Miscellaneous Technology

Supreme Court Rules on Home VCR Recordings

VCR

January 17, 1984

The US Supreme Court rules 5-4 that private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs for later viewing does not violate federal copyright laws. This ruling opens the floodgate for VCR sales, changing the landscape of TV watching forever.

First Car Built on Assembly Line

Model-T FordJanuary 14, 1914

The first car to be built on an assembly line was completed today, a Model-T Ford.

First Public Radio Performance

January 13, 1910

The first public radio broadcast takes place; a live performance of the opera Cavalleria rusticana is sent out over the airwaves from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Adding Machine Patented

January 13, 1874

The U.S. Patent Office issues a patent for the Spalding Adding Machine. The precursor of calculators and computers, mechanical adding machines could do simple arithmetic and were popular in businesses until supplanted by computers in the 1960s.

Boeing 747 Flies for First Time

January 12, 1970

The Boeing 747, the original “Jumbo Jet”, makes its maiden flight. The 747 was the first wide-body airliner, first to use the twin-aisle concept, and the first airliner to use high bypass turbofan engines.

First Solo Flight From Hawaii to California

January 11, 1935

Amelia Earhart becomes the first person, man or woman, to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

Maiden Flight of First Flying Boat

January 10, 1912

Glenn Curtiss flies the first flying boat, a pusher with a canard surface.

First Subway Opens in London

January 10, 1863

The world’s first underground railway service opened in London, the Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon. Approximately 40,000 Londoners ride the trains the first day.

“First” Motion Picture Film to Receive Copyright

January 9, 1894

W.K. Dickson, an employee of Thomas Edison’s movie studio, receives a copyright for a motion picture film. The 5 second demonstration was a 47-frame film showing a man sneezing. This man, Fred Ott, is now most famously known for having this sneeze recorded in film. “Fred Ott’s Sneeze” is the earliest surviving film to receive a copyright in the United States. While technically a copyright for a film had been granted to Edison’s studio in the previous year, the records for what film it was have been lost.

Punched Card Calculator Patented

January 8, 1889

Herman Hollerith is issued a US patent for his punched card calculator. 7 years later he starts a company called the Tabulating Machine Company. In 1911, this is one of 4 companies that merge to form the company that will one day be called IBM.