This week in technology history 24 June – 30 June 2017
1948 – The FCC authorization of recording devices in connection with interstate or foreign telephone service went into effect. Users of the service had to be given adequate notice including a tone warning signal at regular intervals.
1948 – Bell Labs introduced the point-contact transistor demonstrated by its inventors, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at a press conference in Murray Hill, NJ.
1930 – The first round-the-world broadcast from the U.S. used a series of shortwave radio relays and took only one-eighth of a second, carrying the voice of Clyde D. Wagoner. Beginning in Schenectady, New York, the signal from W2XAD was relayed through Holland, Java, Australia, across the Pacific Ocean and back to Schenectady. *
1975 – Steve Wozniak built the first prototype of the Apple I, the first computer to show letters on the screen as you typed them.
1965 – Officials in the US and Europe conducted the first commercial telephone conversation over satellite Early Bird I. The satellite also began operating for television transmission “live via satellite.”
1972 – Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney filed incorporation papers for Atari, Inc. and got ready to release its first product, a game called Pong.
1967 – The world’s first ATM was installed at a Barclays Bank branch in Enfield Town, England, United Kingdom.
1932 – In Britain, the Baird Laboratories exhibited a range of domestic TV sets. The screen size was 9 inches by 4 inches.
1847 – New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires. This enabled the New York newspapers to receive foreign news brought by Cunard’s steamers to the Boston port about 190 miles away. When the Cambria next arrived in Boston, three New York Newspapers on 18 Jul 1846 carried identical brief first-day telegraphic summaries of the Cambia’s news*.
1974 – At 8:01 AM, a supermarket cashier scanned a 10-pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum across a bar-code scanner at Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was the first product ever checked out by Universal Product Code.
1954 – At 5:30 PM the world’s first nuclear power station was connected to the power grid in Obninsk, U.S.S.R., a small town 60 miles south of Moscow.
1888 – The first American patent for a gasoline-driven automobile was issued to Karl Benz of Mannheim, Baden, Germany (U.S. 385,087). The application, filed 27 Jul 1886, was titled “Self-Propelled Vehicle,” with first name spelled as Carl. He had applied 29 Jan 1886 for a German patent for his Benz Patent Motorwagen, a three-wheeler vehicle with a Benz-designed gasoline engine.
1967 – The very first Consumer Electronics Show opened in New York occupying the Americana and New York Hilton Hotels. It was devoted to home entertainment electronics and featured such advances as portable color TVs and video tape recorders.
1951 – 4:35 pm, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) televised the one hour premiere of commercial colour television with a program named Premiere. It was transmitted, using the CBS Field Sequential System (not Compatible Color), from New York to four other cities: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
1994 – Geffen Records released the first major label song for digital download. Aerosmith’s “Head First” was available on CompuServe as a .WAV file. It took more than an hour to download.
1963 – The first demonstration of a home video recorder was made at the BBC News Studios in London. A Telcan, short for television in a can, could record up to 20 minutes of black and white television using quarter-inch tape on a reel to reel system.
1930 – The first radar detection of aircraft took place in the Anacostia area of Washington, DC.
This week in technology history 10 June – 16 June 2017
1977 – Software Development Laboratories was incorporated in Redwood Shores, California, by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates. They later came up with the catchier name, Oracle.
1911 – The Tabulating Company (founded by Herman Hollerith), the Computing Scale Company, and the International Time Recording Company merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in Endicott, New York. They would later change the company name to International Business Machines, and later just IBM.
1949 – Jay Forrester wrote down a proposal for core memory in his notebook. Core memory was the standard for computer memory until advances in semiconductors in the 1970s.
1869 – John Wesley Hyatt and Isaiah Hyatt were issued a U.S. patent for the first plastic, which they called “Improved Method of Making Solid Collodion” (No. 91,341). In their method, soluble cotton, pyroxyline, or prepared cellulose was placed into a strong cylinder or suitably shaped mold. Then “the employment of a very small quantity of ether or other appropriate solvent, and dissolving pyroxyline therewith, under a heavy pressure finished the product.
1951 – The Univac1 was unveiled in Washington, DC. and dedicated as the world’s first commercial computer. The Univac was manufactured for the U.S. Census Bureau by Remington Rand Corp. The massive computer was 8 feet high, 7-1/2 feet wide and 14-1/2 feet long. It could retain a maximum of 1000 numbers and was able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, sort, collate and take square and cube roots. Its transfer rate to and from magnetic tape was 10,000 characters per second.
