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ABOUT ENIAC And Personal Memories

Goldstine, Adele - Back to Computer Wonder Women


MOVIE - Eniac Built In WWII lead to Computers & The Internet


$123, 201 to preserve trial records relating to the development of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).
The ENIAC is generally regarded as the first electronic digital computer. (96-068) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia morphed from a manufacturing economy to one based on technology in 1946 when two University of Pennsylvania professors created the world's first general-purpose computer, ENIAC. That led to the Univac-1, the world's first commercial computer, which was produced at the Sperry Rand Corp. on 19th St. and Allegheny Ave. in North Philadelphia. Even though Unisys moved out to Blue Bell in the 1960s, the seed for technology companies and a technology economy had already been planted.

Read about Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli
Born February 12, 1921 and her part in one of the world's most important inventions this century - the electronic computer.
Kay graduated from Chestnut Hill College in 1942, one of only three mathematics majors in a class of 92 women.
That Summer the US Army Women's Corps placed this advertisement in newspapers across America: "The need for women engineers and scientists is growing both in industry and government... Women are being offered scientific and engineering jobs where formerly men were preferred. Now is the time to consider your job in science and engineering ... you will find that the slogan there as elsewhere is 'WOMEN WANTED!' ". The army wanted women with mathematics degrees to hand calculate the firing trajectories of artillery for the war effort. Consequently Kay was recruited as a human 'computer' and went to work at the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

In the basement of the Moore School Kay's future husband (married in 1948) and colleague, John Mauchly who had been a physics professor at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., in 1935., was, with coinventor Presper Eckert, building the world's first electronic computer, the ENIAC.

ENIAC = Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator, considered to be the first electronic computer. In 1950, a small company in Philadelphia, launched by the ENIAC's inventors -- J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly (who becomes Kay's husband)-- was well on its way toward completing a new, faster computer called the Univac (Universal Automatic Computer).It would use magnetic-tape storage to replace punched data cards and printers. In 1950, the computer industry was only 4 years old.

Technology Advances happening in 1950

  • Claude E. Shannon publishes Programming a Computer for Playing Chess, initiating the long history of chess-playing computers.
  • The American military begins using computer simulations in its war games.
  • Bell Laboratories' K. H. Davies builds the first machine able to recognize 10 numbers spoken by a human voice.
  • Yoshiro NakaMats invents the floppy disk at Tokyo's Imperial University.
    Engineering Research Associates delivers the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer.
  • Edmund Berkeley publishes Computers and Automation, the first computer magazine.


  • Unisys' ES7000 server, offers 216,000 times the speed
  • 7.6 million times the memory of the Univac
  • while consuming one-eighteenth as much power and
  • just 1/24th of the Univac's weight.

The Univac Turns 50 June 14, 2001
The Univac, widely considered the first commercial computer, made its public debut during a dedication at the U.S. Census Bureau. Univac and its offspring in the fall of 1952, correctly predicted Dwight Eisenhower's landslide victory over Adlai Stevenson. CBS News chose not to reveal that prediction until it had been verified by a hand count. After delivering the first seven Univacs to government agencies, Remington Rand (now Unisys Corp.) made its first private-industry sale to General Electric Co. in 1954. It was really the beginning of the computer industry. Computer historian George Gray, writes the Unisys History Newsletter.


Listen to The Franklin Institute's Margaret Ennis, who knew one of the very first programmers ever, lay to rest a popular myth about the ENIAC. starts Eckart @ 7:30 minutes (16 minutes)

From Peter Jensen:
As someone who first learned to program on Univac 1 - my very first teacher was Mauchly himself - I have a vivid memory of a visit I made to Sperry in, I believe, 1959.

Upon entering the building, they'd placed a Univac 1 prominently in view, and powered up. The system console for these had about as many lights as Times Square, and they had placed a small louspeaker on top of this console.

When I asked about that speaker, they told me they had a coil wrapped around the main system bus, and had hooked this to an audio amplifier. They then proceeded to have this $1.5 million beheamoth play "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

Little did I realize at the time that I was witnessing the first digital audio synthesizer - and little did Sperry realize what they'd created! Another 1/2 Billion dollar opportunity lost!

One other memory from the time was Mauchly coming in one day and, appearing quite engrossed in thought, announcing that he'd realized that five computers could handle all the computational needs of the country. He drew something out on the board, but I don't recall what it was, that was his justification for this. I know this incident is widely attributed to Watson at IBM, but I personally heard Mauchly say it.

