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.

Early version of a computer, very large and made up of many separate parts.
Gray computer keyboard and CD drive from the late 1990s shown with hand pulling the CD drive.
Early "personal computer" from Hewlett-Packard.
HP 125 Model 30 Personal Office Computer from Hewlett-Packard
People in an office using large personal computers in 1978.
1978
Computer made for use while standing up, resembling an arcade game.
Person wearing a blue shirt and glasses looks closely at a monitor from the 1990s.
Black and white image of a person's hands typing into a large keyboard. The computer screen (early Apple Macintosh) sits on a shelf above the keyboard.
A woman takes notes on the desk area of an IBM data processing machine in 1963.
New Mexico, March 1963
A man stands between several large IBM data processing machine (each the size of a fridge or larger) in a room painted yellow and green. The man wears a tan suit and tie.
IBM April 1953
A woman with blonde hair wearing a suit leans over the desk of another woman with brown hair wearing a dress and high heels. The latter woman is typing on an early computer. Photograph looks to be from the 1970s.
A woman and a man sit one behind the other at separate desks while typing on large computers. On the woman's desk (which we can see most closely in the image) sits a slim glass vase with a carnation and baby's breath in it, as well as a rollodex.
Three people stand in a room filled with various data processing machines in an office space, the photograph looks to be from the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Two women wearing long ecru skirts interact with the data processing machines in the computer room of an office. Photograph looks to be from the 1960s or 1970s.
The iconic blue and white Apple Macintosh computer from 1998.
1998
An early screen showing a digital graph and a keyboard. The background is a strip of solid red and another strip of solid blue.
Three people conduct go about work using large data processors in an office in the 1970s.