Some people find it difficult to exist without computers of some kind. Some believe they always existed. Some tell you they have only existed for the last two or three decades. Neither is right.
Computers and computing have been used for centuries, though not in their present form. An abacus is a manual computer; punch card machines used a form of computing at the beginning of the 1800s; Babbage built a computerised machine in the early 1800s; ENIAC was created in 1945.
Many people contributed to the development of present day computers and there are links to information on a number of these.
There is also information about the development of computing ideas, computers and operating systems.
A final section looks at a range of early computers used in Australian schools and homes. They were certainly not as capable as present equipment, but they were fun to use !
Finally, there is information about the history of The Internet looking at the who, where, when and what of its development.
- Pioneers in The History of Computers
- Allen, Paul &
Developed the BASIC programming code, established Microsoft.
- Babbage, Charles
First user of a computer; see Lovelace, Ada for the same reason.
- Baird, John Logie [& Hansell, Clarence]
Developed the concept of using hollow/transparent rods for transmitting images.
- Berners-Lee, Tim
Acknowledged developer of the World Wide Web.
- Boole, George
Developer of boolean logic.
- Gramme, Theophile
Developed the first commercial electric motor.
- Hoff, Marcian
Designed the first microprocessor .
- Jacquard, Joseph
Developer of punch cards - used initially in the weaving industry.
- Jobs, Steve
Developer of the Apple and NEXT computers.
- Liebniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
First western mathematician to work with binary numbers.
- Moore, Dr Gordon
Developer of Moore’s Law.
- Nelson, Theodore, [Ted]
Developed hypertext. Also at this site.
- Sinclair, Sir Clive
Briton who created the first genuine home computers.
- Torvalds, Linus
Developer of the Linux operating system.
- Turing, Alan
Began work on a software theory.
- Zuse, Konrad
Builder of the Z1, the first known binary digital computer.
History of Computing
- A Brief History of Computing - Complete
Runs till 2003.
- A Chronology of Digital Computing Machines [1623 to 1952]
Not changed since 2002. Scroll down to find the beginning of the chronology.
- An Illustrated History of Computers
- Chronology of Personal Computers
‘An attempt to bring various published sources together to present a timeline about Personal Computers’.
- Computer History
Annotated links to resources from Computer Museums to comic strips and books from the early years.
- Computer History Museum
Exhibits provide historical information.
- Computers : From the Past to the Present
Lecture given in 1994. How much has changed since ?
- Computing History - The UK Centre fro Computing History
‘A permanent public exhibition telling the story of the information age’. Information available online through the menu on the left.
- History of Computing
Concrete devices, numbers, early computation, navigation and astronomy, weather prediction, symbolic computations, references, links. Wikipedia.
- History of Computing Hardware
Earliest true hardware, punched card technology, desktop calculators, analog computers, early electronic digital computation, first-generation machines, commercial computers, second-generation : transistors, third-generation, references, bibliography, links. Wikipedia.
- History Resources
Annotated links in multiple directories. SIG CIS.
- The Annals of the History of Computing
‘Scholarly articles by leading computer scientists and historians, as well as first-hand accounts by computing pioneers’. Access the Current Issue and free content.
- The History of Computers
Computer History Timeline. ‘Covers many of the major milestones in computer history with a concentration on the history of personal home computers’.
- The History of Computing Project
Biographies, games, software, companies, hardware, timeline.
- The History of the Computer
‘The visualisation begins in 1936, with the creation of the Z1 Computer - but where will it end ? Tab through the slides to find out more about computing and its many creations’.
- The Turing Archive for the History of Computing
‘Largest web collection of digital facsimiles of original documents by Turing and other pioneers of computing’.
- Timeline of Computing History
Annotations grouped in time periods.
- Virtual Museum of Computing
Britain. An online look at computing. Not updated since 2007.
Regarded as the first modern computer.
- Penn Library Exhibition
Everything you want to know about ENIAC.
- Australian Computer Museum Society
Strives to maintain old computer hardware and software.
- Discover the Abacus
The first of the “computing” devices and still used around the world.
- Obsolete Computer Museum
Photographs, information on these, even memories from those who owned them.
- Old Computers
Museum, history, links, magazine.
- Totalisator History
Australians invented the totalisator used with racing.
Amiga & Commodore
- Amiga, Commodore
Very popular especially for gamers.
- Amiga History Guide
‘The largest Amiga history site in the world ! From Amiga Inc’s early foray into joysticks, to the latest offerings in cross-platform Amiga solutions’.
- Amiga Lore
‘The English Amiga Board, the Amiga Magazine Rack, Amiga Games That Weren’t and Amiga Point of View’.
Features, News, Forums, Classifieds, FAQs, Links, more.
- Commodore 64
Once amongst the most popular of the home/school computers. Find Software, learn how to repair them. More Software can be found here.
- Apple II
Used especially in education.
- Apple IIGS
Information, graphics, technical data, links.
- Apple Products 1976-2007
Visual representation of all Apple products from the Apple 1 to Apple TV. Runs till 2007. Printable.
- Apple Lisa
History, technical information, graphics. A history of Apple from 1973 to 1989.
- The Apple Museum
‘With more than 350 Apple products listed, the most comprehensive Apple history source on the internet’.
- Amiga Forever
‘Award-winning Amiga preservation, emulation, support package. The ultimate set of videos to chronicle and let you experience first hand the history, culture, challenges and passion behind the Amiga’.
- RC Drummond E-UAE
‘Attempts to bring many of the great features of WinUAE to non-Windows platforms’.
- Virtual Apple ][
‘Almost every Apple ][ and Apple IIgs game ever made, ready to play in your browser’.
