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: 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


Tesla Has An Electric Personality


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.