Computing Devices I (pre- Computing Age- 19th Century)



Welcome to the fascinating world of computing devices, where we delve into the evolution of technology that has shaped the way we live today. In this course material, we will journey through the history of computing devices from the pre-Computing Age to the 19th century, exploring the groundbreaking inventions and contributions of visionary individuals that paved the way for the modern computers we now rely on.

Evolution of Computing Devices:

The evolution of computing devices is a testament to human ingenuity and innovation. It all began with primitive tools like the Abacus, a simple counting device used by ancient civilizations for calculations. The Slide Rule and Napier’s bone marked significant advancements in mathematical computations, leading to the development of more sophisticated devices such as Pascal’s calculator and the Leibnitz multiplier.

One of the key milestones in computing history was the invention of the Jacquard loom, a mechanical loom controlled by punch cards, which laid the foundation for automated machinery. The visionary Charles Babbage conceptualized the analytical engine, a mechanical computer designed to perform general-purpose computations, setting the stage for the digital revolution that followed.

The Hollerith Census Machine and Burrough’s Machine further revolutionized data processing and tabulation, showcasing the increasing sophistication and capabilities of early computing devices.

Features, Components, and Uses of Early Computing Devices:

Early computing devices had distinct features and components that enabled them to perform specific functions. For instance, the Pascal’s calculator incorporated gears, wheels, and dials for arithmetic operations, while the analytical engine by Charles Babbage featured punch cards for programming sequences of operations.

These devices were used for various purposes, ranging from basic arithmetic calculations to complex data processing tasks. The Hollerith Census Machine, for example, revolutionized the tabulation of census data, streamlining the process and increasing efficiency.

Contribution to Modern Computers:

Each founder of these early computing devices made significant contributions that laid the groundwork for modern computers. Their innovations and ideas shaped the evolution of technology, influencing future generations of inventors and engineers.

By understanding the evolution of computing devices and the contributions of pioneers in the field, we gain valuable insights into the roots of modern computing and the relentless pursuit of advancing technology for the benefit of society.


  1. Examine the uses of early computing devices in historical contexts
  2. Evaluate the contribution of each founder of these devices to modern computers
  3. Identify key features and components of early computing devices
  4. Understand the evolution of computing devices from pre-Computing Age to the 19th century

Lesson Note

The journey of computing devices is fascinating, marked by numerous inventors and groundbreaking machines that have paved the way for modern computers. This period, often referred to as the pre-Computing Age, spans from ancient times up to the 19th century. These early devices were the cornerstone of today's technology, laying the foundational stones for complex computational principles.

Lesson Evaluation

Congratulations on completing the lesson on Computing Devices I (pre- Computing Age- 19th Century). Now that youve explored the key concepts and ideas, its time to put your knowledge to the test. This section offers a variety of practice questions designed to reinforce your understanding and help you gauge your grasp of the material.

You will encounter a mix of question types, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. Each question is thoughtfully crafted to assess different aspects of your knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Use this evaluation section as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to identify any areas where you may need additional study. Don't be discouraged by any challenges you encounter; instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  1. What early computing device was known for its use of beads on rods for arithmetic calculations? A. Abacus B. Pascal's Calculator C. Jacquad Loom D. Hollerith Census Machine Answer: A. Abacus
  2. Who developed the first mechanical digital computer, known as the Analytical Engine? A. Charles Babbage B. Blaise Pascal C. Herman Hollerith D. Thomas Napier Answer: A. Charles Babbage
  3. Which early computing device utilized punched cards for tabulating data in the late 19th century? A. Napier's Bone B. Slide Rule C. Burrough's Machine D. Hollerith Census Machine Answer: D. Hollerith Census Machine
  4. The Leibniz Multiplier was a device invented by which individual? A. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz B. Blaise Pascal C. Joseph Marie Jacquard D. Charles Babbage Answer: A. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

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Past Questions

Wondering what past questions for this topic looks like? Here are a number of questions about Computing Devices I (pre- Computing Age- 19th Century) from previous years

Question 1 Report

Arrange the following inventions in chronological order.

I. Slide Rule ll. Pascaline llI. Analytical Engine IV. Difference Engine


Question 1 Report

The first computer made available for commercial use was

Question 1 Report

A calculating machine that is made of hardwood with cursor of glass and metal is called?

Practice a number of Computing Devices I (pre- Computing Age- 19th Century) past questions