It is the most famous mouse in the world and you are using it right now (unless you have a tablet). What’s this? It’s the pc mouse! Let’s find out who invented it and some fun anecdotes.
You may not know it, but the first mouse was made of wood! It was invented in 1963 by the American engineer Douglas Engelbart. Its operation was based on two metal discs used as wheels to facilitate movement on the work surface. The movements of the first mouse could only be horizontal and vertical. It was also an invention for a few experts and … really luxurious, in fact, it cost a lot (like all computers of 50 years ago!).
13This ancestor of the mouse was used to facilitate some difficult operations on the computer and to learn how to use it at its best took months!
A VERY LONG STORY
In 1970 Engelbart’s idea was rediscovered and revived by the Xerox Parc in Palo Alto (California). The American company developed a device similar to the first mouse, to be sold as an accessory to their ALTO computer. Small problem: even the Xerox mouse was for nabobs seen it cost well 300 dollars (we could say about 600 euros today).
Soon after, some Apple engineers who had worked at Xerox Parc introduced the mouse to Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. Jobs understood the true scope of this new tool and decided to have it designed from scratch following precise indications: low cost (maximum 15 dollars) and small dimensions compared to his bulky predecessors.
Jobs contacted a small, newly formed company, Hovey-Kelley Design, made up of young graduates from Stanford University (located near San Francisco and one of the most prestigious universities in the world). The young designers created a mouse prototype with a very limited budget (ie a fixed amount of money). Dean Hovey (one of the inventors), said that to find the right material for the construction of the mouse he went around the supermarkets!
The first prototypes of the mouse were in fact made with deodorant balls of the “roll-on” type and with small plastic lids of a size compatible with the palm of the hand! You may not have noticed it but, until 7 or 8 years ago, mice worked thanks to a sphere that rotated on the table, they did not have the laser beam they use today!
Starting with these bizarre prototypes, the device was improved more and more and the first public tests of modern mice were conducted 10 years later, in 1980, using 25 mice. The final version of the mouse, the one we all know, was produced for the Macintosh computer and was introduced in 1981.
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