20th Century: 1949

Maurice Wilkes and a team at Cambridge University executed the first stored-program on the EDSAC computer, which used paper tape input-output. Based on ideas from John von Neumann about stored program computers, the EDSAC was the first complete, fully functional von Neumann architecture computer.

CSIR Mk I (later known as CSIRAC), Australia’s first computer, ran its first test program. It was a vacuum-tube-based electronic general-purpose computer. Its main memory stored data as a series of acoustic pulses in 5 ft (1.5 m) long tubes filled with mercury.

The Contax S camera is introduced, the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder.

The first atomic clock was built in 1949 at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards.

First broadcast of The Lone Ranger, Crusader Rabbit and Mama; the first Emmy Awards are given.

Top Movie of 1949:

Public Domain

Top Song of 1949:

Vaughn Monroe – Riders In The Sky

Images of 1949:


Judy Garland, Lana Turner, and James Stewart on the set of Ziegfeld Girl – 1949 Public Domain

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…


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.”