On this day in 1907 ENIAC Designer Born
Written by Historian   
Monday, 30 August 2021

John William Mauchly, the co-developer of the ENIAC computer and co-founder of the first ever computer company was born on August 30, 1907 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. 

John William Mauchly

(August 30, 1907 - January 8, 1980)

John Machly's name is usually linked to that of J.Presper Eckert, his partner both in the project to build the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering computer and in founding the first computer company, the Electronic Control Company, later renamed the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation.

Mauchly and Eckert pioneered fundamental computer concepts including the stored program, subroutines, and programming languages. Their ideas were published in the 1945 First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC and were taught at the Moore School where their lectures were highly influential in the explosion of computer development that took place in the late 1940s.

As well as ENIAC, which can be considered the first general purpose digital computer, Mauchly and Eckert also designed and built the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC), the Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC) in which data was stored on magnetic tape and the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC I), the first commercial computer made in the United States - although by the time it was finished the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation had run into financial trouble and been acquired by the Remington Rand Corporation.

Read our history of Eckert & Mauchly and the machines that kick-started computing in the 1940s. 

Mauchly was also embroiled in a controversy about who was the inventor of the first digital computer.  machine counted as the first digital computer. Although ENIAC which was operation in 1946 had been regarded as the first modern computer for decades, in 1973 it was ruled that there was "prior art". As the result of a visit made in June 1941 by Mauchly  to see John Atanasoff and his ABC computer, it was argued that ENIAC was derived from the ABC and therefore that Atanasoff, and not Mauchly was the inventor of the digital computer.

Related articles:

Eckert & Mauchly and ENIAC

On This Day in 1946 - Eniac Unveiled

On this Day in 1919 - Presper Eckert born

14 June 1941 - Date of a Significant Meeting


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Last Updated ( Monday, 30 August 2021 )