home13.5k BC – 11.2k BC In 2011 archeologists reported
the discovery of 56 stone tools found in central Texas dating to
about this time. The dating prefigured the “Clovis culture” by about
2 thousand years.
(SFC, 3/25/11, p.A7)
1000BC The world’s oldest known lens was ground
about this time by an Assyrian maker.
(Econ, 12/1/12, TQ p.8)
236BC Archimedes, according to the Roman architect
Vitruvius, built his first elevator about this time.
(SFC, 8/23/08, p.F4)
150BC-100BC In 1901 pieces of an ancient Greek
calculating machine, called the Antikythera Mechanism, were
discovered by sponge divers exploring the remains of a shipwreck off
the tiny island of Antikythera. Radiocarbon dating suggested it was
built around 65 BC, but in 2006 newly revealed lettering on the
machine indicate a slightly older construction date of 150 to 100
BC. In 2008 researchers said the device, which originally contained
37 gears, included the cycle of the Greek Olympics.
(http://tinyurl.com/y255xr)(SFC, 7/31/08, p.A15)
c1-100AD Steam engines--machines harnessing the
heat energy of hot steam to perform work--date to the steam turbine
invented by Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD called the
aeolipile. However, the aeolipile was regarded as a curiosity
demonstrating a mechanical principle and was not developed into a
105 Ts'ai Lun (Cai Lun), a
Chinese government official (eunuch), told Emperor He about making
zhi, i.e. paper. He used bark from mulberry trees and plant fiber
pounded into pulp, which were then dried and matted into sheets. By
the end of the second century, the Chinese were printing books on
rag paper using wooden type.
(NG, Feb, 04, p.9)(SSFC, 5/26/13, p.F5)(Econ,
300-400 As long ago as the 4th century, an
Egyptian scientist named Papp suggested there should be a science
called heuristics to solve inventive problems.
1329 In Korea a foundry was
used to print books with metal type.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1377 In Korea Jikjisimgyeong, a
Buddhist scripture, was printed with the world’s first movable metal
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1421 The Republic of Florence
passed a law giving Brunelleschi what is thought to be the first
true patent of an invention. The first recorded patent was granted
for a barge with hoisting gear used to transport marble.
(http://tinyurl.com/c3teab)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1441 In Korea King Sejong
called for better water management in his agricultural based economy
and Yeong-sil Jang responded with the first rain gauge.
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1450 First book printed with
movable metal type. Johannes Gutenberg printed a bible with movable
type in Mainz. He perfected interchangeable type that could be cast
in large quantities and invented a new type of press. [see 1452]
(NG, March 1990, p. 117)(WSJ, 10/31/96,
p.A21)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1452 Sep 30, The 1st book was
published, Johannes Guttenberg's Bible. [see 1450]
1492 Oct 26, Lead pencils were
1498 Jun 26, Toothbrush was
invented. In China the first toothbrushes with hog bristles began to
show up. Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention
(SFC, 6/6/98, p.E3)(MC, 6/26/02)
1590 The microscope was
(SFC, 8/16/97, p.E3)
1592 Nov 29, An admiral’s
report said an English warship was lost off the coast of
Alderney. A block of mineral was later found on the wreck. In 2013
scientists reported that the rock was likely a sunstone (Iceland
spar), used to reveal the sun’s direction and thus assist in
(Econ, 3/9/13, p.80)
1608 Oct 2, Jan Lippershey,
spectacle maker, formally offered to the Estates of Holland his new
spyglass for warfare. He was the 1st to file a patent claim for a
Spring ‘99, p.33)
1621 Dec 3, Galileo invented
1624 Sep 12, The 1st submarine
was tested in London.
1644 Jul 11(Jun 11), A
Florentine scientist described the invention of barometer.
1646 Mar 6, Joseph Jenkes
received the 1st colonial machine patent.
1647 Aug 22, Denis Papin,
inventor of the pressure cooker, was born.
1675 Jan 20, Christian Huygens,
Dutch scientist, transformed a theoretical insight on springs into a
practical mechanism with the 1st sketch of a watch balance regulated
by a coiled spring.
1684 Apr 25, A patent was
granted for the thimble.
1690 Jan 14, The clarinet was
invented in Germany.
1696 Jacques Ozanam, a
visionary Frenchman, 1st proposed a “self-moving vehicle.”
(Econ, 2/5/05, p.77)
1698 English engineer Thomas
Savery devised a way to pump water out of mines by the use of
1709 Jan 10, Abraham Darby
(1678-1717) in Coalbrookdale, England, began using coke to provide
carbon for making iron. This led to the end of the use of charcoal
for making iron.
1712 Englishman Thomas
Newcomen created a piston system to separate the steam from the
1714 Jan 7, A typewriter was
patented by Englishman Henry Mill. It was built years later.
1722 Oct 19, French C. Hopffer
patented the fire extinguisher.
1738 French inventor Jacques de
Vaucanson built a mechanical duck that could quack, flap,, paddle,
drink, eat and “digest” grain.
(SFC, 1/23/15, p.A10)
1738 Jacques de Vaucanson
exhibited a mechanical flute player that actually breathed.
(WSJ, 8/23/02, p.W8)
1738 Apr 15, The bottle opener
1741 Dec 25, Astronomer Anders
Celcius introduced the Centigrade temperature scale.
1742 Jul 11(Jun 11), Benjamin
Franklin invented his Franklin stove.
1743 In France Louis XV
commissioned an elevator installed at Versailles to link his
apartment to that of his mistress.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)(SFC, 8/23/08, p.F4)
1744 Feb 15, John Hadley,
inventor (sextant), died.
1745 Oct 11, The Leyden jar,
capable of storing static electricity, was invented by German cleric
Ewald Georg von Kleist. Also about this time Dutch scientist Pieter
van Musschenbroek of Leiden (Leyden) independently came up with the
1750 Benjamin Franklin drew up
plans for a “sentry box,” designed to prove his theory that
lightning as an electrical phenomenon.
(ON, 2/12, p.11)
1752 May, Dutch botanist Thomas
Francois Dalibard (1709-1799) successfully performed Benjamin
Franklin’s “sentry box” experiment proving that lightning is an
1752 Jun 15, Benjamin Franklin
and his son tested the relationship between electricity and
lightning by flying a kite in a thunder storm. Some sources date
this to June 10.
1753 Jul 26, New style date is
Aug 6. Georg Richmann (b.1711), German physicist, died of
electrocution in St. Petersburg, Russia, during an attempt to
duplicate Benjamin Franklin’s “sentry box” experiment. Reportedly,
ball lightning traveled along the apparatus and was the cause of his
death, apparently the first person in history to die while
conducting electrical experiments.
1753 Sep 9, The 1st steam
engine arrived in US colonies.
1754 Thomas Mudge (1715-1794),
English horologist, invented the lever escapement, which became used
in watches ever since.
1755 Mar 12, The 1st steam
engine in America was installed to pump water from a mine.
1761 Benjamin Franklin invented
his glass armonica.
(WSJ, 1/15/04, p.D8)
1762 The Harrison chronometer
was invented. It allowed voyagers to calculate longitudinal
(SFC, 1/31/04, p.A1)
1765 Nov 14, Robert Fulton,
inventor, was born. His steamboat, the Clermont, made its 1st voyage
on Aug 17, 1807.
(HN, 11/14/98)(WSJ, 7/27/04, p.D10)
1765 Scotsman James Watt
(1736-1819) further refined Thomas Newcomen’s piston system steam
engine innovation by adding a separate condenser. Watt took out a
patent on his improved engine in 1769.
(HNQ, 1/18/01)(ON, 6/10, p.4)
1765 Eberhard put erasers on
pencils. [see 1794]
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1766 Apr 8, The 1st fire escape
was patented: a wicker basket on a pulley and chain.
1766 Henry Cavendish isolated
hydrogen during experiments with H2O in England.
(NH, 7/02, p.32)
1769 Wolfgang von Kempelen of
Hungary invented the Automoton Chess Player. It was 1st demonstrated
to the Austrian court in 1770. In 2001 the deception was analyzed by
James W. Cook in his book "The Arts of Deception." In 2002 Tom
Standage authored "The Turk," an examination of the 18th century
fascination with automatons.
(WSJ, 7/12/01, p.A14)(WSJ, 4/12/02, p.W12)
1769 Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, a
French military engineer, invented an ungainly, steam-powered
tricycle and practical steam locomotives and steamboats appeared
early in the next century, eventually superceded by the internal
1771 Apr 13, Richard
Trevithick, inventor of the steam locomotive, was born in Cornwall,
(ON, 4/04, p.4)
1773 John Harrison (1693-1776)
received a monetary award in the amount of £8,750 from the British
Parliament for his achievements regarding the invention of the
marine chronometer solving the problem of establishing the East-West
position or longitude of a ship at sea. He never received the
official award, proclaimed in 1714, which was never awarded to
1774 Feb 10, Andrew Becker
demonstrated a diving suit.
1774 Aug 1, British scientist
Joseph Priestley succeeded in isolating oxygen from air in Calne,
England. He called his new gas "dephlogisticated air.”
(ON, 10/05, p.2)(AP, 8/1/07)
1779 Jan 18, Peter Roget,
thesaurus fame, inventor (slide rule, pocket chessboard), was born.
1779 Apr 24, Mr. H. Sykes, an
English optician living in Paris, wrote to Ben Franklin and
explained a delay in sending an order for special spectacles,
complaining that he was having difficulty making them. Franklin is
believed to have ordered his first pair of bifocals from Sykes.
1781 Jun 9, George Stephenson,
English engineer, inventor of the steam locomotive, was born in
(HN, 6/9/01)(MC, 6/9/02)
1783 Aug 27, 1st hydrogen
balloon flight (unmanned); reached 900 m altitude.
1783 Oct 6, Benjamin Hanks
patented a self-winding clock.
1783 Oliver Evans (1755-1819),
American inventor, designed an automated gristmill.
1785 May 23, Benjamin Franklin
in Paris spoke of his invention of bifocals in a letter to friend
and philanthropist George Whatley.
1787 Aug 22, Inventor John
Fitch demonstrated his steamboat, the Perseverance, on the Delaware
River to delegates of the Continental Congress. In 2004 Andrea
Sutcliffe authored “Steam: The Untold Story of America’s First Great
(AP, 8/22/99)(WSJ, 7/27/04, p.D10)
1788 Feb 1, Isaac Briggs and
William Longstreet patented the steamboat on this day.
(440 Int'l, 2/1/1999)
1789 Mar 16, George S. Ohm
(d.1854), German scientist, was born. He gave his name to the
ohm unit of electrical resistance. [WUD says Mar 16, 1787]
(HN, 3/16/99)(WUD, 1994 p.1001)
1789 Uranium was discovered and
named after the planet Uranus.
(NH, 7/02, p.36)
1790 Mar 27, The shoelace was
1790 Apr 10, President George
Washington signed into law the first United States Patent Act. The
Patent Board was made up of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War
and the Attorney General and was responsible for granting patents on
"useful and important" inventions. In the first three years, 47
patents were granted. Until 1888 miniature models of the device to
be patented were required. [see July 31]
(HN, 4/10/98)(HNQ, 8/6/99)(AP, 4/10/07)
1790 Jul 31, The U.S. Patent
Office granted its first patent to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont,
developer of a new method the manufacture of pot and pearl ash,
potash. [see Apr 10]
(HN, 7/31/98)(HNQ, 8/6/99)
1790 The "Philadelphia Spelling
Book" was the first US work to be copyrighted.
(WSJ, 6/14/00, p.A1)
1791 Mar 10, John Stone of
Concord, Mass, patented a pile driver.
1791 Mar 11, Samuel Mulliken of
Philadelphia was the 1st to obtain more than 1 US patent.
1791 Aug 2, Samuel Briggs and
his son patented a nail-making machine.
1791 Aug 26, John Fitch and
James Rumsey, rival inventors, were both granted a US patent for a
(MC, 8/26/02)(WSJ, 7/27/04, p.D10)
1792 May 12, A toilet that
flushed itself at regular intervals was patented.
1793 Jun 20, Eli Whitney
petitioned for a cotton gin patent in Philadelphia.
1793 Oct 28, Eli Whitney
applied for a patent on the cotton gin, a machine which cleaned the
tight-clinging seeds from short-staple cotton easily and
effectively--a job which was previously done by hand. The patent was
granted the following March. [see Mar 13, Jun 20, 1793, Mar 14,
(AP, 10/28/97)(HN, 10/28/98)
1794 Feb 14, 1st US textile
machinery patent was granted, to James Davenport in Phila.
1794 Mar 14, Eli Whitney
received a patent for his cotton gin, an invention that
revolutionized America's cotton industry. He paid substantial
royalties to Catherine T. Greene and this makes his claim to the
(AP, 3/14/97)(SFC, 10/4/97, p.E3)
1794 Mar 23, Josiah Pierson
patented a "cold-header" (rivet) machine.
1794 A French inventor mixed
ground graphite with clay and water and fired it to make strong
pencil leads. [see 1765]
(WSJ, 11/24/00, p.A1)
1799 Jan 25, Eliakim Spooner of
Vermont received the 1st US patent for a seeding machine.
1800 William Herschel
(1738-1822), German-born English astronomer, detected what later
became known as infra-red red light in experiments with glass prisms
(NH, 11/1/04, p.54)
1800 Alessandro Volta
(1745-1827), Italian physicist, first demonstrated the electric pile
(V.D.-H.K.p.269)(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.22)
1801 Dec 24, Richard
Trevithick, inventor of the steam locomotive, completed a road test
of his 1st "traveling engine" in Camborne, England.
(ON, 4/04, p.5)
1802 Feb 8, Simon Willard
patented a banjo clock.
1802 Mar 24, Richard Trevithick
was granted a patent in London for his steam locomotive.
(ON, 4/04, p.5)
1802 Jul 9, Thomas Davenport,
invented 1st commercial electric motor, was born.
1803 May 17, John Hawkins and
Richard French patented a reaping machine.
1803 Sep 8, A high pressure
steam boiler, made by Richard Trevithick, exploded at a corn mill in
Greenwich, England, and 3 men were killed. A worker had left a heavy
wrench on the safety valve and gone fishing.
(ON, 4/04, p.5)
1803 The steel ink pen was
developed in Birmingham, England.
(SFC, 12/13/06, p.E3)
1804 Feb 21, The 1st
locomotive, Richard Trevithick's, ran for 1st time in Wales.
1804 Feb 6, Joseph Priestley
(b.1733), English-born US writer, philosopher and chemist, died in
Pennsylvania. He became best known for having discovered oxygen.
Priestley also figured out how to manufacture carbonated water and
is sometimes called “the father of the soft-drink industry.” In 2008
Steven Johnson authored “The Invention of Air: A Story of Science,
faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America.”
10/05, p.1)(SFC, 1/9/09, p.E3)
1805 The Philadelphia harbor
was dredged with a high-pressure steam engine invented by Oliver
Evans. He was unable to get a proper patent for it.
(WSJ, 6/4/08, p.A19)
1806 Oct 7, Carbon paper was
patented in London by inventor Ralph Wedgewood.
1807 Aug 17, Robert Fulton’s
"North River Steam Boat" (popularly known as the "Clermont") began
heading up New York’s Hudson River on its successful round-trip to
Albany. He named the boat Katherine of Clermont after his wife. It
was 125 feet (142-feet) long and 20 feet wide with side paddle
wheels and a sheet iron boiler. He averaged 5 mph for the 300-mile
(AP, 8/17/97)(SFC, 6/20/98, p.F4)(WSJ, 9/21/01,
1808 Apr 30, Italian Pellegrini
Turri built the 1st practical typewriter for the blind Countess
Carolina Fantoni da Fivizono, the world's first typist.
(SFEC, 1/10/99, Z1 p.8)(SFC, 7/26/00, p.D3)(MC,
1808 Jul 9, A leather-splitting
machine was patented by Samuel Parker of Billerica, MA.
1809 Feb 15, Cyrus Hall
McCormick, inventor (Mechanical reaper), was born.
1809 Nov 22, Peregrine
Williamson of Baltimore patented a steel pen.
1809 Humphry Davy (1778-1809),
an English chemist, invented the first electric light. Davy
connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip
between the other ends of the wires. The charged carbon glowed
making the first arc lamp.
1809 Nicholas Appert won a
French prize of 12,000 francs for his method of keeping food in
glass bottles. Napoleon had offered the prize with military needs in
(SFC, 9/19/07, p.G6)
1812 Dec 4, Peter Gaillard of
Lancaster, Pa., patented a horse-drawn mower.
1813 Apr 29, Rubber was
1815 Oct 31, Sir Humphrey Davy
of London patented miner's safety lamp.
1816 Aug 24, Daniel Gooch, laid
1st successful transatlantic cables, was born.
1816 Robert Stirling, British
clergyman, proposed a sealed heated air engine to compete with the
ubiquitous steam engine. His Stirling engine converted heat into
mechanical energy by compressing and expanding a fixed quantity of
(Econ, 8/14/04, p.72)(Econ, 6/6/09, p.24)
1816 In France Dr. Rene
Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec invented the stethoscope.
(ON, 9/00, p.11)
1817 Baron Karl de Drais de
Sauerbrun of Germany invented the draisienne, the first 2-wheeled,
rider-propelled machine and exhibited it in Paris in 1818. The
vehicle came to be known as the “velocipede,” a 2-wheeled running
machine without pedals.
p.172)(Econ, 2/5/05, p.77)
1819 May 21, The 1st bicycles
(swift walkers) in US were introduced in NYC.
1819 May 26, The first
steam-propelled vessel to attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing, the
350-ton Savannah, departed from Savannah, Ga., May 26 and arrived in
Liverpool, England, Jun 20. [HNQ set May 24 for the departure]
(AP, 5/22/97)(HNQ, 3/18/02)
1819 Jun 26, The bicycle was
patented by W.K. Clarkson, Jr. of New York City. [see May 21]
1819 Aug 25, Scotsman James
Watt (b.1736), Scottish inventor, died. His 1775 improved steam
engine advanced coal mining and made the Industrial Revolution
1819 Sep 6, Thomas Blanchard
(b.1788) patented the lathe.
1822 Mar 9, The first patent
for false teeth was requested by C. Graham of NY. [see 1882]
(HN, 3/9/98)(MC, 3/9/02)
1822 Jun 14, Charles Babbage
(1792-1871), a young Cambridge mathematician, announced the
invention of a machine capable of performing simple arithmetic
calculations in a paper to the Astronomical Society. His 1st
Difference Engine could perform up to 60 error-free calculation in 5
minutes. Babbage and engineer John Clement completed the calculator
portion of a new engine in 1832, but the project lost funding and
(I&I, Penzias, p.94)(ON, 5/05, p.5)
1824 Jun 8, A washing machine
was patented by Noah Cushing of Quebec.
1824 Oct 21, Joseph Aspdin
patented Portland cement in Yorkshire, England.
1824 Oct 23, The 1st steam
locomotive was introduced.
1824 The first company to come
out with the paper milk carton was the Toronto East India Company,
which developed it in 1824 due to a glass shortage.
1825 Sep 27, The Stockton and
Darlington rail line opened in England. The first locomotive to haul
a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England. The
British engineers Richard Trevithick and George Stevenson were the
first innovators of the technology.
1825 The element aluminum was
(NH, 7/02, p.35)
1826 Apr 1, Samuel Mory
patented the internal combustion engine.
1826 Scotsman Robert Stein
invented the continuous still. It was later refined by Aeneas Coffey
as the Coffey still.
(Hem, 11/02, p.36)
1827 Apr 2, Joseph Dixon began
manufacturing lead pencils.
1827 Apr 7, English chemist
John Walker invented wooden matches.
1827 Jul 14, Augustin-Jean
Fresnel (b.1788), French engineer, died. He contributed
significantly to the establishment of the theory of wave optics.
Fresnel studied the behavior of light both theoretically and
experimentally. He worked out a way to focus light using diffraction
and was the first to construct a special type of lens, now called a
Fresnel lens, as a substitute for mirrors in lighthouses.
1829 Jul 23, William Austin
Burt of Mount Vernon, Mich., received a patent for his
"typographer," a forerunner of the typewriter.
1829 Aug 9, The locomotive
"Stourbridge Lion" went into service.
1830 May 3, The 1st regular
steam train passenger service started.
1830 May 18, Edwin Beard
Budding of England signed an agreement for the manufacture of his
invention, the lawn mower. He adopted the rotary blade in the cloth
industry to grass.
(SC, 5/18/02)(Econ, 12/20/03, p.118)
1830 May 20, Dr. Hyde patented
a fountain pen.
1831 May 16, David Edward
Hughes, inventor (microphone, teleprinter), was born.
1831 Aug 9, 1st US steam engine
train run was from Albany to Schenectady, NY.
1831 Aug 29, Michael Faraday,
British physicist, demonstrated the 1st electric transformer.
Faraday had discovered that a changing magnetic field produces an
electric current in a wire, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic
1831 US copyright protections
were expanded to cover musical compositions.
(SFC, 4/8/02, p.E1)
1831 The lawn mower was
invented in England.
(SFC, 7/14/99, p.4)
1835 Aug 2, Elisha Grey,
inventor (Telephone), was born.
1835 Nov 23, Henry Burden
invented the first machine for manufacturing horseshoes. He then
made most of the horseshoes for the Union Cavalry in the Civil War.
Burden patented a horseshoe manufacturing machine in Troy, NY.
(SFC, 7/13/96, p.E3)(MC, 11/23/01)
1835 Dec 7, The Adler, a steam
engine built by British father and son George and Robert Stephenson,
began running between Nuremberg and Furth, marking the birth of the
German railway system.
(Econ, 10/23/10, p.77)
1836 Feb 25, Samuel Colt
patented the first revolving barrel multi-shot firearm.
(HN, 2/25/98)(AP, 2/25/98)
1836 Mar 23, Coin Press was
invented by Franklin Beale.
1836 Oct 24, A. Phillips
patented the match.
(HN, 10/24/98)(MC, 10/24/01)
1837 Dec 29, A threshing
machine powered by a single horse treadmill was patented in
Winthrop, Maine, by twins Hiram A. and John A. Pitts.
1837 Samuel F.B. Morse
incorporated the discoveries of Sturgeon and Henry in the first
practical telegraph, separating the magnet from the switch by some
five hundred yards of wire. [see 1838, 1844]
(I&I, Penzias, p.96)
1837 English plumber Thomas
Crapper came out with a flush model, valve controlled, water closet.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow installed one in his home in 1840 and
sparked public attention. Thomas Crapper, popularly credited with
inventing the water closet, held three patents, although he may
simply have bought the siphon discharge system patent from Albert
Giblin and marketed it himself. In 1969 Wallace Reyburn authored
“Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper.”
1838 Jan 6, Samuel Morse
(1791-1872) first publicly demonstrated his telegraph, in
Morristown, N.J. In 2003 David Paul Nickles authored "Under the
Wire," a history of the telegraph and its impact on the world. [see
(AP, 1/6/98)(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.D10)
1838 Jan 8, 1st telegraph
message using dots & dashes was sent in NJ. [see Jan 6]
1839 Jan 2, French photographic
pioneer Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre took the first photograph of
the moon. Soon after his first photograph of people was a shoeshine
scene on a Paris boulevard.
