Pre-ENIAC attempts at computers
There have been many "mechanical brains" invented over the years.
An important example of an early calculating machine is the Difference Engine,
invented by Charles Babbage in the 1860's.
Another tool that helped people perform multiplications faster was the Slide
Rule. It was used by scientists and engineers to design and build everything
from sailing ships to the Saturn V booster used in the Apollo space program.
By World War II, mechanical adding machines were in wide use. For extremely
large (or long) calculations, teams of adding machines would be organized
to all work together.
Since the 1920's, the IBM punched card had been used in a variety of ways
by many organizations. Punched cards had been first used by Jaquard to run
a loom, and then adapted by Hollerith to tabulate the demographic data for
the1890 United States Census.
These technologies all contributed to the ENIAC.
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