Computer in 1900

woodelf bfranchuk at jetnet.ab.ca
Fri Feb 15 08:53:31 CST 2008


Brent Hilpert wrote:
> To be realisitic about what might have been accomplished in 1900 the whole
> issue of building a large system of hundreds/thousands of components needs to
> be looked at more seriously. Will raised the issue for tubes, but it applies to
> all the other components as well, regarding reliability, uniformity and
> stability of characteristics. The idea of building such large systems was
> considered daunting or simply implausible even in the 1940's, after decades of
> development of components - even regarding something as seemingly simple as resistors.

I think at one time you could get resistors with a 50% range of  tolarance when they
first came out, say around the 1900's.

> Or, for example, solid-state diodes: the discovery may have been made in 1874,
> but in the early 1900s the only thing actually available (TMK) was the cat's
> whisker (a tad finicky) - forget about building anything utilising more than a
> couple of them.

And you piss off the cat making your diode.

> Then there's achieving a stable power supply.

Well you would have your own power plant -- coal, gas ( as in gas lamps) or
hydro-electric.

> ..so, depends on where you want to draw the line between concept and practice.
> 
> The principles/theory of digital systems implementation may be straighforward,
> the practical reality when dealing with unreliable/variable components isn't so
> (including tubes); in particular if you don't have some heavily-non-linear
> device to base your basic gate design around. In 1900 there was very little in
> the electrical domain that was reliable or consistent for the purposes being
> discussed.
> 






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