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

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Feb 10 15:45:46 EST 2017


Thanks for the correction.


Fred Shapiro


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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 3:15 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Calculator" (Electronic Device)

On Fri, 10 Feb 2017 02:26:46  Zone + 0000 "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU> wrote:
<quote>
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.
</quote>

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page 111 referring to the above-cited article describes it as "an unpublished memorandum apparently written in the fall of 1937" and cites it as "H.H. Aiken, "Proposed Automatic Calculating Machine", edited and prefaced by A. C.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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