History in Pix

History in Pictures 0

Overview 1

These historic photos depict elements of Doug Engelbart's work beginning in the early 1960s at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International). For more background, see the brief biography "A Lifetime Pursuit," as well as Engelbart's 1986 lecture The Augmented Knowledge Workshop and its companion paper "Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop" for a guided tour of these and other photos in their historical context. 1a

Additional photo collections can be found on Facebook in the Doug Engelbart Institute Albums and the ARC Bootstrapper Albums, in the MouseSite Photo Gallery at Stanford University, in several of the Online Exhibits at the Computer History Museum, SRI's Engelbart Storykit page, and amongst Engelbart's published papers. 1b

Mouse and workstation 2

For more on this topic, including story, links to archive footage, etc., see our portal page on The Mouse. For deeper background on early display technology, see "Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop" (Engelbart, 1986); and for details on early experiments with pointing devices, see "Display-Selection Techniques for Text Manipulation" (Engelbart et.al. 1967). 2a

t24 Display selection experiments. In search of a best way to select screen objects for interactive display workstations; Engelbart launched experiments managed by Bill English, beginning in late 1963 or early 1964. They selected a variety of available pointing devices -- light pen, track ball, joystick, and Grafacon (pictured here), and also invented one that would roll around on the table top called a 'mouse'. The devices were compared for speed and accuracy, with the mouse coming out on top. Still other prototypes were later built and tested, including foot-pedal operated, knee-operated, even head-operated ("nose pointing"). 2a

t25 Knee brace instead of a mouse. - A contender cooked up by Engelbart's lab for moving the cursor on the display screen. 2b

t01 First mouse. - Doug Engelbart invented the computer mouse in 1963, built by his lead engineer Bill English as part of an experiment to find better ways to point-and-click on a display screen. Made in a shop at SRI, the casing was carved out of wood. It had only one button, which was all there was room for. Subsequent models featured three buttons. Engelbart would have gone for even more buttons, but there was only room for three of the needed micro-switches available in those days. 2c

t21 First mouse perspectives. - Two wheels, perpendicularly mounted to one another in the mouse's innards track the X-Y position that is communicated to the screen. The mouse was patented in 1970 as an "X-Y Position Indicator." Xerox Park is often credited, erroneously so, with the invention of the mouse, but they do have to their credit the trackball that has replaced the perpendicular wheels. 2d

t23 Workstation with mouse.- The mouse was invented for use with display workstations that were pioneered in Engelbart's laboratory, the Augmentation Research Center. This model, of circa 1964-1966, was custom-built for roughly $80,000. A second device with buttons, on the left, is the forerunner of the keyset designed for the rapid input of command codes for manipulation of blocks of text. The keyset is, for that purpose, more efficient than the common keyboard. 2e

t02 First production keyset. - Engelbart invented a document generation and editing system with which a number of people can work together. It was known as the NLS (oN-Line System). It called for streamlining the commands for operating the computer and manipulating documents. Engelbart looked for single-character inputs, such as a d for delete. He then came up with the keyset for chording the command keys with the left hand while the mouse was worked with the right hand. 2f

t23 A cue card for the keyset, or "chord". - The keyset's five keys permit 31 combination of pressed keys. That covers more than the alphabet. Letters, beginning with a, are shown on this cue-card chart. Uppercase characters are obtained by simultaneously pressing the middle mouse button. With the left mouse button pressed, the keyset is used for entering digits and punctuation marks. Tests done in the early '60s showed that temporarily secretarial helpers (known as the "Kelly Girls") mastered the keyset in less than two hours no-matter what method of training was used. They also demonstrated that the regular keyboard is more efficient for straightforward typing, but that for editing and maneuvering text, the mouse-keyset combination is the more efficient. 2g

th2m Production mouse. - This model was used by the Augmentation Research Center group and the customers served over the ARPAnet. It is also the mouse used in the 1968 FJCC demo. 2h

t08 Production workstation and mouse. - The first production model of the mouse was made in 1967. It had a plastic casing on a metal base plate. Although the casing was originally designed for the cord to be attached to the wrist side of the device, it is seen here with the cord coming out from the other end. 2i

t30 Ergonomic keyboard console. - This console was custom-made by Herman Miller furniture company of Zeeland, Michigan, and used during the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference at which Doug Engelbart gave his historical demonstration of on-line computing. The setup included a tilt-swivel office chair. 2j

t22 Doug Engelbart and mice. - Engelbart, in his office at Tymshare, shows the original mouse next to the then latest, 1984 model. Upon acquiring the NLS co-operative text-editing system from SRI, Tymshare renamed the system Augment. 2k

ARC lab environment 3

For background on the experimental environment in the Augmentation Resources Center lab see "Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop" (Engelbart, 1986). 3a

t10 tn1 Experimental workplace and closeup of a knowledge worker. - Engelbart's Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at SRI experimented with various office and seating arrangements, and with several keyboard-display configurations, even beyond the bounds of existing conventions. 3a

t32 Engelbart in his ARC office. - Doug Engelbart at his first personal display workstation, - This station was installed in his own office in 1974. Until then, all the ARC's display workstations were situated in an open arena shared by all his engineers. 3b

t26 t03

Pictures (top and bottom) show Doug and staff using NLS to support 1967 meeting with sponsors -- probably the first computer-supported conference. The facility was rigged for a meeting with representatives of the ARC's research sponsors NASA, Air Force, and ARPA. A U-shaped table accommodated setup CRT displays positioned at the right height and angle. Each participant had a mouse for pointing. Engelbart could display his hypermedia agenda and briefing materials, as well as the documents in his laboratory's knowledge base. See also Father of Groupware and Working Together. 3c

t32 Bill English at the ARC office. Bill English, Engelbart's lead engineer, working at the ARC office using the ergonomic workstation. 3d

th2 NIC archives (1971). - The host mainframe at ARC was the second such unit linked into the ARPANet, which was the precursor of the Internet. Engelbart's lab had been assigned by ARPA to run the Network Information Center (NIC), which has since grown into the InterNIC. This photo shows the NIC archives vault with its library of NIC publications and backup tapes (magnetic 7- or 9-track tapes). 3e

t27 t28 Engelbart conducting a workshop (standing and seated). - Circa 1967-68. 3e

t15 Tree of evolution. - Chart shows progression of ideas from Engelbart's Augmentation Research Lab at SRI (SRI-ARC) migrating to Xerox, the Apple Computer Co., and beyond. (Slide by Charles Irby who migrated from Engelbart's lab to Xerox PARC, Metaphor, and is now at SGI.) 3f

