The various computers that made up the first computer generation were interesting both in their architecture and working and this article looks at some interesting facts from back then.


A majority of computer historians consider the first generation to have been built from the year 1946 to 1959 while there are other historians that define the first generation to be from the time when the first computer was offered for sale which would change the date to 1949 to 1959.


· The first computers used vacuum tubes as a key construction of their electronics. These vacuum tubes were primarily used for circuitry.

· Magnetic drums were used for memory purposes in these early computers.

· The computers were huge in size (weighing in up to 30 tonnes) due to their many components and were able to occupy an entire room!

· They were expensive to operate and used up massive quantities of electricity making them only available to the big corporations of that time.

· Instructions given to the computers were done in machine code and electric wired board computer language, which is the lowest language that can be understood by computers.

· They produced a lot of heat which necessitated frequent fusing of the installations and was the cause of many malfunctions.

· Input was based on paper tape, magnetic tape and punched card, while output was displayed on print outs.

· They were slow input and output devices and took a long time to solve problems as well as setting up new problems.

Some of the computers that made up this generation include:

· The first computer to be built in 1946 with vacuum tubes was the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer or simply ENIAC. This computer was huge and occupied around 15,000 square feet of floor space and weighed in at an astonishing 30 tonnes!

· The second computer in this line was the EDSAC or Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator which had the added capacity to store programs than its predecessor.

· The third machine to come along was the UNIVAC or Universal Automatic Computer which was created by scientists John Mauchly and John Presper Eckert and is mostly regarded as the first modern computer.

· In 1953 IBM announced their first commercially mass-produced produced computer in the IBM 650. Support for the IBM 650 and its components units was discontinued in 1969.

· The IBM 701 was the last in the line of the first generation computers and was IBMs first scientific computer. The 701 was succeeded by the more advanced IBM 704 in 1956.


1. They were the fastest calculating computers of their generation.

2. They could perform operations in milliseconds.


1. Machine language used was difficult to learn.

2. The rooms they were stored in needed air conditioning due to allot of heat produced.

3. They were not portable due to their weight and large sizes.

4. Their costs were on the higher sides.

5. They could not handle multiple problems and could only solve one at a time.

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