1884 – New York was the first state in the U.S. to enact legislation requiring the burying of utility wires. It required that in any incorporated city with a population over 500,000 “all telegraph, telephonic and electric light wires and cables … be placed under the surface of the streets, lanes and avenues.”
1822 – Charles Babbage announced his difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables.”
1944 – several patents for the wire recorder were issued to Marvin Camras. Wire recorders were the precursor of the much easier to use magnetic tape recorders.
1925 – Charles Jenkins publicly demonstrated synchronized transmission of silhouette pictures and sound, becoming the first person to demonstrate TV in the US.
1936 – The first radio station with 500,000-watt power began testing as W8XAR in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Test broadcasts took place from 1 AM to 6 AM. The station is now known as KDKA.
1897 – The Swiss Army Knife was patented by Carl Elsener.
1837 – British inventors William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone received a patent for their electromagnetic telegraph. Their invention was put in public service in 1839, five years before the more famous Morse telegraph.
1997 – Philippe Kahn took the first cameraphone photograph of his newborn daughter and then wirelessly transmitted the photo to more than 2,000 people around the world. Kahn went on to form the company LightSurf.
1978 – Texas Instruments introduced the Speak & Spell, the first electronic duplication of the human vocal tract on a single chip of silicon. It used linear predictive coding to make a mathematical model of the human vocal tract and predict a speech sample.
1895 – The first U.S. patent for a gasoline-driven automobile by a U.S. inventor was issued to Charles E. Duryea. Early in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon Co. set up shop in Springfield, Mass. to manufacture multiple units to a gasolinepowered vehicle that he built with his brother, Frank. The company’s assembly of 13 identical machines that year is considered to be the first instance of serial production of American cars.
1952 – Mylar® was registered as a DuPont trademark for an extraordinarily strong polyester film that grew out of the development of Dacron® in the early 1950s. During the 1960s it steadily replaced cellophane because of its superior strength, heat resistance, and excellent insulating properties.
1943 – Hungarians László and Georg Bíró, while living in Argentina, patented the first successful implementation of the ballpoint pen.
1924 – The first U.S. portable electrical stethoscope was demonstrated in Chicago, Ill. to amplify the sounds of the human body. It was designed by the Western Electric Co. with Bell System engineers and physiologist Dr. Horatio B. Williams. It was subsequently marketed in Oct 1925.
This week in technology history 27 May – 2 June 2017
1896 – The first radio patent was issued to Guglielmo Marconi in England for his wireless telegraphy apparatus (U.K. 12,039) for “Improvements in Transmitting Electrical Impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus Therefor.” Improvements are given in a later Marconi patent,
1889 – A hydroelectric power plant generated alternating current electricity which was for the first time made available to consumers at a significant distance from its origin. A 13 mile power line linked the Willamette Falls Electric Co. power plant to Portland, Ore. Two 300 h.p. Stilwell & Bierce waterwheels together drove a single phase, 720 kilowatt generator.
1961 – Regular FM stereo radio broadcasting with a multiplexed signal began in the U.S. In Schenectady, NY, WGFM (owned by G.E.) was first on the air, at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time. Zenith’s WEFM in Chicago, IL, followed and KMLA in Los Angeles, CA, where midnight local time arrived relatively one or three hours later due to time zone differences. Each scheduled a few hours of stereo broadcasts.
1955 – A solar energy battery was first shipped from an American commercial factory, National Fabricated Products, Inc., Chicago, Ill. The battery was disc shaped, about the size of a half-dollar, with two terminals. It was hermetically sealed, and provided about half of a volt of electricity.
1944 – The Colossus Mark 2 was put into service at Bletchley Park in Great Britain, just in time for the invasion at Normandy.
1890 – The US Census Bureau began using Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine for the first time. This gave Hollerith the basis to later found his Tabulating Machine Company, which was one of four companies that merged to form IBM.
1941 – Electric eye detectors were first used to measure high-jumping height attained. The equipment had Amateur Athletic Union approval. It was designed by General Electric engineers. A light source, which could be moved up or down the vertical pole stand on one side, produced four parallel light beams, an inch apart, focused on four electric eyes on the other vertical stand.
1943 – Chief consultant John Mauchly and chief engineer John Presper Eckert began leading the military commission on the new computer ENIAC. They would take one year to design the computer and 18 months to build it.