(HN, 1/2/99)(SFEC, 1/16/00, Z1 p.2)(ON, 4/00,
1839 Jan 9, The Daguerreotype
photo process was announced at the French Academy of Science. Louis
Daguerre had the influential astronomer Dominique-Francois-Argo make
an announcement at the Academy of Sciences in Paris of the
daguerreotype, a photographic process using fumes of iodine to
sensitize a silver plate, vapor of mercury to bring out the image,
and common salt to fix the image. [See 1765-1833, Nicephore Niepce,
French lithographer, and 1816].
9/14/95, p.A-16)(ON, 10/08, p.9)
1839 Jan 28, William Henry Fox
Talbot (1800-1877), English inventor, presented his discoveries and
methods of photography to the Royal Society of London. His
callotype, a negative to positive process, allowed multiple
reproductions of a single image for the 1st time. Talbot suggested a
daguerreotype camera with extra parts to hold mercury.
(ON, 4/00, p.10)(SFC, 6/12/96, Z1 p.5)(SFC,
1839 Feb 24, A steam shovel was
patented by William Otis, Philadelphia.
1839 Aug 19, At a meeting of
the French Academy of Sciences in Paris a new photographic process
was unveiled by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre. He "was able to
capture images directly onto small, silvered plates; and in England
where William Henry Fox invented what he called "photogenic
drawing." This process produced a negative image on paper from which
positive images could be made... but it took more than an hour to
take a picture and the fuzzy prints were difficult to see. The
daguerreotype enabled the photographer to create a highly detailed
image. The process consisted of polishing a copper plate, using
iodine to sensitize it, and developing it over mercury after
exposing it to light in a camera. Daguerreotypes became so popular
in the United States that New York City boasted more than 70
daguerreotype studios by 1850.
(Smith., 5/95, p.72)(HNQ, 10/28/98)
1839 Sep 9, John Herschel
(1792-1871), English astronomer, took the 1st glass plate
1839 Charles Goodyear
(1800-1860) found the right formula for making rubber impervious to
temperature, a combination of chemicals and heat that became know as
(WSJ, 7/31/02, p.D10)(ON, 6/07, p.11)
1839 Erastus Bigelow invented
the 1st power loom. It doubled carpet production within a year.
(SFCM, 10/10/04, p.8)
1839 The photovoltaic effect,
where light produces a current, was 1st noticed.
(SFC, 4/14/03, p.E1)
1839 The basic idea for
electrocombustion, the combination of oxygen and hydrogen to
generate electricity and water, was discovered. This later provided
the basis for fuel cell technology.
(Wired, 10/96, p.128)(SFC, 9/28/01, p.B9)
1840 Jan 18, "Electro-Magnetic
Intelligencer", 1st US electrical journal, appeared.
1840 May 8, Alexander Wolcott
patented a photographic process.
1840 Jun 20, Samuel F.B. Morse,
a popular artist, patented his telegraph.
1841 Aug 21, John Hampson of
New Orleans patented the Venetian blind.
1841 Sep 30, Samuel Slocum
patented the stapler.
1842 Feb 21, 1st known sewing
machine was patented in US by John Greenough in Wash, DC. [see
1842 Aug 31, Micah Rugg
patented a nuts & bolts machine.
1843 Mar 3, US Congress
appropriated $30,000 "to test the practicability of establishing a
system of electro-magnetic telegraphs."
1843 Aug 26, Charles Thurber
patented a typewriter.
1843 Dec 4, Manila paper (made
from sails, canvas & rope) was patented in Mass.
1843 Norbert Rillieux
(1806-1894) received US patent # 3,237 for a double-effect
evaporator, while overseeing the building of the device for
plantation owner Theodore Packwood.
1843 Alexander Bain, Scottish
inventor, received a British patent for “improvements in producing
and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and
in electric printing and signal telegraphs.” His fax machine evolved
from the telegraph technology.
1844 May 1, Samuel Morse
(1791-1872) sent the 1st telegraphic message as a demonstration
between Washington, DC, and Baltimore [see Jan 6, 1838]. The line
officially opened on May 24, 1844.
1844 May 24, Samuel F.B. Morse,
before a crowd of dignitaries in the chambers of the Supreme Court,
tapped out the message, "What hath God wrought?" to his partner in
Baltimore, Alfred Vail. Congress had appropriated $30,000 for the
experimental line built by Ezra Cornell between Washington and
Baltimore. American portrait artist Samuel F.B. Morse developed the
technology for electrical telegraphy in the 1830s, the first
instantaneous form of communication. Using a key to hold open an
electrical circuit for longer or shorter periods, an operator would
tap out a message in a code composed of dots and dashes. Public
demonstrations of the equipment were made in February 1838, but it
was necessary for Morse to secure financial backing to build the
first telegraph line to carry the signal over distance. In 1843,
Congress appropriated the funds for a 37-mile line between Baltimore
and Washington, D.C. After underground telegraph wires proved
unsuccessful, Morse switched to pole wires.
(AP, 5/24/97)(HN, 5/24/98)(HNPD, 2/6/99)(HNQ,
1844 May 25, The first
telegraphed news dispatch, sent from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore,
appeared in the Baltimore "Patriot."
1844 Jun 15, Charles Goodyear
(1800-1860) received patent #3633 for the vulcanization of rubber,
his process to strengthen rubber. He had perfected the process in
1839 and never took out a European patent.
1845 Mar 17, The rubber band
was patented by Stephen Perry of London. [see May 17]
1845 May 17, The rubber band
was patented. [see Mar 17]
1846 Nov 4, Benjamin F. Palmer
of Meredith N.H. received a patent on an artificial human leg.
(SFEC, 3/29/98, Z1 p.8)(MC, 11/4/01)
1846 Dec 10, Norbert Rillieux
(1806-1894), African-American engineer, received a patent for the
Rillieux Process for refining sugar. He won several patents for a
way to refine sugar in a process that later came to be called
1848 Aug 15, M. Waldo Hanchett
patented a dental chair.
1949 Feb 24, A V-2 WAC-Corporal
was the 1st rocket to outer space. It was fired at White Sands, NM,
and reached 400 km.
1849 Mar 27, Joseph Couch
patented a steam-powered percussion rock drill.
1849 May 29, A patent for
lifting vessels was granted to Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln said: "You
can fool some of the people all of the time, & some of the
people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of
(HN, 5/29/98)(SC, 5/29/02)
1849 Apr 10, Walter Hunt, a
mechanic, patented the safety pin in NYC. He sold rights for $100.
Hunt’s other inventions included a new stove, paper collar,
ice-breaking boat, fountain pen and nail-making machine.
(SFC, 7/14/99, p.3)(SFC, 4/1/00, p.B4)(MC,
1849 Dec 28, M. Jolly-Bellin
discovered dry-cleaning, he accidentally upset a lamp containing
turpentine and oil on his filthy clothing and saw a cleaning effect.
1850 Jul 14, The 1st public
demonstration of ice made by refrigeration took place. James
Harrison of Australia designed an ice-making machine. It was an
improvement on one invented by Jacob Perkins in 1834.
(MC, 7/14/02)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1850 Aug 28, The English
Channel telegraph cable was laid between Dover and Cap Gris Nez.
1850 The US Supreme Court
opined that an invention had to be something more than the
work of a skilled mechanic to qualify for a patent.
(Econ, 5/5/07, p.78)
1851 May 6, Dr. John Gorrie
patented a "refrigeration machine."
1851 May 6, Linus Yale patented
his Yale lock.
1851 May 18, The
Amsterdam-Nieuwediep telegraph connection linked.
1851 Aug 12, Isaac Merritt
Singer was granted a patent on his lockstitch sewing machine. He
formed I.M. Singer & Co. in New York City and soon began selling
machines for $100 each. In 4 years he expanded to Scotland becoming
the first American int’l. company.
(AP, 8/12/97)(SSFC, 11/7/10, p.N1)
1851 Nov 11, Alvan Clark
patented a telescope.
1852 Elisha Graves Otis
invented a safety elevator in Yonkers, NY. Otis invented the safety
elevator to brake the car to a halt if the supporting cable broke.
Otis Steam Elevator Works made its 1st sale in 1854 to P.T. Barnum
for display at the New York’s World Fair. In 1889 (the same year
Eiffel built his Tower) the elevator met electricity. United
Technologies acquired Otis in 1976. In 2001 Jason Goodwin authored
"Otis, Giving Rise to the Modern City."
(HT, 5/97, p.23)(HNQ, 4/21/01)(WSJ, 10/9/01,
p.A20)(ON, 5/05, p.12)
1852 English mathematician and
physicist George Gabriel Stokes (1819–1903) finally named and
explained the phenomena of fluorescence (he named it after fluorite,
a strongly fluorescent mineral). Fluorescent lighting only became
commercially available in 1938.
1854 Feb 11, Major streets were
lit by coal gas for 1st time.
1854 Mar 7, Charles Miller
patented the 1st US sewing machine to stitch buttonholes.
1854 May 30, Vermont
native Elisha Graves Otis (1811-1861) unveiled his invention, the
safety elevator at the New York World's Fair. Audiences gasped as
Otis, riding on the hoist's platform, dramatically ordered the
lifting rope cut. Instead of falling, the car locked safely into the
elevator shaft. Prior to the 1850s there was no existing market for
passenger elevators because there was no safety mechanism in the
event of a cable break. In 1852 Otis was a master mechanic working
at a bedstead factory in Yonkers, N.Y., when he built a hoisting
machine with two sets of metal teeth at the car's sides. If the
lifting rope broke, the teeth would lock into place, preventing the
car from falling. Otis never realized the potential of his
invention. His sons built the Otis Elevator Company, enabling the
skylines of cities throughout the world to be transformed with
(HNPD, 5/30/99)(ON, 5/05, p.12)
1854 Aug 29, Daniel
Halladay patented a self-governing windmill.
1854 The first lighthouse on
Fastnet rock off of southwest Ireland was completed. Work on a
replacement began in 1896. In 2004 James Morrissey authored “A
History of the Fastnet Lighthouse.”
(Econ, 12/20/08, p.100)
1855 Mar 27, Abraham Gesner
1855 Oct 9, Isaac Singer
patented sewing machine motor.
1855 Oct 9, Joshua Stoddard of
Worcester, Mass., patented the 1st calliope.
1855 Oct 17, The Bessemer steel
making process was patented.
1856 Oct 7, Cyrus Chambers Jr.
patented a folding machine that folded books and newspapers.
1856 William Thomson, later
Lord Kelvin, discovered the property of magneto-resistance. The
change in some materials of electrical resistance under a magnetic
field was later used in data storage systems.
(Econ, 3/31/07, p.89)
1857 Jan 6, Patent for reducing
zinc ore was granted to Samuel Wetherill in Penn.
1857 Mar 23, Elisha Otis
installed the first modern passenger elevator in the 5-story
Haughwout and Co. building at 488 Broadway in New York City.
1857 Jun 2, James Gibbs, Va.,
patented a chain-stitch single-thread sewing machine.
1857 Sep 15, Timothy Alden of
NYC patented a typesetting machine.
1858 Feb 21, Edwin T. Holmes
installed the 1st electric burglar alarm in Boston, Mass.
1858 Mar 2, Frederick Cook, New
Orleans, patented a cotton-bale metallic tie.
1858 Mar 30, Hyman L. Lipman of
Philadelphia patented the pencil with an eraser attached on one end.
(HN, 3/30/98)(SFC, 9/16/98, Z1 p.6)
1858 Aug 5, Cyrus W. Field
completed the first transatlantic cable. It linked Newfoundland to
Ireland. The line went completely dead in October. William Thompson
oversaw the operation at sea aboard the HMS Agamemnon, which laid
half the cable. The other half was laid by the USS Niagara. The
cables had been spliced at a central meeting point on June 26. A new
attempt to lay newly designed cable failed in 1865. another attempt
in 1866 succeeded.
8/5/08)(ON, 10/10, p.2)
1858 Oct 26, Hamilton Smith
patented rotary washing machine.
1859 Jul 12, William Goodale
patented a paper bag manufacturing machine in Mass.
1859 Sep 1, The 1st Pullman
sleeping car went into service. George M. Pullman began outfitting
railroad cars. His company was incorporated in 1867.
(SFC, 7/1/98, Z1 p.6)(MC, 9/1/02)
1859 Sep 20, George Simpson
patented the electric range.
1859 Gaston Plante, French
physicist, invented the first lead-acid rechargeable battery.
(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.23)(Econ, 3/7/09, TQ p.4)
1860 Mar 27, M.L. Byrn patented
a "covered gimlet screw with a 'T' handle" (corkscrew).
1860 Jul 1, Charles Goodyear
(b.1800), inventor or the vulcanization process for rubber, died. In
2002 Charles Slack authored "Noble Obsession" an account of his
quest to develop a form of rubber impervious to high temperatures.
1860 Parisian inventor
Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville captured 10-second clip of a woman
singing "Au Clair de la Lune,” using a phonautograph, a device that
created visual recordings of sound waves.
1860s Ernest Michaux, a
Parisian blacksmith, invented the “velocipede,” a 2-wheeled machine
with pedals to drive the front wheel. It used wooded wheels and was
nicknamed “the boneshaker.”
(WSJ, 10/22/04, p.A1)
1861 Jan 15, Elisha Otis
received patent # 31,128 for his steam elevator.
1861 Feb 5, The kinematoscope
was patented by Coleman Sellers in Philadelphia.
1861 Apr 8, Elisha Graves Otis
(50), US elevator builder (Otis), died.
1861 Dec 5, Gatling gun was
patented. [see Oct 30, 1862, Nov 3, 1862]
1861 Felix Nadar invented a
battery operated flash lamp and began exploring the sewers and
catacombs of Paris.
(Econ, 12/8/12, IL p.15)
1862 Apr 8, John D. Lynde
patented an aerosol dispenser.
1862 Oct 30, Dr. Richard
Gatling patented a machine gun. [see Dec 5, 1861, Nov 3, 1862]
1862 Nov 3, Dr. Richard Gatling
patented machine gun in Indianapolis. [see Dec 5, 1861, Oct 30,
1862 Dec 29, The bowling ball
1863 Jan 10, London's
Metropolitan, the world's first underground passenger railway,
opened to the public. The first stretch of rail had opened the day
before. It was nationalized in 1948. In 2004 Christian Wolmar
authored “The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground was
Built and How it Changed the City Forever.”
(AP, 1/10/98)(HN, 1/10/99)(Econ, 1/22/05,
1863 Jan 13, Thomas Crapper
pioneered a one-piece pedestal flushing toilet.
1863 Feb 9, A fire extinguisher
was patented by Alanson Crane.
1863 Apr 14, William Bullock
patented a continuous-roll printing press.
1863 Nov 23, A patent was
granted for a process of making color photographs.
1863 Pierre Lallemont, French
mechanic, created a bicycle driven by foot pedals attached to the
front wheel. In 1865 he moved to the US and applied for a patent,
which was granted in Nov. 1866.
(ON, 2/10, p.1)
1864 Mar 1, Louis Ducos du
Hauron patented a movie machine that was never built.
1865 Aug 2, A trans Atlantic
Cable being laid by SS Great Eastern snapped and was lost.
1866 Mar 27, Andrew Rankin
patented the urinal.
1866 Jul 27, Cyrus W. Field
finished laying out the first successful underwater telegraph cable
between North America and Europe. A previous cable in 1858 burned
out after only a few weeks of use.
1866 Oct 2, J. Osterhoudt
patented a tin can with key opener.
1866 Nov 20, Pierre Lallemont,
French mechanic, was granted a US patent for his velocipede, a
rotary crank bicycle.
1867 Oct 11, Carlos Glidden and
Samuel Soule applied for a patent on their new direct action
typewriter. Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890), Carlos Glidden
(1834-1877) and Samuel Soule had invented the typewriter in the
1860s. Charles E. Weller coined the phrase "Now is the time for all
good men to come to the aid of the party" to check out the first
typewriter built in Milwaukee.
(ON, 12/10, p.7)(SFC, 1/29/97, Z1 p.2)(SFEC,
3/22/98, Z1 p.8)
1867 Nov 25, Alfred Nobel
1867 Edward Calahan of American
Telegraph Company developed the first stock ticker.
(WSJ, 12/29/07, p.A8)
1867 Ernest Michaux, a Parisian
blacksmith, added pedals and brakes to an iron “velocipede,” a
2-wheeled machine that used wooded wheels and was nicknamed “the
(WSJ, 10/22/04, p.A1)(Econ, 2/5/05, p.77)
1868 Jan 16, The refrigerated
railroad car was patented by William Davis, a fish dealer in
1868 Mar 5, A stapler was
patented in England by C.H. Gould.
1868 Jul 14, Alvin J. Fellows
patented a tape measure.
1869 Oct 16, A hotel in Boston
became the 1st to have indoor plumbing.
1868 Oct 11, Thomas Edison
patented his 1st invention, an electric voice machine.
1868 Nov 23, Louis Ducos du
Hauron patented trichrome color photo process.
1868 Matthew Boulton obtained a
British patent on a design for ailerons as control surfaces.
(NPub, 2002, p.5)
1869 Feb 2, James Oliver
invented the removable tempered steel plow blade.
1869 Apr 6, John and Isaiah
Hyatt applied for a new patent using collodion to manufacture
billiard balls. They later named their product celluloid. It was
similar to that made by English inventor Alexander Parkes, who
patented the process in England in 1855. The new plastic could be
molded and mass produced, but was very flammable and exploded when
struck with excessive force. [see Jun 15]
(HNQ, 5/8/98)(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)(MC,
4/6/02)(PCh, 1992, p.467)(ON, 11/03, p.3)
1869 Apr 13, Steam power brake
was patented by George Westinghouse.
1869 Aug 10, O.B. Brown
patented a moving picture projector.
1869 Jun 8, Ives W. McGaffey of
Chicago patented the 1st vacuum cleaner.
1869 Dec 28, William Finley
Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio, patented chewing gum.
1870 A Rhode Island company
began making the Howell torpedo, the first to follow a track without
leaving a wake. It made 50 by 1889 when a rival company copied and
surpassed the design.
(SSFC, 5/19/13, p.A7)
1871 Jan 17, The 1st cable car
patented by Andrew S. Hallidie. It began service in 1873.
1871 Dec 19, Albert L. Jones
patented corrugated paper in NYC.
1871 Fr. Joseph Neri, SJ,
demonstrated the 1st electric light in SF from a window of St.
Ignatius on San Francisco’s Market St. He used a large
electro-magnetic device, the Alliance Machine, that had been used in
the 2nd Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War for lighting
(SFCM, 2/6/05, p.3)(GenIV, Winter 04/05)
1871 Russian chemist Dmitri
Mendeleyev developed the periodic classification system of the
elements, presenting a periodic table listing the elements in 1871.
Born in Siberia, the last of 17 children, Mendeleyev eventually
found success in academia. While writing a basic textbook on
chemistry in the 1860s, he attempted to find a way to classify the
elements. His periodic system gained acceptance over time. His
periodic table left gaps for elements as yet undiscovered, but he
correctly predicted the properties of three of those elements. The
table and his concepts of periodic law gained more acceptance with
the approach of the 20th century, forming the basis for modern
1872 Feb 20, A hydraulic
electric elevator was patented by Cyrus Baldwin.
1872 Feb 20, Luther Crowell
patented a machine for manufacturing paper bags.
1872 Feb 20, Silas Noble and JP
Cooley patented a toothpick manufacturing machine.
1872 Mar 5, George Westinghouse
Jr. patented triple air brake for trains.
1872 Mar 26, Thomas J. Martin
patented a fire extinguisher.
1872 Apr 2, George B. Brayton
patented a gasoline powered engine.
1872 Aug 1, The first
long-distance gas pipeline in the U.S. was completed. Designed for
natural gas, the two-inch pipe ran five miles from Newton Wells to
1872 Oct 29, J.S. Risdon
patented a metal windmill.
1873 Mar 1, E. Remington and
Sons (1816–1896), a firearms manufacturer founded in 1816 by
Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, started manufacturing the
first commercial typewriter. James Densmore and George Yost
contracted Remington to build 1,000 machines designed by Christopher
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Remington_and_Sons)(ON, 12/10, p.8)
1873 Aug 2, Inventor Andrew S.
Hallidie successfully tested a cable car he had designed for the
city of San Francisco. Various references give the date of this
event as Aug. 1, but more recent research points to Aug. 2. Hallidie
made the first cable car trip aboard his Nob Hill Line at 4 a.m. It
traveled down Clay St. from Knob Hill to Kearney.
(SFC, 8/1/98, p.A16)(AP, 8/2/06)
1873 Aug 26, Lee De Forest
(d.1961), inventor of the audion vacuum tube, was born in Council
bluffs, Iowa. He is considered the father of radio.
(WUD, 1994 p.379)( http://www.britannica.com)
1873 Nov 4, Dentist John Beers
of SF patented the gold crown.
1873 Ernst Abbe (1840-1905),
German physicist, noted that a microscope cannot properly see any
object smaller than half the wavelength of the light it uses.
1874 Aug 11, Harry S. Parmelee
patented a sprinkler head.
1874 Jul 24, James Woodward and
a colleague by the name of Mathew Evans, described in the patent as
a "Gentleman" but in reality a hotel keeper, filed a patent for the
Woodward and Evan's Light.
1875 Jan 26, Electric dental
drill was patented by George F. Green.
1875 Feb 4, Ludwig Prandtl,
physicist (father of aerodynamics), was born in Germany.
1875 Alexander Graham Bell
traveled to Washington and filed patent applications for the
multiple telegraph and the autograph telegraph.
(ON, 1/03, p.2)
1875 Jun 2, Alexander Graham
Bell made his 1st complex sound transmission.
(ON, 1/03, p.2)
1875 Nov 16, William Bonwill
patented dental mallet to impact gold into cavities.
1876 Feb 19, Gardiner Hubbard
submitted Alexander Graham Bell's patent application for a
(ON, 1/03, p.4)
1876 Mar 7, Patent #174,465 was
issued to Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) for his telephone. In
2008 Seth Shulman authored “The Telephone Gambit,” the story behind
Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 telephone patent #174,465. Shulman made
a case that Bell stole the critical technology for making the
telephone work from Elisha Gray, who had filed his own papers just
hours after Bell.
(SFEM, 1/11/98, p.12)(HN, 3/7/98)(AP,
3/7/98)(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.D10)
1876 Mar 10, Alexander Graham
Bell made what was, in effect, the first telephone call. He
found a way of converting words into electrical current and back
again and sent his first message using his new variable-liquid
resistance transmitter. Bell's telephone caused the current to vary
smoothly in proportion to the pressure created on a microphone by
human speech and got a patent. His assistant, in an adjoining room
in Boston, heard Bell say over the experimental device: "Mr. Watson,
come here, I want to see you." On a page from his notebook, dated
March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell described the first successful
experiment with the telephone. Bell wrote: "I then shouted into M
(the mouthpiece) the following sentence: ‘Mr. Watson—come here—I
want to see you.’ To my delight he came and declared that he had
heard and understood what I said."
