Pre-1950 Computing History resources (a thread elsewhere)

Over on the HP Museum forums there’s a thread by pier4r with many interesting links to books, articles, and even videos, :

Just today we have a link to three articles on ENIAC:

which has bonus links to more:

Earlier in the thread I mentioned Bowden’s Faster than Thought (1963), a collection of papers by pioneers including Turing.

And today we also get some videos about differential analysers

and the mechanical integrator


Regarding the very last collection of articles, there’s “Actually, Turing Did Not Invent The Computer” by Thomas Haigh.

First, I’ve to admit that I’m somewhat leaning towards Mauchly and Eckert in the controversy about the EDVAC draft. There seems to be evidence that crucial ideas arose as next gen design principles inside the group as early as 1942, which were then collected for the report (of which there’s only the mostly unsigned draft). There may have been other reasons for the kind of abstraction, which is characteristic for v. Neumann’s draft report, than classification, as implied in, “Von Neumann does abstract away from details of the hardware, both to focus instead on what we would now call “architecture” and because the computer projects under way at the Moore School were still classified in 1945.” Esp., if there were indeed ulterior motives involved, as suggested quite fiercely by Eckert, which really concerned the “architecture” side of computing.
Anyways, somewhat ironically, my concerns do not diminish the weight of the following quote,

But what actually would have been different about von Neumann’s “First Draft” report if Turing had never written his now famous paper? My answer to that question is: nothing

Most notably, computers did not follow the general idea of state machines as a general principle.
Nevertheless, Turing was ingenious and important!

P.S.: The controversy around the EDVAC draft is somewhat important for the question about the very background from which computers arose: was it hands-on engineering, like with Tommy Flowers, Eckert & Mauchly, or was it rather a high-level mathematical concept? What makes Turing the ideal father of computing is that he had a heart for both.