People often ask us when the first computer was invented, but although we know a lot about computers that is actually a very difficult question to answer.

It all depends on what sort of system you are asking about because a machine now widely recognised as the first electronic computer is the pioneering Colossus – the machine first used to crack messages sent by Hitler and his generals on February 5th, 1944….

Colossus, picture credit to Wikipedia

Colossus, picture credit to Wikipedia

People often ask us when the first computer was invented, but although we know a lot about computers that is actually a very difficult question to answer.

We could say Charles Babbage, a British professor mathematics, is the man who invented the first computer in 1837. His invention was basically a mechanical type of calculator that also had a memory. The computer was powered by steam engine and used punched cards for programming.

But it depends on what sort of system you are asking about because a machine now widely recognised as the first electronic computer is the pioneering Colossus – the machine first used to crack messages sent by Hitler and his generals on February 5th, 1944.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Colossus and veterans gathered at Bletchley Park to celebrate its code-cracking prowess – demonstrated using the museum’s rebuilt machine.

It is now recognised as the first electronic computer but Colossus was originally kept a secret for 30 years because of the sensitive work it did during World War Two to crack German codes.

The work of the Colossus machines to decipher messages scrambled using the Lorenz enciphering machine that passed between the Wehrmacht’s commanders is widely thought to have shortened the war and saved countless lives.

It was created by Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers, and his first prototype was built out of parts from telephone exchanges. By the end of the war 10 of the machines were in use in the UK.

Most of the machines were broken up and the plans destroyed after the war in an attempt to keep the work secret and to conceal the fact Britain was still using two of the machines to read Soviet messages.

Although computer technology dates far back it is the work of the Colossus that made it a real impact on UK computer history….our computers now are a little different, and a lot more widely available, but they are still having a huge impact on the word – both in business and in the personal lives of all those that use them.

But not everyone is a Bletchley codebreaker, which is why in 2014 your business may need our help!

To discover exactly what your computers can do for you 70 years post Colossus give us a call on 01952 303404.