(I&I, Penzias, p.97)(CFA, '96, p.42)(SFEM,
1/11/98, p.12)(AP, 3/10/98)(HN, 3/10/98)(HNPD, 3/10/99)
1876 Jun 25, Alexander Graham
Bell demonstrated his telephone at the Centennial Exposition in
Philadelphia. Brazil's Emperor Dom Pedro was among the witnesses.
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.D1)(ON, 1/03, p.5)
1876 Jul 4, Fr. Joseph Neri,
SJ, introduced electric lights on Market Street in SF.
(GenIV, Winter 04/05)
1876 Dec 5, Daniel Stillson
(Mass) patented the 1st practical pipe wrench.
1876 Halcyon Skinner, American
inventor, perfected the Axminster loom.
(SFCM, 10/10/04, p.8)
1876 The high-wheel bicycle was
introduced in the US at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
(ON, 2/10, p.3)
1877 Feb 12, The 1st news
dispatch by telephone was made between Boston and Salem, Mass.
1877 Jul 18, Thomas Edison
recorded the human voice for the first time. He shouted “Haloo” into
a mouthpiece and played back a moving tape.
(HN, 7/18/01)(ON, 2/07, p.11)
1877 Nov 21, Inventor Thomas A.
Edison announced the invention of his phonograph.
1877 Dec 6, Thomas A. Edison
made the first sound-recording when he recited "Mary had a Little
Lamb" into his phonograph machine.
1877 Dec 24, Thomas A. Edison
filed a patent application for his phonograph machine.
1877 The Bell Telephone Co. was
(SFC, 7/23/04, p.C1)
1877 Erastus Bigelow introduced
a machine-made broadloom carpet in the US.
(SFCM, 10/10/04, p.8)
1877 William Voss and his
brothers Fred and John Voss established the Voss Bros. Manufacturing
Co. in Davenport, Iowa. Voss had invented one of the first washing
machines with early models operated by a hand crank or foot pedal.
Voss motor-driven machines were introduced in 1905. during the
Depression Voss washing machines sold for $39.95.
(SFC, 1/21/09, p.G4)
1878 Jan 28, The 1st telephone
exchange was established at New Haven, Conn.
1878 Feb 19, Thomas Edison
received a U.S. patent for "an improvement in phonograph or speaking
1878 Feb 21, The first
telephone directory was issued, by the District Telephone Company of
New Haven (New Harbor), Conn. It contained the names of its 50
subscribers. As of 2007 regulators began granting telecommunications
companies the go-ahead to stop mass-printing residential phone
(AP, 2/21/98)(WSJ, 11/24/07, p.W7)(AP, 11/11/10)
1878 Oct 18, Edison made
electricity available for household usage.
1878 Dec 26, The 1st US store
to install electric lights was in Philadelphia.
1878 Lyman C. Byce, Petaluma
poultry pioneer, began experimenting with an incubator to hatch baby
(Ind, 4/26/03, p.5A)
1878 The 1st electric street
lights were deployed alongside Holburn Viaduct in London, England.
(Econ, 12/1/07, p.79)
1878 In Italy the world’s first
spectacles factory was built at Belluno.
(Econ, 4/16/11, p.70)
1879 Feb 5, Joseph Swan
demonstrated a light bulb using carbon glow.
1879 May 31, 1st electric
railway opened at the Berlin Trades Exposition.
1879 Sep 23, Richard Rhodes
invented a hearing aid called the Audiophone.
1879 Oct 21, Thomas Edison
perfected his carbonized cotton filament light bulb after 14 months
of testing at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. It was the first
incandescent electric lamp. The bulb burned for about 13 ½ hours.
(AP, 10/21/97)(HN, 10/21/02)(AH, 10/04, p.15)
1879 Dec 31, Thomas Edison
first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo
1879 James Ritty
(1836-1918) and his brother invented the 1st cash register. It was
to combat stealing by bartenders in his Dayton, Ohio, saloon. The
first model looked like a clock, but instead of the hands indicating
hours and minutes, they indicated dollars and cents. Behind the dial
two adding discs accumulated the total of the amounts recorded.
Known as "the incorruptible cashier," with no cash drawer, it would
show anyone within sight how much had been recorded. They received a
patent Jan 30, 1883.
1879 Photogravure was invented.
It involved the transfer of photographic images onto a copper plate
by acid-etching. The plate is then inked and pressed by hand onto
artist's paper for a print of exceptional detail.
(WSJ, 1/28/99, p.A1)
1879 George Eastman of
Rochester, New York, devised a ready-to-use dry plate for
photography. Eastman sought to improve the chemistry and the
processes of photography that had, for 40 years, required subjects
to remain perfectly still for exposure times of up to a minute.
1879 A cylindrical lump of
platinum-iridium alloy was cast in Hatton Garden, England, and then
dispatched to the Int’l. Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in
Sevres, France, as the standard measure for one kilogram. An ingot
for the meter was deposited in 1889.
(Econ, 1/29/11, p.79)
1880 Jan 21, 1st US sewage
disposal system, separate from storm drains, was established in
1880 Jan 27, Thomas Edison
received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.
1880 Mar 23, John Stevens of
Neenah, Wis., patented the grain crushing mill. This mill allowed
flour production to increase by 70 percent.
1880 Mar 31, Wabash, Ind.,
became the first town completely illuminated by electrical lighting.
(AP, 3/31/97)(HN, 3/31/98)
1880 Jul 23, 1st commercial
hydroelectric power planet began in Grand Rapids, Mich.
1880 Aug 24, Joshua L. Cowen,
inventor of the electric train, was born.
1880 Oct 5, The first
ball-point pen was patented on this day by Alonzo T. Cross.
1880 James Albert Bonsack
(1859-1924) invented the first cigarette rolling machine. He
received 2 patents for it in 1881. Bonsack's machine was able to
produce 120,000 cigarettes in ten hours, revolutionizing the
cigarette industry. In 2007 Allan M. Brandt authored “The Cigarette
Century: The Rise and Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product
that Defined America.”
1881 May 16, World's 1st
electric tram went into service in Lichterfelder near Berlin.
1881 Sep 13, Lewis Latimer
invented and patented an electric lamp with a carbon filament.
1881 Oct 11, David Houston
patented roll film for cameras.
1882 Mar 9, False teeth were
patented. [see 1822]
1882 Apr 3, Wood block alarm
was invented. When alarm rang it dropped 20 wood blocks.
1882 Sep 4, Thomas Edison
displayed the first practical electrical lighting system. He
successfully turned on the lights in a one square mile area of New
York City with the world’s 1st electricity generating plant.
(MC, 9/4/01)(WSJ, 9/17/01, p.R6)
1882 Edison Electric installed
a power grid in Manhattan that wrecked telephone reception.
(SFEM, 1/11/98, p.13)
1883 Feb 8, Louis Waterman
began experiments to invent fountain pen.
1883 Feb 27, Oscar Hammerstein
patented the 1st cigar-rolling machine.
1883 Mar 19, Jan Matzeliger
invented the 1st machine to manufacture entire shoes.
1883 Mar 24, Long-distance
telephone service was inaugurated between Chicago and New York. [see
Mar 27, 1884]
1884 Mar 27, The first
long-distance telephone call was made, between Boston and New York
City. [see Mar 24, 1883]
(AP, 3/27/97)(HN, 3/27/98)
1884 May 29, 1st steam cable
trams started in Highgate.
1884 Oct 14, Transparent
paper-strip photographic film was patented by George Eastman. He had
invented a flexible paper-backed film that could be wound on
rollers. To encourage amateur photography and film sales, Eastman
developed a simple black box camera that cost $25 and came already
loaded with a 100-exposure roll of film. When the roll was used up,
the entire No. 1 Kodak camera was shipped back to Eastman's factory
for developing and reloading, at a cost of only $10. Eastman's
photographic improvements proved successful, with 13,000 cameras
sold in 1888. The roll holder was designed by William Hall Walker.
Eastman renamed his corporation the Eastman Dry Plate and Film
(HN, 7/12/99)(HN, 10/14/00)(ON, 3/05, p.11)
1884 Herman Hollerith, a
German-American, found a way to store information through holes on
(WSJ, 3/21/00, p.A20)
1885 Mar 20, John Matzeliger of
Suriname patented a shoe lacing machine.
1885 Mar 26, The Eastman Film
Co. of Rochester, N.Y., manufactured the first commercial motion
picture film. George Eastman had perfected a method for bonding
photographic emulsion onto thin strips of celluloid.
(AP, 3/25/98)(HN, 3/25/98)(ON, 11/03, p.5)
1885 Aug 29, Gottlieb Daimler
received a German patent for a motorcycle.
1885 In England John Starley
introduced the safety bicycle. It had 2 wheels of the same size and
pedals attached to a chain to the rear wheel.
(Hem, 8/96, p.34)(Econ, 7/31/10, p.70)
1886 Jan 26, Karl Benz patented
the 1st automobile. [see Jan 29]
1886 Jan 29, 1st successful
gasoline-driven car was patented by Karl Benz in Karlsruhe. [see Jan
1886 Feb 23, An aluminum
manufacturing process was developed.
1886 Mar 6, The 1st US
alternating current power plant started in Great Barrington, MA.
1886 Sep 14, George K. Anderson
of Memphis, Tennessee, patented typewriter ribbon.
1886 Nov 30, 1st commercially
successful AC electric power plant opened in Buffalo.
1886 LaVerne Noyes (1849-1919)
invented his akromotor, a device that converted wind to electricity
and proved to be immensely useful to American farmers.
1887 Mar 8, Everett Horton of
Connecticut patented a fishing rod of telescoping steel tubes.
1887 May 2, Hannibal W. Goodwin
patented celluloid photographic film.
1887 Aug 2, Rowell Hodge
patented barbed wire.
1887 Aug 31, Inventor Thomas A.
Edison received a patent for his Kinetoscope," a device which
produced moving pictures. [see Apr 14, 1894]
1887 Oct 11, A. Miles patented
1887 Nov 8, Emile Berliner, a
German immigrant working in Washington D.C., patented his
gramophone, a successful system of sound recording. Berliner was the
first inventor to stop recording on cylinders and start recording on
flat disks or records.
1887 Frank Brownell, the maker
of George Eastman’s roll holder, created for Eastman a simple box
camera. Eastman named it “Kodak” and patented the name with the
camera. [see 1888]
(ON, 3/05, p.12)
1888 Apr 24, Eastman Kodak was
formed. The company produced the Kodak Camera: “You press the button
– we do the rest.”
(HN, 4/24/98)(WSJ, 1/22/04, p.A1)(WSJ, 8/2/06,
1888 May 7, George Eastman
patented his Kodak box camera.
1888 Jul, Harold P. Brown, on
behalf of Thomas Edison, zapped dogs at Columbia College to
demonstrate the supposed danger of alternating current, a mode of
power favored by Edison’s rival George Westinghouse. The NY state
legislature had recently designated electrocution as the official
means for capital punishment.
(SFEC, 3/22/98, p.A26)(ON, 10/04, p.7)
1888 Aug 7, Theophilus Van
Kannel of Philadelphia received a patent for the revolving door.
1888 Aug 13, John Logie Baird,
inventor (father of TV), was born in Scotland.
1888 Sep 7, An incubator was
used for the first time on a premature infant.
1888 Oct 30, John J. Loud
patented a ballpoint pen.
1888 Dec 7, John Boyd Dunlop
(1840-1921), Scotland-born inventor, patented a pneumatic tire. Two
years after he was granted the patent Dunlop was officially informed
that it was invalid as Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson
(1822–1873), had patented the idea in France in 1846 and in the US
in 1847. Dunlop's patent was later declared invalid on the basis of
Thomson's prior art.
1888 Nikola Tesla (1856-1943),
Serbian-American inventor, patented his rugged alternating current
(Econ, 6/4/11, TQ p.13)
1889 Jan 8, Dr. Herman
Hollerith (1860-1929), statistician for the US Census Bureau,
received the 1st US patent for a tabulating machine. It resembled
Charles Babagge’s Analytical Engine, but used electromagnetic relays
instead of metal gears.
1889 Mar 8, Jens/John Ericsson
(85), Swedish-US, engineer (fire extinguisher), died.
Apr 1, The first dishwashing machine was marketed (in
1889 Apr 6, George Eastman
placed the Kodak Camera on sale for 1st time.
1889 Aug 10, Dan Rylands
patented a screw cap.
1889 Aug 13, The first
coin-operated telephone was patented by William Gray of Hartford,
Conn. A foreman had refused to let Gray call his sick wife from the
(SFEC, 10/22/00, Z1 p.2)(AP, 8/13/08)
1889 Aug 23, The 1st
ship-to-shore wireless message was received in US in SF.
1889 Dec 24, Daniel Stover and
William Hance patented a bicycle with back pedal brake.
1890 Nov 11, D. McCree patented
a portable fire escape.
1890 Aug 6, Convicted murderer
William Kemmler became the 1st person to be executed in the electric
chair. He was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York for
murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe. In 2003 Jill
Jonnes authored "Empires of Light," and account of how Edison, Tesla
and Westinghouse brought electric power to public use. In 2003 Mark
Essig authored "Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and
(AP, 8/6/97)(HN, 8/6/98)(MC, 8/6/02)(WSJ,
8/19/03, p.D5)(Econ, 9/20/03, p.81)
Apr 1, The London-Paris telephone connection opened.
1891 Aug 24, Thomas Edison
filed a patent for the motion picture camera.
1891 Nov 10, Granville T. Woods
patented an electric railway.
1891 Dec 29, Edison patented
the "transmission of signals electrically" (radio).
1891 The Thomas Houston
Electric Co., the Thomas Houston International Electric Co., and
Edison General Electric merged. Houston had made its fortune selling
AC powered arc lights for city streets. In 1892 the new company was
incorporated as General Electric.
(WSJ, 5/28/96, p. R-45)(ON, 10/04, p.8)
1892 Jan 5, The 1st successful
auroral photograph made.
1892 Feb 2, Bottle cap with
cork seal was patented by William Painter in Baltimore.
1892 Mar 15, Jesse W. Reno,
inventor, patented the 1st escalator in NYC.
1892 Apr 12, George C.
Blickensderfer received the first US patent for a portable
1892 May 19, Charles Brady King
of Detroit invented the pneumatic hammer. [see Jan 30, 1894]
1892 May 20, George Sampson
patented a clothes dryer.
1892 May 22, Dr. Washington
Sheffield invented toothpaste tube.
1892 Jul 5, Andrew Beard was
issued a patent for the rotary engine.
1892 Aug 2, Charles A. Wheeler
patented a prototype of the escalator. [see Mar 15]
1892 Sep 26, The Diamond Match
Co. patented book matches. [see Sep 27]
1892 Sep 27, Book matches were
patented by Diamond Match Company. [see Sep 26]
1892 Oct 18, The first
long-distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was
formally opened. It could only handle one call at a time.
1892 Dec 20, Pneumatic
automobile tire was patented in Syracuse, NY.
1892 The 1st electrical hearing
aid was invented. It weighed several pounds.
(SSFC, 5/13/01, Par p.4)
1893 Feb 28, Edward Acheson of
Pennsylvania, patented an abrasive he named "carborundum."
1893 Mar 27, The American Bell
telephone Company made its first long distance telephone call to its
branch office in New York.
1893 Aug 1, A machine for
making shredded wheat breakfast cereal was patented.
1893 Aug 29, The “clasp
locker,” a clumsy slide fastener and forerunner to the zipper was
first patented by Whitcomb L. Judson. He demonstrated it at the
World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He invented an improved
C-Curity fastener in 1902.
(Wired, Dec., ‘95, p.138)(SFEC, 6/6/99, Z1
p.10)(ON, 7/04, p.3)
1893 Dec 5, 1st electric car
was built in Toronto. It could go 15 miles between charges.
1893 Dec 24, Henry Ford
completed his 1st useful gas motor.
1893 The first electric bread
toasters were made in England about this time.
(SFC, 1/23/08, p.G4)
1894 Jan 30, Pneumatic hammer
was patented by Charles King of Detroit. [see May 19, 1892]
1894 Mar 24, Underwriters
Laboratories (UL), an independent product safety certification
organization, conducted its first test on non-combustible insulation
material after founder William Henry Merrill opened the Electrical
Bureau of the National Board of fire Underwriters.
1894 Apr 14, Thomas Edison made
his first public showing of the kinetoscope. The first Kinetoscope
Parlor opened in New York City where you could view moving film
through a magnifying lens. Thomas Edison invented the Kinetograph in
1889, a cinema camera that utilized celluloid roll film that had
been developed by George Eastman in 1888. The Kinetoscope, developed
by Edison in 1891, was a peephole viewer in which the developed film
moved continuously under a magnifying glass. The Cinematographe and
Vitascope were later machines that actually projected images onto a
screen. The Stroboscope and Phenakistoscope were devices developed
in 1832, pre-dating photography, that attempted to show apparent
motion from a series of drawings on a revolving disc.
(HN, 4/14/98)(HNQ, 2/17/00)
1894 Sep, Guglielmo Marconi,
Italian engineer, built his first radio equipment. By the end of
this month he could flit a switch and make a bell ring at the other
end of his attic workspace. Originally, radio or radiotelegraphy was
called 'wireless telegraphy', which was shortened to 'wireless'. The
prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission was first
recorded in the word radioconductor, coined by the French physicist
Edouard Branly in 1897.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)(ON, 11/99,
1894 Oct 30, Daniel Cooper
patented a time clock.
1895 Feb 13, A moving picture
projector was patented.
1895 Feb 26, Michael Owens of
Toledo, OH., patented a glass-blowing machine.
1895 Nov 5, George B. Selden of
Rochester, N.Y., received the first U.S. patent for a
(AP, 11/5/97)(MC, 11/5/01)
1895 Nov 8, Wilhelm Konrad von
Röntgen (50), German physicist, discovered X-rays.
1896 Jan 12, The 1st X-ray
photo on record in the US was made by Dr. Henry Louis Smith at
Davidson, NC. Dr. Henry Smith shot a bullet into the hand of a dead
human body and made a 15 minute x-ray exposure to reveal the bullet.
(SFEC, 6/14/98, Z1 p.8)(MC, 1/12/02)
1896 Jun 30, W.S. Hadaway
patented an electric stove.
1896 Aug 11, Harvey Hubbell
patented an electric light bulb socket with a pull chain.
1896 Aug 20, Dial telephone was
1897 May 14, Guglielmo Marconi
made the first communication by wireless telegraph.
1897 Aug 31, Thomas Edison
patented his movie camera (Kinetograph).
1897 Nov 15, The electricity
plant at Niagara Falls opened sending AC power 26 miles to Buffalo,
NY. It contained AC generators built by Westinghouse Electric and
transformers built by General Electric under license from
(ON, 10/04, p.8)
1897 Nov 23, A pencil sharpener
was patented by J.L. Love.
1897 Dec 16, The 1st submarine
with an internal combustion engine was demonstrated.
1897 Adolphe Chaillet, French
inventor and US immigrant, developed a coiled filament carbon lamp
that burned brighter than existing models. He met John C. Fish of
Shelby, Ohio and began an association that was to be the start of
the Shelby Electric Company. In 1901 a Shelby bulb was installed in
a Livermore, Ca., firehouse. Though it was moved a few times, as of
2011 it was still working.
1898 Feb 8, John Ames Sherman
patented the 1st envelope folding & gumming machine in Mass.
1898 Jul 13, Guglielmo Marconi
patented his radio.
1898 Aug 16, Edwin Prescott
patented a roller coaster.
1898 Charles Fey built the
3-reeled Card Bell, the first machine to dispense coins as prizes.
(Econ, 7/10/10, SR p.10)
1898 Otis Steam Elevator Works
merged with 14 other elevator makers to form the Otis Elevator
Company. It later became a subsidiary of United Technologies.
(ON, 5/05, p.12)
1899 Jan 24, The rubber heel
was patented by Humphrey O'Sullivan.
1899 Mar 27, The first
international radio transmission between England and France was
achieved by the Italian inventor G. Marconi.
1899 May 9, A lawn mower was
1899 Oct 3, J.S. Thurman
patented a motor-driven vacuum cleaner.
1899 Oct 10, I.R. Johnson
patented the bicycle frame.
1900 Apr 11, US Navy's 1st
submarine made its debut.
1900 Nov 30, A German engineer
patented front-wheel drive for automobiles.
1900 Nickel-cadmium battery
cells were developed about this time.
(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.23)
1900 Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian
living in Germany, invented the paper clip.
(SFEC, 5/23/99, p.B7)
1901 Aug 30, Hubert Cecil Booth
patented the vacuum cleaner. [see 1869]
1901 Dec 11, Marconi sent his
1st transatlantic radio signal from Cornwall, England to
Newfoundland, Canada. The first transmission failed, but another the
next day succeeded.
1901 Dec 12, Italian scientist
and engineer Guglielmo Marconi received the first long-distance
radio transmission in St. John's, Newfoundland. Electrical engineer
John Ambrose Fleming transmitted the Morse code signal for "s" from
across the Atlantic Ocean in England and Marconi heard it--three
short clicks--through a radio speaker. Marconi had begun
experimenting with radiotelegraphy around 1895, and he realized that
messages could be transmitted over much greater distances by using
grounded antennae on the radio transmitter and receiver. A few years
after the successful transmission with Fleming, Marconi opened the
first commercial wireless telegraph service.
1901 The Victor Talking Machine
Co. was founded in Camden, NJ. It introduced the Victrola with an
internal horn, rather than an external one, in 1906. The company was
sold to RCA in 1929.
(SFC, 1/21/09, p.G4)
1902 Mar 25, Irving W. Colburn
patented a sheet glass drawing machine.
1903 Mar 10, Harry Gammeter of
Cleveland patented a multigraph duplicating machine.
1903 Mar 29, A regular news
service began between New York and London on Marconi's wireless.
1903 Nov 24, Clyde Coleman of
NYC patented an automobile electric starter.
1903 Dec 11, The first airplane
flight. The Wright brothers’ Flyer I flew for fifty-nine seconds at
Kitty Hawk. The brothers were the sons of a Dayton, Ohio, bishop
(Church of the United Brethren). A one-hour PBS documentary covers
their life as part of "The American Experience." [see Dec 17]
(CFA, ‘96, p.60)(TL-MB, 1988, 1988, p.104)(WSJ,
1904 Sep 15, Wilbur Wright made
his 1st airplane flight.
1904 Nov 9, 1st airplane flight
to last more than 5 minutes.
1904 Nov 15, King C. Gillette
patented his Gillette razor blade.
1904 Glenn Curtiss, a
motorcycle builder in Hammondsport, NY, began making
gasoline-burning aircraft engines for dirigibles that Tom Baldwin
was building in California.
