The First Computer Display


This shows where computer displays started.
This shows where computer displays started.

The Impact of the Military and ResearchThe first display was an analog radar dating from World War II. In the early 1950's, MIT's Whirlwind computer and for Ferranti Canada's DATAR multi-ship naval defense computer used video displays for digital computers. Only the military and research could afford the cost and the computing power for the digital computer.

What Makes the Original Computer Displays Originally computers had a panel of light bulbs. Each bulb would represent a part of the computer and the engineers could monitor the internal state of the computer. This panel of lights was eventually called the monitor because of their original task. The panel of light bulbs was recognized as not very descriptive or flexible. The CRTs, cathode ray tubes, were originally used for memory but eventually got used for computer displays because of their flexibility and more powerful output.
The original monochrome monitors were green. The monitors used very low refresh rate. To avoid severe flicker, the monitor needed a phosphor with a long afterglow. The best phosphor at the time was green because it was the cheapest, brightest and had the longest emission time. The other colours were blue and amber but everybody agreed that amber was the best of all three. Blue cost too much and amber required a faster refresh rate so green was the best compromise.


An image that shows the CRT and green text.
An image that shows the CRT and green text.



Benefits of the First Computer Display The desire for better displays with higher quality images has lead us through a lot of twists and turns. The display has evolved from CRTs to LCDs, Plasmas and other amazing display types. I can't wait til displays become holographs and we have more futuristic possibilities.








This video is about the first computer. There are good shots of the green phosphor displays used, 1:04 - 1:24 and 5:48, as well as showing the CRTs, 3:09. The CRTs at this time were used for memory but eventually will be used for displays until 2007.


The following links are websites that source the information above as well as show the evolution of displays.

A Brief History of Computer Displays
http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/slideshow/366677/brief-history-computer-displays/?image=7
Timeline of Computer History A Brief History of Computer Displayshttp://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?category=cmptr


A Brief History of Computer Displays
http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/slideshow/366677/brief-history-computer-displays/?image=7


Early Displays lead to Video Games and Better Graphics.
https://cwtejp1.wikispaces.com/1972+First+Video+Games


Credits


http://www.pcworld.com/article/209224/historic_monitors_slideshow.html
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2011/01/the-evolution-of-computer-displaysthe-evolution-of-computer-displays/
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/input-output/14/349
http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/slideshow/366677/brief-history-computer-displays/