Archive for June 2016

The Transition to Transistors Begins

Replica of First TransistorJune 30, 1948

Originally designed to create improvements to electromechanical relays and vacuum tubes in telephone switching equipment, Bell Labs holds a press conference in New York to publicly demonstrate the first point-contact transistor. The transistor represents a significant advance in technology. As it is developed over the next few years, it will become the successor to the vacuum tube, the primary method of controlling electronic circuitry at the time. The use of transistors allows the development of the integrated circuit and microchips which kickstarted the rapid advance of electronic and computerized technology over the last 60 years. Every industry that utilizes technology, from communications to computers to space travel to video games to media, owes a great deal to the development of the transistor.

The Phone That Changed Everything

The Original iPhoneJune 29, 2007

Nearly 6 months after it was introduced, Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone goes on sale. Generally downplayed by Old Word Technology pundits after its introduction, the iPhone was greeted by long lines of buyers around the country on that first day. Quickly becoming an overnight phenomenon, one million iPhones were sold in only 74 days. Since those early days, the ensuing iPhone models have continued to set sales records and have completely changed not only the smartphone and technology industries, but the world as well.

First Commercial Communications Satellite Activates

Intelsat IJune 28, 1965

Intelsat I, the first commercial communications satellite, is activated for service. It was nicknamed “Early Bird” after the famous proverb, and became famous for carrying the first commercial telephone call between America and Europe, as well as helping provide TV coverage of the Gemini 6 splashdown.

Laying of First Transatlantic Telephone Cable

HMTS MonarchJune 28, 1955

The HMTS Monarch, the largest cable laying ship in the world at the time, launches from Clarenville, Newfoundland to begin laying TAT-1, the first Transatlantic telephone cable. TAT-1 would be inaugurated 15 months later on September 25, 1956. TAT-1 may be best known for carrying the famous “hot line” between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

All Hail Atari

Atari LogoJune 27, 1972

The iconic video game company, Atari, is founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Their first video game, Pong, was the first commercially successful video game and led to the start of the video game industry. In 1977, Atari’s Video Computer System (known as the VCS and later the Atari 2600) popularized the home video game market. Before the video game crash of 1983, Atari was the fastest growing company in the history of the United States at the time, and the brand was synonymous with video games.

All those who have enjoyed video games, whether we started playing in the 70’s, 80’s, or just in the last few years, should take a moment to reflect on the company that single-handedly spawned the video game industries we so cherish. I propose that the best way to do that is to … well … stop what you’re doing and play a video game right now!

I PC, UPC …

UPCJune 26, 1974

A Universal Product Code (UPC) is used to ring up a purchase for the first time at a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The first item scanned was a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum. Take that to your trivia contents!