joseph-Antoine Thomas (1758-1831), a physician, and Françoise-Xavière Entzlen (Anselin) (1759-1817). Joseph-Antoine Thomas studied medicine in Freiburg and married...

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Murray Leinster – Biography, History and Inventions

Murray Leinster - Biography, History and InventionsMurray LeinsterMurray Leinster (1896-1975) was a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, a famous American writer of science fiction and alternate history. He wrote and published over 1500 short stories and articles, 14 movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays.In the March 1946 issue of...

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Claude Chappe

Claude Chappe d'Auteroche (1763-1805)Claude ChappeThe first widely adopted system for transmitting messages overland and first practical telecommunications system of the industrial age was developed around 1790 in France by Claude Chappe and his four brothers (Claude was one of eight brothers, but three of them died in infancy, so five survided: Ignace (1762-1829), Claude, Pierre...

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Herman Hollerith – Biography, History and Inventions

Herman Hollerith in 1888Herman HollerithHerman Hollerith was born on 29 February, 1860, in Buffalo, New York (sadly, the poor boy could only get birthday presents once every four years :-). He was the youngest of six children of German immigrants Johann Georg Franz Hollerith and his second wife Franziska (nee Brunn) Hollerith. Georg had one...

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Jack Kilby – Biography, History and Inventions

Jack St. Clair Kilby around 1960 (Courtesy of Texas InstrumentsJack KilbyJack St. Clair Kilby was born on 8 November, 1923, in Jefferson City, Missouri. In his early childhood he moved to Salina, and later to Great Bend, Kansas, where he spent most of his childhood. Jack grew up among the industrious descendents of the western...

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Leonardo da Vinci – Biography, History and Inventions

Leonardo da VinciThe Uomo Universale of the Italian Renaissance and possibly the most brilliantly creative man in European history—Leonardo da Vinci, was born on 15 April, 1452 in the village Anchiano, near the small town Vinci, in the vicinity of Florence, Italy. He was an illegitimate son of the 25 years old Ser Piero Fruosino...

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John Mauchly – Biography, History and Inventions

John MauchlyJohn William Mauchly was born on 30 August, 1907, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the family of Sebastian J. and Rachel Scheidemantel Mauchly. The father, Sebastian Mauchly, whose grandparents had emigrated to Ohio from Zürich, Switzerland, in 1839, was a high-school science teacher, who went on to receive his PhD in physics from the University...

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Jacob-Rodrigues Pereira – Biography, History and Inventions

Jacob-Rodrigues PereiraJacob-Rodrigues Pereira, better known as Pereire, was born in Berlanga, Extremadura, Spain (or in Peniche, Portugal, according to other sources) on 11 April, 1715. He was a descendant of a Marrano family (Marranos were Jews living in Iberia, who converted or were forced to convert to Christianity yet continued to practice Judaism in secret).Jacob...

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Claude Perrault – Biography, History and Inventions

Claude Perrault in 1656, a portrait by Philippe de ChampaigneClaude PerraultClaude Perrault (see the calculating machine of Perrault) was born in Paris on 25 September 1613, in the wealthy bourgeois family of a Parisian advocate—Pierre Perrault (1570-1652), and his wife Pâquette Le Clerc (or Leclerc) (d. 1657). Perrault was a numerous, talented, versatile, and close-knit...

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Leonardo Torres y Quevedo – Biography, History and Inventions

Leonardo Torres y QuevedoLeonardo Torres y Quevedo was born on 28 December, 1852, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in a stone house (see the lower photo) in Santa Cruz de Iguña, a small village at north of Spain, near Molledo (Cantabria), Santander.The house in Santa Cruz de Iguña, where Leonardo Torres was born...

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Alessandro Volta – Biography, History and Inventions

Alessandro VoltaCount Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was born was born in Como, Lombardy, duchy of Milan, on 18 February 1745. His native house is still preserved in the historic center of Como, Via Alessandro Volta 62 (see the image below). On the right of the main door of the house number lies the tombstone...

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Mathias Bäuerle

Mathias Bäuerle elder (1838-1916) and his son Tobias Bäuerle (1863-1933)Mathias BäuerleIn 1903, the German clock manufacturer from Schwarzwäld—Bäuerle Uhrenfabrik (Clock Factory), Sankt Georgen, launched his adding machine Peerless, which soon became popular and won gold medals at exhibitions in St. Louis (World's Fair of 1904), Liège (1905) and Milan (1906).The founder of the company—Mathias Bäuerle...