(ON, 12/11, p.10)
1905 Apr 12, French Dufaux
brothers tested a helicopter.
1905 Einstein presented his
theory of relativity declaring that the very measurement of time
intervals is affected by the motion of the observer. He proposed
that light is itself quantized, or particle-like, to explain how
electrons were emitted when light hit certain metals. He presented
four papers, the first on Brownian motion, the second was on the
composition of light, the third proposed the Special Theory of
Relativity, and the fourth established the equivalence of mass and
(NG, March 1990, J. Boslough p. 118), (NG, May
1985, J. Boslough, p. 642), (V.D.-H.K.p.325-326)
1906 Jan, Lee De Forest filed a
patent for diode vacuum tube detector, a two-electrode device for
detecting electromagnetic waves, a variant of the Fleming valve
invented two years earlier. A year later, he filed a patent for a
3-electrode device that was a much more sensitive detector of
electromagnetic waves. It was granted US Patent 879,532 in February
1908 and paved the way for the radio and television industry.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_De_Forest)(SSFC, 6/26/11, p.42)
1906 Apr 11, Einstein
introduced his Theory of Relativity. [see 1905]
1906 Aug 22, The 1st Victor
Victrola was manufactured.
(MC, 8/22/02)(SFC, 1/21/09, p.G4)
1906 Oct 25, US inventor Lee de
Forest patented the "Audion," a 3-diode amplification valve which
proved a pioneering development in radio and broadcasting.
1906 Charles F. Kettering
designed the first cash register powered by an electric motor.
1907 Jan 15, 3-element vacuum
tube was patented by Dr. Lee De Forest.
1907 Jun 4, Automatic washer
and dryer was introduced.
1907 Jul 15, The London
Electrobus Company began picking up passengers in the world’s
biggest trials of battery-powered buses. The service collapsed in
1909. It suffered from an investment scam led by Baron de Martigny,
a Canadian music-hall artist, the front man for Edward Lehwess, a
German lawyer and con-artist. In 1906 Lehwess had sold the company a
worthless patent that caused investors to demand the return of some
(Econ, 9/8/07, TQ p.10)
1907 Leo Baekeland of Yonkers,
NY, invented Bakelite, a hard plastic. [see 1909]
(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)
1907 Whiting & Davis Co. of
Plainville, Mass., established in 1896, developed a chain mail mesh
machine about this time and became the world’s largest manufacturer
of mesh products.
1907 The phenomenon of
electroluminescence was first observed in a piece of Silicon Carbide
(SiC) by Henry Joseph Round (1881-1966), an English electronics
(Econ, 9/23/06, TQ
1907 In France the physicist
Georges Claude discovered that high voltage electricity shot through
certain gases radiated color. He patented a neon tube in 1909.
(G&M, 7/31/97, p.A20)(SFEC, 5/23/99,
p.B7)(SFEC, 8/13/00, p.T6)
1908 Jan 12, A wireless message
was sent long-distance for the first time from the Eiffel Tower in
1908 Mar 2, Gabriel Lippman
introduced the new three-dimensional color photography at the
Academy of Sciences.
1908 May 12, Wireless Radio
Broadcasting was patented by Nathan B. Stubblefield.
1908 May 21, The Aerial
Experiment Association (AEA) launched their 2nd airplane, called
White Wing, equipped with aelerons, a mechanism proposed by
Alexander Graham Bell, to steer the craft. Pilot Glenn Curtiss
flew over 1000 feet and landed safely.
(ON, 12/11, p.10)
1908 Dec 29, A patent was
granted for a 4-wheel automobile brake in Clintonville, Wisc.
1908 The US Supreme Court ruled
that player-piano rolls based on copyrighted music are not a
copyright violation but a piece of machinery.
(SFC, 4/8/02, p.E1)
1908 Gideon Sundback,
Swedish-born engineer working for the Automatic Hook and Eye Co. of
Hoboken, New Jersey, designed a new fastener, the “Plako,” for use
in the placket of a woman’s skirt.
(ON, 7/04, p.5)
1909 Jan 23, The 1st radio
rescue at sea took place.
1909 Feb 16, 1st subway car
with side doors went into service in NYC.
1909 Mar 18, Einar Dessau of
Denmark used a short-wave transmitter to converse with a government
radio post about six miles away in what is believed to have been the
first broadcast by a "ham" operator.
1909 Dec 7, Dr. Leo H.
Baekeland patented Bakelite, the 1st completely synthetic plastic
thermosetting plastic. [see 1907]
(HNQ, 5/8/98)(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)(MC, 12/7/01)
1909 A US federal copyright law
was passed that allowed composers and music publishers to demand
royalty payments for any public performance of copyrighted material.
Protection was extended to player-piano rolls and the phonograph.
(WSJ, 8/21/96, p.A8)(SFC, 4/8/02, p.E1)
1910 Apr 2, Karl Harris
perfected the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber.
1910 Aug 27, Thomas Edison
demonstrated the first "talking" pictures using a phonograph in his
New Jersey laboratory.
1910 Sep 27, 1st test flight of
a twin-engined airplane was made in France.
1910 The US federal regulator
for rail took on the regulation of telephony.
(Econ, 5/15/10, p.86)
1911 Jan 26, Glenn Curtiss
piloted the 1st successful hydroplane in San Diego.
1911 Oct 4, The 1st public
elevator began service at London's Earl's Court Metro Station.
1912 Apr 6, Cadillac adopted an
electric self-starter. Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958), as
president of Delco, introduced the electric-starter on the 1912
1912 Feb 14, The 1st US
submarines with diesel engines were commissioned at Groton, Ct.
1912 Apr 10, The first wireless
transmission was received on an airplane.
1912 Jul 16, A Naval torpedo,
launched from an airplane, was patented by B.A. Fiske.
1912 Harry C. Heath (d.1962)
invented a new siren capable of an instant blast. It was referred to
as the 1st-ever electric siren. A Heath-designed siren was used in
the SF Ferry Building from 1918-1972.
(SFC, 11/23/01, p.A22)
1913 Franz Schneider patented a
gun synchronizing device in Germany, France and Great Britain. In
1915 it was developed as the "Fokker Scourge" to fire bullets
through an airplanes propellers.
(ON, 10/02, p.8)
1913 Frank Shuman, American
inventor, created the first large solar pumping station in Meadi,
(Econ, 6/6/09, TQ p.23)
1914 Apr 14, Stacy G. Carkhuff
patented a non-skid tire pattern.
1914 Apr 28, W.H. Carrier was
issued a patent for a method of “dew point control,” crucial to the
development of automatic air cooling systems. In 1923 he invented an
air-conditioning system powerful enough for installation at movie
1914 Jul 29, Transcontinental
telephone service began with the first phone conversation between
New York and San Francisco.
1914 Oct 13, Garrett Morgan
invented and patented the gas mask.
1915 Jan 19, The neon tube sign
was patented by George Claude.
1915 Jan 25, The inventor of
the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated transcontinental
telephone service in the United States. Bell placed the first
ceremonial cross-continental call from New York to his old colleague
Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.D1)(AP, 1/25/98)(HN, 1/25/99)
1915 Feb 7, 1st wireless
message sent from a moving train to a station was received.
1915 Feb 26, The 1st
flame-thrower was used by the Germans at Malancourt, Argonnen.
1915 May 24, Thomas Edison
invented the telescribe to record telephone conversations.
1915 Oct 19, The US Patent
Office granted John Van Wormer a patent for his "paper bottle." His
patent was later acquired by the American Paper Bottle Company. The
first paper milk carton was introduced in 1933.
1915 Oct 21, The 1st
transatlantic radio-telephone message was transmitted from
Arlington, Va., to Paris.
1915 In Japan Tokuji Hayakawa
developed an improved mechanical pencil. His company became known as
the Sharp Corp.
(Econ, 3/5/11, p.71)(http://tinyurl.com/4thh7ke)
1916 May 11, Einstein's Theory
of General Relativity was presented.
1916 Jul 9, The 1st cargo
submarine to cross Atlantic arrived in US from Germany.
1916 Sep 2, Two airborne planes
communicated directly by radio for the 1st time.
(SSFC, 12/14/03, p.D2)
1917 Mar 20, Gideon Sundback,
Swedish-born engineer, patented an all-purpose zipper while working
for the Automatic Hook and Eye Co. of Hoboken, New Jersey. The
zipper name was coined by B.F. Goodrich in 1923, who used it to
fasten rubber galoshes. In 1994 Robert Friedel authored “Zipper: An
Exploration in Novelty.”
(ON, 7/04, p.5)(www.inventors.about.com)
1918 May 20, The 1st
electrically propelled warship (New Mexico).
1919 May 27, Charles Strite
patented a pop-up toaster. [see May 29)
1919 May 29, Charles Strite
patented a pop-up toaster. [see May 27]
1919 May 29, Charles Strite
patented a pop-up toaster. [see May 27]
1919 The 1st rotary-dial
telephones were installed in Norfolk, Va.
(SFC, 7/23/04, p.C1)
1920 Jan 13, A NY Times
editorial reported that rockets can never fly.
1920 Jul 7, A device known as
the radio compass was used for the first time on a U.S. Navy
1920s Harvey Fletcher built the
Western electric Model 2A hearing aid at the Research Division of
(SFC, 7/26/00, p.D3)
1921 The polygraph (lie
detector), used to measure physiologic phenomena, was invented.
(Econ, 7/10/04, p.71)
1922 Feb 15, Marconi began
regular broadcasting transmissions from Essex.
1922 Mar 28, The 1st microfilm
device was introduced.
1922 Aug 2, Alexander Graham
Bell, Scottish-US physicist (telephone), died in Nova Scotia. He and
Gardiner Hubbard, his father-in-law, were the founders of the
National Geographic Society.
(MC, 8/2/02)(ON, 1/03, p.5)
1922 The 1st arc-welded
structure in the US was a 245-step, freestanding, steel staircase
into the Moaning Caverns of Calaveras, Ca.
(SSFC, 12/16/01, p.C5)
1923 Apr 15, American inventor
Lee De Forest (1873-1961) premiered 18 short films made in Phonofilm
at the Rivoli Theater in New York City. Phonofilm recorded sound
directly onto film.
1923 Oct 16, John Harwood
patented a self-winding watch in Switzerland.
1923 Nov 6, Col. Jacob Schick
patented the 1st electric shaver.
1923 Nov 20, Garrett Morgan
invented and patented a traffic signal.
1923 Economics Laboratory
(later Ecolab) was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, by Merrit Osborn,
a former traveling salesman. Its first product was Absorbit, an
instant carpet cleaner. In 2012 its revenues reached $12 billion.
(Econ, 10/5/13, p.70)
1924 Nov 30, 1st photo
facsimile transmitted across Atlantic by radio from London to NYC.
1924 Otis Elevator Co.
installed its first automatic elevator requiring no attendants in a
residential apartment building. Automatic elevators in skyscrapers
arrived 30 years later.
(WSJ, 11/14/06, p.A18)
1925 AT&T founded Bell Labs
as its research and development subsidiary at 463 West Street, New
York. By this year the company had achieved a virtual monopoly on
local telephone service. Frank B. Jewett was the first president of
Bell Labs and continued to 1940. In 2012 Jon Gertner authored “The
Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.”
1926 Mar 7, The first
successful trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversation took place,
between New York City and London.
1926 Mar 16, The first
liquid-fuel rocket was launched by physicist Robert H. Goddard. It
went 184' (56 meters).
(HN, 3/16/98)(MC, 3/16/02)
1926 Apr 3, Robert Goddard
launched his 2nd flight of a liquid-fueled rocket.
1926 Jul 16, National
Geographic took the 1st natural-color undersea photos.
1926 Oct 8, Physicist Julius
Lilienfield filed a US patent application titled "Method and
Apparatus for Controlling Electric Currents.” This proposed the use
of semiconductors for switching and amplification purposes. He was
awarded US patent 1,745,175 on Jan 28, 1930.
1926 Oct 19, John C. Garand
patented a semi-automatic rifle.
1926 Dec 7, A gas refrigerator
1927 Feb 23, President Coolidge
signed the Radio Act, a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission,
forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Commerce
Secretary Herbert Hoover established the Federal Radio Commission to
prevent interference among radio signals by allocating broadcast
(WSJ, 11/3/97, p.A20)(AP, 2/23/98)(Econ, 8/14/04,
1927 Apr 7, Philo Farnsworth
demonstrated a working prototype of a TV. AT&T Bell Labs
scientists invented long-distance TV transmission. An audience in
New York saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in the
first successful long-distance demonstration of television. His
first tele-electronic image was transmitted on a glass slide in his
SF lab at 202 Green St.
(SFEC, 8/18/96, BR p.3)(WSJ, 9/22/95, p.A-7)(AP,
4/7/97)(SFEC, 3/8/98, p.W30)
1927 Sep 7, American television
pioneer Philo T. Farnsworth, 21, succeeded in transmitting an image
through purely electronic means by using a device called an image
dissector. When Philo T. Farnsworth was 13, he envisioned a
contraption that would receive an image transmitted from a remote
location—the television. Farnsworth submitted a patent in January
1927, when he was 19, and began building and testing his invention
that summer. He used an "image dissector" (the first television
camera tube) to convert the image into a current, and an "image
oscillite" (picture tube) to receive it. On this day his tests bore
fruit. When the simple image of a straight line was placed between
the image dissector and a carbon arc lamp, it showed up clearly on
the receiver in another room. The New York World’s Fair showcased
the television in April 1939, and soon afterward, the first
televisions went on sale to the public.
(AP, 9/7/97)(HNPD, 9/7/98)
1928 Jan 31, Scotch tape was
1st marketed by 3-M Company.
1928 Feb 8, 1st transatlantic
TV image was received at Hartsdale, NY.
1928 Feb 25, Bell Labs
introduced a new device to end the fluttering of the television
1928 Apr 8, The 1st Karastan
rug, a machine-made product woven through the back, came off the
loom in Leaksville, NC.
(SFCM, 10/10/04, p.10)
1928 Apr 24, The fathometer,
used to measure underwater depth, was patented.
1928 May 29, Fritz von Opel
reached 200 kph in an experimental rocket car. [see Sep 30, 1929]
1928 Dec 19, The 1st autogiro
flight was made in the US. It was a predecessor of the helicopter.
1928 Jean-Leon Reutter, a Swiss
engineer, developed the Atmos clock, which was powered by changes in
the atmosphere. LeCoultre & Cie bought the patent in 1935 and
began making the clock a year later. In 1937 the Swiss company
(SFC, 11/19/08, p.G6)
1929 Mar 2, US Congress created
Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.
1929 Jul 3, Dunlop Latex
Development Laboratories made foam rubber.
1929 Sep 30, The 1st manned
rocket plane flight was made by auto maker Fritz von Opel.
1929 Stuart Chase authored “Men
and Machines,” in which he examined how machines were replacing
(Econ, 11/13/04, Survey p.14)
1929 William Green developed
the first automatic pilot used on an airliner.
1930 Feb 26, Manhattan, NYC,
installed the 1st red and green traffic lights.
1930 Mar 27, 1st US radio
broadcast from a ship at sea.
1930 Apr 10, The first
synthetic rubber was produced.
1930 Apr 29, Telephone
connection England-Australia went into service.
1930 May 27, Richard Drew
invented masking tape.
1930 Jun 24, The 1st radar
detection of planes was made at Anacostia, DC.
1930 Sep 21, Johann Ostermeyer
patented the flashbulb.
1930 Dr. Thomas Midgley, Jr.
(1889-1944), employed by General Motors, discovered
dichlorodifluoromethane, a chlorinated fluorocarbon (CFC), that he
named Freon. It proved ideal as a refrigerant and opened the way for
smaller and less expensive air conditioning units.
1930 The Germany Stihl company,
founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl, introduced a portable gasoline
(WSJ, 4/3/09, p.C5)
1930-1945 Leo Szilard, scientist on the Manhattan
Project, later published selected recollections and correspondence
from this period in the book: "Leo Szilard: His Version of the
(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.16)
1931 Nov 1, Dupont introduced
synthetic rubber. [see Nov 3]
1931 Nov 3, The 1st
commercially produced synthetic rubber was manufactured. [see Nov 1]
1931 Nov 20, AT&T began
commercial teletype service.
1931 Dec 8, Coaxial cable was
1931 Dec 29, The identification
of heavy water was publicly announced by H.C. Urey.
1931 The Bosch Semaphore was
introduced. It was an orange arm that drivers could pop out the
window to signal turns.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1931 Ernst Ruska, a student at
Berlin’s Technical Univ., found that a magnetic coil could focus a
beam of electrons in much the same way that a glass lens focuses
light. This later led to his use of a pair of magnetic lenses and a
detector to produce the first electron microscope. Rheinhold
Ruedenberg (1883-1961) patented the principle of electron-microscope
imaging for Siemens and Halske.
(I&I, Penzias, p.204)
1932 Feb 16, The 1st patent for
a tree was issued to James Markham for a peach tree.
1932 Feb 21, Camera exposure
meter was patented by WN Goodwin.
1932 Aug 14, Philips made its 1
1932 Nov 22, A pump was
patented that computed quantity and price delivered.
1933 Feb 25, The 1st genuine
aircraft carrier was christened: USS Ranger.
1933 Mar 27, Polythene was
discovered by Reginald Gibson and Eric William Fawcett.
1933 May 15, 1st voice
amplification system was used in US Senate.
1933 The first unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) was the radio-controlled “Fairey Queen” biplane. It
was catapulted into the air and survived 2 hours of live fire from a
British warship. In 1934 Britain’s Air Ministry ordered 420 such
aircraft, known as the Queen Bee, which gave rise to the word drone
to describe such aircraft.
(Econ, 12/8/07, TQ p.23)
1934 Mar 20, Test of practical
radar apparatus was made by Rudolf Kuhnold in Germany.
1934 May 23, Wallace Carothers
manufactured the 1st nylon, polymer 66.
1934 The Readphone was produced
for putting literature and music on long-playing disks.
(SFC, 7/26/00, p.D3)
1935 Jan 8, AC Hardy patented
1935 Feb 2, A lie detector,
invented in 1921, was 1st used in court at Portage, Wisc.
(MC, 2/2/02)(Econ, 7/10/04, p.71)
1935 Feb 26, Radio Detection
and Ranging (RADAR) was 1st demonstrated by Robert Watson-Watt.
1935 Feb 28, Nylon was
discovered by Dr. Wallace H. Carothers.
1935 Mar 28, Goddard used
gyroscopes to control a rocket.
1935 Apr 1, The first radio
tube to be made of metal was announced in Schenectady, NY.
1935 Apr 2, Sir Watson-Watt
1936 Jan 2, The 1st electron
tube to enable night vision was described in St Louis, Mo.
1936 Feb 4, 1st radioactive
substance, radium E, was produced synthetically.
1936 Mar 26, A 200" telescope
lens was shipped by the Corning Glass Works from New York to Cal
1936 May 5, Edward Ravenscroft
patented screw-on bottle cap with a pour lip.
1936 Nov 2, The first
high-definition public television transmissions began from Alexandra
Palace in north London.
1936 Dec 1, Bell Labs tested
coaxial cable for TV use.
1936 Dec 1, EW Brundin & FF
Lyon obtained patents on the soil-less culture of plants.
1936 H.W. Dudley, a scientist
for Bell Labs, invented the "voice coder" or "voder," 1st electronic
(SFC, 7/26/00, p.D3)
1936 Germany’s Reichspost
launched the world’s first public videophone service. It was
developed by Dr. Georg Schubert and opened using square displays of
8 inches (20 cm), but which quickly closed in 1940 due to the WWII.
(Econ, 10/9/10, p.91)(http://tinyurl.com/2ceklpr)
1937 Jul 20, Guglielmo Marconi
(b.1874), Italian engineer, inventor of wireless telegraphy, marquis
(radio, Nobel 1909), died in Rome.
(ON, 11/99, p.10)(MC, 7/20/02)
1937 Dr. Gerhard Fisher
patented a metal detector. Alexander Graham Bell had developed a
primitive forerunner in 1881 to try to remove an assassin’s bullet
from Pres. Garfield.
(ON, 5/02, p.9)
1937 “Bill” Griffith P. Taylor,
an Australian-Canadian, built his automatic block setting crane:
the "Meccano Robot Gargantua." An article describing the crane
was published in the March 1938 issue of Meccano Magazine.
1938 Jan 19, GM began mass
production of diesel engines.
1938 Feb 17, The first color
television was demonstrated at the Dominion Theatre in London. [see
1938 Feb 26, The 1st passenger
ship was equipped with radar.
1938 Oct 22, Chester Carlson
and Otto Kornei performed the 1st successful test of their
photocopier at Astoria, Queens, NYC. They used powdered ink and an
electrical charge to create the first photocopy. The reproduced page
said: "10-28-38 Astoria." Carlson tried to sell the machine to IBM,
RCA, Kodak and others, but they were not impressed.
(HN, 10/22/00)(ON, 11/04, p.7)
1938 Dec 20, First electronic
television system was patented. [see Feb 17]
1938 Apr 6, Roy Plunkett, a
DuPont researcher in New Jersey, discovered the polymer,
polytetrafluoroethylene, later known as teflon. He patented the
substance in 1941.
(SFEC, 11/7/99, Par p.12)(Sm, 2/06, p.38)
1938 William Hewlett and David
Packard began their Hewlett Packard Co. in a one-car garage at 767
Addison in Palo Alto with $538. As a student at Stanford, Hewlett
built a prototype for an audio oscillator. In 1939 it became their
first product to be sold. Walt Disney used it in making the film
"Fantasia." In 2007 Michael S. Malone authored Bill & Dave.”
(SFC, 1/8/98, p.C3)(SFC, 3/3/99, p.A11)(SFEC,
6/6/99, p.T7)(WSJ, 6/6/07, p.D7)
1939 Jan 22, The uranium atom
was 1st split at Columbia University.
1939 Feb 15, SF officials
attended IBM’s preview of an electric typewriter and a punch card
method of electric accounting at the Palace of Electricity and
Communications on Treasure Island.
(SSFC, 2/9/14, DB p.42)
1939 Jul 18, Edwin H. Armstrong
(1890-1954), US radio engineer, started the 1st FM (frequency
modulation) radio station in Alpine, NJ.
(SSFC, 10/24/04, Par p.5)
1939 Aug 1, Synthetic vitamin K
was produced for the first time.
1939 Nov 1, The 1st animal, a
rabbit, conceived by artificial insemination was displayed.
1939 Nov 1, 1st jet plane, a
Heinkel He 178, was demonstrated to German Air Ministry.
1939 Nov 4, The 1st air
conditioned automobile, the Packard, was exhibited, Chicago, Ill.
1940 Apr 20, RCA publicly
demonstrated its new and powerful electron microscope in
(AP, 4/20/97)(HN, 4/20/98)(MC, 4/20/02)
1940 May 20, Igor Sikorsky
unveiled his helicopter invention.
1940 Jun 4, A synthetic rubber
tire was unveiled.
1940 Aug 20, Radar was used for
the first time, by the British during the Battle of Britain.