1987 – North American Philips Company introduced the compact disc video (CDV), a 12 cm (4-3/4 inch) CD-sized implementation of the earlier Laser Vision format (previously available in 20 cm (8″) and 30 cm (12″) since 1977). The CD-V discs were gold rather than silver. They used the same full motion video system (analog, about 5-6 minutes) as LaserVision but with additional CD digital audio (about 20 minutes).
1966 – NASA launched Surveyor 1. It achieved the first soft landing on the Moon by the United States and demonstrated the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the lunar surface for the manned missions to follow.
1876 – Thomas A. Edison was issued three patents for “Duplex Telegraphs” (U.S. No. 178,221; -3). These were for “an Improvement in Duplex Telegraphs” which enable a transmitted signal be sent on the same wire that could be receiving a signal.
1992 – John Sculley introduced the Apple Newton at CES. The first one unveiled on stage had dead batteries and didn’t work.
1919 – Sir Arthur Eddington led a team in Africa to observe the total eclipse, while another team observed it in Brazil, to measure how the sun bent star light during a solar eclipse. The results confirmed Einstein’s theory of Relativity.
1959 – A committee of government, military and business computer experts met at the Pentagon and laid the foundations for the COBOL computer language.
1936 – Alan Turing submitted his paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” for publication in which he postulated hypothetical Turing Machines would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm.
1931 – The first U.S. full scale wind tunnel for testing airplanes was opened in Langley Field Research Center, Va. In the 30-ft high by 60-ft wide tunnel, flying characteristics of full-size airplanes were tested in air speeds up to 115-mph. The air was driven by two propellers downstream, each over 35-ft in diameter, powered by 4,000 hp electric motors.
1901 – The Edison Storage Battery Company was organized. Thomas Edison aimed to improve the widely used lead cell batteries of the time, but he had another target for his effort: a practical battery to power electric automobiles. He converted an old brass mill in Glen Ridge, N.J., for manufacturing the cells, and built a chemical plant to supply materials near Newark.
This week in technology history 20 May – 26 May 2017
1981 – Satya Pal Asija was the first in the U.S. to receive a patent for computer software for his computer program Swift-Answer (an acronym for “Special Word Indexed Full Text Alpha Numeric Storage With Easy Retrieval”) that allows users to retrieve narrative information from computers in a human-like manner.
1903 – Granville T. Woods, a famous black American inventor, received a patent for an “Electric Railway (U.S. No. 729,481). Woods held numerous patents relating to the electric railway, electrical devices, brakes, and telegraphy for railways.
1874 – Thomas A. Edison was issued a patent for a device concerning “Automatic Telegraphy and in Perforators Therefor” (U.S. No. 151,209). This was just one of many patents on telegraphy he obtained early in his inventing career. He had applied for his first patent on 28 Nov 1868 for an “Electrographic Vote-Recorder.” A couple of months later, his second patent application, on 25 Jan 1869, began a period of nine years of patenting inventions primarily related to printing telegraphs, electromagnetics, switches and circuit for telegraphy.
1989 – The first Magellan GPS NAV 1000s were shipped to retailers. They ran for a few hours on six AA batteries, and sold for $3,000.
1844 – the first news communicated by telegraph in the U.S. was sent 80 miles to the Baltimore Patriot, Maryland, from Washington, D.C. giving the information that “One o’clock. There has just been made a motion in the House to go into Committee of the Whole on the Oregon question. Rejected, Ayes 79, Nays 86.”
1960 – MIDAS II, the first American surveillance satellite to successfully reach orbit, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Although intended to be part of an early missile warning system, circling the earth every 94 minutes, its telemetry system failed two days later, and the satellite never began service. A few months earlier, on 26 Feb 1960, the first MIDAS (Missile Detection Alarm System) satellite launch ended with accident of its Atlas Agena-A booster, and it never reached orbit. The first operationally successful surveillance satellite was GRAB, launched 22 Jun 1960.
1940 – R.V. Jones, a scientist with air intelligence, tells the government that intersecting radio beams could guide Luftwaffe bombers to their targets.
1908 – John Bardeen was born. He grew up to win the Nobel Prize twice, once for inventing the transistor, and once for figuring out superconductivity.
1903 – The European capital cities of Paris and Rome were linked by telephone for first time.
