1951 Univac-First Electronic Computer


(6/14/51)The Remington Rand Corporation unveiled the first commercial digital computer, called the "UNIVAC" (Universal Automatic Computer). The "UNIVAC" followed the experimental "ENIAC," which had been developed in 1945. The first "UNIVAC" was sold to the Census Bureau.

John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly had been at The Moore School of Engineering, but they left to start their own computer business. They received their first contract from the United States Census Bureau. The Bureau had been using mechanical computers to tabulate the census but with growing population need a better solution. They received a deposit from the census bureau to research the new computer in 1946 of $300,000. It took two years to finalize the design of the computer The census bureau had capped the payment on the computer at $400,000. The inventors knew that it would not be enough but hoped to recoup their loss on service contracts. Remington Rand bailed the inventors out and purchased the company which became the Univac Division of Remington Rand. The first UNIVAC computer was delivered to Census Bureau on March 31, 1951. The company spent $1 million developing the machine.

The first UNIVAC could add in 120 microseconds, multiply in 1,8000 microseconds and divide in 3,600 microseconds.