Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ladybird Tuesday - How it Works - The Computer

Vintage Ladybird book The Computer

The Ladybird book The Computer comes from Ladybird Series 654 - How it Works. Published in 1971 it's a fascinating look at computers, both mechanical and electronic.

Ladybird The Computer inside

I thought that it might be a nice, easy to understand, introduction to early electronic computers. Unfortunately I must admit that I had very little idea what most of this book was about. It certainly goes into a lot of detail about the different ways in which computers store information and perform calculations, along with the different types of computer and the functions performed by each. It's fascinating to think about just how much computing has moved on in a relatively short period of time.

At the time the book was written, computers were being given commands on punched card or tape, and a 'small digital computer designed for the business man' is the same size as an office. (Of course, it's a business 'man' in the same way that on another page a room of computer operators entering in the data are all women).

Ladybird The Computer vintage book

I would imagine that most of the technology in this book is no longer in use in the world of modern computing. In fact, a lot of it was probably out of date by the time I started using computers in the late 80s. It looks as though there was an updated version of the book published in 1978 or 1979 (and you can see a funny parody of it here).

The final page of the book is called 'This Year, Next Year, Sometime...?' with a few hints to the future of computing, in particular the way that components will shrink in size and the more intricate jobs that computers will be able to perform. It was an exciting time in the world of technology, and I'm guessing that the authors could only just begin to imagine the possibilities!

I'm joining in again with Ladybird Tuesday hosted by Being Mrs C. You can see all my previous Ladybird Tuesday posts here.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - this is one that's on my want list! There are rumours online that a special print run of this book was done for the MOD to help them teach their staff about computers - http://vintageladybirdbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2007/08/ladybird-book-computer-mod-edition.html Don't think any copies have ever been found though.

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