20th Century: 1957 – The Race for Space

1957 started out like 2020 with a pandemic. The Asian Flu began in China and spread worldwide, killing an estimated 2 million people.

First digital computer acquisition of scanned photographs, by Russell Kirsch at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now NIST).

Russia launched the first artificial satellite, named Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. A modified R-7 two-stage ICBM launches the satellite Sputnik from Tyuratam. The Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States begins.

In response to Sputnik, the United States creates a new agency, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). This agency creates technology for the creation of the internet, military applications, and much more. The Sputnik launch also calls for the creation of NASA in 1958. This civilian agency is tasked with the peaceful exploration of space.

Digital Equipment Corporation was founded.

Nov. 3, 1957: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2 with the first living passenger, the dog Laika, aboard.

Laika became the first animal launched into Earth orbit, paving the way for human spaceflight during the upcoming years. This photograph shows her in a flight harness.

Dec. 6, 1957: A Vanguard TV-3 carrying a grapefruit-sized satellite explodes at launch; a failed response to the Sputnik launch by the United States.

The Bernstein Program is the earliest known chess game that implemented the complete ruleset. The game examines two levels of moves, but unlike earlier chess games doesn’t try out every possible move but only the seven most plausible moves. After determining what the most plausible moves are the game uses static factors and minimaxing to determine the best move. Running on the IBM 704 computer the program took about eight minutes to determine its move and never managed to defeat a human opponent.

Meanwhile, The Hackers of MIT “learn to hack” on the TX-O, an early fully transistorized computer that contained a then-huge 64KB of magnetic core memory.

News of Sputnik Oct 7, 1957:

The Race for Space:

Now Unclassified – NASA’s Origins and the Dawn of the Space Age: Sputnik’s response – World Opinion and the Soviet Satelight:  NASA_NTRS_Archive_20040045203

The top film of 1957:

© Columbia Pictures Corporation / Public Domain

Top Song of 1957:

20th Century: 1956

Werner Buchholz (24 October 1922 – 11 July 2019) was a German-American computer scientist. After growing up in Europe, Buchholz moved to Canada and then to the United States of America. He worked for International Business Machines (IBM) in New York. In June 1956, he coined the term “byte” for a unit of digital information. In 1990, he was recognized as a computer pioneer by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

On September 13, 1956, the IBM 305 RAMAC was the first computer to be shipped with a hard drive. The drive contained 50 24-inch platters, was the size of two refrigerators, and weighed a ton. It could store only five megabytes of information, and each megabyte cost $10,000.

The programming language FORTRAN was introduced to the public on October 15, 1956.

Dr. Robert Adler of Zenith invented the first cordless TV remote control.

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on the transistor.

Wen Tsing Chow develops programmable read-only memory (PROM).

“I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processings is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
– The editor in charge of business books for Prentice-Hall, 1956

The first broadcast of The Edge of Night, As the World Turns, The Price Is Right, Playhouse 90, the Eurovision Song Contest, and Hancock’s Half Hour.

Top Film of 1956:

 

Top song of 1956:

 

 

20th Century: 1953

There are about 100 operational computers in the world.

The first high-speed printer was developed by Remington-Rand. It was designed to be used with the UNIVAC computer.

The first plotter is invented by Remington-Rand.

The Colgate Comedy Hour on N.B.C. became the first TV show to broadcast in color on November 22, 1953.

The first broadcast of Panorama, the coronation of Elizabeth II, is the first of its kind to be broadcast on television.

The top film of 1953: From Here to Eternity

Copyright 1953 Columbia Pictures – Public Domain

Top Song of 1953: Percy Faith – Song From Moulin Rouge

Images from 1953:

Popeye the Sailor – 1953

 

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: 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

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.