[Ads-l] Antedating of "Calculator" (Electronic Device)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Fri Feb 10 15:15:54 EST 2017

On Fri, 10 Feb 2017 02:26:46  Zone + 0000 "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU> wrote: 
calculator (OED, 2.c., 1946)

1938 Howard Aiken _Proposed Automatic Calculating Machine_ in _Makin' 
Numbers_ (I. Bernard Cohen & Gregory W. Welch ed. 1999) 26  At present 
the automatic calculator is visualized as a switchboard on which are 
mounted various pieces of calculating machine apparatus.

This was not an "electronic device" but strictly an electro-mechanical device, using mechanical switches known as relays.

Herman Goldstine _The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann_ (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972, ISBN 0-691-08104-2)
page 111 referring to the above-cited article describes it as "an unpublished memorandum apparently written in the fall of 1937" and cites it as "H.H. Aiken, "Proposed Automatic Calculating Machine", edited and prefaced by A. C. Oettinger and T. C. Barnes, IEEE Spectrum, Aug. 1974, pp. 62-69"

Jim Landau

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