Miscellaneous Technology

Diesel Engine Patented in US

Rudolf DieselAugust 9, 1898

The US Patent Office awards patent 608,845 to Rudolf Diesel for his diesel internal combustion engine.

Apple Introduces the Newton

Newton MessagePadAugust 3, 1993

Apple introduces the Newton MessagePad, one of the world’s first Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). The term PDA was first used by Apple CEO John Scully in 1992. While a commercial failure, the Newton platform set the bar for future PDA designs. But perhaps the most important advancement the Newton offered to the technology industry was the development of the ARM processor architecture. Apple invested heavily in the fledgling architecture to power the Newton devices. The ARM architecture has been the foundation of most of the world’s mobile devices since that time, including all versions of the Apple iPhone and iPad. Incidentally, in 1998 Apple sold their ownership interest in ARM, generating $800 million. This gave Apple some much needed cash to carry them through their darkest days.

First San Francisco Cable Car

Clay Street RailroadAugust 2, 1873

The Clay Street Railroad begins operation, making it the first cable car in San Francisco’s now famous cable car system.

Video Killed the Radio Star; MTV Debuts

MtvmoonAugust 1, 1981

MTV, presumably standing for “Music Television”, launches on cable TV. As most people know, after the introduction sequence, the first video played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. However, a bit of trivia is that the second song played was “You Better Run” by Pat Benatar. MTV had an immediate impact on the music industry and was an iconic symbol of the technology-driven 1980’s.

Sirius and XM Merger Approved

Sirius XMJuly 25, 2008

The FCC approves the merger of the two satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM.

First Ford Model A Sold

Ford 1903 Model AJuly 23, 1903

Ford sells its first Model A car to Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois.

A Whole New Way to Drive a Screw

Phillips Screwdriver and ScrewJuly 7, 1936

Several US patents are issued for the Phillips-head screw and screwdriver to inventor Henry F. Phillips. Phillips founded the Phillips Screw Company to license his patents. One of the first customers was General Motors for its Cadillac assembly-lines. By 1940, 85% of U.S. screw manufacturers had a license for the design.

The First 16mm Film System Introduced

Cine-Kodak Model AJuly 5, 1923

Kodak introduces the hand-cranked Cine-Kodak Model A, the first complete 16mm film system. 16mm film was developed to be an amateur alternative to 35mm film most often used by professionals. However, it found widespread use during World War II and later for television production, especially TV news. 16mm film is still in use today for certain applications.

Sony Walkman Makes Music Portable

Sony Walkman TPS-L2July 1, 1979

The first Sony Walkman, the TPS-L2, goes on sale in Japan. It would go on sale in the US about a year later. By allowing owners to carry their personal music with them, the Walkman and their iconic headphones introduce a revolution in listening habits and popular culture at large.

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.