Miscellaneous Technology

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.

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!

QWERTY Typewriter Patented

Sholes and Glidden typewriterJune 23, 1868

The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first practical and commercially successful typewriter, is patented. Perhaps most notable in the design of the Sholes and Glidden (which would later become the Remington No. 1 typewriter) is the use of the QWERTY keyboard, which is still the most popular keyboard layout in the world.

Jet Mail

First Jet Air Mail FlightJune 22, 1946

In a demonstration of the capabilities of jet aircraft, Army Air Corps pilots Kenneth Chilstrom and Robert Baird transport mail in a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, thus making the first delivery of mail by jet aircraft.

Ford Motor Company Incorporated

Henry FordJune 16, 1903

Henry Ford incorporates the Ford Motor Company with ten investors and $28,000. Ford will begin building automobiles on Mack Avenue in Detroit in a converted factory that previously produced wagons.

Speak & Spell

Speak and SpellJune 11, 1978

Texas Instruments Inc. introduces the Speak & Spell, a talking educational toy for children. The device features the first electronic duplication of the human voice on a single chip of silicon. It transformed digital information processed through a filter into synthetic speech and could store more than 100 seconds of linguistic sounds.

Life Finds a Way

Jurassic Park T-RexJune 9, 1993

The motion picture Jurassic Park premiers in Washington D.C. The highest grossing film in history at the time, the contributions of Jurassic Park to the field of special effects is perhaps as important as the original Star Wars movie 16 years prior. During the production of the movie, the decision was made to incorporate the use of computer generated imagery (CGI for short) in a large scale. By interweaving the use of CGI and animatronics, the movie’s special effects were of a realism unprecedented at the time (and for many still to this day). Jurassic Park jump started a wave of movies that made heavy use of CGI throughout the rest of the 90’s, and at present, the use of CGI pioneered by the movie is now entirely commonplace.