20th Century: 1951

J Lyons, a United Kingdom food company, famous for its tea, made history by running the first business application on an electronic computer.

The oldest known recordings of computer-generated music were played by the Ferranti Mark 1 computer.

Grace Hopper develops A-0, the first Arithmetic language.

Jay Forrester applies for a patent for magnetic-core memory, an early type of random access memory (RAM) on May 11, 1951.

A nixie tube is a display tube first introduced in 1951 by Burroughs Corporation that is capable of displaying numbers 0 through 9. These tubes were found in early electronic devices such as calculators, frequency counters, voltmeters, and other devices that needed a method of displaying numeric values.

Geophysical Service Incorporated was renamed to Texas Instruments in 1951.

IBM introduces the IBM 701, the first computer in its 700 and 7000 series of large scale machines with varied scientific and commercial architectures, but common electronics and peripherals. Some computers in this series remained in service until the 1980s.

The first broadcast of I Love Lucy, See It Now, Dragnet, the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Search for Tomorrow, Love of Life, and The Roy Rogers Show.

The Top film of 1951:

Top Song of 1951: Nat King Cole – Too Young

Images of 1951:

Differential Analyzer built under Mergler in Instrument Research. The technician is preparing a data report. This equipment is located at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, LFPL, now John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, Cleveland Ohio.

 

Burns & Allen – 1951

Leslie Claire Margaret Caron – Actress
Gene Kelly Actor – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Public domain

20th Century: 1950

The British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing published a paper describing the potential development of human and computer intelligence and communication. The paper would come later to be called the Turing Test.

The Pilot ACE computer, with 800 vacuum tubes, and mercury delay lines for its main memory, became operational on 10 May 1950 at the National Physical Laboratory near London. It was a preliminary version of the full ACE, which had been designed by Alan Turing.

The United States Government received the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101. This computer was considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory.

Bertie the Brain is an early computer game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Built for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition the game allowed players to play against an AI opponent. Player input was given using a lit keypad and the state of the game displayed on panels lit by light bulbs rather than a conventional screen. An additional panel with light bulbs would show whether the player or AI was on. The difficulty of the AI could be adjusted by the operator. Bertie the Brain was created to demonstrate the additron tube, which was soon surpassed by the transistor.

Bertie the Brain – 1950

The first broadcast of Come Dancing, Broadway Open House, Your Show of Shows, and What’s My Line?. Jack Benny and Burns & Allen move from radio to TV.

Cuba is the first Caribbean country to receive TV. Brazil is the first South American country to receive TV.

Nielsen Media Research begins to provide television rating data.

Top Film of 1950:

Top Song of 1950: Goodnight Irene by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers.

Images of 1950:

A new chapter in space flight began in July 1950 with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 2.
1950 magazine ad

20th Century: 1949

Maurice Wilkes and a team at Cambridge University executed the first stored-program on the EDSAC computer, which used paper tape input-output. Based on ideas from John von Neumann about stored program computers, the EDSAC was the first complete, fully functional von Neumann architecture computer.

CSIR Mk I (later known as CSIRAC), Australia’s first computer, ran its first test program. It was a vacuum-tube-based electronic general-purpose computer. Its main memory stored data as a series of acoustic pulses in 5 ft (1.5 m) long tubes filled with mercury.

The Contax S camera is introduced, the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder.

The first atomic clock was built in 1949 at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards.

First broadcast of The Lone Ranger, Crusader Rabbit and Mama; the first Emmy Awards are given.

Top Movie of 1949:

Public Domain

Top Song of 1949:

Vaughn Monroe – Riders In The Sky

Images of 1949:

 

Judy Garland, Lana Turner, and James Stewart on the set of Ziegfeld Girl – 1949 Public Domain

20th Century: 1948

History of Television in 1948:

The television begins to divert radio audiences.

The first broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show and Texaco Star Theater

IBM finished the SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator). It was the first computer to modify a stored program.

The Birkbeck ARC, the first of three machines developed at Birkbeck, the University of London by Andrew Booth and Kathleen Booth, officially came online on this date. The control was entirely electromechanical and the memory was based on a rotating magnetic drum. This was the first rotating drum storage device in existence.

Manchester Baby was built at the University of Manchester. It ran its first program on this date. It was the first computer to store both its programs and data in RAM, as modern computers do. By 1949 the ‘Baby’ had grown and acquired a magnetic drum for more permanent storage, and it became the Manchester Mark 1.