1940 Martin Kamen (d.2002 at
89) discovered carbon-14. Kamen was fired in 1944 from his position
at UC Berkeley due to suspicions arising from a dinner with 2
officials from the Russian consulate.
(SFC, 9/14/02, p.A19)
1940 Neptunium was discovered
and named after the planet Neptune.
(NH, 7/02, p.36)
1941 Aug 13, A prototype of the
GEE or AMES Type 7000 British radio navigation system was lost on a
raid over Hanover, Germany. GEE was devised by Robert Dippy and
developed at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at
Swanage. Dippy later went to the United States where he worked on
the development of the LORAN system. Loran, long-range navigation,
later fell out of favor with the development of satellite-based
1942 Four engineers at Standard
Oil, including Donald L. Campbell (d.2002 at 98), invented a process
called fluid catalytic cracking, which became essential to
increasing the yield of high-octane gasoline from crude oil.
(SFC, 9/20/02, p.A25)
1943 May 22, The 1st jet
fighter was tested.
1944 Jan 2, The first Atlantic
convoy that used the new antisubmarine helicopter patrol capability
sailed from New York to Liverpool, UK, with three HNS-1 helicopters.
1944 The "Prospectus on
Nucleonics," also known as the Jeffries Report, from the Chicago
Metallurgical Lab addressed the "dilemma of technological progress
in a static world order" and warned that "technological advances
without moral development are catastrophic."
(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.16)
1945 Feb 11, The 1st gas
turbine propeller-driven airplane was flight tested, at Downey, Ca.
1945 May 25, Arthur C. Clark
proposed relay satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
1945 Jun, James Franck, head of
a group of scientists in the study of the social and political
implications of nuclear weapons, delivered the report to Washington
directed to Sec. of War Henry L. Stimson.
(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.16)
1945 Jul, Vannevar Bush
published his report to Pres. Roosevelt: "Science—The Endless
Frontier," a vision for government-funded science and engineering.
His essay in the Atlantic Monthly described how adding structured
code words to microfilm pages in his imaginary “Memex” information
retrieval system would help researchers.
(WSJ, 10/20/97, p.A20)(Econ, 3/3/07,
1945 Dec 7, The microwave oven
was patented. Percy LeBaron Spencer accidentally discovered that
microwaves would also heat food. Spencer, an eighth-grade dropout
and electronic wizard, worked for the Raytheon Manufacturing
Corporation of Massachusetts developing a radar machine using
(HN, 9/5/01)(Econ, 10/29/11, p.100)
1946 Jan 10, US Army
established the 1st radar contact with Moon from Belmar, NJ.
1946 Feb 16, The 1st
commercially designed helicopter was tested at Bridgeport, Ct.
1946 Apr 27, 1st radar
installation aboard a commercial ship was installed.
1946 May 26, A patent was filed
in U.S. for H-bomb.
1946 Jun 17, SW Bell
inaugurated mobile telephone commercial service in St Louis.
1946 Sep 11, The 1st mobile
long-distance car-to-car telephone conversation.
1947 Jan, Chester Carlson,
patent attorney and kitchen inventor, signed a licensing agreement
with Haloid Corp. of Rochester, NY, to develop a copy machine. This
marked the beginning of Xerox’s copy business. 12 years later, the
company launched a practical dry copier. Entrepreneur Joe Wilson
propelled Xerox to success. In 2006 Charles D. Ellis authored Joe
Wilson and the Creation of Xerox.”
(WSJ, 8/17/95, p.C-1)(ON, 11/04, p.8)(Econ,
1947 Feb 21, Edwin H. Land
publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera in NYC. It could
produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds. Polaroid Corp.
was co-founded by Land and George W. Wheelwright III (d.2001 at 97).
(AP, 2/21/98)(SFC, 3/3/01, p.A22)(MC, 2/21/02)
1947 Apr 16, A lens that
provided zoom effects was demonstrated in New York City.
1947 May 1, Radar for
commercial and private planes was 1st demonstrated.
1947 May 22, The 1st US
ballistic missile was fired.
1947 Sep 15, The 1st 4 engine,
jet propelled fighter plane was tested at Columbus, Ohio.
1947 Oct 3, The 1st telescope
lens 200" (508 cm) in diameter completed.
1947 Dec 23, John Bardeen and
Walter Brattain of AT&T Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey,
unveiled what was soon to be called the transistor, short for the
electrical property known as trans-resistance, which paved the way
to a new era of miniaturized electronics. The device was improved by
William Schockley as a junction transistor. All 3 received a Nobel
Prize in 1956. The events are described in the 1997 book by Michael
Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson: "Crystal Fire: The Birth of the
(WSJ, 9/22/95, p.A-7)(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.4)(AP,
1947 Bell Labs invented
cellular phone technology.
(WSJ, 8/21/06, p.A2)
1947 Raytheon introduced its
1st microwave oven, the Radarange.
(AH, 10/01, p.36)
c1947 Lawrence MacKenzie
(d.2002), doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley, was one of 3 men who
discovered astatine, element 85, the 1st element to be synthetically
manufactured. It was formed by bombarding bismuth with alpha
particles. He also helped build the 1st cyclotron.
(SFC, 7/22/02, p.B5)
1948 Jan 27, The 1st tape
1948 Apr 21, The 1st Polaroid
camera was sold in US.
1948 Jun 19, The first
successfully produced microgroove 33 1/3 rpm, long-playing, records
were unveiled by Dr. Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records. Plans to
phase out 78's followed. Unlike the average record which held 8
minutes of music, this new record could hold 45 minutes.
(Hartford Courant, 6/21/48, p.7)
1948 Jun 30, Bell Labs
introduced the point-contact transistor in the New York Times on
p.46 as a replacement for the vacuum tube. Bell Labs had kept it
secret for six months. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William
Shockley demonstrated their invention, the transistor, for the first
time. John Pierce (d.2002) proposed the name. Transistors, much
smaller than vacuum tubes, allowed the creation of smaller
electronic devices and became a key component of the integrated
circuit, which are found in everything from radios to computers to
any of a number of automated systems. They were awarded the Nobel
Prize in physics for the invention in 1956. William Schockley,
co-developer of the transistor, founded Schockley Semiconductor
Laboratory in Palo Alto. Two of his hires, Robert Noyce and Gordon
Moore, later went on to start Intel Corp. Tim Jackson in 1998
published "Inside Intel." [see Dec 23, 1947]
(SFE, 10/1/95, p.D-5)(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR
p.4)(SFEC,12/14/97, p.A1)(WSJ, 2/13/98, p.A13)(HNQ, 12/23/99)(HN,
6/30/01)(SFC, 4/9/02, p.A18)
1948 Nov 23, Dr. Frank G. Back
in NYC patented a lens to provide zoom effects.
1948 Albert Baez (1912-2007),
Mexican-American physicist, and Paul Kirkpatrick co-invented the
X-ray reflection microscope for the study of living cells.
(SSFC, 3/25/07, p.B3)
1948 Richard Bolt and Leo
Beranek, professors at MIT, established a small acoustics consulting
firm and soon added a former student of Bolt’s, Robert Newman. In
1949 BBN won its first major consulting contract, designing the
acoustics for the UN General Assembly Hall. In 2008 Leo Beranek
authored “Riding the Waves: A Life in Sound, Science and Industry.”
1948 George de Mestral
(1907-1990), a Swiss inventor, began studying the burdock plant
because of the plant’s ability to attach its seed to his clothes and
dog’s fur. His analysis of the hook and loop system of plant led to
the development of velcro, patented in 1955.
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ
1949 Jan 10, RCA introduced the
45 RPM record.
1949 Feb 1, The 200" (5.08-m)
Hale telescope was 1st used.
1949 Jun 16, A gas turbine,
electric locomotive was demonstrated in Erie, Pa.
1949-1951 The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in
Middletown under the Atomic Energy Commission was the home of the
only nuclear assembly plant in the US. Worker health was not
monitored. Nuclear operations were moved to Texas in the 1970s.
(SFC, 8/1/00, p.A3)
1950 Sep 11, The 1st
typesetting machine to dispense with metal type was exhibited.
1950 Mar 17, Scientists at the
University of California at Berkeley announced they had created a
new radioactive element, which they named "californium."
1950 Mar 30, Phototransistor
invention was announced in Murray Hill, NJ. It was invented by Dr.
John Northrup Shive of the Bell Telephone Laboratories.
1951 Feb 1, The 1st X-ray
moving picture process demonstrated.
1951 Apr 22, There was a
ticker-tape parade for General MacArthur in NYC.
1951 Jul 5, Dr. William
Shockley invented junction transistor at Murray Hill, NJ.
1951 Aug 18, The 1st
transcontinental wireless phone call was made from SF to NYC by Mark
Sullivan, president of PT&T, and H.T. Killingworth of AT&T.
(SFC, 8/17/01, p.WB6)
1951 Dec 31, The 1st battery to
convert radioactive energy to electrical was announced.
1951 Dr. Charles Townes, head
of Columbia Univ. Radiation laboratory, came up with a process for
focusing packets of light energy, an idea 1st postulated by Einstein
in 1917. This led to the 1953 development of the maser, microwave
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, a forerunner to
the laser. 2 Soviet scientists managed a maser with continuous
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.25)
1952 Oct 3, The 1st video
recording on magnetic tape was made in LA, Ca.
1952 Oct 7, The first patent
for a bar code type product (US Patent #2,612,994) was issued to
inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver.
1952 Oct 31, The United States
exploded the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
[see Nov 1]
(TMC, 1994, p.1952)(HN, 10/31/98)
1952 Nov 1, The United
States exploded the first hydrogen bomb, in a test at Eniwetok in
the Marshall Islands. The element einsteinium was discovered in the
debris of the 1st hydrogen bomb test. [see Oct 31]
(AP, 11/1/97)(NH, 7/02, p.35)
1952 Dec 11, Stanford scientist
demonstrated the new $1,750,000 linear electron accelerator. Its
200-foot barrel fired electrons at 99.99% the speed of light.
(SFC, 12/6/02, p.E16)
1952 Researchers at Bell labs
developed the 1st system to recognize numbers spoken over a
(SFC, 7/26/00, p.D3)(Econ, 6/9/07, TQ p.30)
1953 Oct 13, A burglar alarm
using ultrasonic or radio waves was patented by Samuel Bagno.
1953 WD-40 was created by three
technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. The company
sold the product to coat missiles and prevent rust. Consumers later
discovered its use as a lubricant. In 1969 John Barry (1925-2000)
became head of the company and soon renamed the firm after the
7/14/99, p.8)(SFC, 7/22/09, p.D5)
1953 Dr. Daniel Fox, a chemist
at GE, invented Lexan polycarbonate resin, a hard plastic.
(WSJ, 1/10/07, p.B2)
1954 Jan 31, Edwin H. Armstrong
(b.1890), US radio inventor of frequency modulation (1933),
(www.britannica.com)(SSFC, 10/24/04, Par p.5)
1954 Feb 26, 1st typesetting
machine (photo engraving) used at Quincy, MA.
1954 Apr 18, The US held a
nationwide test of its disaster radio system known as Conelrad. In
SF a simulated 10-megaton bomb, exploding over Hunters Point, was
estimated to kill 500,000 Bay Area citizens.
(SSFC, 4/12/09, DB p.43)
1954 Apr 25, Bell Labs in NYC
announced the 1st solar battery.
(SFC, 2/16/04, p.E1)
1954 Aug 3, The 1st VTOL
(Vertical Take-off & Land) aircraft was flown.
1954 Marc Gregoire, a French
engineer, bonded aluminum with polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and
created the 1st nonstick pan.
1955 Jan 31, RCA demonstrated
the 1st music synthesizer.
1955 Mar 24, The 1st seagoing
oil drill rig was placed in service.
1955 Jul 18, 1st electric power
generated from atomic energy was sold commercially.
1955 Dec 12, 1st prototype of
hovercraft patented by British engineer Christopher Cockerell.
1955 Frederick Sanger sequenced
the 1st protein, human insulin. He later developed methods for
(WSJ, 4/5/01, p.B1)
1956 Apr 14, Ampex Corporation
demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder.
1956 George Devol and Joseph
Engelberger met and formed a partnership to develop robots.
(Hem., 2/96, p.91)
1957 Jan 3, The Hamilton Watch
Company was the first to introduce an electric watch in Lancaster,
1957 Feb 12, Researchers
announced the development of Borazan, a substance harder than
1957 Apr 29, The 1st military
nuclear power plant was dedicated at Fort Belvoir, Va.
1957 Nov, Gordon Gould
(d.2005), a Columbia Univ. doctoral student under Dr. Townes, came
up with a process for concentrating visible light as opposed to
microwaves of a maser. He was the 1st to use the term laser.
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.28)
1957 Hoover produced its best
selling model, the Convertible (Model 65), an upright vacuum cleaner
that could be converted with a hose for above the floor cleaning.
(SFC, 7/19/08, p.F2)
1957 PG&E teamed with
General Electric to establish the Vallecitos atomic energy plant,
the world’s 1st privately owned and operated nuclear facility.
(SFC, 4/7/01, p.A5)
1958 Jan 24, After warming to
100,000,000 degrees, 2 light atoms were bashed together to create a
heavier atom, resulting in 1st man-made nuclear fusion.
1958 Mar 27, CBS Labs announced
new stereophonic records.
1958 Jul 24, Jack Kilby
(1923-2005) of Texas Instruments came up with the idea for creating
the 1st integrated circuit on a piece of silicon. By September 12 he
made a working prototype.
(SFC, 10/11/00, p.A6)(SFC, 6/22/05, p.A5)(Econ,
1958 The US Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was formed in response to the
Soviet launch of Sputnik.
(SFC, 5/26/03, p.B1)
1958 An anti-trust court case
forced AT&T to license its non-telephone related technology to
anyone who asked.
(Econ, 6/12/04, p.38)
1958 Haloid Corp. changed its
name to Haloid-Xerox and produced a prototype of the 914 copy
(ON, 11/04, p.8)
1958 The first incarnation of
Super Glue, called Eastman 910, hit the market. Harry Wesley Coover
Jr. (1917-2011) first happened upon the super-sticky adhesive, more
formally known as cyanoacrylates, by accident when he was
experimenting with acrylates for use in clear plastic gun-sights
during World War II. An experimental accident in 1951 brought it
back to his attention. Kodak was not able to capitalize commercially
on Dr. Coover’s discovery and sold the business to National Starch
1958 Arnold Neustadter began
marketing Rolodex, a rotary card filing system, invented by his
employee Hildaur L. Neilsen. Neustadter had patented the system in
(WSJ, 11/24/07, p.W7)
1958 Arthur Schawlow and
Charles Townes developed their laser, light amplification by
stimulated emission of radiation, while working at Bell labs. They
received a patent in 1960.
1958 The Goldstar electronics
firm was founded in South Korea. It later became known as LG
(Econ, 1/24/09, p.70)
1959 Feb 1, Texas Instruments
requested a patent for the IC (Integrated Circuit).
1959 Robert Noyce (1927-1990)
of Fairchild Semiconductor constructed an integrated circuit. Both
Texas Instruments and Fairchild claimed independent discovery of the
IC. Noyce went on to found Intel Corp. Jack Kilby of Texas
Instruments had made a working prototype in 1958.
(WSJ, 9/22/98, p.B3)(SFC, 10/11/00, p.A6)
1959 Pres. Eisenhower
demonstrated the invention by Jerome Morse (d.2001 at 80) of the 1st
miniaturized, portable nuclear power generator, used for space
(SFC, 12/15/01, p.A25)
1959 Edward G. Zubler (d.2004),
GE research chemist, developed the halogen lamp.
(SFC, 3/24/04, p.B7)
1959 Devol and Engelberger [see
1956] created Unimate, the world’s first industrial robot.
(Hem., 2/96, p.93)
1960 Jan 23, The Bathyscaphe
"Trieste" reached bottom of Pacific at 10,900 m. Jacques Piccard
(1922-2008) and US Navy Lt. Don Walsh descended for 20 minutes
in the Trieste into the Mariana Trench, a 1,500 mile gash in the
Earth’s crust east of the Philippines with a depth of 37,000 feet
below sea level, nearly 7 miles.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.A11)(SFEC, 11/17/96, BR
1960 Mar 22, The 1st patent for
lasers was granted to Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes. Schawlow
and Townes developed their laser, light amplification by stimulated
emission of radiation, while working at Bell labs in 1958.
1960 Mar, The Xerox model 914
plain-paper copier made its debut. It was invented by Chester
Carlson and had been nursed along by Batelle research institute of
Ohio and Haloid, a NY manufacturer of photographic paper. In 1961
Haloid became Xerox.
(WSJ, 8/6/04, p.W8)(ON, 11/04, p.8)
1960 Apr 14, The 1st underwater
launching of Polaris missile.
1960 Apr 27, The 1st atomic
powered electric-drive submarine was launched at Tullibee.
1960 Jun 27, Chlorophyll "A"
was synthesized at Cambridge, Mass.
1960 Jul 20, The submarine
George Washington became the 1st submerged sub to fire a Polaris
1960 Aug 13, The first two-way
telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo
1, a balloon satellite.
1960 Sep 27, Europe's 1st
"moving pavement," (travelator), opened at Bank station.
1960 George Kozmetsky (d.2003
at 85) and Henry Singleton of Litton Industries formed Teledyne
Corp. Kozmetsky and his wife Ronya formed the RGK Foundation in
(SFC, 5/7/03, p.A1)
1960 Theodore Maiman, a
physicist at the Hughes Research Labs in California, produced the
1st working laser.
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.28)
1960 Stanford R. Ovshinsky and
his wife Iris founded Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) in Rochester
Hills, Michigan. In the 1980s the company introduced a nickel-metal
hydride battery (NiMH) for consumer use and made it available for
automobiles in the early 1990s. The technology made hybrid vehicles
possible. By 2006 sales for the solar division, United Solar Ovonic,
reached $90 Million.
(WSJ, 10/13/04, p.C1)(WSJ, 11/27/06, p.A1)(Econ,
12/2/06, TQ p.33)
1960-1970 Genrich S. Altshuller (b.1926), Soviet
engineer, developed his Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, or
1961 Apr 25, Robert Noyce
patented the integrated circuit.
1961 Jun 1, FM multiplex stereo
broadcasting was 1st heard. (MC, 6/1/02)
1961 Jun 30, Lee de Forest
(87), inventor of the 3-element vacuum tube (1906), died.
(SSFC, 6/26/11, DB p.42)
1961 Robert Rempel (1925-2005)
co-founded Spectra-Physics, which became the 1st company to make
(SFC, 6/6/05, p.B3)
1962 Mar 28, The U.S. Air Force
announced research into the use of lasers to intercept missiles and
1962 Jun 22, The Hovercraft was
1962 Jul 10, The communications
satellite Telstar, developed by Bell Labs, was launched from Cape
Canaveral, Florida, beaming live television from Europe to the
(AP, 7/10/97)(HN, 7/10/98)(WSJ, 8/21/06, p.A2)
1962 Ground was broken for the
new Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford Univ., Ca. Atom
smashing began in 1966. [see Dec 11, 1952]
(SFC, 9/30/02, p.A5)
1962 Corning Inc. invented an
ultra-strong glass. In 1964 it developed a method called “fusion
draw” to manufacture what it called “Gorilla glass.” It only found
strong commercial use with the development of LCDs for laptop
computers and TVs.
(SFC, 8/2/10, p.D3)
1962 Nick Holonyak Jr., an
engineer for General Electric, built the first light-emitting diode
(LED). GE patented the discovery.
(WSJ, 6/8/06, p.B6)(Econ, 9/23/06, TQ p.26)
1963 Feb 9, 1st flight of
Boeing 727 jet.
1963 Jun 24, 1st demonstration
of home video recorder was at the BBC Studios in London.
1963 Nov 16, Touch-tone
telephone was introduced.
1963 Profs. Emmett Leith and
Juris Upatnieks, engineers at the Univ. of Michigan, created the 1st
working hologram. Pieter van Heerden of Polaroid Research Labs
pioneered the holographic principle.
(MT, Summer/04, p.8)(Econ, 6/9/07, TQ p.28)
1963 Ray Dolby, while working
in India, conceived of separating recorded sound into 2 channels as
a means to strip away unwanted tape recording noise. His 1st
prototype was completed in London in 1966.
(SFC, 3/29/04, p.D1)
1964 May 12, The reverse
osmosis process for turning seawater and waste-water into potable
stuff was patented in San Diego.
1964 May 21, The 1st
nuclear-powered lighthouse began operations in the Chesapeake Bay.
1964 Jul 31, The American space
probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon's surface.
1964 Oct 1, Japan’s
Bullet Train began operation between Tokyo and Osaka.
1964 Oct 14, Philips began
experimenting with color TV.
1964 The US navy began its
SeaLab experiments. SeaLab I was lowered off the coast of Bermuda to
see if divers could be sustained on a helium-oxygen mix. The trial
ended after 11 days. [see 1965, 1969]
(SFC, 3/29/02, p.A2)
1964 Robert Weitbrecht, a deaf
person, invented the teletypewriter (TTY). It enabled deaf people to
call each other and type conversations.
(SSFC, 5/13/01, Par p.4)
1964 General Electric began
marketing a new hard plastic called Noryl.
(WSJ, 1/10/07, p.B2)
1964-1968 In India’s "green revolution" the wheat
crop increased from 10 million to 17 million tons following the use
of dwarfing genes and fertilizer to increase the grains on each
stalk. Chidambaram Subramaniam, minister of agriculture,
convinced Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to use new seeds,
developed by Norman Borlaug in Mexico, for wheat production.
(SFC, 11/11/00, p.A26)
1965 C.P. Snow authored "The
Two Cultures," on the chasm between the arts and sciences.
(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.9)
1965 The US navy lowered SeaLab
II was lowered off the coast of San Diego to see if divers could be
sustained on a helium-oxygen mix. [see 1965, 1969]
(SFC, 3/29/02, p.A2)
1965 Kevlar was invented by
Stephanie Kwolek, a chemist for DuPont, while experimenting with
polymers for new ways to reinforce car tires. In 1970 Herbert Blades
of DuPont developed a process for mass production. Marketing began
in 1971. Soon after that Lester Shubin (1925-2001), a US Justice
Dept. researcher, began developing Kevlar, into body armor for
police and soldiers.
(SFC, 4/7/03, p.E2)(SFC, 11/28/09, p.C4)
1966 May 21, The new $114
million Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford Univ., Ca.,
began smashing atoms.
(SFC, 9/30/02, p.A5)(SFC, 9/26/07, p.B7)
1966 The bar code, a method of
automatic identification and data collection, was first used
commercially. It was soon realized that there would have to be some
sort of industry standard set. By 1970 the Universal Grocery
Products Identification Code or UGPIC was written by a company
called Logicon Inc.
1966 Hewlett-Packard introduced
its first computer, the HP 2116A. The 9,000 person company had sales
of around $200 million.
