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

 

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