In the 1950s and 60s giant mainframe computers gradually became a common sight in large companies - but it was not until the mid-70s that the idea of home computing started to take off.
Here - Professor David Reynolds looks at the origins of the personal computer, and how a group of enthusiasts in northern California pioneered products that have become part of everyday life today.
Photos courtesy Science Photo Library, Getty Images, AP, PA, DigiBarn Computer Museum and Bob Lash. Music by Herman's Hermits, Fleetwood Mac, America, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston, The Eagles and courtesy KPM Music.
Slideshow by Paul Kerley. Publication date 2 July 2009.
Professor David Reynolds presents
America, Empire of Liberty
- a landmark series for BBC Radio 4 on the history of the United States.
This slideshow features extracts from the episode The Information Revolution, which can be heard on the BBC iPlayer until Wednesday 8 July.
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