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Retro delight: Gallery of early computers (1940s – 1960s)

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Hardware

We often think of computers as a very modern phenomenon, but there were actually plenty of computers around 50 years ago. They just weren’t an everyman commodity, instead limited to goverment and corporate use. And they certainly weren’t small. Some of them had imaginative names like Whirlwind, Colossus and Pegasus, while others were slightly less poetic with names like Z4, AN/FSQ-7 and ENIAC.

Below we have listed as many as 19 examples of computers from the early days, pioneering efforts that although cutting edge in their day now look lovingly retro.

These computers didn’t use the same kind of components as we do today. The computers in the 1940s and 1950s were mostly based on vacuum tubes. Transistors showed up late in the game, and integrated circuits were just a distant dream and didn’t start showing up in computers until the 1960s, and then in very limited capacity. How tempting it would be to travel back in time and show the engineers of these computers a normal modern-day PC, just to see their reaction.

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