ENIAC Computer

At the University of Pennsylvania, physicist John Mauchly and a 24-year old electrical engineer named J. Presper Eckert proposed that the Army provide them with the resources to construct a machine that would use digital electronic impulses transmitted through vacuum tubes to perform elaborate mathematical calculations. This new device would effectively allow a long series of calculators to communicate electronically—when one completed a calculation, the result was passed along to the next almost instantaneously. In 1948 the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was born.

  • ENIAC in BRL building 328. Glen Beck at left; Frances Snyder Holberton at right. ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around five million hand-soldered joints. It weighed more than 27 tons, occupied 1800 square feet of space, and consumed 150 kilowatts of power.