The ICT Lounge
 
Timeline of ICT and Technology
(1950's)
 
1950
- First commerical computer
 

Engineering Research Associates of built the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer; the company´s first customer was the U.S. Navy. It held 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, the earliest magnetic storage devices.

Drums registered information as magnetic pulses in tracks around a metal cylinder. Read/write heads both recorded and recovered the data.

Drums eventually stored as many as 4,000 words and retrieved any one of them in as little as five-thousandths of a second.


1953
- Core memory first used
 

At MIT, Jay Forrester installed magnetic core memory on the Whirlwind computer.

Core memory made computers more reliable, faster, and easier to make.

Such a system of storage remained popular until the development of semiconductors in the 1970s.

 


1954
- First mass - produced computer
 

The IBM 650 magnetic drum calculator established itself as the first mass-produced computer, with the company selling 450 in one year.

Spinning at 12,500 rpm, the 650´s magnetic data-storage drum allowed much faster access to stored material than drum memory machines.

 


1957
- FORTRAN coding
 

A new language, FORTRAN (short for FORmula TRANslator), enabled a computer to perform a repetitive task from a single set of instructions by using loops.

The first commercial FORTRAN program ran at Westinghouse, producing a missing comma diagnostic. A successful attempt followed.