No, This is the First Computer


This is the Antikythera Mechansim. And it just may be the first computer, unlike that other first computer. The Antikythera Mechanism is a computer that would calculate astronomical positions. It was first discovered in a shipwreck near the Antikythera islands of Greece in 1900. Even Jacques Cousteau went to this ship wreck looking for more pieces of this fascinating discovery.

A schematic of the Antikythera Mechanism

The intricacy of the gearing, and the capabilities of this computer make it truly astonishing, considering archaeologists place its creation between 100 and 150 BC. Through the work of The Antikythera Mechanism Project, archaeologists and scientists believe that it would show the position of the sun, moon and other planets based on a date entered in with a crank.

It would be 1900 years before the Jacquard Loom and other Victorian-era computers would be invented, making this most likely the first computer.

Thanks to Tim Odell for the tip!

(Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

  • P161911

    The bigger question is how common were devices like this? What else is out there we haven't found yet?

    • That's one of the mysteries. The precision and advancement of this device leads archaeologists to believe this isn't Version 1.0.

    • dwegmull

      Not that common after the aliens flew out of Egypt in their giant flying pyramids.

      /must stop watching Stargate

  • Man, I really hope "The First Computer" becomes a regular feature. It is pretty awesome.

    • Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun researching early computers. I never thought it would take me to 100 BC.

  • tonyola

    I found the first computer. I win.
    <img src="; style="border:1px solid #000000;" width="428">

  • texlenin

    This nice lady built one: