The Most Popular First-generation Computer: A Ranking of Early Computing Innovations

Choose the first-generation computer you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 17, 2024 07:26
Step into the digital time machine and join us on an electrifying journey through the fascinating world of the first-generation computers! At StrawPoll, we're bringing history to life with our latest ranking of "Who is the most popular first-generation computer?" - a thrilling showdown of technological titans that shaped the computing revolution. What better way to celebrate these marvelous machines than by casting your vote for your favorite pioneer of the digital age? But wait, there's more! If you feel that we've missed an unsung hero of the computer world, don't hesitate to suggest a new contender. So gear up, put your thinking caps on, and dive into this enthralling exploration of the trailblazing computers that started it all. The power to decide the ultimate winner lies at your fingertips – cast your vote now and make history!

Who Is the Most Popular First-generation Computer?

  1. 1
    ENIAC - considered the first general-purpose electronic computer and was used for calculations during World War II. It is often cited as the most popular first-generation computer.
  2. 2
    Colossus is a machine built by the British during World War II to crack encrypted German messages. It is often considered the world's first programmable, digital electronic computer.
    Colossus is a thrilling roller coaster located at Thorpe Park, a popular theme park in England. It is known for its intense inversions and exhilarating twists and turns. The coaster is a steel structure featuring multiple loops, corkscrews, and a heartline roll, providing an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers.
    • Height: 30 meters
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  3. 3
    Harvard Mark I - built in 1944, it was the first large-scale automatic digital computer in the United States. It was used for scientific and military applications.
  4. 4
    Daderot · Public domain
    UNIVAC I is a commercial computer introduced in 1951, it was the first computer to be mass-produced and sold to customers outside of government and academic institutions.
  5. 5
    Manchester Mark 1
    Parrot of Doom · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Manchester Mark 1 - built in 1949, it was the first stored-program computer and was used for scientific and mathematical calculations.
  6. 6
    IBM 701 - introduced in 1952, it was the first commercially available scientific computer and was used for scientific and engineering applications.
  7. 7
    Ferranti Mark I - built in 1951, it was the first commercially available computer in Europe and was used for scientific and engineering applications.
  8. 8
    EDSAC is built in 1949, it was the first computer to be built with a von Neumann architecture and was used for scientific and mathematical calculations.
  9. 9
    IBM 650
    Mahlum · Public domain
    IBM 650 - introduced in 1954, it was the world's first mass-produced computer and was used for business and scientific applications.
  10. 10
    BINAC is built in 1949, it was the first computer to use magnetic tape for data storage and was used for scientific and engineering applications.

Missing your favorite first-generation computer?


Ranking factors for popular first-generation computer

  1. Historical Significance
    Consider the impact the computer had on the development of computing technology. Was it a pioneering machine that introduced new concepts or technologies?
  2. Innovation
    Evaluate the computer's groundbreaking features, such as the use of vacuum tubes, magnetic storage, or binary coding. Did it bring significant advancements in speed, memory capacity, or data processing capabilities?
  3. Commercial Success
    Assess the market acceptance and sales figures of the computer. Did it achieve widespread popularity and success in terms of units sold or market share?
  4. Influence on Future Systems
    Examine how the computer influenced subsequent generations of computers. Did its design or architecture serve as a basis for future advancements? Did it inspire new developments or shape the direction of computer technology?
  5. Endurance/Longevity
    Consider how long the computer remained in use or relevant. Did it have a lasting impact beyond its initial introduction and continue to be used or studied for an extended period?
  6. Historical Documentation
    Evaluate the availability and quality of documentation, including technical manuals, research papers, or user experiences, that provide insights into the computer's capabilities, limitations, and impact.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular first-generation computer. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or computer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 195 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each computer once every 24 hours. The rank of each computer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular first-generation computer

The first-generation of computers, also known as vacuum tube computers, were developed during the 1940s and 1950s. These machines were massive and relied on vacuum tubes to process and store data. They were expensive, slow, and required a team of skilled technicians to operate. However, they marked a significant milestone in the history of computing by introducing the concept of digital computing. Some of the most popular first-generation computers include the ENIAC, UNIVAC, and IBM 701. These machines paved the way for the development of modern computers and have had a significant impact on our daily lives. Today, we can look back at these early computers with awe and appreciation for the pioneers who paved the way for modern computing technologies.

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