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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
Stories about the lives we've made

story:Personal computers and information networks

scene:Personal computers and information networks


A man and woman working at a Ferranti Pegasus computer. This computer was a classic 1950s/1960s mainframe installation, taking up the majority of space in a room. picture zoom © Ferranti Archive held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

During the late 20th century there was a dramatic shift from expensive mainframe computers which occupied whole rooms, to personal machines that are networked together to form a powerful tool for communication. How did this major multinational industry grow from university research and a few kids trying to impress each other with their programming skills? And what did the defence industry have to do with it? This is the extraordinary story of how a bunch of nerds with little business experience made up the rules as they went along, ending up creating the personal computing industry that exists today and transforming our global communications landscape.


IBM Type T04. Man and woman working with an IBM Type T04 electronic data processing machine used for making computations for aeronautical research. picture zoom © National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science and Society Picture Library


Resource Descriptions

A man and woman working at a Ferranti Pegasus computer. This computer was a classic 1950s/1960s mainframe installation, taking up the majority of space in a room.
IBM Type T04. Man and woman working with an IBM Type T04 electronic data processing machine used for making computations for aeronautical research.
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