Douglas Engelbart‘s patent for what we know as the computer mouse was issued Nov. 17, 1970, which isn’t exactly a “birthday,” since the actual invention was about seven years earlier, and the device had made its public debut during the “mother of all demos” Dec. 9, 1968, which would make it 41 years old next month.
In some circles, however, there is a tradition of remaining “39” as long as possible.
The original, which Engelbart created at Stanford Research Institute, was a fist-sized wooden box holding two perpendicular wheels, and called an “X-Y Position Indicator.” Xerox PARC replaced the wheels with a trackball later, and Apple’s Macintosh picked up the ball from there.
- Historical photos from Doug Engelbart Institute (formerly Bootstrap Institute)
- Stanford – MouseSite
- The 1968 Demo (includes video)
- The patent (US Patent Office uses TIFF image files, which are viewable with Safari on a Macintosh, but I’ve had trouble with Firefox)
- Howard Rheingold’s Tools for Thought, the first place I read about Engelbart and his Augment project.