First edition of the ASCII standard is published

17th June 1963
First edition of the ASCII standard is published

The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII, pronounced AS-KEE) is a character-encoding scheme used to represent text in computers, specifying standard definitions for 128 characters. Most modern character-encoding schemes, which support many more characters, are based on ASCII.

Before ASCII, different makes and models of computers had no standard way to communicate with each other. Every manufacturer used a different scheme to represent numbers and the letters of the alphabet. Bob Bemer, an IBM computer scientist, said of the situation:

"We had over 60 different ways to represent characters in computers. It was a real Tower of Babel."

Work on ASCII began on October 6, 1960, with the first meeting of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X3.4 Committee.

In May 1961, Bob Bemer submitted his proposal for a common computer code to ANSI. More than two years later, after many debates and modifications, the ANSI X3.4 Committee published the first edition of the ASCII standard.

Related information:


  • American Standard Code for Information Interchange, ASA X3.4-1963
    Credit: American Standards Association





First edition of the ASCII standard is published

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