On This Day, April 7, 1953 – IBM Releases First Scientific Computer

1953 – IBM unveiled the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine. It was IBM’s first commercially available scientific computer.

Designed to shatter the time barrier confronting technicians working on vital defense projects, the 701 is being manufactured in IBM’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y., plant where production-line techniques of assembly and standardization are used.

141511_LargeComposed of eleven compact and connected units known as IBM Electronic Data Processing Machines, the 701 is the first calculator of comparable capacity to be produced in quantity. A total of eighteen will be built within a year, all consigned to government agencies or defense industries.

Using three of the more advanced electronic storage or memory devices — cathode ray tubes, magnetic drums and magnetic tapes — the calculator can multiply and divide more than 2,000 times a second and can add and subtract more than 16,000 times a second.

The calculators, which will rent for $11,900 monthly or more, depending upon storage capacity, will be used for the calculation of radiation effects in atomic energy; for aerodynamic computations for planes and guided missiles, including vibration and stress analysis, design and performance computations for jet and rocket engines, propellers, landing gear, radomes, etc.; on studies related to the effectiveness of various weapons; and on steam and gas turbine design calculations.

1712 – A slave revolt broke out in New York City.

1798 – The territory of Mississippi was organized.

1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh, TN.

1864 – The first camel race in America was held in Sacramento, California.

1888 – P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time under the name “Collier’s.”

1922 – U.S. Secretary of Interior leased Teapot Dome naval oil reserves in Wyoming.

1927 – The first long-distance TV transmission was sent from Washington, DC, to New York City. The audience saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover,

1930 – The first steel columns were set for the Empire State Building.

1933 – Prohibition ended in the United States.

1d_BTW_Stamp-1-11940 – The Post Office Department issued a stamp honoring African-American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) as part of its Famous Americans Series. The nation’s first stamp to honor an African-American, it holds a unique place in American history.

Born a slave in Hale’s Ford, Virginia, Washington served as a role model for other struggling African-Americans, and, as founder of Alabama’s Tuskegee Normal Industrial School (renamed Tuskegee Institute in 1937.)

1943 – British and American armies linked up between Wadi Akarit and El Guettar in North Africa to form a solid line against the German army.

1948 – The musical, South Pacific, by Rodgers and Hammerstein debuted on Broadway.

1963 – At the age of 23, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament.

1966 – The U.S. recovered a hydrogen bomb it had lost off the coast of Spain.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material.

1970 – John Wayne won his first and only Oscar for his role in True Grit. He had been in over 200 films.

1971 -President Richard Nixon pledged to withdraw 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.

2000 – President Bill Clinton signed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits. 

Sources: ComputerHistory.org; On-this-day.com; postalmuseum.si.edu; IBM.com