From the mid-1940s there was a flurry of creative design and engineering resulting in many more computers than we have mentioned so far. Each of these machines, though not the first of their kind, was valuable in some way and for the sake of completeness we record them here in brief.

WHIRLWIND was developed at the Digital Computer Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1945 and began working by 1950.

It was the first computer to operate in real-time and to output real-time text and graphics to a video display. It was also the first to use magnetic core memory which was much faster than the Williams tubes used by other machines at the time. It was the direct predecessor of the US Air Force's air defence system: SAGE.

BINAC was completed in 1949 by the Eckert Mauchly Computer Corporation in the USA and was the first dual-processor computer, though it was not a truly general purpose computer.

UNIVAC I was funded by Remington Rand Inc., which had bought the Eckert Mauchly Computer Corporation in 1950. The first was installed by 1951.

LEO I was built by J. Lyons and Company and was the first machine used for business calculations. It was closely modelled on Cambridge University’s EDSAC. The first was operational by 1951.

ORDVAC and ILLIAC were both built by the University of Illinois in the USA and were installed by the end of 1952.

MANIAC was built at Los Alamos in the USA and completed in 1952. It was responsible for calculations of Mike, the first hydrogen bomb.


Thermionic Valve

(vacuum tube)