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James Ritty

James RittyIn 1878 one James Ritty (see biography of James Ritty), a 42 years old saloon keeper from Dayton, Ohio, was brooded so much over the peculations in his business, that he suffered a breakdown and decided to take a steamboat vacation trip to Europe. His business seemingly flourished, but he lost money, and he...

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Edward Condon

History of Computers and Computing, Birth of the modern computer, Relays computer, Edward CondonThe Nimatron of Edward CondonIn April, 1940, in the Westinghouse Pavilion at the World's Fair in New York (together with Westinghouse's robots Elektro and Sparko) was shown an electromechanical computer, playing the Nim game. The originator of the idea was Edward Uhler...

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Thomas Hobbes – Biography, History and Inventions

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The History of Gottfried Leibniz

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Arthur Samuel – Biography, History and Inventions

Arthur SamuelAfter his work for Bell Laboratories since 1928, mostly on vacuum tubes, including improvements of Radar during World War II, the distinguished electrical engineer Arthur Lee Samuel (1901-1990), became a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he initiated the ILLIAC project. ILLIAC (Illinois Automatic Computer) was a series...

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Jonathan Swift – Biography, History and Inventions

Jonathan SwiftWe don't know if the venerable Ramon Llull had a sense of humor, and if he evinced it designing the logical machine, described in his medieval Ars magna generalis ultima of 1305. But we can be quite sure, that more than four centuries later such a sense of humor evinced the great Anglo-Irish satirist...

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Donald Davies – Biography, History and Inventions

Donald DaviesThree people can be credited as inventors of packet-switched networks, thus laying foundations for Internet: Paul Baran, Leonard Kleinrock and Donald Davies. Little known to these men, at the time of inventing these networks, was exactly how much of an impact it would play on mankind. Arguably their impact can be compared to the...

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Leonard Kleinrock – Biography, History and Inventions

Leonard KleinrockThree people can be credited as inventors of packet-switched networks, thus laying foundations for Internet: Leonard Kleinrock, Donald Davies and Paul BaranLeonard Kleinrock (born on 13th of June 13, 1934, in New York) is a famous American engineer and computer scientist, who made several important contributions to the field of computer networking, in particular...

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John Presper Eckert – Biography, History and Inventions

John EckertJohn Adam Presper Eckert Jr. (called Pres) was born in Philadelphia on April 9, 1919, to John Presper Eckert and Ethel Hallowell Eckert. His father was the rich real estate developer and self-made millionaire John Eckert. Eckert Jr. was an only child and was raised in a large house in Philadelphia's Germantown section.But Pres...

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Thomas Harold Flowers – Biography, History and Inventions

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Biography, History and Inventions

Gottfried Wilhelm LeibnizGottfried Wilhelm Freiherr Baron von Leibniz (the inventor of the Stepped Reckoner and a dreamer for a thinking device) was born in Leipzig, Germany, on Sunday, 21 June, 1646, (according to the Julian calendar ) in the family of Friedrich Leibniz (1597-1652) and his third wife—Catharina Schmuck-Leibniz (1621-1664). Gottfried had a half-brother and...

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Wilhelm Schickard and the Rotating Clock (Complete History)

Wilhelm Schickard, portrait from 1632Wilhelm SchickardWilhelm Schickard (see biography of Schickard) was born in the small south german town Herrenberg, near Tübingen, and educated in the Protestant theological seminary Tübinger Stift, in Tübingen. He received his bachelor degree in 1609 and master degree in theology in 1611. In 1613 he became a Lutheran minister, continuing...

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John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry

  The ABC of John Atanasoff and Clifford BerryWorking on his doctoral thesis in theoretical physics at the University of Wisconsin in 1929, the young John Vincent Atanasoff (see biography of John Atanasoff) the first time met a serious computational problem, being forced to perform complex calculations, using computing tools like slide rule and mechanical calculator...

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Howard Aiken

The MARK computers of Howard AikenSome time in 1936 or possibly in early 1937, the Harvard physician Howard Aiken (see biography of Howard Aiken) started to make plans about an automatic calculation machine. The shift came about while he was doing research for his thesis. The subject of the thesis, was space charge. Before long...

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Ctesibius of Alexandria – Biography, History and Inventions

CtesibiusCtesibius (Greek Κτησίβιος) of Alexandria, Egypt, is a Greek inventor and mathematician, the first great figure of the ancient engineering tradition of Alexandria. He is credited with a number of inventions, including a water pump, a water organ, a more precise water clock, and bronze spring and pneumatic catapults, several automatic machines, etc. His work...

