On 02/28/2016 06:32 PM, Jules Richardson wrote:
Does anyone know the origins of the term 'motherboard'?
I've always associated it with computers and assumed that
it started appearing somewhere around 1980, with the
fading out of passive backplane systems and arrival of
machines which put more functionality onto a 'core' PCB
into which other cards were plugged. I don't recall ever
seeing it used when referencing earlier big iron, but
maybe I've just missed it.
Computers existed way before 1980, and had many boards
plugged into wire-wrapped backplanes or motherboards. I'm
guessing the terminology was company-specific. IBM had
their own name for EVERYTHING, for instance. They did NOT
use the term motherboard, as far as I know. The SMS systems
like 709x, 1401, etc. had totally passive backplanes. The
SLT systems (System/360, 1130/1800, etc.) had passive
backplanes, but the local interconnect was done mostly with
etched traces on multilayer PC boards, which also
distributed power to the cards. They just called these
backplane sections "boards" and the SLT circuit boards that
plugged into them were "cards". Not sure where I first saw
the term motherboard, or if it really implied it had
substantial active circuitry on it.