From hand to computer – computer mice

The computer mouse, a device invented more than 50 years ago, is still an indispensable fixture on most desks today. The HNF has assembled 50 pioneering, original and curious mice for its visitors to see, including a fur-wrapped mouse, one made of recycled plastic and a model with an integrated telephone.

The mouse was invented nearly simultaneously in the United States and Germany. One popular mouse today is the wooden model that Douglas Engelbart presented in 1968 in San Francisco as the “X-Y position indicator for a display system.” Scarcely known, on the other hand, is the rolling ball mouse that Rainer Mallebrein developed for AEG-Telefunken. It was offered with the TR 440 mainframe computer beginning in 1968.

The HNF exhibit includes a reproduction of the Engelbart mouse and an original rolling ball mouse. Another technological milestone is the mouse delivered with the Xerox Alto; in 1973 it was the first computer equipped with a graphical user interface.

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