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Joseph Faber and the Euphonia Talking Device (Complete History)

EuphoniaThe German Joseph Faber, born around 1800 in Freiburg im Breisgau, near Schwarzwald, came at a young age to Vienna, where he attended school and then entered the Imperial-Royal Polytechnic Institute, to study mathematics. He was fond also of occupying himself with physics and music.In the early 1820s, recovering from a serious illness, he fell...

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Pierre Jaquet-Droz – Biography, History and Inventions

Pierre Jaquet-DrozPierre Jaquet-Droz was a celebrated Swiss watchmaker and mechanic from the 18th century, known for his elaborate watches and mechanical devices, three of which are of particular interest in the context of this site—the humanoid automata the Writer, the Musician and the DraftsmanPierre Jaquet-Droz was born on 28 July, 1721, at La Chaux-de-Fonds in...

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Philon of Byzantion – Biography, History and Inventions

Philon of Byzantion - Biography, History and InventionsPhilon of ByzantionVery little in known about the greek scientist Philon (ca. 280–220 BC) (sometimes called Philo) of Byzantion (Greek: Φίλων ὁ Βυζάντιος). Byzantion is an ancient greek city (founded in 667 BC), a precursor of Constantinople, the capital of Eastern Roman Empire, and Istanbul of modern Turkey....

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Howard Aiken – Biography, History and Inventions

Howard AikenHoward Hathaway Aiken was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 March 1900, as the only child in the family of Daniel H. Aiken, from a wealthy and well-established Indiana family, and Margaret Emily Mierisch-Aiken, a child of German immigrants. When he was just entering his teens, he moved, with his parents and his...

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Alessandro Volta and the Battery (Complete History)

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Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider

Joseph LickliderJoseph Carl Robnett Licklider (see biography of Licklider), called also J.C.R. or "Lick", was an American scientist, an imaginative experimenter and theoretician, who left major marks not only in computer science, but also in psychoacoustics.In 1950s, working as a associate professor at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and director of the Acoustics Laboratory,...

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Anton Braun

Anton BraunThe German mechanic, constructor and optician Anton (Antonius) Braun (see biography of Anton Braun) (1686-1728) from Möhringen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany), was appointed in 1724 as a mechanician and optician of the imperial court in Vienna, Austria. In the same 1724 he started to design a calculating machine for the purposes of the court. He finished...

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John Napier – Biography, History and Inventions

John NapierJohn Napier (John Napier frequently signed his name "Jhone Neper, Fear of Merchiston", but later on we can find his name also as Napeir, Nepair, Nepeir, Napare, Naper, Naipper, Neperus, etc., the only form of Napier that for sure would not have been used in Napier's lifetime was the present modern spelling "Napier"!) was...

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Konrad Zuse – Biography, History and Inventions

Konrad ZuseKonrad Zuse was born on 22 June, 1910, in Berlin (Wilmersdorf), the capital of Germany, in the family of a Prussian postal officer—Emil Wilhelm Albert Zuse (26.04.1873-14.05.1946) and Maria Crohn Zuse (10.01.1882-02.07.1957). Konrad had a sister, two years older Lieselotte (1908-1953).In 1912, the Zuse family leaved for Braunsberg, a sleepy small town in east...

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Burridge and Marshman & The Typewriter (Complete History)

Burridge and Marshman & The Typewriter (Complete History)Lee Burridge (left image) and Newman Marshman (right)Burridge and MarshmanLee Burridge (biography of Lee Burridge) and Newman Marshman (biography of Newman Marshman) were inventive geniuses and manufacturers, primarily known as typewriter inventors. In early 1890s they devised and patented two adding machines (patent US513452 for Adding Machine from...

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Leonardo da Vinci

The Sketch of Leonardo da Vinci(Created with the expert advice of Mr. Silvio Hénin, Milan, Italy)Leonardo da Vinci (see biography of Leonardo da Vinci) is probably the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. He was remarkable painter, engineer, anatomist, architect, sculptor, musician, etc. During his life, Leonardo produced thousands of pages of perfectly...

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Karel Capek and the Robot (Complete History)

The creators of robot word, Karel Čapek (left), and his brother Josef Čapek (right)Karel CapekThe robot word was conceived in the beginning of 1920 by the Czech writer and playwright Karel Čapek (see biography of Karel Čapek) (with the help of his brother Josef, an acclaimed painter, graphic artist, writer and poet), and was introduced...

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