Computer mouse co-creator dies at 91

Computer mouse co-inventor William English dies at 91
Bill English (Photo: Yahoo Finance)

Bill English, the man who helped to create the computer mouse has died. He was 91 years old. His death was confirmed to the media by his wife. English died of respiratory failure on 26 July in California.

English was born in Kentucky, US in 1929, and studied electrical engineering at university before joining the US Navy.

He built the first mouse in 1963, using an idea put forward by his colleague Doug Engelbart while the pair were working on early computing.

English became the first person to use a mouse when he built the prototype at Engelbart’s research project at the Stanford Research Institute.

However, it was Engelbart’s, which he described as only being “brief notes”, the creation of it was up to English.

His first version was a wooden block with a single button – and underneath, two rolling wheels at 90-degree angles that would record vertical and sideways movement.

However, English’s exciting innovation would only become commonplace two decades later, when personal home computers became popular.

Neither men became wealthy from their invention. It was patented, but owned by their employer, and the intellectual property rights expired in 1987, before the mouse became one of the most common tech devices on the planet.