VON NEUMANN, John (1903-1957). First draft of a report on the EDVAC. [Philadelphia:] Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, June 30, 1945.
The Origins of Cyberspace collection described as lots 1-255 will first be offered as a single lot, subject to a reserve price. If this price is not reached, the collection will be immediately offered as individual lots as described in the catalogue as lots 1-255.
VON NEUMANN, John (1903-1957). First draft of a report on the EDVAC. [Philadelphia:] Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, June 30, 1945.

Details
VON NEUMANN, John (1903-1957). First draft of a report on the EDVAC. [Philadelphia:] Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, June 30, 1945.

4o. Xerographic copy of typescript, with Eckert's annotations in pencil on the first leaf. Photocopied "Deposition exhibit" stamp on first leaf dated 10/30/69 [68?]. Boxed.

Eckert annotated this xerographic copy of von Neumann's First Draft in connection with the lawsuit over the ENIAC patent brought against Sperry Rand by Honeywell in 1967. Eckert's pencil notes, all made on the first leaf of the photocopy, cite ideas and contributions described in the First Draft for which he (Eckert) and the Moore School team were responsible. Eckert had written a brief memorandum on the stored-program concept in January, 1944, more than a year before the First Draft was circulated, and von Neumann never claimed authorship of all the ideas. Instead von Neumann, with Hermann Goldstine, organized ideas that were being formulated on a daily basis by Eckert, Mauchly, and the ENIAC team, and gave them a theoretical basis, leading to the development of the first stored-program computer design, EDVAC. Unfortunately the unfinished draft failed to credit Eckert and Mauchly for their inventions.

The private circulation of copies of the First Draft during the summer of 1945 represented publication of the ideas contained within it, if only in a limited way. This advance publication was a powerful argument barring Eckert and Mauchly from patenting the electronic digital computer-their lifelong ambition. The First Draft figured prominently in the Honeywell v. Sperry Rand trial, which ended with the presiding judge, Earl Larson, invalidating the ENIAC patent. In his final ruling, Judge Larson called the First Draft an "enabling disclosure of the ENIAC" and an "anticipatory publication," predating Eckert and Mauchly's ENIAC patent application by two years (McCartney 1999, 196). Under the patent rules inventors had one year to apply for patents after the discoveries were made. Though the First Draft was not formally published, its informal circulation did constitute publication in the legal sense, and Eckert and Mauchly failed to apply for their patent within one year of its informal circulation. This and the fact that it did not credit Eckert and Mauchly with their inventions, was instrumental in having the ENIAC patent invalidated. OOC 1106.
Post lot text
For further information about The Origins of Cyberspace Library and to view the reference catalogue, please visit http://www.historyofscience.com.
;

More from THE ORIGINS OF CYBERSPACE

View All
View All