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Douglas Carl Engelbart – Inventor of the Computer Mouse


By PDX People

PORTLAND, Ore. – If you’re reading this article on a computer, chances are that you most likely are using a mouse to click on links, websites, and do the wide variety of tasks that you use your computer for on a daily basis, but what you may not know is that the first computer mouse was invented by Douglas Carl Engelbart, an inventor from Portland Oregon.

Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon on January 30, 1925. He was the middle of three children, The family lived in Portland, Oregon, in his early years, and moved to the surrounding countryside along Johnson Creek when he was 8. His father died one year later. He graduated from Portland’s Franklin High School in 1942.

Midway through his college studies at Oregon State College, he was drafted into the United States Navy, serving two years as a radar technician in the Philippines.  He returned to Oregon State College and completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1948.

Human-Computer Interaction

Carl Engelbart (1925 – 2013) was a true pioneer in the field of human-computer interaction, meaning that he saw the computer as a tool that could ultimately make our lives better and easier if we continued to improve on computer hardware.

By the 1950’s computers were still massive machines that filled up entire rooms but Carl Engelbart knew that they could make lives easier, especially when it came to production, and his discoveries led him to create the first computer mouse.

The First Computer Visionary

There’s no doubt that men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are considered by many to be the first computer visionaries because they took what was considered to be an anomaly at the time and turned it into something that now is in the home, or pocket, of just about everyone on earth, but before Gates and Jobs were trailblazing, Carl Engelbart paved the way for them.

Besides his creation of the first computer mouse, Engelbart also was an internet pioneer because he created one of the first computer networks and he also developed precursors to the first graphical user interfaces as well.

Mother Of all Demos

Over the years he played an integral part in 1968’s “Mother of all Demos” which showed the world the principles of human computing that we know today including graphics, hypertext, windows, efficient navigation, and he continued to receive recognition for his contribution to computer technology over the years, including the National Medal of Technology award that he received in the year 2000.

Although his name isn’t mentioned in the same circles as Henry Ford or Thomas Edison, Carl Engelbart deserves to be remembered as one of the most important inventors of the 20th Century because the computer mouse is one of the most well-known pieces of technology that’s used around the world to this day and our lives would be a lot different without it.


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