1973 – Robert Metcalfe wrote a memo describing a way to transmit data from the early generation of personal computers to a new device, the laser printer. He called his multipoint data communications system Ethernet, and today it continues to dominate as the standard computer network. A U.S. patent for “a Multipoint data communication system with collision detection” was issued 13 Dec 1977 ( 4,063,220) to Metcalfe, and others who developed the Ethernet. The patent was assigned to the Xerox Corporation.
1964 – The Am-Quote system capable of giving subscribing stock brokers automated voice quotes over the telephone was described in Time magazine. It replaced the need to search paper tape. A computer built by Teleregister Corp. stored the stock quotation information from the floor of New York’s American Stock Exchange. A stock’s code numbers could be dialled by the broker, and the computer responded by repeating the stock’s code letters and the latest information including bid price, high and low.
1877 – a trial test of a telephone was given in the Pennsylvania Railroad Company shops by associates of Alexander Graham Bell. The company was impressed by the demonstration and became the first to make a permanent installation.
1990 – the Hubble Space Telescope sent its first photograph from space, an image of a double star 1,260 light years away
1952 – IBM announced the Model 701, the first computer designed for scientific calculation. The 701 used electrostatic storage tube memory and kept information on magnetic tape. It sold much better than expected with 19 governments and large companies snapping them up.
1939 – transatlantic airmail service was inaugurated. A four-engine Pan American airplane, the Yankee Clipper, flew from Poert Washington, N.Y. via Horta to Lisbon, Portugal. It also represented the first scheduled air service.
1927 – at 7:40 a.m., Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the “Spirit of St. Louis” monoplane on his historic first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He arrived in France thirty-three and one-half hours later.
1856 – The first telegraph ticker that successfully printed type was issued a patent for the inventor, David Edward Hughes of Louisville, Ky. (U.S. No. 14,917). The following year, he sold the rights for $100,000 to the Commercial Co.
This week in technology history 13 May – 19 May 2017
1961 – Venera 1 became the first manmade object to fly by another planet, passing within 100,000 KM of Venus. The probe did not send back any data having lost contact with Earth a month earlier.
1959 – The first submarine with two nuclear reactors was completed. The USS Triton had two water-cooled General Electric nuclear reactors to power electricity generators, which powered the propellers. The Triton was 447-ft long, 37-ft wide, manned by 148 officers and crew and had a cruising range of 110,000 miles.
1910 – The Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet, the most intimate contact between the Earth and any comet in recorded history. The event was anticipated with dire predictions.
1857 – William Francis Channing of Boston and Moses Gerrish Farmer, of Salem received the first US patent for an “electromagnetic fire alarm telegraph for cities”
1923 – The first patent application for the rotary-dial telephone was submitted in France by Antoine Barnay.
1954 – The first shovel load of earth was dug on the Meyrin site of the first CERN Laboratory building in Geneva.
1943 – The US Army and the University of Pennsylvania signed a contract to develop ENIAC. It was planned to use vacuum tubes and calculate ballistic firing tables.
1912 – The London newspaper, The Times, reported that new automatic telephone equipment was in place at Epsom, to be tested in the afternoon of the following day. The experiment, the first of its kind in Great Britain, provided 320 Epson telephone subscribers the ability to dial other numbers in the town themselves instead of having to ask the operator to get the number for them.
16 May 1960 – While working at the Hughes Research Laboratories of the Hughes Aircraft Company in Malibu, California, physicist Theodore Maiman used an artificial ruby to create the first laser.
1946 – At the meeting of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE, now IEEE) in San Francisco, Jack Mullin demonstrated the world’s first professional-quality tape recorded in the US.
1939 – The National Broadcasting Company televised the first sporting event, the second game of a doubleheader baseball game between Columbia and Princeton. About 400 TV sets were capable of receiving the broadcast. Princeton won 2-1 in the 10th.
1888 – Emile Berliner demonstrated his flat disc audio recording and reproduction in a lecture he gave to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which was printed in the institute’s Journal (vol. 125, no. 60).
1987 – The Soviet Union launched the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 250 in Kazakhstan. It failed to reach orbit. Polyus was designed to destroy SDI satellites with a megawatt carbon-dioxide laser.
1992 – Texas Instruments decided to take on the dominance of Intel, announcing its own 486-microprocessor chip. Cyrix corp. designed the chip for TI, but it proved unsuccessful in weakening Intel’s dominance.