ANACOM from Westinghouse was an AC-energized electrical analog computer system used up until the early 1990s for problems in mechanical and structural design, fluidics, and various transient problems.

IBM introduced the ‘604’, the first machine to feature Field Replaceable Units (FRUs), which cut down-time as entire pluggable units can simply be replaced instead of troubleshot.

Edwin H. Land introduces the first Polaroid instant camera.

Top Song of 1948: Pee Wee Hunt  –  Twelfth Street Rag

Images of 1948:

Popular crime magazine – 1948
The incredible Ginger Rogers – 1948
Never heard of it… – 1948

 

20th Century: 1947

American engineers John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain together with their group leader William Shockley invented the transistor.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), was founded as the world’s first scientific and educational computing society. It remains to this day with membership currently around 78,000. Its headquarters are in New York City.

American Telephone and Telegraph establish the Area Code system for World Zone 1 (North America) to allow operators and later automatic switching systems to handle nationwide telephone calls. Previously, telephone calls were partially handled by automatic switching systems but were limited to local calls.

American test pilot Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier for the first time, also known as Glamorous Glennis. The Bell X-1 is a rocket engine-powered aircraft, designated originally as the XS-1, and was a joint National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics–U.S. Army Air Forces–U.S. Air Force supersonic research project built by Bell Aircraft.

Bell X-1 – NASA / Public domain

The first broadcast of Howdy Doody, Kraft Television Theatre and Meet the Press; the World Series is broadcast live for the first time and the 1947 Tournament of Roses Parade becomes the very first parade ever televised.

Top U.S. Film of 1947:

Copyright 1947 – By Twentieth Century–Fox Film Corp. / Public domain

Top U.S. Song in 1947 – Near you – Frances Craig

 

Images of 1941:

President Truman Baseball opening day 1947 – National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain
Fun in the Sun 1947 – unknown (Los Angeles Times) / Public domain

 

20th Century: 1946

Limited capacity Mobile Telephone Service for automobiles begins.

Sony was founded.

Tektronix was founded.

RCA demonstrates an all-electronic color television system.

DuMont Television Network begins broadcasting.

The trackball was invented as part of a radar plotting system named Comprehensive Display System (CDS) by Ralph Benjamin when working for the British Royal Navy Scientific Service.

Fredrick C. Williams demonstrated the storage of a single binary digit (bit) at the British Telecommunications Research Establishment.

On October 24, 1946, the first black-and-white photo of the earth was taken from a V-2 Meinel at an altitude of 65 miles.

Development of the first assembly language by Kathleen Booth at Birkbeck, the University of London.

Top U.S. film of 1946:

Copyright 1946 RKO Radio Pictures Inc. – Public domain

 

Top U.S Song of 1946 – Perry Como – Prisoner of Love:

1946 in Television:

Play the Game was essentially a televised version of the parlor game charades. The show was hosted by Dr. Harvey Zorbaugh, a professor of educational sociology at New York University. The show aired over the DuMont Television Network on Tuesdays from 8 to 8:30 pm ET from September 24, 1946, to December 17, 1946.

Images of 1946:

Teresa Wright – Actress, 1946 – Unknown author / Public domain
Myrna Loy – Public Domain

20th Century: 1945

1945

Konrad Zuse developed the first higher-level programming language called Plankalkül.

Vannevar Bush developed the theory of the memex, a hypertext device linked to a library of books and films.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC) begins the first regularly scheduled television network service in the United States.

Arthur C. Clarke purposes a geosynchronous satellite.

The patent was filed for the Harvard Mark I digital computer on February 8, 1945.

The term bug as a computer bug was termed by Grace Hopper when programming the MARK II.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale in New York for $12.50 on October 30, 1945.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC) begins the first regularly scheduled television network service in the United States.

The war is over…

Top U.S. Film of 1945:

Top U.S. Song of 1945 – Rum and Coca-Cola by the Andrew Sisters.

 

Images of 1945:

Clark Gable 1945 – Movie studio / Public domain
Joan Crawford – Studio publicity still / Public domain

 

20th Century: 1944

1944

Scottish engineer John Logie Baird developed the first color picture tube.

The Mark 2 Colossus computer became operational on June 1, 1944.

The Harvard Mark I computer was officially presented at Harvard University on August 7, 1944. The relay-based Harvard-IBM MARK I, a large programmable-controlled calculating machine, provides vital calculations for the U.S. Navy. Grace Hopper becomes its programmer.

American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is formed.

