This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

♪ Mighty Mouse Is On The Way ♫

mouseMay2, 1983:

First Microsoft Mouse

1983, 30 years ago, Microsoft releases the 2-button mouse. It was designed for Microsoft Word 1.0. The first mouse would fail, but the second version in 1985 would solidify the mouse on PC’s.

The mouse featured two buttons and was available by itself or would later be bundled with the new Microsoft Word software, which Microsoft would release in September.  Microsoft will manufacture nearly one hundred thousand units of the device, but will only sell five thousand before introducing a second, more popular version of the device in 1985.



Imagine having to type everything, commands etc.

Now, rather than typing MS‑DOS commands, you just move a mouse to point and click your way through screens, or “windows.” Bill Gates says, “It is unique software designed for the serious PC user…”

There are drop-down menus, scroll bars, icons, and dialog boxes that make programs easier to learn and use. You’re able to switch among several programs without having to quit and restart each one. Windows 1.0 ships with several programs, including MS‑DOS file management, Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, and a calendar, card file, and clock to help you manage day-to-day activities. There’s even a game—Reversi. Do not click here to play this game now especially if you are working.

A Bit of Mouse History

The trackball, a related pointing device, was invented by Tom Cranston, Fred Longstaff and Kenyon Taylor working on the Royal Canadian Navy’s DATAR project in 1952. It used a standard Canadian five-pin bowling ball. It was not patented, as it was a secret military project.

First Trackball

First Trackball

Independently, Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) invented the first mouse prototype in 1963, with the assistance of his lead engineer Bill English.  They christened the device the mouse as early models had a cord attached to the rear part of the device looking like a tail and generally resembling the common mouse.   Engelbart never received any royalties for it, as his employer SRI held the patent, which ran out before it became widely used in personal computers.

Douglas Englebart and the first mouse prototype

Douglas Englebart and the first mouse prototype









Just a few weeks before Engelbart released his demo in 1968, a mouse was released that had already been developed and published by the German company Telefunken. Unlike Engelbart’s mouse, the Telefunken model had a ball, as seen in most later models up to the present. From 1970, it was shipped and sold together with Telefunken Computers. Some models from the year 1972 are still well preserved.

Telefunken Mouse

Telefunken Mouse

The second marketed version of an integrated mouse shipped as a part of a computer and intended for personal computer navigation came with the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1981. However, the mouse remained relatively obscure until the 1984 appearance of the Macintosh 128K, which included an updated version of the original Lisa Mouse.

Lisa Single Button Mouse

Lisa Single Button Mouse

In 1982, Microsoft made the decision to make the MS-DOS program Microsoft Word mouse-compatible and developed the first PC-compatible mouse. Microsoft’s mouse shipped in 1983, thus beginning Microsoft Hardware.

Mighty Mouse in Hot Rods (1953) Dang rodders


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