Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

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ENIAC
, 1946
33rd and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia PA 19104
Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania,

Preston Thayer and Jed Porter, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

The Moore School was the birthplace of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), the world's first fully electronic, general-purpose, digital computer. A mammoth affair that operated on nearly 18,000 vacuum tubes, ENIAC was developed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert to speed up ballistic calculations during World War II. Teams from the Moore School and the U.S. Army Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland, began working on the project in 1943, and continued to work around the clock for the next 30 months. Despite their feverish efforts, ENIAC did not go into operation until 1946—too late to help the war effort. In 1947, the machine was transferred to Aberdeen for use in the Army's Ballistic Research Labs. However, sections of it are presently on display at the first floor entrance of the Moore School off 33rd Street.

Update May 2007 (by Harry Kyriakodis):
The Moore School displays four of ENIAC's forty panels, representing approximately one-tenth of the machine's original size. There are several panels at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, several more at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a single panel at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The U.S. Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen, Maryland, also has some of ENIAC. Today, a chip of silicon measuring 0.02 inches square holds the same capacity as all of ENIAC.

See also:

ENIAC Museum Online