1973 – The United States launched Skylab, the country’s first space station as part of the Apollo space program.
1963 – A laser light beam link first carried a TV signal during a network broadcast. It was demonstrated during the CBS program I’ve Got a Secret. The signal from a studio camera was used to modulate a laser beam that travelled two feet to a receiver that decoded the signal from the beam. That signal was relayed via the control room for the national broadcast.
1958 – The trademark “Velcro” was registered, protecting the name of the multipurpose material that manages cables everywhere.
1939 – Franklin Doolittle put experimental station W1XPW on the air, making it the first commercial FM radio station in the United States. The station later became WDRC-FM in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
1890 – Nikola Tesla was issued a patent for an electric generator.
This week in technology history 22 April – 28 April 2017
1930 – The first U.S. motion picture of the 1.5 minute totality of an eclipse of the sun was taken from an airplane flying about 18,000 feet over at Honey Lake, California. The flight was sponsored by the U.S. Naval Observatory, and carried out by Lt. Leslie E. Gehres and Chief Photographer J.M.F. Haase of the U.S. Navy.
1896 – The first U.S. patent for an addressing machine, the Addressograph (No. 558,936) was issued to J.S. Duncan of Sioux City, Iowa developed from the invention he made in 1892. His earlier model consisted of a hexagonal wood block upon which was glued rubber type torn from rubber stamps. While revolving, the block simultaneously inked the next name and address ready for the next impression.
1852 – The first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling indicating a fire’s location was placed into operation in Boston. It proved very effective in saving lives and avoiding great loss of property resulting from fire. The success of Boston’s fire alarm system was soon apparent, and the system spread across the United States and Canada.
1981 – The first mouse integrated with a personal computer made its appearance with the Xerox Star workstation.
1898 – The first Weather Bureau kite was launched from Topeka, Kansas, and by the end of the year, 16 additional kite stations were attempting daily, early morning, simultaneous observations. The kites were large “box types” with dimensions of 8 feet long, 7 feet wide and 3 feet high. As many as seven kites would be attached to the kite wire during an observation.
1895 – Professor Charles F. Marvin, a future chief of the Weather Bureau, began experimenting with kites for routine use in the Bureau. In 1896 he perfected his kite meteorograph, an instrument capable of measuring and recording temperature, pressure and humidity. These measurements were recorded by pens tracings on paper, or on a smoked copper sheet, which was attached to a clock rotated drum.
1954 – Mass testing of the Salk polio vaccine began, involving about 1.8 million children.
1921 – The first U.S. broadcast of the weather was made from St. Louis, Missouri, over station WEW for the federal government.
1884 – The New York Times reported that “sending mails by electricity” was to be investigated by the Post Office Committee of the US House, by providing for contracts with an existing telegraph company. The article promised it could lead to 10-cent telegrams!
1882 – The photophone was demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter. In their device, a mirrored silver disc was made to vibrate by speech from a speaking tube. Light reflected off the disc was focused by a parabolic dish onto a selenium photocell.
1983 – Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Pluto, the outermost planet, to continue its voyage into the universe beyond our solar system
1961 – Robert Noyce received the US patent for the silicon-based integrated circuit. He went on to found the Intel Corporation with Gordon E. Moore in 1968.
1957 – An experimental sodium reactor (SRE) began self-sustaining nuclear fission with 350ºF sodium in the core. By 12 Nov 1957 if first provided electricity to Moorpark, California. It achieved full power on 21 May 1958. The reactor, which used sodium as coolant, was located in the Santa Susana Mountains, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, California.
1990 – The Space Shuttle Discovery launched with the Hubble Space Telescope on board. The following day, Hubble was released into space.
1981 – At a meeting called “Apple II Forever“, Apple introduced the portable Apple IIc. The machine came with 128 kilobytes of RAM and a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive.
1981 – the first IBM personal computer was introduced.
1962 – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved the first transcontinental satellite relay of a television signal, between Camp Parks, California and Westford, Massachusetts. The picture quality was poor, but the images were recognizable.
1877 – A U.S. patent was issued to Charles F. Brush for his first dynamo, which he had first assembled in the summer of
1876 – The patent was titled Improvement in Magneto-Electric Machines, (US No. 189997). Brush was a U.S. inventor and industrialist who also devised an electric arc lamp and a generator that produced a variable voltage controlled by the load and a constant current.
