Volta, Photography & Ohms, Oh My!: 1800 – 1835

1800

In 1800, Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile, allowing for a continuous current of electricity for experimentation. This became a source of a low-voltage current.

The most popular song of the 1800s was Good Morning to All (Happy Birthday To You).

1804

Dr. Salva presented at the Academy of Natural Sciences and Arts of Barcelona his first report devoted to “The Electricity applied to telegraphy.” Salva demonstrated the basis of electric telegraphy, anticipating the wireless telegraph and undersea cables.

1805

The punch card is a piece of stiff paper that can be used to contain digital data represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions. Digital data can be used for data processing applications or, in earlier examples, used to directly control automated machinery.

1816

English inventor Francis Ronalds built the first working electric telegraph.

1820

Charles Xavier, Thomas, de Colmar invented the ‘Arithmometer,’ which, after thirty more years of development, became, in 1851, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. An operator could perform long multiplications and divisions quickly and effectively by using a movable accumulator for the result. This machine was based on the earlier works of Pascal and Leibniz.

Hans Christian Ørsted discovers the relationship between electricity and magnetism in a very simple experiment. He demonstrates that a wire carrying a current was able to deflect a magnetized compass needle.

Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar creates the “Arithometer,” the first reliable, useful, and commercially successful calculating machine. The calculator could not only add but also subtract, multiply, and divide.

1821

German scientist Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered thermoelectricity.

1822

Charles Babbage designed his first mechanical computer, the first prototype of the decimal difference engine for tabulating polynomials.

1823

Baron Jons Jackob Berzelius discovered silicon (Si), which today is the basic component of an integrated circuit (IC).

1825

English physicist William Sturgeon developed the first electromagnet.

1826

Nicéphore Niépce makes what is now the earliest surviving photograph from nature, a landscape. It requires exposure in the camera that lasts at least eight hours and probably several days.

 

View_from_the_Window_at_Le_Gras,_Joseph_Nicéphore_Niépce
1826 – Nicéphore Niépce / Public domain

1827

German physicist Georg Ohm introduced the concept of electrical resistance.

1832

Semen Korsakov proposed the usage of punched cards for information storage and search.

On October 21, 1832, Pavel Schilling became the first to transmit signals between two telegraphs in different rooms of his apartment.

1835

Joseph Henry invented the electromechanical relay.

Henry Fox Talbot produces durable silver chloride camera negatives on paper and conceives the two-step negative-positive procedure used in most non-electronic photography up to the present.

 

Pascal was “Blaise” When He Invented This: 1642 – 1717

1642 CE

Frances Blaise Pascal invents the machine, called the Pascaline, that can add, subtract, and carry between digits. Pascal began to work on his calculator in 1642 when he was 19 years old. He had been assisting his father, who worked as a tax commissioner and sought to produce a device that could reduce some of his workloads. Pascal received a Royal Privilege in 1649 that granted him exclusive rights to make and sell calculating machines in France.

Pascaline-CnAM_823-1-IMG_1506-black
The Pascaline – Rama / CC BY-SA 3.0 FR (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/fr/deed.en)

1666 CE

Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle wrote a work of fiction called the Blazing World. In the story, a woman is kidnapped by a lovesick merchant sailor, and forced to join him at sea. After a windstorm sends the ship north and kills the men, the woman walks through a portal at the North Pole into a new world: one with stars so bright, midnight could be mistaken for midday. A parallel universe where creatures are sentient, and worm-men, ape-men, fish-men, bird-men, and lice-men populate the planet. They speak one language, they worship one god, and they have no wars. She becomes their Empress, and with her otherworldly subjects, she explores natural wonders and questions their observations using science.

1671 CE

Gottfried Leibniz introduces Step Reckoner, a device that can multiply, divide, and evaluate square roots.

1672 CE

German mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz started designing a machine which multiplied, the ‘Stepped Reckoner’. It could multiply numbers of up to 5 and 12 digits to give a 16 digit result.

1679 CE

Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates binary arithmetic, a discovery that shows every number can be represented by 0 and 1 only.

1714 CE

The first writing device (similar to a typewriter) to be patented is patented by Henry Mill in London England. He worked as a waterworks engineer for the New River Company and submitted two patents during his lifetime. One was for a coach spring, while the other was for a “Machine for Transcribing Letters”. The machine that he invented appears, from the patent, to have been similar to the typewriter, but nothing further is known.

1717 CE

Johann Heinrich Schulze is best known for his discovery that the darkening in the sunlight of various substances mixed with silver nitrate is due to the light, not the heat as other experimenters believed, and for using the phenomenon to temporarily capture shadows. The first step in photography.