Tesla Has An Electric Personality: 1893 – 1899


The most popular song in 1893 was “Git Alone Little Dogies.”

Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture on “On Light and Other High-Frequency Phenomena” before the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the National Electric Light Association St Louis. Tesla did not think air-born radio waves existed but saw the wireless and electromagnetic phenomena as promising wireless lighting and power distribution system with communication as a side aspect.

Irish physicist George Francis FitzGerald publishes a formula for the radiating power of electromagnetic waves from a loop antenna that seems to show these (radio) waves would only ever have a useful range of 1/2 mile, a value Oliver Lodge agrees with.

April 27, 1893

The first Underwood typewriter was invented by Franz Xaver Wagner was filed for U.S. Patent 523,698.

May 1, 1893

Nikola Tesla helps power the world’s first fair, powered by AC electricity in Chicago.


Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov finds a use for radio waves, building a radio receiver that can detect lightning strikes.

In Italy, Guglielmo Marconi conducts experiments in pursuit of building a wireless telegraph system based on Hertzian waves (radio), demonstrated a radio transmitter and receiver to his mother. This set-up made a bell ring on the other side of the room by pushing a telegraphic button on a bench. Financed by his family, over the next year, he works on adapting experimental equipment into a radio wave wireless transmitter and receiver system that could work over long distances. This is considered to be the first development of a radio system specifically for communication.


Auguste and Louis Lumière invent the cinématographe1

Cinématographe – Victorgrigas / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

The most popular song of 1895 was “The King Cotton March.”

Guglielmo Marconi became the first person to receive a radio signal.

The Underwood Typewriter Company was founded.

November 8, 1895

Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays.


Marconi was awarded a patent for radio with British Patent 12039, Improvements in Transmitting Electrical Impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus There-for. This is the initial patent for radio-based wireless telegraphy.

The Niagara Falls begins generating power from Nikola Tesla AC power generators starting the “electric” age in America.

Herman Hollerith starts the Tabulating Machine Company (IBM).

The most popular song of 1896 was ” When The Saints Go Marching In.”


German inventor Karl Ferdinand Braun invented a cathode-ray oscilloscope.

Marconi establishes a radio station on the Isle of Wight, England.

August 31, 1897

Thomas Edison patented the Kinetoscope, a motion picture viewer


Marconi opened the first radio factory, on Hall Street, Chelmsford, England, employing around 50 people.

Kodak introduces the Folding Pocket Kodak.

Alcatel was founded.

November 8, 1898

Nikola Tesla invented the remote control.


AT&T acquired assets of American Bell.

Sprint was founded.


Henry Bliss became the first North American pedestrian to be killed by an automobile.

The most popular song in 1899 was “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain.”

William D. Middlebrook patented the paper clip.

Nintendo, GE, & Eastman – Kodak: 1888 – 1891

Oct 12, 1887

Yamaha was founded.

The most popular song of 1887 was “Away In a Manger.”


German physicist Heinrich Hertz proved that electromagnetic waves travel over some distance. (First indication of radio communication).

Italian physicist and electrical engineer Galileo Ferraris publish a paper on the induction motor, and Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla gets a US patent on the same device.

The Kodak  box camera, the first easy-to-use camera, is introduced with the slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.”

Louis Le Prince makes Roundhay Garden Scene. It is believed to be the first-ever motion picture on film.

Nikola Tesla patented the rotating field motor on May 1, 1888, and later sold the rights to George Westinghouse. This invention helps create and transmit AC power, and today is still a method for generating and distributing AC power.

October 17, 1888

Thomas Edison filed for a patent for the Optical Phonograph (film camera)

October 30, 1888

John Loud got a patent for the ballpoint pen.


The first commercially available transparent celluloid roll film is introduced by the Eastman Company, later renamed the Eastman Kodak Company and commonly known as Kodak.

Nintendo was founded. The company made playing cards.

The most popular song of 1889 was “The Washington Post.”


Herman Hollerith developed a method for machines to record and store information onto punch cards to be used for the US census.

The company we now know as GE was founded in 1890 by Thomas Edison as the Edison General Electric Company.

The most popular song of 1890 was “The Sleeping Beauty Waltz.”


Almon Brown Stowger, a Kansas City Undertaker, becomes concerned that the telephone operator in his city is routing all customer calls to a competitor, and begins designing an automatic telephone switching system. This “Strowger Switch” is first put into use in LaPorte, Indiana in 1892, and the design is improved upon until the first “Step by Step, Up-and-Around” switching systems are in place. These automatic switching systems are vital in removing human intervention at the telephone company for telephone calls.