1962 – The first American satellite to reach the moon surface, the Ranger IV, was launched at 3:50pm from Cape Canaveral, Florida. As intended, it impacted on the moon three days later at 7:50pm on 26 Apr, travelling at 5,963 mph.
1951 – The Associated Press started using their new “teletypesetting” service in Charlotte, NC. The news article information was transmitted using a perforated, paper tape. At the receiving end of the circuit, a punch produced a copy of the perforated tape. This tape could then be used by typesetting machines.
1941 – Ray Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam, New York. In 1971 he would expand SNDMSG to work between computers on the Arpanet, which would become email. He chose the @ symbol to separate the recipient’s name from the computer domain.
1940 – A patent was granted to Herman Anthony for a leak-proof dry-cell battery. The patent was assigned to Ray-o-Vac.
1993 – NCSA Mosaic 1.0 was released, becoming the first web browser to achieve popularity among the general public.
1913 – Thomas Wright of Jersey City, NJ patented a “body elevating mechanism.” to load ice into refrigerator railway cars. It was a truck with an extension top that could be adjusted to any position. Thus ice could be loaded by one man, without help, even in the upper section of the railcar.
1592 – Wilhelm Schickard was born. He would grow up to create an early form of the calculating machine called the “calculating clock” that could add and subtract up to six-digit numbers.
This week in technology history 15 April – 21 April 2017
1988 – Tandy Corp. held a press conference in New York to announce its plans to build IBM PS/2 clones.
1972 – Apollo 16 astronauts landed for a fifth manned mission to the moon’s surface. The Lunar Module Orion with John W. Young and Charles M. Duke set down in the central lunar highlands to explore a different terrain than any previous astronauts had seen. The crew travelled almost 27-km using their lunar rover.
1964 – The first AT&T picture phone transcontinental call was made between test displays at Disneyland and the New York World’s Fair.
1940 – Vladimir Zworykin and his team from RCA demonstrated the first electron microscope. It measured 10 feet high and weighed half a ton, achieving a magnification of 100,000x.
19 Apr 1965 – “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits” by Gordon Moore was published in Electronics. Moore projected that over the next ten years the number of components per chip would double every 12 months. By 1975 he turned out to be right, and the doubling became immortalized as “Moore’s law.”
1957 – The first non-test FORTRAN program was compiled and run by Herbert Bright, manager of the data processing center at Westinghouse. It produced a missing comma diagnostic. Once fixed, a successful attempt followed.
1739 – John Winthrop of Cambridge, Mass., the first astronomer of note in North America began sunspot observations and continued over the next two days. His observations exist as one-page reports in the University Archives of Harvard University, though they were never published.
1986 – Newspapers reported that IBM had become the first to use a megabit chip, a memory chip capable of storing one million bits of information, in its Model 3090.
1925 – The first commercial radio facsimile transmission was sent from San Francisco, California to New York City. It was a photograph showing Louis B. Mayer presenting Marion Davies with a gift.
1846 – The first U.S. patent for a telegraph ticker that would print letters of the alphabet was issued to R.E. House of New York City (No. 4,464). It was able to print at the rate of 50 words a minute in Roman letters.
1970 – The Apollo 13 spacecraft returned safely to Earth after a frightening malfunction caused the team to abort landing on the Moon and instead scramble to keep themselves alive.
1967 – The Surveyor 3 spacecraft was successfully launched from Cape
Kennedy, Florida on its mission to the Moon. It was the first to carry a surface soil sampling scoop.
1944 – Harvard University President James Conant wrote to IBM founder Thomas Watson Sr. to let him know that the Harvard Mark I was operating smoothly. It was used in conjunction with the US Navy Bureau of Ships.
1976 – The Helios-B deep-space probe made what was then the closest controlled approach to the Sun at 43 million km or within 0.3 AU.
1959 – The programming language LISP had its first public presentation. Created by John McCarthy, LISP offered programmers flexibility in organization.
1956 – A radio made to run either on batteries or solar-cell power was first sold in the U.S. The Sun Power Pak was made by the Admiral Corporation, Chicago, Ill. By using six transistors instead of vacuum tubes, the radio needed so little electricity that with six ordinary flashlight batteries it could give 700 to 1,000 hours of use.
1977 – The first West Coast Computer Faire took place in Palo Alto, California. The star of the show would turn out to be the Apple II. The computer featured a built-in keyboard, 16 kilobytes of memory, BASIC, and eight expansion slots all for $1,300.
