From Pascaline to the iPad

News provider on hardware, Tom's Hardware ( has compiled a list of the most iconic machines in computing history. The list is subjective, like all of its type, but the 34 machines presented in a slideshow offer an illustrative overview of the development in computing history, from the progenitors to the computers of our time.

Pascaline, one of the first known adding machines, was created by Blaise Pascal between 1642 and 1645. Already in the next few pictures, the world’s first electronic computers are presented: Colossus (1942), ENIAC (1946), Whirlwind (1951), etc. The IBM 305 RAMAC created in 1956 was the first computer to have a hard disk for storage. “Just” the size of a refrigerator, DEC’s PDP-8 designed in 1965 represents the first significant stage in the process of miniaturisation.

Xerox Alto created in 1973 is one of the most significant milestones: it was the first computer to have a mouse and a graphic user interface. PC revolution commenced (Altair 8800, 1975), actors stepping on the scene were Apple (Apple I ? 1976, Apple II ? 1977), Commodore (Commodore PET, 1977), Atari (Atari 800, 1979), and IBM PC (1981). In the meantime, crucial changes took place at the other end of the spectrum, in the realm of super computers as well (Cray 1, 1976).

The 1980s witnessed the spread PCs, the introduction of Apple Macintosh in 1984 and the release of the first portable computers (Poquet PC, 1989). Miniaturisation continued, and laptops appeared (IBM ThinkPad, 1992), Apple produced computers of “radical design” (iMac, 1998) while a super computer (IBM Deep Blue, 1997) defeated Garry Kasparov world chess champion at the time.

The period from the turn of the second millennium until today is characterised by a growing diversity of devices: touch pen tablets (Microsoft Tablet PC, 2001), netbooks (Asus Eee PC, 2007), and ?real? tablets (iPad, 2010), etc.