- Virtual ][
‘Emulates the Apple II computer on your Mac’.
- CCS64 - A Commodore 64 Emulator
‘Emulator for PC. The program is free to use and to copy, but if you use it regularly I would appreciate that you would register the program’.
- Power64 and Power20
‘Run your favourite Commodore games on your Mac with Power64 and Power20 !’
‘The DOS game emulator that’s fit for your Mac. Based on the robust DOSBox emulator, with a lot of magic sprinkled on top’.
- DBGL : DOSBox Game Launcher
‘An open-source, multi-platform frontend for DOSBox, based largely upon the proven interface of D-Fend’.
- Emulators on Mac
- MAME OS X
‘Designed to take advantage of all the latest Mac OS X technologies, like Core Video and Core Image’.
‘Open Source PowerPC MacOS run-time environment. Enables you to run PowerPC Classic MacOS software on your computer’.
‘BeebEm is a BBC Micro and Master 128 emulator. BeebEm will run most BBC Micro software including Elite, Exile and Revs’.
For anything about early home computers, emulators or other information.
‘JavaBoy is a Gameboy emulator, which means it faithfully reproduces games from Nintendo’s Gameboy, on any machine which can run Java’.
The first choice if you want to experience what computers were like in the past.
- Rom Hustler
In addition to the ROMS for each, there are emulators from the Atari 2600 to the Zinc and Sony PSP.
- Neave Games
‘These classic arcade games should stir up a few memories of twiddling with joysticks as a kid’.
- The Video Game Museum
Dedicated to early computer games. Covers systems and games.
Other Specific Computers
- Altair 8800
History, technical details, links, more. More information at The MITS Altair 8800 and at MITS Altair.
- Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource
The first real challenger to IBM. Documents, downloads, source code, links, more.
The first console made from wood and plastic. Links.
- BBC [Acorn]
Good information on this computer. Find games here.
- IBM Personal Computer 
History, technical information, graphics, links, partial history of IBM from 1970 to 1987. Information on the IBM 5150 here.
- Leo Computers
‘This is the site of the LEO Computers Society celebrating the world’s first business computer’.
Kit beginnings, disk machines, colour, premium series, games, final versions, links. Wikipedia.
- Microbee [PCMuseum]
Microbee Archive with photos, information, more.
- Microbee Software Preservation Project
A Forum and Public Repository. Designed to preserve software and documentation for this Australian product.
A MicroBee emulator suitable for Windows. A second emulator Ubee512 can be downloaded here. Suitable for Windows machines.
- World of Spectrum
If you want things to try go here. Check the Emulators page for a listing for all operating systems.
- ZX Spectrum Software
Information, listing, links. Wikipedia.
- The Sinclair ZX Spectrum
Hardware, models, Sinclair Research, Amstrad models, clones, peripherals, software, references, links. Wikipedia.
The development of the Internet, how it has changed, how it might change.
- A Brief History of the Internet
Tutorial [others accessible from this page] about the internet.
- A History Of Source Concepts For The
Archived copy of an article by Bob Bemer, done in 2000 for British Telecom. Full of fascinating information.
- A People’s History Of The
‘Here we present an interactive documentary of your stories and videos, alongside our own research and interviews with key figures’. The Guardian, UK.
- Archive Wayback Machine
See what web pages looked like in years gone by, especially those you may still use today.
- Pandora Archive
Archive for Australian web pages.
- Brief History of the
‘In this paper, several of us involved in the development and evolution of the Internet share our views of its origins and history. This history revolves around four distinct aspects’. Links to related areas.
- Email History
‘Key events and milestones in the invention of email are described’. Links to further information.
- Gregory Gromov’s History
The internet, WWW, hypertext.
- History of Search Engines
From 1945 to Google Today. Good information, easy to comprehend.
- History of the Internet
‘The following links offer a broad range of perspectives on the history of the Internet’.
- History of The Internet
3 Terminals and an ARPA, Packet Switching, Networks that led to the internet, merging the networks, TCP/IP, opening to commerce, use and culture, historiography, references, further reading, links. Wikipedia.
- History of The Internet
Approx. 8 minutes.
- Hobbes’ Internet Timeline
Well annotated links to extensive events ranging from the 1950s. Many link to further information. Well maintained. Runs to 2010.
- Internet History
‘Timeline begins in 1962, before the word Internet is invented’. Information presented in decades. Graphics, text, images, more. Stops at 1992.
- Internet in Australia
History, statistics, current state, the future, references, links, more. Wikipedia.
- Keith Lynch’s Timeline of Net Related Terms and Concepts
From the mid 1970s. Text presentation.
- Life Online : The Web in 2020
Social Issues Research Centre. ‘Aims to provide an outline and analysis not only of projected technological developments but their social, political, economic implications. What will the Web look like in 2020 ? What will it do ? Where will it be ? How will we use it ?’
- Net History
‘Non-technical info tracing the international evolution of the Net - as well as computers and e-mail’.
- Origins and Nature of the Internet in Australia
‘A significantly extended version of “A Brief History of the Internet in Australia”. One of very few attempts at the topic’. Only runs to 2004.
- The History of the Internet and the World
Article with a further 13 related sections listed at the bottom. Worthwhile site.
- The Internet
‘In-depth reference about the Internet’. Addresses the following using 8 major areas - Internet, web, email, Usenet, IRC, MUD’s, Lists.
- The Ultimate Students Guide to Search Engines
Multi-section presentation. Text, images, embedded links and reference listing of links at the end.
- The World Wide Web History Project
Information on how the web came into existence.
- World Internet Project [Australia]
‘A highly detailed statistical account of Australian citizens’ and consumers’ adoption of the internet and the ways in which they have used this access’. Access to specific reports.