(SFC, 3/3/99, p.A11)
1966 Hewlett-Packard developed
the first commercially available light-emitting diode (LED).
(SFC, 8/31/09, p.D1)
1966 Texas Instruments
introduced its 1st hand-held calculator based on the integrated
circuit developed by Jack Kilby in 1958.
(Econ, 7/25/05, p.75)
1966 John Linville (1919-2011),
a Stanford engineering professor, patented his first version of the
Optacon, a device to help blind people read. In 1970 he co-founded
Telesensory Systems Inc., to manufacture and distribute the device
(SFC, 3/12/11, p.C4)
1967 Jul 19, The 1st air
conditioned NYC subway car was R-38 on the F line.
1968 Feb 16, America’s first
911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Ala.
1968 Dec 9, Doug Engelbart and
researchers at Stanford Research Institute first demonstrated in SF
the computer mouse along with a graphical user interface (gui),
display editing, integrated text and graphics, hyper documents and
2-way video-conferencing with shared work spaces. In 2001 Thierry
Bardini authored "Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and
the Origins of Personal Computing."
(SFC, 12/4/98, p.B2)(SSFC, 1/21/01, BR p.6)(SFC,
1968 James Watson, Nobel Prize
winner, published "The Double Helix."
(SFC, 3/19/98, p.C4)(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.9)
1968 Hewlett-Packard introduced
the world’s 1st programmable scientific desktop calculator.
(SFC, 1/13/01, p.A15)
1968 Hewlett-Packard introduced
the 1st commercially available light-emitting diode (LED) used for
displays and traffic lights.
(SFC, 2/22/06, p.C1)
1968 Chester Carlson (62),
inventor of the photocopy machine (1960), died. In 2004 David Owen
authored “Copies In seconds.”
(WSJ, 8/6/04, p.A8)
1969 Feb 9, World's largest
airplane, Boeing 747, made its 1st commercial flight.
1969 Sep 2, The first Internet
message was a packet switch delivered to UCLA from BBN Corp. (Bolt
Beranek and Newman). The 1st 2 machines of ARPANET were connected at
Prof. Len Kleinrock's lab at UCLA. The US Dept. of Defense’s
Advanced Research and Projects Agency (ARPANET) launched a
self-healing computer network with TCP/IP (Transmission Control
Protocol / Internet Protocol). By the early 1980’s the military
component became a separate network and the true birth of today’s
Internet is marked. By 2007 some university researchers with the
federal government's blessing want to scrap the Internet and start
3/16/97, z1 p.3)(SFC, 8/30/99, p.C10)(SFC, 9/3/99, p.C1)
1969 Oct 29, Researchers sent
the first inter-node message between two sites on ARPAnet. The first
e-mail message crossed the Arpanet as a team under Professor Leonard
Kleinrock of UCLA communicated with a team under Douglas Englebart
at Stanford. The US Dept. of Defense’s Advanced Research and
Projects Agency (ARPANET) launched a self-healing computer network
with TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) [see
1969 The US navy lowered SeaLab
III was lowered off San Clemente Island to see if divers could exit
a submarine and walk on the sea floor. [see 1965, 1969]
(SFC, 3/29/02, p.A2)
1969 J. Robert Beyster
(1924-2014), a physicist in southern California, founded Science
Applications Inc. He retired in 2004 as the company numbered some
43,000 employees and annual revenue of over $6 billion. In 2007 he
authored “The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion
Employee-Owned Technology Company.” In 2013 Science Applications
Int’l. Corp. (SAIC) split in two.
(SFC, 12/24/14, p.E2)
1970 Jan 12, The Boeing 747
made its maiden voyage.
1970 Jan 21, The Boeing 747-100
made its 1st commercial transatlantic flight from NY to London. The
plane was 231 feet long with a wing span of 195 feet. It could seat
400 people in a cabin 182 feet long.
(WSJ, 7/19/96, p.B5)(MC, 1/21/02)
1970 The Palo Alto Research
Center (PARC) of Xerox opened on the outskirts of Palo Alto. George
Pake (1924-2004) ran the center until 1978. It was founded by Dr.
Jacob Goldman (1921-2011).
(SFC, 10/25/00, p.D1)(SFC, 3/11/04, p.C5)(SFC,
1971 Jan, Intel Corp. created
the first microprocessor. The 4004, the world's first
microprocessor, is signed with the initials F.F., for Federico
Faggin, its designer. The 4004 was released in 16-pin CERDIP
packaging on November 15, 1971.
1971 Jul 31, Apollo 15
astronauts took a drive on the moon in their land rover.
1971 The 1st laser printer was
made at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, Ca.
(SFC, 7/26/04, p.F4)
1971 AT&T Bell Labs
conducted its first cellular phone test in Chicago.
(WSJ, 12/6/99, p.A3)
1972 Feb 1, Hewlett-Packard
introduced the 1st scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, for
1972 Apr 4, The 1st electric
power plant fueled by garbage began operating.
1972 Hewlett-Packard introduced
the first scientific handheld calculator, the HP-35, which made the
1972 The compact disc (CD) was
(NW, 9/16/02, p.34D)
1973 Apr 3, In NYC Martin
Cooper, a general manager for Motorola, called rival AT&T making
the first cell phone call using a cell phone the size of a brick.
(SFC, 4/4/08, p.C1)
1973 May 22, Robert Metcalf
(b.1946), at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), circulated a
memo about his Ethernet ideas to PARC colleagues. He later fixed
this day as the birthdate of Ethernet. Metcalf had combined packet
switching from the Arpanet and single wire broadcasting to lay the
foundations for computer networks. Bob Metcalf described ethernet
for the 1st time in a patent memo.
(Econ, 12/12/09, TQ p.23)(SFC, 10/25/00, p.A16)
1973 Aug 23, The Intelsat
communications satellite was launched.
1973 The U.P.C. or Uniform
Product Code, an update of the Universal Grocery Products
Identification Code (UGPIC, bar code) was invented by George J.
1974 Jun 26, At the Marsh
Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, Sharon Buchanon became the 1st cashier to
scan a Universal Product Code (UPC) code. The 59 black and white bar
code was used on a 67 cent 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing
gum. The scanner was a Spectra-Physics Model A. Norman Joseph
Woodland and Bernard Silver (d.1962) had patented the 1st bar code
scanner in 1952. In 1977 an int’l. version was created.
(SFC, 7/5/04, p.E3)(SSFC, 11/6/05, p.B5)(SFC,
1974 Robert Kahn and Vinton
Cerf published a paper that outlined the protocols of the Internet.
Their Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was
updated in 1978. In 2004 they received the A.M. Turing Award for
(SFC, 6/11/05, p.C1)
1975 By the end of the
Vietnam war, Vietnamese SA-2 missile effectiveness had been reduced
to a kill-ratio of less than 2 percent. Elint: Electronic
Intelligence collected information on and analyzed the strengths and
weaknesses of all forms of hostile electronic transmissions.
Focusing on the "Fan Song" radar system that acquired targets for
and then guided the dreaded SA-2 SAM, Elint was able to identify
four key weakness that pilots could use to defeat the missile.
1976 Jan, In SF Robert Swanson
(28), a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, first met with Herb
Boyer, a molecular biologist and co-discoverer of recombinant DNA.
The 10 minute appointment extended to a few hours and the 2 men
proceeded to found Genentech.
(SFC, 5/28/96, p.B1)(SFC, 1/19/98, p.A10)(WSJ,
1976 Apr 7, Robert A. Swanson
(d.1999 at 52), a venture capitalist, and Herb Boyer, a UCSF
molecular biologist and co-discoverer of gene-splicing in 1973,
incorporated Genentech Inc. They planned to use gene splicing to
create a genre of medicines.
(SFC, 5/28/96, p.B1)(SFC, 1/19/98, p.A10)(SSFC,
1976 The U. S. Copyright Act of
1976 declared unpublished materials to be in the public domain when
the records are 100 years old or when the creator of the records has
been dead for fifty years, whichever date comes first. The act also
declared that records created before January 1, 1978 enter the
public domain in 2002, provided that they are over 100 years old or
the creator of the records has been dead 50 years.
1976 H. Taylor Howard (d.2002
at 70) built a homemade satellite dish to capture TV signals. HBO
refused to accept payment for his interceptions. He went on to found
Chaparral Communications Inc. in San Jose.
(SFC, 11/19/02, p.A23)
1976 Positron Emission
Tomography (PET), a body scanning technology, first came on the
market. Dr. Michel Ter-Pogossian of St. Louis led a group that built
the first successful prototypes between 1972-1974. In 1998 PET
technology was combined with computed tomography (CT scans). PET/CT
scanners hit the market in 2001.
(Econ, 6/10/06, Survey p.23)
1976 The first compact
fluorescent lamps (CFLs) hit the market.
(SSFC, 7/25/10, p.L5)
1977 Feb 26, The 1st flight of
Space Shuttle atop a Boeing 747 took place.
1978 Feb 14, G. W. Boone and
M.J. Cochran of Texas Instruments received a patent for their
Variable Function Programmed Calculator.
1978 Feb 16, The 1st Computer
Bulletin Board System was Ward & Randy's CBBS in Chicago.
1978 May, The Bahrain Telephone
Company began operating a commercial cellular telephone system. It
probably marks the first time in the world that individuals started
using what we think of as traditional, mobile cellular radio.
1978 Jun 11, Texas Instruments
announced the first single-chip speech synthesizer.
1978 Jul, Advanced Mobile Phone
Service started operating in North America. AMPS was operational in
the Chicago, Illinois, area.
1978 A paper by Leonard
Adleman, Ron Rivest, and Adi Shamir was published titled A Method
for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystems. It is
widely known today by the group's initials RSA.
(Wired, 8/95, p.117)
1978 AT&T scientists
conducted FCC-authorized cell-phone field trials in Chicago and
1978 Hewlett-Packard began
development of the inkjet printer, which eventually became a
(SFC, 7/26/04, p.F4)
1979 Jun, Robert Metcalf of
Xerox Corp. started 3Com Corp., consulting company, and soon began
producing Ethernet hardware. The company specialized in
connecting computers using the Ethernet system, which he helped
develop. The early Ethernet adapters sold for $5000. In 1994 they
sold for $100.
(WSJ,11/14/94, p.R26)(Econ, 12/12/09, TQ p.24)
1978 Intel Corp. introduced the
8086 microprocessor. It was a 16-bit microprocessor with 29,000
(TAR, 1996, p.22)
1980 Apr 6, 3-M introduced
Post-It Notes. In 2010 inventors, 3M scientists Arthur Fry and
Spencer Silver, were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of
1980 Luz International was
founded in Israel. It became the first company to implement solar
thermal technology on a commercial scale. Luz began building
solar-thermal power stations in California’s Mojave desert in the
(Econ, 6/6/09, p.23)
1981 Jul 7, The 1st
solar-powered aircraft, Solar Challenger, crossed the English
Channel flying 163 miles from Paris to Canterbury. It was created by
Dupont and Paul MacCready.
1981 Bill Rutter founded Chiron
Corp., a biotech operation in Emeryville, Ca.
(SSFC, 4/1/01, p.B1)
1981 Gerd Binnig, Heinrich
Rohrer and Christoph Gerber of IBM developed the scanning-tunneling
microscope. It laid the groundwork for nanotechnology.
(Econ, 9/18/04, TQ p.17)
1982 Sep, 3Com under Robert
Metcalf started shipping EtherLink adaptor cards for IBM’s new
(Econ, 12/12/09, TQ p.24)
1983 Mar, Compact Disc
recordings, introduced by Phillips and Sony in Europe in 1982, were
introduced to the US.
1983 Apr 22, Walter Slezak
(80), actor (Bedtime For Bonzo), committed suicide in NY.
1983 Apr 3, Martin Cooper,
Motorola project manager, demonstrated the 1st mobile phone, the
DynaTAC 8000x. It was designed by Rudy Krolopp. The 2½ pound cell
phone was soon made available for $3,995.
(SFC, 4/12/00, p.D3)(SFC, 4/3/03, p.B1)(NW,
3/17/03, p.14)(SFC, 8/17/11, p.D1)
1983 Pres. Ronald Reagan made
America’s military satellite navigation system, GPS, available to
the world. President Ronald Reagan declassified the GPS system in
response to a tragedy involving a civilian airplane. Korean Airline
flight 007 got lost over Soviet territory and was shot down by
1983 Louis Brus (b.1943) of
Bell Labs published work that led to the development of new lighting
based on quantum dots. He discovered the colloidal semi-conductor
nanocrystals known as quantum dots.
(Econ, 3/6/10, TQ
1983 The General Conference on
Weights and Measures defined the speed of light in a vacuum at
299,792,458 meters per second. This set the value of the meter as
the path traveled by light in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
(NH, 2/05, p.24)(Econ, 1/29/11, p.79)
1984 Jan 17, The U.S. Supreme
Court sided with Sony and ruled, 5 to 4, that the private use of
home video cassette recorders to tape television programs did not
violate federal copyright laws.
(AP, 1/17/02)(SFC, 4/8/02, p.E1)
1984 Jan 24, Apple Computer Inc
unveiled its Macintosh personal computer. It included sound-sampling
technology that could play recorded sounds.
(WSJ,11/14/94, p.R26)(WSJ, 3/4/97, p.B1)(MC,
1984 Jul 21, In Jackson,
Michigan, a male die-cast operator (34) was pinned by a hydraulic
Unimate robot. He died after 5 days. This was the 1st documented
case of a robot killing a human in US.
1984 The TED conference was
founded. TED sprung from an observation by Richard Saul Wurman of a
powerful convergence between technology, entertainment and design.
The Sapling Foundation (b.1996) bought the conference in 2001.
(SSFC, 2/07/04, p.E5)
1984 Mike Lazaridis, while a
student at the Univ. of Waterloo in Ontario, co-founded Research In
Motion (RIM) with Douglas Fregin. In 1997 Lazaridis came up with the
idea for a small thumb-using keyboard and RIM went on to produce the
hand-held Blackberry e-mail device.
(Econ, 3/19/05, p.68)(Econ, 9/23/06, TQ p.36)
1984 Hewlett-Packard introduced
a printer using its ground-breaking thermal inkjet printing
(SFC, 2/22/06, p.C1)
1984 Motorola introduced a
brick-sized cell phone for $4,000. [see Apr 3, 1983]
(WSJ, 10/30/03, p.A1)
1985 Mar 23, Joshua Silver,
Oxford physicist, began contemplating the development of self
adjusting eyeglasses. By 2009 some 30,000 of Silver's specs had been
distributed to the poor in 15 countries; his eventual target is 100
(SSFC, 1/11/09, p.A6)(http://tinyurl.com/96buv9)
1985 Michael S. Malone authored
“The Big Score: The Billion-Dollar Story of Silicon Valley.” The PBS
documentary “Silicon Valley Boomtown” was based his book.
1985 The FCC decided to open
several bands of wireless spectrum for communications use without a
government license. Bands at 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz were made
(Econ, 6/12/04, Tech p.26)
1986 South Carolina-based 3D
Systems introduced the first commercially available 3-D printer,
pioneering the development of stereolithography.
(Econ, 9/5/09, TQ p.28)
1985 Tom Zimmerman, Chuck
Blanchard, Young Harvill and Steve Bryson joined Jaron Lanier at his
recently formed company VPL Research, and pioneered virtual reality.
The firm filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and all its patents were sold
to Sun Microsystems.
(Econ, 9/4/10, p.26)
1986 Oct 4, In the Netherlands
Queen Beatrix officially opened the Oosterscheldekering for use by
saying the well-known words: De stormvloedkering is gesloten. De
Deltawerken zijn voltooid. Zeeland is veilig. (The flood barrier is
closed. The Delta Works are completed. Zealand is safe.) It was the
world's largest movable flood barrier.
1986 Honda began a robot
program at a fundamental research center outside Tokyo.
(WSJ, 9/4/01, p.A1)
1986 Danny Hillis (b.1956), an
American inventor, entrepreneur and author, began thinking and
working on a 10,000 Year Clock. After some years Jeff Bezos, founder
of Amazon.com provided assistance and the clock began taking shape
inside a mountain in West Texas. The first prototype of the clock
began working on December 31, 1999.
1986 Chuck Hull coined the term
“stereolithography” to describe a system he patented for making
three-dimensional objects. Hull founded 3D Systems to commercialize
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereolithography)(Econ, 4/21/12, SR
1987 May 30, North American
Philips Company unveiled compact disc video.
1987 GSM, a 2nd generation
wireless technology, was mandated as a Europe-wide standard.
(Econ, 5/28/05, p.66)
1987 Morris Chang founded the
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). His was the first
pure foundry making chips for designers with no factories.
(Econ, 7/27/13, p.54)
1988 Jan 23, Experimental
airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager,
completed the 1st nonstop, round-the-world flight without refueling.
1988 Apr 12, The U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office issued a patent to Harvard University for a
genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent was granted
for an animal life form.
1988 Dean Kamen, inventor,
bought North Dumpling Island, 3 acres off the Connecticut coast. His
inventions included the 1st portable insulin pump.
(SSFC, 4/8/01, p.B3)(http://tinyurl.com/2pntdd)
1989 Mar 23, Stanley Pons and
Martin Fleischmann, Univ. of Utah scientists, claimed they had
produced atomic fusion at room temperature.
(SS, 3/23/02)(WSJ, 9/5/03, p.B1)
1989 Gary Burrell and Min Kao
founded Garmin to extend the Global Positioning System (GPS) beyond
(Econ, 12/1/12, TQ p.9)
1989 Dean Kamen, inventor,
started a robotics competition for high-schoolers, for Inspiration
and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST).
(NW, 4/24/03, p.44)(Econ, 6/12/10, TQ p.25)
1989 The nickel-metal-hydride
battery appeared on the market.
(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.23)
1989 In Israel Dov Moran
founded M-Systems, the original maker of USB flash drives (1999). He
sold the business to SanDisk in 2006 for $1.6 billion.
1990 The Human Genome Project
began and planned to sequence all human DNA by 2005. The database
did not just store sequences, but linked them with citations to
enable new discoveries. James Watson served as its 1st head. His
opposition to gene patents helped force him from the position in
(Wired, 8/96, p.198)(SFEM, 7/30/00, p.10)
1991 Nov 6, Keck II became the
biggest telescope in use at Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
1991 Cisco Systems, a network
equipment company, sold for as low as $.06 per share. In 2001 a
history of Cisco Systems, "Cisco Unauthorized: Inside the High
Stakes Race to own the Future" by Jeffrey S. Young, was published.
(WSJ, 3/7/00, p.A20)
1991 Sony introduced the first
commercial lithium-ion batteries. They had a capacity to overheat.
In 2004 the US banned them as cargo on passenger planes. In 2006
Dell and Apple initiated recalls for laptop computers with recently
manufactured, problematic lithium-ion batteries.
(Econ, 8/19/06, p.52)(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.23)
1991 Carbon nanotubules, formed
from hexagonal arrays of carbon atoms, were first discovered by
Sumio Iijima of NEC Fundamental Research Labs in Tsukuba, Japan. In
2001 IBM scientists assembled transistors using carbon nanotubules.
(SFC, 4/27/01, p.B1,4)
1992 Jul 31, The space shuttle
Atlantis blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a problem-plagued
1992 The Audio Home Recording
Act restricted the use of digital-recording tools and required
makers of blank tapes an other copying devices to contribute to a
royalty pool for musicians.
(SFC, 4/8/02, p.E1)
1993 Mar 22, Intel introduced
its Pentium processor (80586): 64 bits-60 MHz-100+ MIPS.
1993 In Japan Shuji Nakamura,
an employee of Nichia Corp., invented the blue light-emitting diode
(LED). In 2001 Nakamura sued Nichia in a patent dispute that later
settled for $7 million.
(Econ, 2/7/04, p.60)(Econ, 9/23/06, TQ p.27)
1995 The US Predator
surveillance drone was 1st used over Bosnia. In 2001 it was equipped
with the hell-fire missile and used over Afghanistan. This unmanned
aerial vehicle (UAV) flew as slowly as a Cessna.
(SFC, 11/23/01, p.A12)(Econ, 12/8/07, TQ p.22)
1995 The US military Global
Positioning System (GPS) became fully operational with 27 orbiting
satellites and dual civilian use. It was conceived in the 1960s.
(WSJ, 3/24/03, p.B1)
1995 Marvell Techonolgy Group
was founded In Santa Clara, Ca., by Weili Dai and brother Sehat and
Pantas Sutardja, Indonesian-Chinese immigrants who had studied
together at UC Berkeley. In 2009 the Sutardja Dai Hall, a 7-story
science building, opened in their honor.
(SFC, 2/28/09, p.B3)
1995 A team including Ajay
Bhatt worked on the Universal Serial Bus standard at Intel. The
first integrated circuits supporting USB were produced by Intel in
1995 VocalTec, an Israeli
company, was the first company to release commercial PC-to-PC
calling software, which it called Internet Phone. However, many
competitors soon followed. In 2010 VocalTec merged with YMax Corp,
maker of magicJack, an Internet phone gadget.
1996 Mar 1, New toll-free 888
area code was introduced.
1996 Mar 1, Plans were approved
allowing traffic cameras at High Harrington and Shap, England.
1996 Aug 8, Frank A. Whittle
(89), inventor of the Jet engine, died.
1996 Spanish chemist Pilar
Mateo patented a microencapsulation technique that embedded
pesticides into house paints.
(SSFC, 5/20/12, p.F3)
1997 Nov 20, It was reported
that Lucent Tech.’s Bell Labs has developed a new tiny transistor
that is 5 times faster and 1/4th the size of commercially available
(WSJ, 11/20/97, p.B4)
1997 Dec 11, From Austria
scientists reported in Nature that they had demonstrated a form of
tele-transportation. They teleported the physical condition of a
photon using a phenomenon called entanglement.
1997 Anita Borg, computer
scientist, founded the Institute for Women and Technology.
(SFC, 2/18/14, p.A6)
1997 Gary Hudson (47) bet
everything he had on the Roton rocket, a reusable rocket tipped with
rotor blades and some 100 fuel nozzles. It cost over $60 million and
never reached over a mile in test flights. In 2002 Elizabeth Weil
authored "They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus: An Incurable
Dreamer Builds the First Civilian Spaceship."
(SSFC, 12/1/02, p.M3)
1997 The first (digital video
disk) DVD players came on the market.
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.28)
1997 Philippe Kahn, founder of
Borland Software (1983), pioneered the camera phone when he
connected his digital camera to a cell phone.
(SFC, 5/21/07, p.C2)
1997 In Taiwan the High Tech
Computer company was founded as a designer and manufacturer of
products sold under other brand names. The company was later renamed
HPC and created its own brand name. In 2007 it launched the HTC
Touch, a touch screen device whose sales were boosted by the
appearance of Apple’s first iPhone.
(Econ, 4/7/12, p.73)
1997 Taiwan’s MediaTek was
founded and began making controllers for CD-ROMS. By 2004 the
company was developing chops for mobile phones.
