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Museum of Science and Industry

Calculating and Computing

Fowler calculatorManchester's engineering and textile industries needed to calculate properties of materials accurately. To serve this market, several companies were set up in Manchester in the late nineteenth century to make slide rules. One of these was Fowler & Co., which specialised in the manufacture of circular slide rules.

In 1935 Douglas Hartree of Manchester University designed an analyser for solving differential equations. It was built by Metropolitan-Vickers in Trafford Park and installed in the Physics Laboratory. This was the first British designed and built differential analyser.

Ferranti Pegasus mainframe computerThe world's first stored-program computer, the Baby, was built at Manchester University in 1948. Ferranti Ltd developed it into the world's first commercial computer, the Mark I. In 1963, it sold its West Gorton computer business to ICT (later ICL and now Fujitsu). Ferranti continued to manufacture process control computers and semiconductors, including the first European microprocessor. ICL has focused on powerful mainframe computers, including the S3L and SX models.

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