Inventing the future

United Kingdom, 1991

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Episode number 2 of Series “The dream machine”.
Looks at the development of commercial computer companies and the technologies and innovations that emerged in the 1950’s and 60’s. The designers and engineers Eckert and Mauchly set up the first computer company in 1946 but failed as businessmen. In England, the computer industry was co-operatively led by Cambridge University and Lyons (a company famous for tea and cakes). IBM entered the arena in 1951 when they recognised the need to compete with computers. FORTRAN and COBOL languages were developed to overcome the time-consuming problem of programming computers. Technological developments fuelled by the requirements of NASA’S space program and the Pentagon’s involvement in the Cold War witnessed the production of electronic components that were quicker, smaller, cheaper, more efficient and reliable.



Nancy Linde

production company

WGBH Productions








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