A Kid and a Dreamer
While still a youngster in knee pants in 1919, John William Mauchly had a habit of reading books and magazines in bed late into the night. The Mauchly family lived in a modest, four-bedroom, one-bath frame house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, long before it became a swank power enclave. The staircase had a landing three steps above the ground floor, and from one or two stairs above the landing, John's parents, Sebastian and Rachel, could see under his bedroom door. If the light was on past bedtime, trouble was at hand.
Young John had a solution to his predicament. He placed a sensor under a loose board on the staircase landing, then wired it to a small light in his room. Whenever someone stepped on the landing, the light went out in his bedroom, giving him time to turn off the main light before