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History of Computing

Early Computing in Britain

Ferranti Ltd. and Government Funding, 1948 — 1958

Authors: Lavington, Simon

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  • Examines the interactions and influences between the important computing innovators on both sides of the Atlantic during the seminal period 1945 to 1949
  • Analyses the hardware and software details of Ferranti computers and their competitors
  • Describes in detail the computing requirements and contractual arrangements of the UK’s defence establishments
  • Includes a large number of original photos of the significant people, places and equipment
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eBook 32,09 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15103-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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Hardcover 39,51 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15102-7
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  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
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About this book

This unique book presents the story of the pioneering manufacturing company Ferranti Ltd. – producer of the first commercially-available computers – and of the nine end-user organisations who purchased these machines with government help in the period 1951 to 1957. The text presents personal reminiscences from many of the diverse engineers, programmers and marketing staff who contributed to this important episode in the emergence of modern computers, further illustrated by numerous historical photographs. Considerable technical details are also supplied in the appendices.

Topics and features: provides the historical background to the Ferranti Mark I, including the contributions of von Neumann and Turing, and the prototype known as The Baby; describes the transfer of technologies from academia to industry and the establishment of Ferranti’s computer production resources; reviews Ferranti’s efforts to adapt their computers for sale to business and commercial markets, and to introduce competitive new products; covers the use of early Ferranti computers for defence applications in different government establishments in the UK, including GCHQ Cheltenham; discusses the installation and applications of Ferranti computers at universities in the UK, Canada, and Italy; presents the story of the purchase of a Ferranti Mark I* machine by the Amsterdam Laboratories of the Shell company; details the use of Ferranti Mark I* computers in the UK’s aerospace industry and compares this with the American scene; relates the saga of Ferranti’s journey from its initial success as the first and largest British computer manufacturer to its decline and eventual bankruptcy.

This highly readable text/reference will greatly appeal to professionals interested in the practical development of early computers, as well as to specialists in computer history seeking technical material not readily available elsewhere. The educated general reader will also find much to enjoy in the photographs and personal anecdotes that provide an accessible insight into the early days of computing.

About the authors

Simon Lavington is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at the University of Essex, UK. His other publications include the Springer title Moving Targets: Elliott-Automation and the Dawn of the Computer Age in Britain, 1947 – 67.

Table of contents (18 chapters)

Table of contents (18 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 32,09 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15103-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 39,51 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15102-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Early Computing in Britain
Book Subtitle
Ferranti Ltd. and Government Funding, 1948 — 1958
Authors
Series Title
History of Computing
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-15103-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-15103-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-15102-7
Series ISSN
2190-6831
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 392
Number of Illustrations
83 b/w illustrations, 51 illustrations in colour
Topics

*immediately available upon purchase as print book shipments may be delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. ebook access is temporary and does not include ownership of the ebook. Only valid for books with an ebook version. Springer Reference Works are not included.