UNIVAC: the first mass-produced commercial computer (infographic)

Today we take a look back at the first mass-produced commercial computer, which was called UNIVAC.

The first model was delivered on March 30, 1951, to the U.S. Census Bureau. As a brand name on computers, UNIVAC survived until 1981.

We have collected some stunning numbers describing this important piece of tech-history. Read on to find out more.

It was big as a room and would cost $7 million today

The UNIVAC has been called “the first commercial computer in the United States,” as well as “the first commercial computer to attract widespread attention.”

Whichever way you label it, the UNIVAC was big! It was a room-sized behemoth consisting of 5,200 vacuum tubes, weighing in at almost 7.6 tonnes (17,000 lbs), and it would cost almost $7 million to buy today (adjusted for inflation).

Here’s our infographic, summarizing the very first UNIVAC computer.


We owe UNIVAC a lot

In a video clip made in 1952 by Remington-Rand, the company behind the UNIVAC, we can hear the speaker say: “right now, UNIVAC is handling, automatically and economically, unbelievable volumes of statistical work… Work that previously took weeks and months to do, is now being done in a matter of hours, by UNIVAC.”

The simple fact is, most people today have never heard of UNIVAC, but we do owe a lot to the people who created this monster of a computer.

This is our tribute to them.

Top picture by Don DeBold.


  1. If this is your tribute to them, you should perhaps name them.  John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert are the guys who designed it. 

    1.  @GiniMauchlyCalcerano Thanks for adding that. Our piece wasn’t so much a tribute to them as a way of recalling some details of the UNIVAC on its anniversary. But that’s not saying that they deserve all the credit for their work 🙂

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