Almeda, Yee, Mendiola, Boquilon, Jumalon, Olvis, Faisal
1900 Jan 2, E. Verlinger began manufacturing 7" single-sided records in Montreal.
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.
1900 Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian living in Germany, invented the paper clip.
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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 energy.
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.
1906 Apr 11, Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity. [see 1905]
1906 Aug 22, The 1st Victor Victrola was manufactured.
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 80,000 pounds.
1907 Leo Baekeland of Yonkers, NY, invented Bakelite, a hard plastic. [see 1909]
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 engineer.
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.
1908 Jan 12, A wireless message was sent long-distance for the first time from the Eiffel Tower
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 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.
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.
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
1909 Dec 7, Dr. Leo H. Baekeland patented Bakelite, the 1st completely synthetic plastic
thermosetting plastic. [see 1907]
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.
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.
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 Cadillac.
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-
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
1913 Frank Shuman, American inventor, created the first large solar pumping station in Meadi,
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 theaters.
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 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.,
1915 In Japan Tokuji Hayakawa developed an improved mechanical pencil. His company
became known as the Sharp Corp.
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.
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.”
1918 May 20, The 1st electrically propelled warship (New Mexico).
1918 Nov 7, Goddard demonstrated tube-launched solid propellant rockets.
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.
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
1921 The polygraph (lie detector), used to measure physiologic phenomena, was invented.
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.
1922 The 1st arc-welded structure in the US was a 245-step, freestanding, steel staircase into
the Moaning Caverns of Calaveras, Ca.
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 Apr 24, Colonel Jacob Schick patented Schick razors.
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.
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.
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).
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 19, John C. Garand patented a semi-automatic rifle.
1926 Dec 7, A gas refrigerator was patented.
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 spectrum.
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.
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.
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 image.
1928 Apr 8, The 1st Karastan rug, a machine-made product woven through the back, came off
the loom in Leaksville, NC.
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 became Jaeger-LeCoultre.
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 human workers.
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 chain saw.
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 Facts."
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 patented.
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.
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
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 millionth radio.
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.
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.
1935 Jan 8, AC Hardy patented the spectrophotometer.
1935 Feb 2, A lie detector, invented in 1921, was 1st used in court at Portage, Wisc.
1935 Feb 26, Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) was 1st demonstrated by Robert Watson-
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 patented RADAR.
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
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
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.
1937 Jul 20, Guglielmo Marconi (b.1874), Italian engineer, inventor of wireless telegraphy,
marquis (radio, Nobel 1909), died in Rome.
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.
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 Dec 20]
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.
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.
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.”
1939 Jan 22, The uranium atom was 1st split at Columbia University.
1939 Jul 18, Edwin H. Armstrong (1890-1954), US radio engineer, started the 1st FM (frequency
modulation) radio station in Alpine, NJ.
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
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
1940 Neptunium was discovered and named after the planet Neptune.
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 navigation systems.
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.
1943 May 22, The 1st jet fighter was tested.
1944 Jan 2, The 1st use of helicopters during warfare was by a British Atlantic patrol.
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."
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.
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.
1945 Dec 7, The microwave oven was patented. Percy 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
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
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).
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
1947 Bell Labs invented cellular phone technology.
1947 Raytheon introduced its 1st microwave oven, the Radarange.
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.
1948 Jan 27, The 1st tape recorder sold.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 output.
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]
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]
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.
1952 Researchers at Bell labs developed the 1st system to recognize numbers spoken over a
1953 Oct 13, A burglar alarm using ultrasonic or radio waves was patented by Samuel Bagno.
1953 An aerospace chemist invented WD-40. Rocket Chemical 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 product.
1953 Dr. Daniel Fox, a chemist at GE, invented Lexan polycarbonate resin, a hard plastic.
1954 Jan 31, Edwin H. Armstrong (b.1890), US radio inventor of frequency modulation (1933),
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
1954 Apr 25, Bell Labs in NYC announced the 1st solar battery.
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 sequencing DNA.
1956 Apr 14, Ampex Corporation demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder.
1957 Jan 3, The Hamilton Watch Company was the first to introduce an electric watch in
1957 Feb 12, Researchers announced the development of Borazan, a substance harder than
1957 Apr 25, The 1st experimental sodium nuclear reactor operated.
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.
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.
1957 PG&E teamed with General Electric to establish the Vallecitos atomic energy plant, the
world’s 1st privately owned and operated nuclear facility.
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.
1958 The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was formed in response
to the Soviet launch of Sputnik.
1958 An anti-trust court case forced AT&T to license its non-telephone related technology to
anyone who asked.
1958 Haloid Corp. changed its name to Haloid-Xerox and produced a prototype of the 914 copy
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 in 1980.
1958 Arnold Neustadter began marketing Rolodex, a rotary card filing system, invented by his
employee Hildaur L. Neilsen. Neustadter had patented the system in 1956.
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
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.
1959 Pres. Eisenhower demonstrated the invention by Jerome Morse (d.2001 at 80) of the 1st
miniaturized, portable nuclear power generator, used for space vehicles.
1959 Edward G. Zubler (d.2004), GE research chemist, developed the halogen lamp.
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.
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
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.
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 1966.
1960 Theodore Maiman, a physicist at the Hughes Research Labs in California, produced the 1st
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