ENIAC at Univ of Penn


71 years ago today, the U.S. government’s first all-purpose computer–ENIAC–was unveiled. The Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer was digital and programmable, and therefore one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines of the day. Funded by the United States Army, newspapers called it a “Giant Brain”. (1946)

ENIAC resides at the University of Pennsylvania. This photo shows 2 of the main pieces, but overall the machine required a large room because it was roughly 8 × 3 × 100 feet in size (2.4m × 0.9m × 30m) and weighed more than 27 tons. It contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7200 crystal diodes, 1500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and approximately 5,000,000 hand-soldered joints. (Click to enlarge the GNU licensed image)

[EDITOR’S Note: We incorrectly published that today was Mardi Gras, which in 2017 falls on February 28, instead.]

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Galileo Galilei, the Father of Science who invented the telescope and the thermometer, was born in Pisa, Italy–the same birth year as Shakespeare (1564)
  • A ban was lifted on female attorneys arguing cases in the U.S. Supreme Court (1879)
  • The first teddy bear was introduced in America (1903)
  • The official flag of Canada debuted as a stylized, 11-pointed, red maple leaf, designed by the Canadian historian, author, soldier, teacher and public servant, George Stanley (1965)
  • The Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan nine years after their invasion (1989)
  • Race car driver Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 after 20 years of disappointment (1998)
  • Between 8-30 million people marched in 600 cities worldwide to protest the Iraq war, making it the largest peace demonstration in history (2003)Jane Seymour 2015

And, Happy Birthday to Jane Seymour, the British actress who became known as TV’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. (1951)