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.