They Made the Impossible Possible for the Rest of Us
THE OLD LAUNDRY BUILDING ON MASS AVE, 1946:
Jay gathered his crew of young, bright-boy engineers together. He told them to put an immediate stop to their work.
From here on out, he announced, we are going to build an electronic, digital computer.
A sudden wave of puzzlement uneasily flitted over their faces.
I want it designed and ready to build by the end of 1947, Jay announced. We will then build the machine all of 1948; then we’ll knock the kinks out and have it up and running by the end of 1949.
But Jay, one engineer nervously piped up, excuse me, but no one has ever built an electronic digital computer. None exist!
With a bit of a wry smile and a confident nod toward the group, Jay, replied: Guess that makes all of us pioneers. Now let’s get busy. Let’s not be late for the frontier.