first graphic system was in mid 1950 the US Air Force's SAGE (Semi
Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system. The system
was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln
The system involved the use of CTR displays to show computer-processed
radar data and other information.
J. Hanratty known as "the Father of CADD/CAM" for his pioneering
contributions to the field of computer-aided design and manufacturing,
developed in 1957 PRONTO, the first commercial numerical-control
1959 the CalComp company is founded.
1960, Ivan Sutherland used TX-2 computer produced at MIT's Lincoln
Laboratory to produce a project called SKETCHPAD, which is considered
the first step to CAD industry.
established in his garage in Denver on 15 January 1962, Auto-trol
and manufactureed the first product, a digitizer. Mr. Barnes named
the company Auto-trol as a shortened version of automated control,
which he had given to a product he developed in the 1950s.
projects were developed at ITEK and General Motors.
The ITEK project was called The Electronic Drafting Machine
and used PDP-1 computer from Digital Equipment Corp., a vector -refresh
display and a large disk memory device used to refresh the graphic
display. Inputs commands were done with an electronic light pen.
While at General Motors Research Laboratories in the 1960s, Dr.
Hanratty was a co-designer of DAC (Design Automated by Computer),
the first production interactive graphics manufacturing system.
1960 McDonnell Douglas Automation Company (McAuto) founded. It will
play a major role on CAD developments with the introduction of CADD
first Computer-Aided Design programs used simple algorithms to display
patterns of lines at first in two dimensions, and then in 3-D.
Early work in this direction had been produced by Prof. Charles
Eastman at Carnegie-Mellon University, the Building Description
System is a library of several hundred thousands architectural elements,
which can be assembled and drawn on screen into a complete design
1962, SLS Environectics in Chicago began development of the Man-Mac
machine, intended to draft plans for interior office space.
mid 1960 large computers characterized the period, vector display
terminals and software development done in assembly language.
only significant attempt to create a commercially CAD system was
Control Data Corporation's Digigraphics division, a successor to
the previously mentioned ITEK.
The system costs half million dollars and were sold in few units.
March 1965 Donald Welbourn heard a lecture to the Engineering Society
by Strachey of the Mathematical Laboratory (now the Department of
Computer Science) on the early work at MIT on Computer Aided Design
He was so fascinated by this that the following morning he caught
the Head of the Cambridge University Engineering Department, Prof.
J.F.Baker (later the Lord Baker of Trumpington) in the tea-room,
told him about it, and said that we must get started in this field.
Baker was enthusiastic, and by the end of the year, the Science
Research Council had awarded Baker and Welbourn a grant of £65,000
with which to start work on CAD.
Initially work was done on the PDP11 graphics computer and a joint
team was formed under the leadership of C.A.Lang.
The first research student was A.R.Forrest, who tackled the problem
of how to define the blended intersection of two cylinders.
The conceptual breakthrough of defining objects in terms of 3D reference
lines, analogous to the draughtsman's centre line, together with
cross-sections normal to them, was produced by S.Matthews, seconded
by the Ford Motor Co.
Dr. Jason R Lemon founds SDRC in Cincinnati.
1968 Donald Welbourn, now the Director in Industrial Co-Operation
at Cambridge University, had the vision to see the possibility of
using computers to assist pattern makers to solve the problems of
modelling difficult 3D shapes.
Today we take for granted 3D modelling, in 1968 only crude 2D drawing
systems were available using terminals linked to large main frame
Initial work was sponsored by Ford but finding money to support
the development was a constant problem for Donald Welbourn.
Only six years later he managed to obtain sponsorship from Control
Data in Germany, and Delta Engineering Group. Control Data offered
DUCT initially as a bureau services, especially to two of its largest
German customers Volkswagen and Daimler Benz.
David Evans and Ivan Sutherland founded in 1968 Evans and Sutherland.
Hanratty founded United Computing in 1969. In the same year MAGI
company is founded and releases Syntha Vision considered by many
to be the first commercial solid modeler program.
1969 were founding Computervision and Applicon companies.
Computervision was created to produce systems for production drafting
and in the same year it sold the first commercial CAD system to