1966 – The first X-ray three-dimensional stereo fluoroscopic system was installed for use in heart catherization by Richard J Kuhn. The $30,000 machine, developed by Joseph Quinn was put into use at the University of Oregon Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, U.S. The X-ray tube had one anode but two cathodes, an image intensifier with polarizers, and a synchronized analyzer.
1892 – The Edison General Electric Company and the Thomson-Houston Company merged to form the General Electric Company, manufacturer of dynamos and electric lights.
This week in technology history 8 April – 14 April 2017
1898 – Birth of Harold Stephen Black. The American electrical engineer who discovered and developed the negative-feedback principle, in which amplification output is fed back into the input, thus producing nearly distortion less and steady amplification. In 1921, Black joined the forerunner of Bell Labs, in New York City, working on elimination of distortion
1956 – The first practical commercial black-and-white video recorder was demonstrated at a broadcast convention in Chicago and simultaneously in Redwood City, Ca. The VT-100 by Ampex Corporation was the size of a deepfreeze with an additional five 6-foot racks of circuitry. The 2-inch wide magnetic tape moved at a speed of 15 inches per second.
1943 – A proposal for an electronic computer was submitted to colleagues at the U.S. Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory by John Grist Brainerd, director of research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School, where the proposal was written by John Mauchly. In May 1943, the Army contracted the Moore School to build ENIAC, the first electronic computer. ENIAC marked a major step forward in computing.
1912 – David Sarnoff picked up a message of distress call of the Titanic relayed from ships at sea: “S.S. Titanic ran into iceberg, sinking fast.” Sarnoff, aged 21, was a telegraph operator managing a powerful Marconi radio telegraph station on top of Wannamaker’s department store in New York. He stayed at his post for 72 hours, receiving and transmitting the first authentic information on the disaster.
1888 – John Hays Hammond Jr. was born. He was the U.S. inventor whose development of radio remote control served as the basis for modern missile guidance systems. He established the Hammond Radio Research Laboratory in 1911. By 1914, he had laid the foundations for all subsequent radio control, able to send an unmanned yacht on a successful 120-mile trip from Gloucester to Boston and back.
1960 – The first U.S. navigational satellite, the Transit-1B was launched from cape Canaveral, Florida on a Thor-Ablestar rocket and the Ablestar carried out the first engine restart in space to refine the orbit. The payload, weighing 265 pounds, included 2 ultrastable oscillators, 2 telemetry transmitters and receivers, batteries and solar cells.
12 Apr 1981 – The American Space Shuttle Columbia was launched into space, NASA flight STS-1, to become the first of a series of reusable spacecraft. The mission commander was John W. Young with pilot Robert Crippen.
1961 – Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. His spacecraft, Vostok 1, had radio, television and life-support equipment to relay information on his condition. The flight was automated. His controls were locked.
1936 – German computer pioneer Konrad Zuse filed for a patent for the automatic execution of calculations, and described combination memory, an early form of programmable memory. Zuse was working on what would become Germany’s first computer, the Z-1.
1908 – Masaru Ibuka was born. He was the Japanese electronics pioneer who co-founded a small post-war radio-repair company that grew into the giant Sony Corporation. He changed the Japanese electronics industry from simply copying Western products to innovation with their own electronic products. He introduced transistor technology to Japan.
1984 – Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts completed the first in-space satellite repair. George Nelson and James Van Hoften retrieved the ailing Solar Max astronomy satellite. It had originally been launched in 1980, but had been malfunctioning.
1919 – J. Presper Eckert Jr. was born. He was the American engineer and inventor of the first general-purpose electronic computer, a digital machine that was the prototype for most computers in use today. In 1946, Eckert with John W. Mauchly fulfilled a government contract to build a digital computer to be used by the U.S. Army for military calculations. They named it ENIAC for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. By 1949, they had started a manufacturing company for their BINAC computer. This was followed by the establishment of the business-oriented computer company UNIVAC.
1865 – Charles Proteus Steinmetz, German-American electrical engineer was born. He was the inventor whose theories and mathematical analysis of alternating current systems helped establish them as the preferred form of electrical energy in the United States, and throughout the world. His early research on hysteresis (loss of power due to magnetic resistance) led him to study alternating current, which could eliminate hysteresis loss in motors. He was responsible for the expansion of the electric power industry in the U.S.
