A modern computer mouse under purple lighting

A Timeline of Computer Mice

Technology and computers are probably the most rapidly changing thing in society. As a fact, computers have completely changed the way mankind exists in the world. It all started with radar-type devices used in the war, then onwards to calculators and arcade machines, the macintosh and now we have entire industries based on playing video games competitively.


However, in order to use a computer, we need to understand the mouse. The computer mouse has quite a story behind it and has gone through many changes. Let's take a look.


Earliest Examples

Although some of the earliest uses of a mouse-like “trackball” device were around 1943, the mouse that is closer to what we know today was invented in the early 1960s and accredited to Douglas Engelbart.


This mouse was made out of wood.


Today, it looks very ancient and impractical but it was a start. It was square in shape, pretty raised, and had one button. There were large wheels underneath that allowed the mouse to function.


The First Rolling Ball Mouse

After the Engelbart mouse, the first rolling ball mouse was invented for an old graphics terminal. This invention was starting to get closer to the mouse that we have today, although it was very large.


The ball replaced the wheels, meaning that it is able to move in any direction. This was a game changer when it came to how fluid and comfortable moving a mouse is.


You’ll notice that this set the bar for a lot of mice to come after, but as you’ll see - the rolling ball was overtaken by the usual laser mouse. There were a lot of issues though that came with using a rolling ball mouse.


The rolling ball mouse caught on really quickly and was quickly seen in a lot of offices. A lot of the time you’d find that grime and dust easily got stuck underneath. As a practical joke, a lot of people would hide the ball from underneath, making it unable to work.


The Optical Mouse

In 1988, a company called Xerox released the first optical mouse. No longer were there any annoying issues of having gunk stuck under an unreliable rolling ball. The optical mouse is pretty much what we still use to this very day.


These mice use an LED “laser” to detect movement as it was to glide across a table. This led to a much smoother experience and meant that the mouse would last a lot longer in comparison to its older counterparts.


The thing is, this optical mouse wasn’t commercially available until much later on.


Notable Mice Over The Years

Over time there are examples that really change the game, and companies release mice that are unforgettable. Here’s an overview of some top examples.


Logitech P4

This mouse is quite an underdog, but it was a start for Logitech - possibly the number one company for computer peripherals. The mouse was surprisingly minimalistic for its time, and featured the left and right click buttons.


Microsoft’s First Mouse

In 1983, Microsoft released their first mouse which was known as the “green eyed” mouse. This used a steel tracking ball, which meant a smoother experience. The mouse was also a lot sleeker and lighter than other mice on the market for this time. Also, since Microsoft created it, there was an immediate amount of popularity.


Dove Bar Mouse

The late 80s saw Microsoft release their “Dove Bar” mouse. This completely made mice smoother and less raised, and soon caught on to be the most used mouse in any office.


Genius EasyScroll

The 90s saw a lot of changes and often quite gimmicky mice released. But the Genius EasyScroll released in 1995 really set an example for mice that used a scroll wheel. The mid 90s was a time when internet usage really started to increase, and that meant that a lot more people wanted to get their hands on a computer in order to browse the web.


Razer Boomslang

Gamers should all recognise the brand “Razer”. In 1999, Razer released the first gaming mouse. It really was unlike any other mouse for its time. The front part of the mouse that was used for your left and right clicks was quite wide and allowed a huge amount of freedom.


Because the entire mouse was pretty wide, unlike a lot of other mice of the 90s, this meant that gamers were able to have a large range of motion and accuracy. You can still see Razer’s vision for design in their mice that are still made to this day.



To sum everything up, the computer mouse has gone through a lot of changes over the years. Originally, mice were used in a lot of war-related machines and computers, but eventually became an essential part of any office.


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