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 1947:

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


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


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


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


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


20th Century: 1900 – 1941

The 20th century went from Victorian fashion to mini skirts in just 55 years. There were two world wars that was not cool. Advances in medicines were tremendous. In transportation, we went from horse-drawn carriages to trips to the moon in as little as 64 years.

Victorian Fashion, 1901

The miniskirt, Space Patrol Cast 1950

January 1, 1904

The Apple macOS Epoch time set to start.

John Ambrose Fleming experiments with Edison’s diode vacuum tubes and creates the first commercial diode vacuum tube.


American inventor Lee de Forest invented triode.

December 24, 1906

Reginald Fessenden used an Alexanderson alternator and rotary spark-gap transmitter to make the first radio audio broadcast, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Ships at sea heard a broadcast that included Fessenden playing O Holy Night on the violin and reading a passage from the Bible.


Lee De Frost filed patent #879,532 on January 29, 1907, for the vacuum tube triode. The patent is later used as an electronic switch in the first electronic computer.


The film “A Visit To The Seaside” became the first film commercially produced in natural color.


Hitachi was founded.


The company now known as IBM was founded on June 16, 1911, in the state of New York. IBM was originally known as the Computing – Tabulating – Recording Company (C-T-R), a consolidation of the Computing Scale Company, and The International Time Recording Company.


First regular broadcasts on 9XM (now WHA) – Wisconsin state weather, delivered in Morse Code


Panasonic was founded on March 18, 1918.


The first Radio Shack store was opened. Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, who wanted to provide equipment for the then-nascent field of amateur, or ham radio. The brothers opened a one-store retail and mail-order operation in the heart of downtown Boston at 46 Brattle Street. They chose the name “Radio Shack”, which was the term for a small, wooden structure that housed a ship’s radio equipment. The Deutschmann’s thought the name was appropriate for a store that would supply the needs of radio officers aboard ships, as well as hams (amateur radio operators).


Kodak makes a 35 mm panchromatic motion picture film available as a regular stock.


John Logie Baird achieves transmission and remote display of the first television pictures in his laboratory.


The first joystick was invented by C.B. Mirick at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Packard Bell is founded.

Robert Goddard, sometimes referred to as the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” launches the first successful liquid-fueled rocket.

Motorola is founded.


The dwarf planet Pluto is discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.


The BBC starts a regular public television broadcasting service in the UK.


Edwin Armstrong invented the FM radio in 1933.


Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented a printed circuit board.

Germany’s Konrad Zuse creates the Z1, one of the first binary digital computers and a machine that could be controlled through a punch tape.

The 1936 Summer Olympics becomes the first Olympic Games to be broadcast on television.


September 1, 1938, The Second World War breaks out in Europe with the invasion of Poland.

The BBC suspends its television service owing to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Samsung is founded.

Vivitar is founded.

The HP200A was the first product made by Hewlett-Packard and was manufactured in David Packard’s garage in Palo Alto, California.


The first Radio Shack catalog was published.

radioshackcat 1939PNG



George Stibitz, an engineer from Bell Telephone Labs, demonstrates the first example of “remote computing”: Having created his digital “Complex Number Calculator” a year before, he leaves it in New York City and travels to New Hampshire with a teleprinter, where he allows attendees at the American Mathematical Society to enter equations that are transmitted down phone lines, calculated, and the answers returned to what is described as an astounded audience.


The first handheld two-way radio called the “Handy Talkie” is created by Motorola.

German engineer Konrad Zuse developed the first programmable computer in Berlin.

July 1, 1941

First television advertisements aired. The first official paid television advertisement was broadcast in the United States on July 1, 1941, over New York station WNBT (now WNBC) before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The announcement was for Bulova watches. [this was a local station in New York and not televised nationwide]

October 6, 1941

Chester Carlson got the patent for electric photography more commonly known today as photocopying.

December 7, 1941

You know…