12 Days of Geek | Day 7 | Computing for the masses

by in 12 Days of Geek

Q. What is the name of the world’s first mass-produced commercial computer?


The history of computing hardware is global and intensely interesting. From the early mechanical calculators, like the 1640s Pascal’s calculator, to the punch card data processors of the 1880s, continuous innovation has led to faster and more universal computing devices.

The first commercial computers

Ferranti Mark 1 – The title of first commercially available computer goes to Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn of the United Kingdom in February 1951. Unfortunately, a change in government led to a loss in funding, resulting in only two units’ being sold (and one at a major discount).

UNIVAC 1 – The first mass-produced computer came in March 1951, selling 46 machines at more than $1,000,000 each ($9.2 million on today’s dollar). The UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) was designed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly and gained a lot of public awareness by correctly predicting the 1952 US presidential election.

LEO 1 – The first computer used in business application goes to the Lyons Electronic Office 1 in September 1951. The LEO 1 was used for payroll, inventory and calculating production requirements for the J. Lyons and Co. food manufacturing company.