Our Humble Mouse


Over 44 years ago, our merry world of computerized pointing and clicking began. On 9 December 1968, while America rocked towards peace and rolled toward revolution (when this antediluvian blogger was in his first year of high school), a different and even more profound bit of radicalism was being displayed at a San Francisco auditorium. Douglas Engelbart and his team of engineers were exhibiting his invention; a little device, never seen before, that would usher in the modern world of computers: The Mouse.

In its first public unveiling, Engelbart demonstrated the mouse, along with a host of other innovations, to an audience of 1,000 computer professionals. Requiring over six years of research and the work of twenty engineers, the demonstration alone was a huge accomplishment.

Of course, this pioneering mouse was primitive by today’s standards; nowadays, we usually take the most extraordinary software and hardware for granted…the mouse has become as basic as a pen. Rather than a ball, Engelbart’s mouse contained two large, perpendicularly-arranged discs; locations of the x/y axis were controlled by the discs’ movements. The original mouse was large and unwieldy, but Engelbert envisioned that the user, while holding it, would work a one-handed keyboard and not a QWERTY-styled keyboard.

Years would pass before the mouse caught the public attention with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Engelbart’s patent had expired by this time and he never received a penny for the invention that helped give birth to our computerized world.

Yahoo! Tech