(Econ, 8/24/13, p.60)
1999 Mar 22, The Volantor, a
flying car, was described. It was designed by Paul Moller of Davis,
Ca., and estimated to have range of 900 miles.
(SFC, 3/22/99, p.A15)
1999 Apr, Personal Video
Recorders (PVR) were introduced at a broadcaster’s convention in Las
Vegas. and allowed users to skip through commercials. The cheapest
model of TiVo’s digital video recorder (DVR) cost $499.
(Econ, 4/17/04, p.61)(Econ, 4/25/09, p.68)
1999 Jun 7, Scientists at
Lawrence Livermore Labs reported the creation of elements 118 and
116 from krypton-86 and Lead-208. In 2002 Victor Ninov was accused
of faking the data. Spurious data by Ninov was also reported on
elements 110 and 112 from experiments in 1994 and 1996.
(SFC, 6/8/99, p.A1)(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.A3)
1999 Jul 31, NASA controllers
planned to send the $63 million Lunar Prospector crashing into the
Mawson crater located in the south pole. They hoped to churn up some
water vapor for possible detection. Evidence of the crash at 2:51
PDT was not detected.
(SFC, 6/3/99, p.A4)(SFEC, 8/1/99, p.A3)
1999 Aug 12, The invention of a
new rechargeable battery with a 50% longer life span was announced
by researchers in Israel.
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.A1)
1999 Dec, Two variants were
adopted for the 1997 IEEE 802.11 standard on wireless
communications: 802.11a for the 5.8GHz band and 802.11b for the
2.4GHz band. The technology was soon named Wi-Fi.
(Econ, 2/14/04, Survey p.27)
1999 Michael Hiltzik authored
“Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC in the Dwan of the Computer Age.”
(SFC, 12/28/11, p.C5)
2000 Jun 16, Inacom Corp., once
the world’s largest computer dealer, sent most of its 5,100
employees an e-mail directing them to a toll-free phone number with
a recorded message that fired them.
(WSJ, 11/8/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug 13, It was reported
that physicist Humphrey Maris of Brown Univ. had reported findings
in June to the Quantum Fluids and Solids Conference that challenged
the indivisibility of electrons.
(SFEC, 8/13/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug 30, It was reported
that computer scientists had created a robot to design and build
other robots almost entirely without human help.
(SFC, 8/31/00, p.A1)
2000 Sep 18, It was reported
that scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab had fashioned the
smallest transistor using a buckyball, single molecule of carbon-60.
(SFC, 9/18/00, p.A6)
2000 Nov 16, The Internet Corp.
for Assigned Names and Numbers adopted 7 new domains: .aero for
airports, .biz for businesses, .coop for business cooperatives,
.info for general use, .museum for accredited museums, .name for
individuals, and .pro for professionals.
(SFC, 11/17/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 13, It was reported
that scientists had decoded the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana, a
common spindly weed, making it the 1st plant to have its genetic
material fully described.
(SFC, 12/14/00, p.A11)
2000 Dec 15, Under Estonian law
the cryptographic signature became legally equivalent to a manual
2000 In Haines, Alaska, Dave
Pahl created his Hammer Museum, a tribute to the oldest human tool.
In 2007 he struggled to retain the name as the Armand Hammer Museum
of Art changed its name to the Hammer Museum of Art and applied for
a trademark to the name.
(WSJ, 10/5/07, p.A1)
2000-2006 The Interphone study on mobile the
threat to human health from mobile phone use cost $30 million and
involved some 50 scientists working in 13 countries. Results proved
very confusing and inconclusive.
(Econ, 9/27/08, p.93)
2001 Jan 26, Scientists
announced that they had decoded the genetic blueprint of rice. It
was the 1st important plant to have its genome decoded.
(SFC, 1/27/01, p.A7)
2001 Mar 26, It was reported
that scientists had detected high-energy neutrinos for the 1st time
in the Antarctic Muon and neutrino Detector Array (Amanda).
(SFC, 3/26/01, p.A6)
2001 Apr 23, It was reported
that scientists in Chicago had connected a lamprey eel’s brain to
microprocessors to steer a robotic device toward light.
(SFC, 4/23/01, p.A6)
2001 Apr, Linus Torvalds,
founder of Linux, authored "Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental
(SSFC, 4/15/01, p.B2)
2001 Jun 4, Hewlett-Packard
agreed to pay $400 million to Pitney Bowes to settle a 6-year-old
patent dispute over printer technology.
(SFC, 6/5/01, p.C1)
2001 Jul 5, Scientists at Delft
Univ. of Tech. in the Netherlands reported the creation of
nanotechnology transistors built from a single molecule.
(SFC, 7/6/01, p.B3)
2001 Aug 21, It was reported
that nuclear waste researchers had developed a process,
pyroprocessing, to remove long term radioactive elements from waste
and transmute them to less radioactive elements.
(WSJ, 8/21/01, p.A1)
2001 Aug 31, It was reported
that scientists at Lucent Tech. achieved superconductivity with
carbon-60 (buckyballs) at minus 249 degrees by combining the carbon
molecules with compounds of chloroform and bromoform.
(SFC, 8/31/01, p.B3)
2001 Sep 3, It was reported
that scientists at the Max Planck Inst. for Biochemistry in Germany
had affixed snail neurons to transistor chips and demonstrated
(SFC, 9/3/01, p.A4)
2001 Oct 3, Apple introduced
the iPod, a breakthrough MP3 music player that packs up to 1,000
CD-quality songs into an ultra-portable, 6.5 ounce design that fits
in your pocket, at a cost of $399.
(www.apple.com/pr/library/2001/oct/23ipod.html)(Econ, 10/4/08, p.14)
2001 Oct 17, Researchers at
Lucent’s Bell Labs reported the development of a tiny new transistor
made of a simple cluster of organized molecules.
(SFC, 10/18/01, p.D2)
2001 Nov 17, John M. Dawson,
plasma physics expert, died at age 71. He is considered the father
of computer-simulated plasma models and of plasma-based particle
(SFC, 12/1/01, p.A19)
2001 Nov 20, Jeff Hawkins,
inventor of the Palm computer, was reported to hold that the brain
works by anticipating and completing patterns more than it does
through inputs and outputs of information.
(WSJ, 11/20/01, p.B1)
2001 Dec 3, A test US
anti-missile launched from Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands
successfully hit a dummy warhead from Vandenberg Air Base in
California, 4,800 miles away.
(SFC, 12/4/01, p.A4)
2001 Dec 3, Dean Kamen,
inventor, unveiled his battery-powered, 12 mph Segway Human
Transporter in NYC. Kamen had spent $100 million over the last
decade to develop the vehicle. In 2003 Steve Kemper authored "Code
Name Ginger," the story of the Segway's development.
(SFC, 12/4/01, p.A2)(WSJ, 6/17/03, p.D5)
2001 Dec 4, Edwin Huffine, US
forensic scientist, launched a new DNA ID software program developed
with a team of Bosnian experts at the Sarajevo-based Int’l.
Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP). The program used kinship
(SFC, 12/4/01, p.A3)
2001 Dec 4, Kodak and Sanyo
prepared to invest $350 million to make flat panel color displays
using organic light-emitting diode technology for hand-held devices.
(WSJ, 12/4/01, p.B7)
2001 Dec 12, David Criswell,
director of the Univ. of Houston Space Systems Operations, proposed
a "Lunar Solar Power System" to collect solar energy on the moon,
convert it to microwaves, and beam it to Earth for electrical power.
(SFC, 12/13/01, p.A5)
2001 The US National Institutes
of Health began its Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) project to
isolate each of the estimated 30,000 human genes along with a full
set of mouse genes.
(SFC, 4/23/01, p.B1)
2001 Ben Kacyra (b.1949),
Iraqi-born founder of SF Bay Area firm Cyra Technologies, sold the
company’s new laser mapping tool to Leica Geosystems of Switzerland.
The device was created to produce digital blueprints of
(SSFC, 7/22/07, p.C3)
2001 Alexander Gorlov, a
Russian civil engineer who worked on the Aswan High Dam, won the
Edison patent for his invention of a turbine that could extract
power from free-flowing currents.
(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.12)
2001 Tom Malzbender, a computer
scientist at HPs laboratory in Palo Alto, Ca., developed a lighting
method that came to be known as polynomial texture mapping (PTM). It
was later found useful in illuminating details on ancient objects.
2001 Shi Zhengrong, a Chinese
solar engineer, started Suntech to manufacture solar cells. In 2005
it became the first Chinese solar firm to go public. By 2007 the
company was the world’s 3rd largest in the field. In 2013 it went
(Econ, 6/2/07, SR p.16)(Econ, 3/30/13, p.68)
2001 In Budapest, Hungary, a
meeting on scientific publishing by the Open Society Institute
(later the Open Society Foundation) coined the phrase “open access”
as it sought to make scientific papers free to users. Open access
publishing had already begin in 2000 with launch in Britain of
BioMed Central and in America of the Public Library of Science
(Econ, 9/27/14, p.83)
2002 Mar 5, It was reported
that a team of physicists claimed nuclear fusion utilizing a burst
of ultrasound on a bubble of gases in a phenomenon known as
sonoluminescence. Details were to appear the journal Science.
(SFC, 3/5/02, p.A4)
2002 Aug 7, Ford Motor Co. and
Canadian fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems Inc. jointly
unveiled a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine-driven
generator they said could help pave the way toward the
commercialization of fuel cell technology.
2002 Dec 31, In China a
German-designed magnetic-levitation train hit 260 mph on its maiden
run between Shanghai and Pudong airport.
(SFC, 1/1/03, p.A10)
2002 Hewlett-Packard introduced
the 1st rewritable DVD system compatible with standard DVD players.
(SFC, 1/13/01, p.A15)
2002 The grid emerged as a
linkage of many servers into a single system to tackle complex
computing tasks. The system was created to do work previously
possible only with supercomputers. The Global Grid Forum built on
the Globus software developed by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman.
(NW, 9/16/02, p.34D)
2002 The Auto-ID centre came up
with a standard for a new, stripped-down RFID chip that stores 96
bits of information. Radio frequency identification quickly became
commonplace for tagging retail items.
(Econ, 6/26/04, p.63)
2003 Jan 23, Graham Hawkes (54)
took his Deep Flight Aviator, a winged submersible, on a
demonstration run in SF Bay.
(SFC, 1/24/03, p.A21)
2003 Jan 30, Spencer Abraham,
US Energy Secretary, said the US would rejoin the $5 billion int’l.
project to build an experimental fusion reactor. The US had left the
project in 1998.
(SFC, 1/31/03, p.A6)
2003 Jun 13, Scientists
reported that the new hydrogen fuel cell technology could lead to
greater destruction of the ozone layer that protects Earth from
cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.
2003 Jul 17, A US company
launched Mexican sales of microchips that can be implanted under a
person's skin and used to confirm health history and identity.
2003 Oct 13, It was reported
that scientists in North Carolina had built a brain implant that
lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their thoughts.
(SFC, 10/13/03, p.A1)
2003 Two books on the new
nanotechnology: "Nanocosm" by William Illsey Atkinson and "The
next Big Thing Is Really Small" by Jack Uldrich with Deb Newberry.
(WSJ, 5/23/03, p.W14)
2003 Pres. Bush signed the
National Nanotechnology Initiative into law. The current market
value of the industry was about $1 billion.
(Econ, 1/17/04, p.52)
2003 The Int’l. Civil Aviation
Association (ICOA) issued technical specifications for passports to
contain an integrated circuit to be activated by a radio signal to
broadcast stored data.
(Econ, 2/19/05, p.75)
2003 A report from Texas
A&M Univ. showed that ionization fire detectors (smoke alarms)
take 15 minutes longer or more than photoelectric fire detectors to
detect smoldering fires. About 90% of US homes at this time
contained the ionization type, which were about $5 cheaper than the
(SSFC, 8/15/10, p.A12)
2003 Scientists at the Univ. of
Texas found a way to spin nanotubes into fibers to make the world’s
(Econ, 1/1/05, Survey p.5)
2003 Near-field communications
(NFC) was finalized as an industry standard. The wireless technology
operated over very short ranges measured in centimeters.
(Econ, 12/10/05, TQ p.22)
2003 The first cold cathode
fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) debuted about this time.
(SSFC, 7/25/10, p.L5)
2004 Jan 1, China began running
the world's 1st commercially operated maglev train in Shanghai. The
German-built system spanned 18 miles.
(SFC, 1/10/04, p.E4)
2004 Jan 28, Scientists said
they had created a new form of matter, called a fermionic
condensate, and predicted it could help lead to the next generation
of superconductors for use in electricity generation, more efficient
trains and countless other applications. It is the sixth known form
of matter, after gases, solids, liquids, plasma and a Bose-Einstein
condensate, created only in 1995.
2004 Jan 30, In Japan a judge
ruled that Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue light-emitting diode
(LED), should share in the profits of his former employers. He was
awarded $190 million in a case against Nichia Corp.
(Econ, 2/7/04, p.60)
2004 Mar 13, In the first DARPA
Grand Challenge robotic vehicles began a 200-mile road race near
Barstow, California. The Pentagon sponsored race ended without a
winner, as none of the autonomous vehicles built by the 15
qualifying teams was able to travel farther than 7 miles from the
(SFC, 3/13/04, p.A1)(AP, 3/14/04)
2004 Apr 13, The FDA approved a
clinical trial by Cyberkinetics on implants in humans for a
(SFC, 4/14/04, p.C8)
2004 Jun 12, It was reported
that engineers had created a “metal-rubber,” a substance that
conducts electricity like metal, but also stretches like rubber up
to 250% of its original length.
(Econ, 6/12/04, p.14)
2004 Oct 13, The US government
approved a microchip that can be implanted under the skin to provide
doctors with patient data. Two weeks after the device's approval
took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Tommy Thompson left his Cabinet post,
and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and
Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock
options. In 2007 it was reported that a series of veterinary and
toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip
implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.
(SFC, 10/14/04, p.A1)(AP, 9/9/07)
2004 Dec 15, A walking, talking
child-size robot from Honda Motor Co. managed an easy, although
comical, jog in the Japanese automaker's latest quest to imitate
2004 In 2004 David V. Herlihy
authored “Bicycle: The History.”
(WSJ, 10/22/04, p.W5)
2004 Hong Kong-based Ruyan,
which means "like smoking," introduced the world's first electronic
cigarette. It patented its ultrasonic atomizing technology, in which
nicotine is dissolved in a cartridge containing propylene glycol,
the liquid that is vaporized in smoke machines in nightclubs or
theaters and is commonly used as a solvent in food.
2004-2005 In Canada Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of
Research In Motion (RIM), founded the Institute for Quantum
Computing (IQC) at Ontario’s Univ. of Waterloo. He linked the
institute to the university’s nanotechnology program and provided
donations totaling C$50 million.
(Econ, 3/19/05, p.68)(Econ, 9/23/06, TQ p.36)
2005 Feb 1, HP researchers
introduced groundbreaking nanotechnology that could replace
traditional transistors on computer chips.
(SFC, 2/1/05, p.A1)
2005 Feb 17, Researchers
demonstrated a robot that used a “passive-dynamic design” to learn
walking step by step like a toddler.
(SFC, 2/18/05, p.A2)
2005 Mar, The Y Combinator
company, an American startup incubator (accelerator) for tech
companies, was founded by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Trevor
Blackwell, and Jessica Livingston.
2005 Apr, Moshe Alamaro of MIT
proposed the creation of small, man-made cyclones to cool the ocean
and prevent large natural hurricanes.
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.8)
2005 Neil Gershenfeld authored
“Fab: The coming Revolution on Your Desktop--From Personal Computers
to Personal Fabrication.”
(Econ, 6/11/05, TQ p.37)
2005 High Impact Technology
(HIT), a small Oregon firm, proposed using lightweight plastic to
protect fuel trucks from bullets. It developed a polyurethane
material that when sprayed onto a fuel tank would dry to a rigid
plastic. Fuel spurting out a bullet hole would react with a catalyst
in the polyurethane causing it to absorb fuel and expand, this
plugging the leak in seconds.
(Econ, 9/7/13, TQ p.7)
2005 Universal Robots was
founded in Denmark to make robot arms that were light and easily
(Econ, 3/29/14, SR p.6)
2006 Mar 15, It was reported
that Japanese scientists had unveiled a robotic fish that could one
day be used to observe fish in the ocean or survey oil platforms for
2006 Apr 22, The 2-day Maker
Faire began in San Mateo, Ca., as a gathering of tinkerers to
display their gadgets.
2006 Sep 18, Researchers at
Intel and UC Santa Barbara announced new technology using lasers on
silicon chips for optical computing. Practical use was thought to be
5-7 years away.
(SFC, 9/19/06, p.A1)
2006 Dec 13, Peter McColough
(b.1922), former CEO of Xerox (1968-1982), died. He funded the
fabled Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1969.
(WSJ, 12/23/06, p.A6)
2007 Jan 5, Hitachi announced
the 1st 1-terrabyte hard drive, eclipsing Seagate’s 750 gigabyte
(SFC, 1/5/07, p.C1)
2007 Feb 11, Intel introduced a
new super-processor at the opening of an int’l conference of chip
scientists. The processor would be able to perform over 1 trillion
mathematical calculations per second (teraflop), but commercial use
would not be available for 5 years.
(SFC, 2/12/07, p.A9)
2007 Feb, Estonia became the
first country in the world to institute electronic voting for
2007 Mar 2, Checkpoint Systems
Inc. said it will provide Reno GmbH with RFID (radio frequency
identification) tags and store tagging systems. Reno GmbH plans to
embed wireless chips in shoes sold at hundreds of stores across the
2007 Mar 26, Intel Corp.
announced it will build a $2.5 billion chip factory in China, giving
the US company a bigger presence in the booming Chinese market and
boosting Beijing's efforts to attract high-tech investment. Intel
also unveiled a prototype chip that uses optical connections to
increase speed. Products using the technology were expected to
appear within 3 years.
(AP, 3/26/07)(WSJ, 3/26/07, p.B6)
2007 Apr 15, Scientists
unveiled the world’s tiniest eyedropper, capable of squeezing out
(SFC, 4/16/07, p.A9)
2007 Jun 15, The US Patent and
Trademark office launched a one-year pilot program for a peer review
of patent applications using an internet-based collaboration
(Econ, 9/8/07, TQ p.28)
2007 Jun 26, A Japanese robot
maker unveiled what it called the world's first prototype of an
artificial hand with "air muscles" that can do even delicate work
like picking up a raw egg.
2007 Jul 24, Intel Corp. said
it has fabricated the first modulator made from silicon that can
encode data onto a beam of light at a rate of 40 billion bits per
second (gigabits). Such speeds represented a rate 40 times faster
than most corporate data networks.
(WSJ, 1/25/07, p.B4)
2007 Aug 14, It was reported
that Pulickel Ajayan and colleagues at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute had developed a flexible battery using carbon nanotubes
2007 Aug 31, Leading Japanese
mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. said it will tie up with
broadband provider ACCA Networks to introduce ultra-fast mobile
2007 Sep 10, It was reported
that John Kanzius of Erie, Pa., had accidentally discovered a way to
burn salt water when he tried to desalinate seawater with a
radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He
discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio
frequencies, it would burn.
2007 Oct 31,
Physicists at UC Berkeley said they had produced the world’s
smallest radio out of a single carbon nanotube, 10,000 times thinner
than human hair. They had it play “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos
and said it could also function as a transmitter.
(SFC, 11/1/07, p.C1)
2007 Oct, The first commercial
wave farm was set up off the coast of Portugal. The system was
created at Pelamis Wave Power, a firm based in Scotland.
(Econ, 6/7/08, TQ p.22)
2007 Nov 12, A new study said
US researchers have developed a method of producing hydrogen gas
from biodegradable organic material, potentially providing an
abundant source of this clean-burning fuel. The method used by
engineers at Pennsylvania State University combines
electron-generating bacteria and a small electrical charge in a
microbial fuel cell to produce hydrogen gas.
2007 Nov 19, Amazon.com began
selling its Kindle electronic book reader, the size of a paperback,
for $399. It was able to hold 200 volumes.
(WSJ, 11/20/07, p.B1)(Econ, 10/25/08, SR p.11)
2007 Dec 6, IBM reported that
it has made a breakthrough in converting electrical signals into
light pulses that brings closer the day when supercomputing, which
now requires huge machines, will be done on a single chip.
2007 Bruce D. Abramson authored
“The Secret Circuit: The Little-Known Court Where the Rules of the
Information Age Unfold,” a discussion of the American patent system.
(SSFC, 12/2/07, p.M3)
2007 Planar Energy of Orlando,
Florida, was spun off from America’s National Renewable Energy
Laboratory. The company went on to develop a process for printing
lithium-ion batteries onto sheets of metal or plastic. A pilot
production facility opened in 2011.
(Econ, 1/29/11, p.77)
2008 Feb 11, It was reported
that Ronald Fearing, Berkeley professor in electrical engineering,
has invented a tape-like substance based on the physics used by
geckos to scoot upside-down across ceilings.
(SFC, 2/11/08, p.C1)
2008 Feb 19, Japan’s Toshiba
Corp. announced it would no longer develop, make or market
high-definition HD DVD players and recorders, conceding defeat to
the competing Blu-Ray technology backed by Sony Corp.
2008 May 20, Scientists
delivered a warning about nanotechnology after tests on lab rodents
found that microscopic, needle-like fibers that are already in
commercial use led to lesions similar to those caused by asbestos.
2008 Jun 6, Pres. Bush signed a
transportation bill that freed $45 million for environmental studies
for a levitating train planned to run from Disneyland to Las
(SFC, 6/7/08, p.C2)
2008 Aug 12, It was reported
that Akron inventor Charlie Grispin, chief technical officer of
PolyFlow Corp., had developed a new process to recycle plastic and
that a demonstration plant in Akron showed how the process broke all
manner of plastics into their base chemicals.
2008 Aug 21, Intel showed off a
wireless electric power system at the California firm's annual
developers forum in San Francisco. Analysts said it could
revolutionize modern life by freeing devices from transformers and
2008 Sep 10, In Geneva the
Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle collider, passed
its first major tests by firing two beams of protons in opposite
directions around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground ring in what
scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup
of the universe. On Sep 19 it started leaking helium and had to be
turned off. The technical problems delayed for at least two months
the quest for scientists to learn more about the nature of the
universe and the origins of all matter.
(AP, 9/10/08)(AP, 9/20/08)(Econ, 9/27/08, p.96)
2008 Sep 22, It was reported
that SanDisk, a maker of flash memory, was teaming with 4 top music
labels to roll out a new music medium based on its microSD cards,
which would feature pre-loaded albums and additional content and
compete with the declining CD market.
(SFC, 9/22/08, p.D1)
2008 Sep 23, Google and
T-Mobile unveiled the T-Mobile G1, the first phone to use the
Google’s Android operating system.
(SFC, 9/24/08, p.C1)
2008 Oct, Solyndra, a
Fremont, Ca., company, launched a new type of solar panel using
lightweight glass tubes. It expected installation costs to be half
that of conventional panels.
