New Technology in the Workplace 1950-2000

New Technology in the Workplace 1950-2000

The proliferation of technology in the second half of the 20th century has led to many positive changes in the workplace in terms of work efficiency. With office costs rising after the Second World War, it became clear that automation was necessary. At the end of the 20th century, increasing numbers of people used computers or other technological aids. Below are some of the developments that occurred during the second half of the 20th century.

Electronic calculators

In 1963, the British company Sumlock Comptometer made the first electric calculator. In the 1970s, small and highly sophisticated electronic calculators became available. The Sinclair Executive was launched in 1972. It was the smallest calculator available: 138 millimetres long, 56 wide and 9 thick- the first that could fit into a shirt pocket without bulging. Early calculators had numeric displays made from light-emitting diodes (L.E.D.s). They were later replaced by liquid-crystal displays (L.C.D.s), whose lower power consumption helped to reduce battery drain.

Personal computers

The first computers were huge machines that filled entire rooms. Researchers shared these computers through individual terminals and soon realised the potential of connecting them. They were developed into personal desktop machines, each linked to one network, which enabled them to communicate. Modern computers have created enormous opportunities to hold and search far more data than could ever be processed manually.

Britain's first commercial computer solved clerical problems for J Lyons & Co. The Lyons Electronic Office, built in 1951, helped solve the problem of arranging the daily production and delivery of cakes to the Lyons teashops.


The Internet is a worldwide broadcasting channel, a machine for information distribution, and a method for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers. The development of what we now call the Internet began in the 1960s. By 1985, the Internet was already well established as a technology supporting a large community of researchers and developers. It was also beginning to be used by other communities for daily computer communications, as was electronic mail.

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