From: Peter Prymmer <>
Date: Sun Jan 11 11:52:52 1998
Subj: Re: Firsts

Allison J Parent wrote:

>You missed calculators and there are rough catagories:
>First eletronic calc
>first pocket calc
>HP35 $700, the lowcost market breaker being the Bomar Brain.
>First programable calc

Then there is the "first solid state electronic calc" which I think goes to
the Busicom from Japan that employed the first production run of the intel
4000 chip set: the 4001 (2048 bit ROM), 4002 (320 bit RAM), 4003 (10 bit
shift register), and the 4004 (4 bit CPU). That chip set was shipped to
Busicom in March 1971 according to Michael S. Malone's "The Microprocessor:
A Biography" ISBN 0-387-94342-0 (which is not a great book: much content was
apparently largely dictated by the PR departments of a few Silicon Valley
companies and thrown together much as a newspaper article would be. It
nontheless contains some interesting photos and bibliographic references
and I think was the result of a rushed editorial deadline (why would a
publisher rush a history book?)).

><first OS
>This is real old likely in the late 40s early 50s and was likely a
>machine monitor system to load/save programs. Even the PDP-1 had an OS
>to timeshare multiple users. You may have to be more specific as to tthe
>type or style of OS as there are several and the appearance of each
>corosponds to emerging concepts in computing.

There are references to the operation of the IBM/Harvard Mark I (programming
loops were constructed by literally looping the input tape back on itself e.g.)
It could be argued that such an early machine was not a stored program computer
hence could not even support an OS. If however one does not limit oneself
to only software notions of OS then the "Start" button could be considered to
be an OS - implemented in hardware. I personally don't know much about the
early Sperry Rand or Manchester->Ferranti computers (first commercial computers)
since so much of the widely available literary records are dominated by IBM's
history, but certainly by the time of the IBM 705 (mid 50's) there were OSes.
Few of the early ones were time-sharing and many were not even "full-duplex".

Peter Prymmer
Received on Sun Jan 11 1998 - 11:52:52 GMT

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