Bet you Can’t Recognize Any of These Computers

It’s been ages since the laptop overcame desktop PC’s…although, who knows where the wonders of tablet-computers will be in the years to come. 

In 1946 the world’s first computer, ENIAC, was created: a colossal machine whose sole purpose was to solve numerical equations. Generations later, we’ve got control of boundless information through smartphones in the palms of our hands.

It’s been a little over half a century (which isn’t too long ago–I can think of many notable, societal advancements since), yet, some old computers are pretty much unrecognizable compared to the ones we have today. 



GUIDE TO COMPUTING, a photo series by James Ball aka Docubyte, was composed as a colorful series of ten historic computers, created in collaboration between Ball and retouching studio, INK, documenting the beginning of computing history.


“I’ll approach people, companies and museums with specific non-commercial intentions, and some commissions come this way too, but essentially I’m just looking for access. I want to see other people’s worlds. I sit on a computer most days – and, while I love what I do, sometimes I get the fleeting urge to be rocket engineer.”


Featuring famous machines such as the IBM 1401 and the UK’s very own Pilot ACE…but not like you’d know which ones those are…





The UK photographer recently visited the National Museum of Computing to capture the museum’s extensive collection of the first computer technologies in human history. The result: a retrospective series of old relics of the past. According to Ball, it’s only really now, in the era of high-tech pocketable technology, that the significance of early computers is being so fondly realized.


“I love knobs, dials and buttons and wanted to celebrate that visually. I’d planned to build my own fantastical machine to photograph, with a load of junky oscilloscope parts on eBay – though in researching these parts, I realized the thing I was going to build actually existed in real life.”


Let me know below if you can name any of the computers in the photo series !









Other projects by Ball include his Britain in Space, The Brickyard, Big red Sausages, Dressed to Kill, and Doorslammers.


Check out more of James Ball’s work on his website or his Instagram : @docubyte 


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