Computer mouse evolution: Patent designs from the 1970s and 1980s

X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System

U.S. Patent number: 3,541,541
Filed: Jun 21, 1967
Issued: Nov 1970
Inventor: Douglas C. Engelbart
Assignee: Stanford Research Institute

Although the commercial mouse wouldn't make its debut until 1981, the venerable pointing device began its life much earlier. In 1967, Douglas C. Engelbart filed a patent for a device he called an "X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System."

The patent describes the devices as follows:

"An X-Y position indicator control for movement by the hand over any surface to move a cursor over the display on a cathode ray tube, the indicators control generating signals indicating its position to cause a cursor to be displayed on the tube at the corresponding position."

Image taken from U.S. Patent 3,541,541 - Digitized by Google

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...