Digital Preservation Tutorial: Timeline

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Enigmabullet.gif Dr Arthur Scherbius begins manufacturing the Enigma machine, capable of transcribing coded information. Enigma is later used by the German forces in WWII.
bullet.gif "Bomba," a highly specific electro-mechanical device, successfully decodes many German Luftwaffe and Navy messages for the Allies.



bullet.gif Construction of the ENIAC, one of the first electronic computers, is completed. ENIAC filled an entire room, weighed thirty tons, and consumed two hundred kilowatts of power.


bullet.gif Grace Hopper finds the first computer bug. A moth had been caught in the circuitry of the Mark II computer system at Harvard.

bullet.gif The first commercial computer, UNIVAC I, is introduced.
bullet.gifGrace Hopper develops the first compiler, laying the foundations for programming languages.

bullet.gif IBM introduces IBM 701, the first commercial scientific computer.


bullet.gif The ENIAC is turned off for the last time. It’s estimated to have done more arithmetic than the entire human race had done prior to 1945.

bullet.gif IBM introduces RAMAC, the first commercial disk drive. It used 50 hefty aluminum disks, stored 5Mb, occupied the space of two refrigerators, and weighed a ton.


early computerbullet.gif One of the first general purpose mainframe computers, the IBM System/360, is announced.

bullet.gif Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) is developed at Dartmouth College.

bullet.gif IBM's Cambridge Research Lab begins the CP-40 project to build the first VM (virtual machine) timesharing system.


bullet.gif Introduction of DIGITAL's PDP-8, the world's first mass-produced minicomputer.


bullet.gifIBM System/370 is introduced. The 370 is one of the first lines of computers to implement the notion of a virtual machine, allowing users to share mainframe resources.

bullet.gifPDP-11 the first of DIGITAL's 16-bit family of machines is delivered.


bullet.gifUNIX Time Sharing System First Edition is patented by Bell Labs.


Pongbullet.gif The programming languages C and FORTRAN 66 are created.

bullet.gif Atari releases Pong, the first commercial video game.

bullet.gif Intel introduces its 200-KHz 8008 chip, the first commercial 8-bit microprocessor. This sparks the development of smaller, faster, and cheaper computers.


mouse and mousepadbullet.gifXerox Alto is the first personal computer with a built-in mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) from which most modern GUIs are derived.


bullet.gif The Altair 8800 is sold as a kit. Its creator, Ed Roberts, coins the term "personal computer."

bullet.gif The Kurzweil Reading Machine combines omni-font OCR, flat-bed scanners, and text-to-speech synthesis to create the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. This is the first practical application of OCR technology.

bullet.gif First appearance of an interpreted BASIC programming language.


bullet.gif Steve Wozniak and Randy Wigginton demonstrate the first prototype Apple II at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting.

bullet.gif The world's first supercomputer, the Cray-1, is introduced.


bullet.gif The Commodore PET, Apple II, and Radio Shack's TRS-80 are all released.

bullet.gif Introduction of the VAX-11/780 "supermini" computer.

bullet.gif CP/M Operating system developed by Digital Research Corporation becomes the dominant standard for the personal computer in business, but incompatible floppy disk formats and the success of MS-DOS and the IBM PC in 1981 eventually led to its demise.


bullet.gif The VMS 1.0 operating system is designed by Digital in conjunction with their 32-bit VAX processor for use in time sharing, batch processing, and transaction processing.

bullet.gif Philips releases the laserdisc player.


bullet.gif WordStar software becomes the first commercially successful word processor.


bullet.gif FORTRAN 77 programming language is created.

bullet.gifDigital faxes using uniform data standards appear.


bullet.gif Commodore ships the VIC-20.

bullet.gif The IBM PC 8080 is introduced.

bullet.gif MSDOS 1.0 operating system is released.


bullet.gif The Commodore 64 is sold with 64KB of RAM and Microsoft BASIC.

bullet.gifVAX-11/730 is released.

bullet.gif Sony and Philips introduce the first CD player.


bullet.gif Apple's Lisa is introduced, the first commercial microcomputer with a graphical user interface.