For perspective - the Univac 1 used a rotating drum main memory of 500 words.

Peter Jensen
Vice President, Online Business Development
Surveillance Data Incorporated Accurate allergy forecasts for the entire US. The most up-to-date influenza information.
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ARTICLE: February 14, 1996
The 'Worst-Case Design'That Conquered the World By ROBERT E. CALEM

NIAC was conceived by John Mauchly, a physics professor at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., in 1935

1941, while he was pursuing further studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering, that the idea for ENIAC emerged.

Mauchly was enrolled in a laboratory course supervised by J. Presper Eckert, a graduate student at the school talking with him about the concept of digital computing.

In late 1941 Mauchly joined the Moore school as a professor and one year later, hearing that the Army needed a fast computer to perform calculations and figure statistics, wrote a proposal to build the machine that would become ENIAC.

The proposal was given to Dr. Herman H. Goldstine, an official with the Army's Ordnance Department, who helped Mauchly and Eckert to secure $500,000 for the project.

But Goldstine gave most of the credit for ENIAC to Eckert, whom he described as "a magnificent engineer, one of the most brilliant engineers I ever met. He made the project work."

Careful to add that he wasn't disparaging Mauchly, Goldstine added, "Mauchly was involved, but if he had died (the project) wouldn't have stopped. If Eckert had died, the thing might not have run."

From: Nancy Hanger

This is personal history for me -- my godfather was Press Eckart, coinventor of the ENIAC, and my stepfather one of the early VPs of Remington-Rand (Sperry-Rand, Sperry-Univac, and finally Univac), until his death in 1985.
I'm sitting here in my office typing on a Pentium III 1Gig machine, with a vacuum tube from that first US Census Univac mounted on a wooden block atop a pile of papers beside me. I wish they were still alive to see where computers are today.
A small B&W photo hangs on the wall beside my desk of my stepfather (Phillip S. Vincent) with Douglas McArthur standing in front of one of the Univac arrays. (I have several lead sets of miniatures of the Census array in boxes. I had a strange upbringing -- I didn't get doll houses, I got minatures of computer mainframe setups.) I have more Univac "stuff" than I think Unisys still has in their warehouse: mugs, Cross pen sets, chips, tubes, miniatures, circuit boards, and let's not forget the stationery and other emphemera.

Just had to tell someone. It's my family's birthday today. :-)

Nancy C. Hanger
contributing editor & columnist,
("Mobile & Web") -
nhanger [at] windhaven [dot] com

Read "My Second Computer was a UNIVAC I,"
NYU Information Technology Monograph Series No, 1, April 2001.


Mr. Peabody is a fictional dog who appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s television animated series Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show (collectively referred to as Rocky and Bullwinkle). Peabody appeared in the segments entitled Peabody's Improbable History created by Ted Key. All were Jay Ward productions.
In the series, Peabody constructed for his and Sherman's use the WABAC (pronounced "wayback") machine, its name also a play on early computers such as UNIVAC and ENIAC. The WABAC was a time machine which Peabody and Sherman would use to travel back in time to witness various historical events. However, on each visit, they would discover that things didn't happen the way they were supposed to (such as Paul Revere not being able to make his ride due to only having a statue of a horse instead of a real one), and would subsequently wind up working to fix whatever the problem was (using Peabody's great intellect to do so), so that history would be accurate. Mr. Peabody's technological genius also was able to tune any tongue to English, later referred to in Star Trek as a "universal translator." In addition to performing on-screen, Peabody would voice-over a narration of key events of each episode, as a way of moving the story along.
"Fan Mail From some Flounder":
What is the origin of this bizarre phrase? And what on earth does it mean? The stars of the show were Rocket J. Squirrel (aka "Rocky"), a flying squirrel, and Bullwinkle J. Moose, a moose, both residents of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. Rocky, Bullwinkle and the gang coined a fair number of catch phrases including "Curses, foiled again!", the frustrated cry of evildoer Snidely Whiplash upon seeing yet another of his nefarious plots foiled by Dudley Do-Right's clever horse, Horse.
"Fan mail from some flounder" comes from a brief segment routinely used to introduce commercial breaks on the show. Rocky and Bullwinkle are standing on a beach when Rocky looks down and exclaims, "Look Bullwinkle! A message in a bottle!", to which the moose replies, "Fan mail from some flounder?"