FJCC 1968 "Mother of All Demos" 4

See our 1968 Demo page for a bit of background and links to the demo and other related resources. 4a

t31 San Francisco's Civic Auditorium all set for the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference. - It is here that Doug Engelbart received a standing ovation for his demonstration of interactive computing. His console in this hall, which held about 1000 people, was connected by telephone line to his lab at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. 4a

t29 At the 1968 FJCC demo. - Screen shot of Engelbart's now-famous presentation in San Francisco. 4b

t11 t12 t14 Pioneering firsts included computers for interactive 'knowledge work', the computer mouse, hypermedia. - An image of a mouse being manipulated is superimposed over a screen image, as projected on the large screen for the audience. 4f

t13 First ever video teleconference. - A screen shot of simultaneous on-screen video teleconferencing and shared screen shows ARC's Bill Paxton piped in from the SRI lab in Menlo Park as he demonstrates NLS's information retrieval capability. 4e

t09 Forty miles from the conference site. - Display-driver equipment room at Engelbart's SRI laboratory in Menlo Park during a rehearsal for 1968 FJCC demonstration. From left to right, unknown woman, Martin Hardy, Dave Casseres, Ed van de Reit, unknown man, Stewart Brand, Roger Bates, Bill English. 4c

t04 Using early display technology. - At the ARC lab in Menlo Park, a commercial camera was used to capture and pipe the computer's display imagery to the desired workstation real-time. Up to twelve workstations could be served thusly simultaneously from a bank of such cameras. For the demo, the live capture piped to Doug's workstation was transmitted via phone lines to San Francisco's Civic Auditorium 40 miles away, onto Doug's monitor where he sat on stage and also projected on a huge screen for the audience benefit. An engineer is seen adjusting the camera's focus. 4d

NLS/Augment architecture 5

t17 Distributed network model. 5a

t16 Client server architecture. 5b

Images to illustrate concepts 6

t19 t20 Tricycle vs bicycle. - Engelbart used these images to illustrate the difference between ease of use and high-performance. The tricycle may be easier to learn and use, but it is hard work to travel even a short distance. Riding a bicycle calls for considerably more skill, with bumps and bruises expected as one learns, but the effort-to-performance ratio is dramatically higher. The high-performance knowledge workers of the future, as perceived by Engelbart, are expected to be very skillful. 6a

t18 t35 Skiing on birch slats vs downhill skiing provides a similar analogy for comparing a high-performance worker flying through information space as compared to plodding with a one-button mouse and menus without the prospect of ever graduating to anything faster. 6b

t39 t40 Example of "de-augmention". - Illustrating how our writing abilities would be "de-augmented" if we used a pencil encumbered with a brick, thereby significantly slowing down the writing and/or enducing the writer to produce larger script. Illustrations from D.C. Engelbart, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, 1962 6c

t38 Potter's wheel. - An example of how any trade or profession has evolved tools and methods in which the tradespeople become extremely proficient in their use. The knowledge work profession is relatively young and less evolved, and professionals are not expected to become proficient soon except in the most rudimentary skills. 6d

t37 Helicopter pilot. - For those who are not highly trained or certified, the services of a pilot are the answer. Passengers are not expected to fly a helicopter; the pilot does that. Similarly, we should expect executives and average knowledge workers wishing to fly through complex or unfamiliar information space to employ cyber pilots. Those can take them were they need to go, help find what is needed, give guided tours, etc. This assistance could quite easily be done remotely, for example, by video teleconferencing as shown above. 6e

t36 Hangglider. - Engelbart often concluded his presentations with this inspirational parable of soaring elegantly up above the horizon. 6f

Behind the scenes at ARC 7

t05 t06 Working on the hardware (top), and 1969-era teletype with ARPANET "Interface Message Processor" or "IMP" (bottom).

Presidential Award 8

See our National Medal of Technology page for a description of Doug's award and ceremonies. 8a

tDCE_pres President Clinton and Douglas Engelbart
Courtesy The White House.

tDCE_pres_group President Clinton, Secretary Mineta, and NMT Laureates
Courtesy The White House.

tDCE_SComm Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta and Douglas Engelbart
Courtesy National Science Technology Medal Foundation.

More Photos 9

Doug Engelbart holding the original mouse (1996)

Photo credit: David Butow-Saba for US News & World Report

This photo first published in the US News article The man who sees the future, by Eric Ransdell, May 20, 1996 9a

Doug Engelbart at the 2006 HyperScope release party - photo by Peter Kaminski

Photo credit: Peter Kaminski

Taken at the HyperScope Release Party at SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, September 2006. 9a

More Albums

DEI on Facebook
ARC on Facebook

Other Institutions

Stanford MouseSite
Computer History Museum

Iconic Favs

Doug Engelbart - 1984

First mouse - 1964

Team meeting - 1967

Bill English - 1968

The demo - 1968

The demo - 1968

The demo - 1968

Doug Engelbart holding the original mouse (1996)
US News - 1996