On This Day, Feb. 14, 1946 – ENIAC, The First Electronic Computer, is Unveiled


1946 – ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was unveiled. The device, built at the University of Pennsylvania, was the world’s first general purpose electronic computer.

Hailed by The New York Times as “an amazing machine which applies electronic speeds for the first time to mathematical tasks hitherto too difficult and cumbersome for solution,” the ENIAC was a revolutionary piece of machinery in its day. In 1942, physicist John Mauchly proposed an all-electronic calculating machine. The U.S. Army, meanwhile, needed to calculate complex wartime ballistics tables. Proposal met patron.

The result was ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), built between 1943 and 1945—the first large-scale computer to run at electronic speed without being slowed by any mechanical parts.

ENIAC glowed with an unprecedented 18,000 vacuum tubes. To keep so many working simultaneously, Engineers created strict circuit design guidelines to maximize reliability. They ran extensive tests on components and avoided pushing them to their limits, which included operating vacuum tubes well below their maximum voltages to prolong their life.

For a decade, until a 1955 lightning strike, ENIAC may have run more calculations than all mankind had done up to that point.


1849 – The first photograph of a U.S. President, while in office, was taken by Matthew Brady in New York City. President James Polk was the subject of the picture.

1859Oregon became the 33rd member of the Union.

1889 – In Los Angeles, CA, oranges began their first trip to the east.

1899 – Congress approved voting machines for use in federal elections.

1903 – The U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor was established.

1912 – The first diesel engine submarine was commissioned in Groton, CT.

1912Arizona was admitted as the 48th U.S. state.

1920 – The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago. The first president of the organization was Maude Wood Park.

1929 – The “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in Chicago, IL. Seven gangsters who were rivals of Al Capone were killed.a

1940 – The first porpoise born in captivity arrived at Marineland in Florida.

1962U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy gave a tour of the White House on television.

1966 – Rick Mount of Lebanon, IN, became the first high school, male athlete to be pictured on the cover of “Sports Illustrated

1966 – Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers set an NBA record as he reached a career high of 20,884 points after seven seasons.

1977 – The B-52’s perform their first concert together in Athens, GA.

1979 – Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists. He was killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.

1980 – Walter Cronkite announced his retirement from the “CBS Evening News.”

1983 – A 6-year-old boy became the first person to receive a heart and liver transplants in the same operation.

1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini called on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie because of his novel “The Satanic Verses.”

1989 – The first satellite of the Global Positioning System was placed into orbit around Earth.

1989 – Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the government of India. The court-ordered settlement was a result of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster.

1997 – Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery began a series of spacewalks that were required to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope.

2002 – Sylvester Stallone filed a lawsuit against Kenneth Starr. The suit alleged that Starr had given bad advice about selling Planet Hollywood stock.


Source: seas.penn.edu; on-this.day.com; computerhistory.org


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