What constitutes the first computer is a contested topic - given that it is possible to trace its historical precedents all the way back to the abacus. Most accounts, however, trace the genealogy of this particular machine back to the early 19th century, when the English mechanical engineer Charles Babbage came up with the idea for a programmable computer. The first mechanical computer, by this account, was his brainchild. Since then, computers have developed from one huge one per lucky workplace starting in the 1970s to a staple of white collar offices in the late 1990s to personal laptops to a everyone having a tiny little super-smart computer in their back pockets. Computers are now so entwined with our everyday existence that we barely think about their presence in our lives. For lots of people, the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see at night is their tiny personal computer - their phone. The SVA Pictures Collection has two large folders filled with images of computers, and they are a true pleasure to flip through. The images range from full rooms taken up by a single machine,  to mementos from the floppy disk era, to proto-stand up desks, to that one blue and white Macintosh computer that everyone had in the late 90s.


HP 125 Model 30 Personal Office Computer from Hewlett-Packard
1978


New Mexico, March 1963
IBM April 1953



1998