William Kennedy Laurie Dickson develops the “kinetoscopic” motion picture camera while working for Thomas Edison

Kinetoscopic – viewed from peephole at the top.





The Horse in Motion & Three Little Kittens: 1878 – 1886


Thomas Edison plays a recording of himself, reciting, “Mary had a Little Lamb.” He loved a good show!

Eadweard Muybridge uses a row of cameras with trip-wires to make a high-speed photographic analysis of a galloping horse. Each picture is taken in less than the two-thousandth part of a second, and they are taken in sufficiently rapid sequence (about 25 per second) that they constitute a brief real-time “movie” that can be viewed by using a device such as a zoetrope1, a photographic “first.”


The first keyboard to have a Shift key is introduced on the Remington No. 2 typewriter introduced in 1878 that had one Shift key on the left side of the keyboard.


David E. Hughes notices that sparks generated by an induction balance cause noise in an improved telephone microphone he was developing. He rigs up a portable version of his receiver and, carrying it down a street, finds the sparking is detected at some distance.

October 21, 1879

Thomas Edison demos an incandescent electric light bulb that lasts 13 1/2 hours.

January 27, 1880

Thomas Edison received patent #223,898 for the Electric Lamp.

The most popular song of 1880 was Funiculi Funicula.


The most popular song in 1881 was Row Row Row Your Boat (1932 version).


First thermal power stations began operation in London and New York.

Thomas Edison was awarded patent # 252,442 on January 17, 1882, for the carbon microphone used in telephones.

The most popular song of 1882 was Polly Wolly Doodle (All The Day).


Herman Hollerith filed his first patent for The Hollerith Electric Tabulating System.


The most popular song of 1885 was “Three Little Kittens.”

March 1, 1885

American Telegraph and Telephone company (AT&T) was incorporated.


Heinrich Rudolf Hertz proves electromagnetic waves and that electricity is transmitted at the speed of light.

The most popular song for 1886 was “Semper Fidelis.”


Telegraph to the Phonograph: 1836 – 1877


Nicholas Callan invented the transformer in Ireland.


English scientist Edward Davy invented the electric relay.


Joseph Henry publishes his experimental results showing the oscillatory nature of the discharge in Leyden jars. He describes how a generated spark could magnetize a needle surrounded by a coil up to 220 feet away. He also explains how a lightning strike 8 miles away magnetized a needle surrounded by a coil, an effect that was most probably caused by radio waves. He considered both of these effects to be due to electromagnetic induction at the time.

May 26, 1844

Samuel Morse dispatched the first telegraphic message over a line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore on May 24, 1844. The now-famous message was: “What hath God wrought.”


Royal Earl House patented a printing telegraph that used 28 piano-style keys to represent each letter of the alphabet and make it easier for everyone to send messages.


British Mathematician George Boole developed binary algebra (Boolean algebra), which has been widely used in binary computer design and operation, beginning about a century later.


Western Union was founded in 1851.


The first Tabulating Machine was bought by the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York, and the second was ordered in 1857 by the British government. The Albany machine was used to produce a set of astronomical tables. Still, the Observatory’s director was fired for this extravagant purchase, and the machine never seriously used again, eventually ending up in a museum.


First electrically powered lighthouse in England.


The phonograph was patented on March 25, 1857, by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. The device was capable of transcribing sound to a medium.


The first transatlantic cable was laid across the floor of the Atlantic from Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island in western Ireland to Heart’s Content in eastern Newfoundland. The first communications occurred on August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days—the time it took to deliver a message by ship—to a matter of minutes. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables.

The first transatlantic cable. Public Domain


The OpenVMS Epoch Time is set to start on November 17, 1858.


German scientist Johann Philipp Reis invented an early Microphone.


James Clerk Maxwell predicts the existence of electromagnetic waves in his paper ‘a dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field.’


The typewriter, which can be considered a precursor to printers and keyboards, was invented by Christopher Sholes.


Elisha Gray and Enos and N. Barton form Western Electric Manufacturing Company.


Mitsubishi is founded.


Toshiba is founded.

The company American Telephone and Telegraph Company founded.

March 7, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell patents the Telephone and makes his first call on March 10.


November 21, 1877 – American inventor Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph

German industrialist Werner Von Siemens developed the first loudspeaker.

The world’s first long-distance telephone line is connected between French Corral California with French Lake, 58 miles away.