Jay Forrester builds the Whirlwind, a flight simulator that is the first real-time interactive electronic device.

The War rages on…

Top Movie of 1944:

Copyright 1944 Paramount Pictures Inc / Public domain

 

Top U.S. song of 1944: Swinging on a star – Bing Crosby

Images from 1944:

Hedy Lamarr in “The Heavenly Body.” by MGM (1944) – Public Domain. (wow)
Image by Military Museum on the Finna service hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture / Public domain
Betty Paul was a British actress and screenwriter, 1944 – Ian Purvis, Press Representative / Public domain (WOW!!)
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. Landing ships putting cargo ashore on one of the invasion beaches, at low tide during the first days of the operation.

 

20th Century: 1943

1943

FCC terminates all American television broadcasting because of the war; DuMont petitions FCC to resume broadcasting and receives approval.

Max Newman, Wynn-Williams, and their team at the secret Government Code and Cypher School (‘Station X’), Bletchley Park, Bletchley, England, completed the ‘Heath Robinson’. This was a specialized counting machine used for cipher-breaking, not a general-purpose calculator or computer, but a logic device using a combination of electronics and relay logic. It read data optically at 2000 characters per second from two closed loops of paper tape, each typically about 1000 characters long. It was significant since it was the forerunner of Colossus.

Williams and Stibitz completed the ‘Relay Interpolator’, later called the ‘Model II Relay Calculator’. This was a programmable calculator; again, the program and data were read from paper tapes.

The Colossus was built, by Dr. Thomas Flowers at The Post Office Research Laboratories in London, to crack the German Lorenz (SZ42) cipher. It contained 2400 vacuum tubes for logic and applied a programmable logical function to a stream of input characters, read from punched tape at a rate of 5000 characters a second. Colossus was used at Bletchley Park during World War II.

A Colossus Mark 2 computer being operated by Dorothy Du Boisson (left) and Elsie Booker (right). Colossus was the world’s first practical electronic digital information processing machine – a forerunner of today’s computers. 1943 – Public Domain

Dan Noble with Motorola designs a “Walkie Talkie” the first portable FM two-way radio that required a backpack that weighed 35 pounds.

The world’s first operational nuclear reactor is switched on at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Microwave radar begins operating in England putting an end to night bombing.

The first crystal clock is installed at the Greenwich Royal Observatory. Is has ten times the accuracy.

The top U.S film of the year:

Bill Gold / Public domain

Highest-grossing U.S. Actor/Actress:

Betty Grable’s 42 films grossed over 100 Million. Frank Powolny / Public domain

Top U.S. Song:

Paper Doll – Mills Brothers

Images of 1943

Co-operative Youth Summer Schools – Walking Around Windermere, England 1943, Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer / Public domain
Judy Garland 1943 – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Public domain

 

20th Century: 1942

1942

Atanasoff and Berry completed a special-purpose calculator for solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, later called the ‘ABC’ (‘Atanasoff–Berry Computer’). This had 60 50-bit words of memory in the form of capacitors (with refresh circuits—the first regenerative memory) mounted on two revolving drums. The clock speed was 60 Hz, and the addition took 1 second. For secondary memory, it used punched cards, moved around by the user. The holes were not actually punched in the cards but burned. The punched card system’s error rate was never reduced beyond 0.001%, and this was inadequate. Atanasoff left Iowa State after the U.S. entered the war, ending his work on digital computing machines.

Konrad Zuse developed the S1, the world’s first process computer, used by Henschel to measure the surface of wings.

Kodacolor, the first color film that yields negatives for making chromogenic color prints on paper. Roll films for snapshot cameras only, 35 mm not available until 1958.

December 2, 1942

Enrico Fermi designed and created the world’s first Nuclear Reactor.

FCC terminates all American television broadcasting because of the war; DuMont petitions FCC to resume broadcasting and receives approval.

Feb 27-28

British Army physicists James Stanley Hey detected radio waves thought to be a jamming signal from the Germans turned out to be radio waves generated by a solar flare from the sun.

Voice of America begins broadcasting.

Top Movie – How Green Was My Valley

“Copyright by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. MCMXLI” – Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from the original image., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86243596

Top Song – Moonlight Cocktail by The Glenn Miller Orchestra

 

Images of 1942

WWII Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corp. Burbank California. Public Domain

Data 1942

Average wages per year $1,880.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 15 cents.

Popular Car in the US and apparently in the Netherlands:

1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet, photographed at Zeeland, The Netherlands