(Econ, 10/11/08, p.110)
2008 Oct 30, The Economist
magazine presented its annual innovation awards. Winners included
Martin Evans, for stem cell research at Cardiff Univ.; Jimmy Wales
of Wikipedia for the promotion online public collaboration; Matti
Makkonen, a Finnish engineer, for the development of Short Message
Service (SMS), better known as text messaging; Steve Chen and Chad
Hurley of YouTube, for the creating of an easy way to share video;
Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley for his promotion of energy
efficiency; Sumio Iijima for the discovery of carbon nanotubes; Bill
and Melinda Gates for the developing a philanthropic support
platform; and Nokia Corp. For its ability to respond to social and
(Econ, 12/6/08, TQ p.13)
2009 Jan 29, India began a plan
to issue a new biometric identity card to its whole 1.2 billion
population. On June 25 Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of Infosys, was
given ministerial status and appointed to run the scheme.
(Econ, 7/4/09, p.36)(http://tinyurl.com/nvfahh)
2009 Feb 11, BrightSource
Energy of Oakland, California, announced that it will sell southern
California Edison 1,300 megawatts of electricity from 7 large solar
plants planned for the California desert. This was believed to be
the world’s largest solar deal to date.
(SFC, 2/12/09, p.A1)
2009 Feb 16, In Spain Samsung
of South Korea unveiled the world's first solar-powered mobile phone
at an industry show where the sector is showcasing the new
technology it hopes will drive demand through the economic crisis.
2009 Apr 25, It was reported
the Behrad Khamesee and colleagues at the Univ. of Waterloo in
Ontario, Canada, have built a micro-robot with gripper arms that
(Econ, 4/25/09, p.85)
2009 May 13, A new, 2-person,
research submarine, the Deep Flight Super Falcon, was unveiled at
the California Academy of Sciences in SF. It was designed by marine
engineer Graham Hawkes. Its $1.5 million cost was underwritten by
venture capitalist Tom Perkins. It was scheduled to begin exploring
Monterey Bay in June.
(SFC, 5/14/09, p.B5)
2009 May 18, It was reported
that South Korea's top technology university has developed a plan to
power electric cars through recharging strips embedded in roadways
that use a technology to transfer energy found in some electric
2009 May 31, A robotic vehicle
named Nereus, funded by the National Science Foundation's Division
of Ocean Sciences, made the deepest ocean dive ever - 6.8 miles
(10,902 meters). At this depth, Nereus was able to explore the
Challenger Deep, the ocean's lowest point, located in the Mariana
Trench in the western Pacific.
2009 Jun 6, Palm Inc.
introduced its new smart phone called Pre. Two days later Apple
unveiled updated versions of its popular iPhone.
(Econ, 6/13/09, p.66)
2009 Aug 28, Denmark announced
the 5 winners of its biennial Index design awards. The winners
included: Kiva.org, of the SF Bay Area for bringing money and
intellectual capital to the working poor; Better Place, of the SF
Bay Area for a clean energy system for all-electric cars; the
Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor; Philip Design for its India-team
designed safe kitchen stove for one-room homes; and Rotterdam-based
Pig 05049 for its list of 185 good and bad products made from a
(SFC, 8/29/09, p.E1)
2009 Oct 1, Mattel planned to
release its Mindflex toy, which allowed users to lift a ball and
send it through an obstacle course using brain control interface
(SSFC, 9/6/09, p.A8)
2009 Sep 18, South Korean
scientists said they had developed a new transistor which moves
faster and consumes less energy than existing semiconductors, a
technology opening the way for no-booting computers.
2009 Nov 19, In Silicon Valley,
California, the Tech Awards, a humanitarian program recognizing
technological solutions aimed at worldwide challenges, honored 5
winners for their work in the environment, economic development,
education, equality and health.
(SFC, 11/20/09, p.D1)
2009 Dec 2, An Italian-led team
of scientists said a robotic hand has been successfully connected to
an amputee, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb
and control it with his thoughts. A video was shown of Pierpaolo
Petruzziello (26) as he concentrated to give orders to the hand
placed next to him.
2009 Dec 5, The Defense Advance
Research projects Agency (DARPA) conducted an experiment challenging
teams around the country to locate the submit the correct geographic
coordinates of 10 weather balloons in return for a $40,000 cash
prize. Over 4,000 teams participated and the winning answer came
after 8 hours and 56 minutes. Social networking sites played a major
role in the game theory simulation. Riley Crane, a post doc research
fellow at MIT’s media lab, led the winning team using an elaborate
information gathering pyramid.
(SFC, 12/7/09, p.A9)
2009 Dec 7, Scientists at
Stanford University in California reported that they have
successfully turned paper coated with ink made of silver and carbon
nanomaterials into a "paper battery" that holds promise for new
types of lightweight, high-performance energy storage.
2009 Dec 26, China unveiled
what it billed as the fastest rail link in the world, a train
connecting the modern cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan at an average
speed of 350 km (217 miles) an hour.
2009 Patri Friedman and Wayne
Gramlich authored the online book: “Seasteading: Homesteading the
High Seas.” Backed by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, they
planned to begin creating a floating colony 12 miles off the coast
of San Francisco in 2012.
2010 Jan 7, Intel CEO Paul
Otellini introduced a technology called Intel Wireless Display
(WiDi) that allows a user to beam the contents of a computer screen
to a TV.
(SFC, 1/9/10, p.D1)
2010 Jan 8, It was reported
that YMax Corp., the company behind the magicJack, the cheap
Internet phone gadget that's been heavily promoted on TV, has made a
new version of the device that allows free calls from cell phones in
the home, in a fashion that's sure to draw protest from cellular
2010 Jan 9, A company called
TrueCompanion premiered the "lifelike" sex robot, Roxxxy on the
floor of the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.
(http://tinyurl.com/yb7w8gr)(Econ, 4/2/11, p.65)
2010 Jan 23, The British
Department for Business Innovation and Skills halted the export of
the ADE651 after a Jan 22 BBC Newsnight investigation challenged the
claims of the company, ATSC. The broadcaster took the key aspects of
the device to a laboratory, which concluded that a component
intended to detect explosives contained technology used to prevent
theft in stores. The government banned its export to Iraq and
Afghanistan because of the risk that it could hurt British and
2010 Jan, It was reported that
German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and
Forming Technology in Chemnitz have found a way to use
electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) to punch holes into steel.
(Econ, 1/16/10, p.80)
2010 Feb 11, The US military
used a laser gun aboard a Boeing 747 jumbo jet to shoot down a
missile near Point Mugu, Ventura County, Ca. The airborne laser
program began in 1996 and has cost billion of dollars.
(SFC, 2/13/10, p.A6)
2010 Feb 15, In Spain, at the
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Apple announced its new Windows
Phone 7 software. Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile
handsets, said it would merge its Linux Maemo software platform,
used in its flagship N900 phone, with Intel's Moblin, which is also
based on Linux open-sourced software, to create a new platform,
MeeGo. The software deal was set to boost Intel's chances of getting
its chips into the cellphones of the Finnish company, which controls
around 40% of the global phone market.
(Reuters, 2/15/10)(SFC, 2/16/10, p.D1)
2010 Feb 18, US researchers
unveiled a vehicle that earns money for its driver instead of
guzzling it up in gasoline and maintenance costs. The presentation
of the box-like, unassuming looking Scion was the researchers' way
of introducing the "vehicle-to-grid" (V2G) concept as it begins to
gain momentum in the United States and around the world.
2010 Feb 24, In San Jose, Ca.,
stealth start-up Bloom Energy publicly unveiled an innovative fuel
cell that promises to deliver affordable, clean energy to even
remote corners of the world.
2010 Mar 16, DHS Secretary
Janet Napolitano said she is freezing funding for the SBInet
project, the virtual border fence along the US-Mexican border, due
to cost overruns and missed deadlines by Boeing Corp. The project
has cost $2.4 billion between 2005 and 2009.
2010 Apr 2, It was reported
that researchers, at Israeli weapons maker Rafael, were putting the
final touches on a tank-mounted miniature anti-missile system,
Trophy, that detects incoming projectiles and shoots them down
before they reach tanks equipped with the system.
2010 Apr 12, China eased
requirements for companies to qualify for government purchasing of
technology after a plan to favor domestic technology was met with
heavy criticism from other countries and business groups.
2010 May 16, Israel inaugurated
a huge new desalination facility on its Mediterranean seashore, with
a network of pipes beneath the beach reaching far into the ocean.
The $425 million Hadera plant is the world's largest using reverse
2010 May 27, In Florida a Delta
4 rocket at Cape Canaveral carried a new generation GPS satellite
into space. A dozen such Boeing-built satellites will be launched
over the next several years to replace the 20-year-old systems now
(SFC, 5/29/10, p.A4)
2010 Jun 9, The Technology
Academy of Finland awarded Michael Graetzel of Switzerland, a
German-born chemist, the international Millennium Technology Prize
for inventing low-cost solar cells used in renewable energy. The
prize included euro800,000 ($960,000).
2010 Jun 23, Russia’s Pres.
Medvedev visited Silicon Valley and met with executives at Apple,
Cisco and Twitter as he sought to advance Russia as a global leader
(SFC, 6/24/10, p.D1)
2010 Jul 1, D.light, a solar
powered lantern that could provided light for up to 12 hours after
charging in sunlight for one day, won the Ashden award for
sustainable energy. It was designed by an Indian company in
California and marketed successfully in India.
2010 Aug 6, Saudi Arabia
suspended BlackBerry messaging services, as concerns spread across
the Middle East and parts of Asia over security issues with the
2010 Aug 24, In Eastport,
Maine, the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) launched a $2.5
million prototype, tidal grid-compatible power system.
2010 Sep 11, Japan launched a
rocket carrying a satellite intended to improve global positioning
2010 Oct 4, Tokyo-based Toshiba
unveiled the world's first high definition liquid crystal display
3-D television that does not require special glasses, one of the
biggest consumer complaints about the technology.
2010 Oct 8, Pres. Obama signed
a law on providing the disabled easier access to technology.
(SFC, 10/9/10, p.A6)
2010 Oct 11, Microsoft unveiled
a new mobile phone operating system as it seeks to regain ground
lost to the iPhone, Blackberry and devices powered by Google's
2010 Oct 21, In Austria
Christian Kandlbauer (22), man who was able to drive because of an
innovative high-tech artificial arm, died. He had been in intensive
care since Oct 19 after his vehicle veered off the road and into a
tree. It was unclear whether the crash was caused by problems with
Kandlbauer's artificial arms.
2010 Nov 4, Microsoft released
Kinect, a motion-tracking peripheral for the Xbox console.
Scientists soon found uses multiple other uses for the device.
(SFC, 1/10/11, p.D1)
2010 Dec 28, South Korean
education officials said almost 30 robots have started teaching
English to youngsters in a South Korean city, in a pilot project
designed to nurture the nascent robot industry.
2010 William Rosen authored
“The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry and
Invention,” a study of the process of tinkering with an existing
mechanism to make it better.
(Econ, 8/14/10, p.70)
2011 Feb 7, France-based
Alcatel-Lucent unveiled technology that reduces the filing cabinet
size of a wireless base station to that of Rubik’s cube.
(Econ, 2/12/11, p.70)
2011 Feb 24, In Japan the
world's first robot marathon kicked off in Osaka, with five
two-legged participants racing on an indoor track. The race was
expected to last through Feb 27.
2011 Feb 28, It was reported
that California's AeroVironment has built the world's first
hummingbird spy plane. The Pentagon had asked them to develop a
pocket-sized aircraft for surveillance and reconnaissance that
2011 Mar 3, Japanese
researchers said they have developed a human-shaped mobile phone
with a skin-like outer layer that enables users to feel closer to
those on the other end.
2011 Apr 13, The US navy said
it successfully tested a high energy laser from a ship last week.
The laser beam could set on fire boat engines, such as those used by
(SFC, 4/14/11, p.A2)
2011 Apr 19, It was reported
that a US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by
Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and
video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device
works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password
2011 Apr, The American Navy
successfully tested a prototype of its Maritime Laser. The device of
just over 100 kilowatts integrated with a ship’s radar and other
systems for use to destroy a target at sea.
(Economist, 9/1/12, TQ p.12)
2011 May 30, Australian robots
have begun talking to each other in a language of their own
devising. Two "Lingodroids," developed by the University of
Queensland, have picked up their shared language by playing location
games that led them to construct a shared vocabulary for places,
distances and directions.
2011 May 30, European
anti-trust regulators launched in-depth probes into proposed US
takeovers of South Korean and Japanese businesses manufacturing
computer hard disk drives (HDD). The planned acquisitions of the
hard disk drive operations of South Korean electronics giant Samsung
by Seagate Technology, and the storage business of Japan's Hitachi
by Western Digital Corporation in a sector with just five
manufacturers worldwide have raised concerns. Brussels officials
have until October 10 to decide what action if any they will take.
2011 Jun 18, A five-hour
computer outage virtually shut down United Airlines Friday night and
early Saturday, a stark reminder of how dependent airlines have
become on technology.
2011 Jun 23, Japanese inventors
were reported to have pushed the frontiers of technology with the
ultimate companion for lonely singles, a wired torso-shaped device
that you can hug and that hugs you back.
2011 Jul 26, China’s Jiaolong
undersea craft, named after a mythical sea dragon, reached 5,057
meters (16,591 feet) below sea level in a test dive in the
northeastern Pacific. In 1960 the US Navy reached the bottom of the
Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world's oceans at 11,000
2011 Sep 7, It was reported
that New Mexico plans to build a $200 million, 20-square mile model
metropolis to test renewable energy innovations, intelligent traffic
systems and new wireless networks. It would model a typical American
town of 35,000 people.
(SFC, 9/7/11, p.A6)
2011 Oct 4, Apple Inc. unveiled
a faster, more powerful iPhone, the iPhone 4S, in its first major
product event in years without Steve Jobs presiding. The device
included Siri, a personal assistant application.
(AP, 10/4/11)(SFC, 1/23/15,
2011 Nov 18, Findings detailed
in today’s issue of the journal Science tell how scientists have
devised ultra-lightweight, low-density metallic lattices with
orderly structures. These possess higher levels of stiffness,
strength and conductivity of conventional forms of their parent
2011 Dec 17, In Afghanistan the
US military began testing Kaman K-MAX helicopters, a revolutionary
new drone for its arsenal. The pilotless helicopters will fly cargo
missions to remote outposts where frequent roadside bombs threaten
access by road convoys.
2012 Mar 13, British chip
designer ARM unveiled what it said was the world's most
energy-efficient microprocessor design that will help devices
ranging from fridges to medical equipment to parking meters to
communicate with other devices.
2012 Jan 8, The Consumer
Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas. South Korea-based Samsung and
LG introduced their new 55-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED)
(SFC, 3/15/12, p.D2)
2012 Apr 22, A prize-winning,
super-energy-saving 10-watt LED bulb from Dutch electronics giant
Philips, went on sale to coincide with Earth Day. The bulb, said to
last over 20 years, has won the US Department of Energy's "Bright
Tomorrow Lighting Prize" and was now available from retailers for
$50, down from an initial $60 price tag.
2012 Jun 24, A manned Chinese
submersible, the Jiaolong, broke through the 7,000-meter mark for a
new national deep water dive record in the Mariana Trench in the
western Pacific Ocean on its fourth dive since arriving in the area
earlier this month. The dive came on the same day China successfully
completed its first manual space docking.
2012 Jun 28, US scientists
reported the development of a paint that can store and deliver
electrical power just like a battery.
2012 Aug 14, The Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation announced the winners of its $100,000
Reinventing the Toilet Challenge. The winning toilet was developed
by Michael Hoffman of the California Institute of Technology.
(Economist, 9/1/12, TQ p.10)
2012 Aug 16, A solar powered
toilet that turns urine and feces into hydrogen and electricity won
a $100,000 first prize in the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge in
Seattle, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
(SFC, 8/17/12, p.A8)
2012 Oct 19, British engineers
at Air Fuel Synthesis (AFS) in Teeside, northern England, said they
have produced 5 liters of synthetic petrol over a period of three
months. AFS said it has developed a way to create petrol from air
2012 Oct, A robot called
Baxter, developed by Rethink Robotics, went on sale. The company was
founded by Rodney Brooks, co-founder of iRobot.
(Economist, 9/29/12, p.86)
2012 Brad Feld, co-founder of
the TechStars accelerator network, authored “Startup Communities:
Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City,” a to do list
for building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
(Econ, 1/18/14, SR p.10)
2012 Michigan doctors used
plastic particles and a 3-D laser printer to create an airway splint
to save the life of Kaiba Gionfriddo, a 3-month-old Ohio baby boy
who used to stop breathing nearly every day.
2012 Scientists at the Harvard
robotics laboratory performed a successful flight of hovering robots
the size of crane flies.
2012 Memoto, a Swedish startup,
raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. The
company also raised €500,000 in seed funding enabling it to build a
stamp-sized wearable camera that takes pictures every 30 seconds.
(Econ, 5/11/13, p.69)
2013 Jan 23, Pebble Technology,
an American maker of smart watches, began shipping it’s $150 digital
wrist watches that can show e-mail, text and Facebook messages. Eric
Migicovsky's company launched a Kickstarter campaign on April 11,
2012, with an initial fundraising target of $100,000. On May 18,
2012, funding closed with $10,266,844 pledged by 68,928 people.
2013 Mar 13, Shares of Silver
Spring Networks (SSNI) of Redwood City, Ca., closed at $22 in an IPO
of 4.75 million shares on the NYSE. The maker of smart meter
technology jumped nearly 30% from the $17 offer.
(SFC, 2/14/13, p.C1)
2013 Mar 18, The Queen
Elizabeth Prize for Engineering was awarded to Marc Andreessen, Sir
Timothy Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn and Louis Pouzin, for
their efforts in the development of the Internet.
(Econ, 3/23/13, p.84)
2013 Apr 11,
Netherlands-based Royal Philips NV said it has developed a
working prototype of an LED lamp that will confine the fluorescent
bulb to the recycling bin of history.
2013 May 2, An experimental US
aircraft, the unmanned X-51A WaveRider sped over 3,000 mph in a test
flight above the Pacific Ocean. It used a scramjet engine and
reached Mach 5.1 riding its own shock wave before plunging into the
ocean as planned.
(SFC, 5/4/13, p.A10)
2013 May 16, Heinrich Rohrer
(79), Swiss physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1986), died in
Switzerland. He is regarded as the father of nanotechnology.
(Econ, 6/1/13, p.90)
2013 Jun 10, Apple Corp. said
it will equip its new iPhones with a “kill switch” that will render
the devices useless if stolen.
(SFC, 6/11/13, p.A1)
2013 Jun 11, Google announced
the acquisition of Waze, the Israeli creator of a traffic and
navigation app for smartphones.
(Econ, 6/15/13, p.68)
2013 Aug 12, Elon Musk, founder
of Tesla and SpaceX, proposed to revive the old science-fiction
vac-train concept to carry passengers from San Francisco to Los
Angeles at over 1,200kph.
(Econ, 8/17/13, p.65)
2013 Sep 4, South Korea’s
Samsung set the price of its new Galaxy Gear wristwatch at $299 with
sales to begin Sep 25.
(SFC, 9/5/13, p.C3)
2013 Oct 15, The European Space
Agency said it has developed a technology that allows metal parts
for spacecraft and nuclear reactors to be "printed" as a single
2013 Nov 4, It was reported
that Britain's biggest retailer Tesco plans to install screens at
its petrol stations that scan customers' faces so that advertising
can be tailored to their age and gender.
2013 Nov 4, South Korea's spy
agency said that North Korea was using Russian technology to develop
electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralyzing military
electronic equipment south of the border.
2013 Dec 20, In Florida 17
teams competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge at a speedway track
near Miami. Only one robot, SCHAFT, made it to the top of a
nine-step aluminum ladder. It was created by a Japanese startup
owned by Google.
(Econ, 3/29/14, SR
2013 Clive Hamilton authored
“Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering.”
(Econ, 11/23/13, p.80)
2013 Evgeny Morozov authored
“To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological
(SFC, 4/3/13, p.D1)
2013 Fred Vogelstein authored
“Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a
(SSFC, 12/8/13, p.F5)
2014 Apr 9, Stuart Parkin (58)
won the Finnish 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) Millennium Technology
Prize for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital
data storage on magnetic disks. The British-American physicist
directed the IBM-Stanford spintronic science center in California.
2014 Apr 15, The wireless
industry said that smartphones will offer optional, reversible “kill
switches” starting next year as a way to deter thieves.
(SFC, 4/16/14, p.A1)
2014 May 9, The Hybrid Remotely
Operated Vehicle Nereus, operated by the Massachusetts-based Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution, was lost during its dive to the
Kermadec Trench off the coast of New Zealand. It was being operated
as part of the Hadal Ecosystems Studies (HADES) Program funded by
the US National Science Foundation.
2014 May 9, In Germany SLM
Solutions, a pioneer in making selective laser melting equipment,
i.e. 3D printers, used in factories, began trading on the Frankfurt
stock exchange. Here additive manufaturing was used to describe one
aspect of 3D printing.
(Econ, 5/3/14, p.56)
2014 Jun 5, In Japan
billionaire Masayoshi Son's mobile phone company Softbank unveiled a
robot dubbed Pepper that can decipher emotions. It will go on sale
in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900). Overseas sales plans
are under consideration but undecided.
2014 Jun 19, San Francisco DA
George Gascon said Google and Microsoft will incorporate kill
switches into the next versions of of their operating systems for
(SFC, 6/20/14, p.A1)
2014 Jul 14, MakerBot, now
owned by Stratasys Inc., and Home Depot announced a new partnership
to bring 3D printing capabilities to the masses. The MakerBot
Replicator Mini was priced at $1,375.
(http://tinyurl.com/q3atfda)(SFC, 7/16/14, p.C1)
2014 Aug 8, Japan’s Yomiuri
Shimbun reported that Japan and the United States will jointly
develop a fuel-cell powered submarine that can run for a month under
the sea on a single charge an unmanned. The 10-meter (33-feet) long
sub would be able to chart a pre-programmed course before returning
2014 Aug 20, Siluria
Technologies of California said a $30 million fundraising round was
led by Saudi Aramco. Siluria said it can make gasoline from gas for
about $1 per gallon.
(SFC, 8/21/14, p.C1)
2014 Sep 9, Apple unveiled a
$349 watch, two larger iPhones and the mobile payments service Apple
Pay. Apple Inc will reportedly charge fees from banks every time
consumers use their iPhone to make purchases, a move that will give
the company a cut of the growing mobile payments market.
(Reuters, 9/9/14)(Econ, 9/13/14, p.73)
2014 Oct 15, Lockheed Martin
Corp said it has made a technological breakthrough in developing a
power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small
enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a
2014 Nov 2, China’s state media
said China has successfully tested a self-developed laser defense
system against small-scale low-altitude drones.
2014 Eric Brynjolfsson and
Andrew McAfee authored “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and
Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.71)