200 Computers Installed In Britain
50 years ago this year, this was the front page headline in Electronics Weekly’s edition of September 21st 1960.
The story opens:
‘Both computer manufacturers and users in Britain are well to the fore. There are now about 200 computers installed in Britain and many more are on order. Exports of machines last year amounted to £1.3 million.’
This is what Mr Sebastian Z de Ferranti, managing director of Ferranti Ltd, said at a one-day computer conference held in Stockholm last week.
“In the whole history to 1945, mechanical devices had only increased the speed of calculation by a factor of 100″, said Mr de Ferranti, “but since 1945 electronic computers have increased the possible speed by a further factor of 25,000″,
“The economics of modern computer working favour a large, fast machine. The usefulness of a computer varies approximately as the cube of its price.”
A computer may be twice as expensive, he said, but in operation it would be eight times as useful.