bullet.gifApple Macintosh is introduced, the first mainstream commercial computer with a graphical user interface. In six months sales of the computer reach 100,000.

bullet.gif As personal computers become more powerful, people become accustomed to faster machines and graphical interfaces. Use shifts from centralized mainframes to personal computers distributed over a network.

bullet.gif Philips and Sony introduce CD-ROM technology.


bullet.gifChessThe combination of Aldus PageMaker for the Macintosh and the Apple LaserWriter laser printer usher in the era of desktop publishing.

bullet.gif A Carnegie Mellon doctoral student named Feng-hsiung Hsu begins to develop a chess-playing computer called "Chiptest," which evolves into Deep Blue.

bullet.gifMicrosoft Windows 1.0 is created, representing a shift from the DOS operating system.


bullet.gif NCSA develops NCSA telnet, making it easier to connect to a remote computer.Copyright

bullet.gif IBM sends clone manufacturers letters demanding retroactive licensing fees.


bullet.gifIBM AS/400, a minicomputer for small business and departmental users, is released.

bullet.gifVAX 6200 is released.


bullet.gif Archie software for searching FTP sites is released.

bullet.gif Microsoft Windows 3.0 is released, beginning the era of Microsoft's domination of the software industry.


bullet.gifVeronica, a Gopher search engine, is released.


bullet.gif First graphical browser for the web, Mosaic, is introduced. Mosaic logo

bullet.gifWindows NT is released, providing advanced network connectivity.


bullet.gifNetscape 1.0 web browser is introduced, replacing Mosaic.Netscape logoLinux

bullet.gif Linus Torvalds, 21, writes an operating system called Linux, bringing the open-source movement into the mainstream.


bullet.gif Java, an object-oriented programming language, is announced by Sun.

bullet.gif Netscape announces Javascript, an object-oriented scripting language.

PowerMacbullet.gif The Xerox DocuTech Publishing System is designed for "print-on-demand" network accessed document publishing.

bullet.gif The Kodak DC40 and the Apple QuickTake 100 become the first digital cameras marketed for consumers.

bullet.gifInternet Explorer 2.0 web browser is introduced.

bullet.gif IEEE1394, a.k.a Firewire, is introduced as a new standard for connecting computer devices. Initially proposed as a successor to SCSI, Firewire’s fast data transfer speeds made it well suited for video devices, such as digital camcorders, and hard drives.


bullet.gif MP-3 players for downloaded Internet audio appear.

bullet.gif Microsoft Windows 98 is released.

bullet.gif Apple introduces the iMac, which revolutionized the PC industry with its design, along with some key features such as the inclusion of USB ports and the purposeful exclusion of a floppy drive.


bullet.gif Macintosh OS-X is released.OS-X

bullet.gif A commercial Digital Video Recording (DVR) system is developed by TiVo, Inc. Reruns of Columbo can now be recorded digitally, saved, and viewed anytime.


bullet.gif Windows XP is released.

bullet.gif After 21 years of selling hard drives, Quantum switches to higher-level storage products and services.


bullet.gif QuickTime 6.0 is released.

bullet.gif DVD players outsell VCRs.

bullet.gif Universal Serial Bus 2.0 (USB) is released. Building on USB 1.0 introduced in 1995, this serial usbbus can connect up to 127 devices, supports speeds of up to 480Mbps, allows plug-and-play and hot-swapping.

  bullet.gif Apple's family of personal music players, the iPod, dominates the market with over 5.7 million units sold since their debut in late 2001.
  bullet.gifUSB Flash Drives flourish. The solid state, inexpensive, pocketable storage media are taking sushiall kinds of shapes and sizes (pens, watches, little fuzzy creatures, and even sushi).

The successful release of Apple's iPhone continues the shift to handheld digital devices. i phone

Microsoft Vista released worldwide.


The National Archives and Records Administration starts populating the ERA system, an initiative aimed at preserving electronic records created by the U.S. Government. E R A

Version 1.0 of the open source iRODS, a data grid software system, is released by the San Diego Supercomputer Center's Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) group.


Windows 7 released.

new T Vold T V All Television broadcasting in the U.S. went digital by June 12, 2009.