1959 – The Department of Defense called a meeting at the University of
Pennsylvania to define the objectives for a new Common Business Computer Language. Captain Grace Hopper led the group that kicked off the development of COBOL.
1947 – The largest sunspot group recorded was observed on the sun’s southern hemisphere. Its size was estimated at 7 billion square miles, or an area of 6100 millionths of the Sun’s visible hemisphere.
1886 – German scientist, Dr. Carl Gassner, was issued a German patent for the first “dry” cell, which used zinc as its primary ingredient. He encased the cell chemicals in a sealed zinc container. Gassner’s battery was much like the carbon-zinc, general-purpose batteries on the market today.
This week in technology history 1 April – 7 April 2017
1885 – Granville T. Woods, a prolific black American inventor, patented an “Apparatus for Transmission of Messages by Electricity,” No. 315,368. In the following years he introduced numerous innovations for use on railroads, applying electricity for telegraphy, brakes, overhead conductors, controls and an electric railway.
1927 – The Bell System sent live TV images of Herbert Hoover, then the Secretary of Commerce, over telephone lines from Washington, D.C. to an auditorium in Manhattan. It was the first public demonstration in the US of long distance television transmission.
1959 – The first distinguishable echo was recorded of a radar signal bounced off the Sun—considered a milestone in the emerging field of radar astronomy. A three-person team from the Radioscience Laboratory, Stamford University, led by electrical engineering Professor Von R. Eshleman, recorded an echo from the outer corona of the sun, 17 min. after transmission. They used an IBM computer for signal processing.
1964 – IBM unveiled the System/360 line of mainframe computers, its most successful computer system. It was called the “360” because it was meant to address all possible sizes and types of customer with one unified software compatible architecture.
1852 – Edward Sabine announced that the 11 year sunspot cycle was “absolutely identical” with the geomagnetic cycle. Later, using a larger dataset, Rudolf Wolf confirmed this fact. Since Isaac Newton’s explanation of the effect of the sun’s gravity on earth, this was the first new phenomenon of the sun interacting with the earth.
1917 – Following a declaration of war against Germany, President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order closing all radio communication not required by the US Navy. This included Amateur Radio.
1965 – Hughes Aircraft’s Early Bird launched into orbit. It was the first communications satellite to be placed in synchronous orbit and successfully demonstrated the concept of synchronous satellites for commercial communications.
1911 – Cuthbert Hurd was born in Estherville, Iowa. He would grow up to work at
IBM where he quietly persuaded the company that a market for scientific computers existed. He sold 10 of the very first IBM 701s and managed the team that invented FORTRAN.
1954 – Daniel Kottke was born in Bronxville, New York. He would go on to befriend Steve Jobs at Reed College, assemble the first Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak and work on the original Macintosh team.
1975 – Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership in Albuquerque New Mexico. The venture was later named Micro-soft.
1983 – The space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. It was named after the British Naval research vessel HMS Challenger that sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the 1870’s.
1973 – Martin Cooper, general manager of Motorola’s Communications Systems Division made the first handheld portable phone call from a New York City street to Joel S. Engel at rival Bell Labs. Presumably he gloated at least a little.
1981 – Adam Osborne unveiled the Osborne 1 at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It cost $1,795 at retail.
1872 – Samuel Finley Breese Morse died. He was an American artist and inventor who was famous for developing the Morse Code (1838) and independently perfecting an electric telegraph (1832-35). He did not turn to science until 1832, when he was past his 40th birthday.
1935 – Scottish physicist, Sir Robert Watson-Watt was granted a patent for the RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging). He became head of the radio section of the National Physical Laboratory (1935), where his work on locating aircraft was an outgrowth of his earlier work on radio-wave detection of thunderstorms to benefit airmen.
1980 – Microsoft Corporation announced its first hardware product the Z80 SoftCard for Apple. It was a microprocessor on a printed circuit board that plugged into the Apple II and sold for $349.00.
1875 – Sir Francis Galton published the first newspaper weather map – in The Times, London, England – now a standard feature in newspapers worldwide. He was the first to identify the anticyclone (as opposed to the cyclone), and introduced the use of charts showing areas of similar air pressure, as used on the modern weather map.
1960 – The first weather observation satellite, Tiros I, was launched from Cape Canaveral and made the first television picture from space. It was the first of several launched in the TIROS program, named from its function: Television Infrared Observation Satellite, and was NASA’s first experimental step to determine if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth.