June 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.
June 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.
June 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.
June 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.
June 10, 1858
Two ships head out to begin work on what will become the first operational Transatlantic cable. Previous attempts at laying a Transatlantic cable had failed. Designed for telegraph operation, the cable run is completed on August 5th and the first test message is sent on August 12th. However, the cable fails on September 18th and repair was not possible at the time.
June 7, 1983
Michael Eaton is granted a patent for the AT Command Set for Modems, which had created a standard language for interacting with modems. Two years earlier, the rights for this command set were purchased by the Hayes Corporation and incorporated into the Hayes Smartmodem 300 as the “Hayes Command Set.” The protocol will become an industry standard used for years to come.
In the early 90’s, needing to use modems so that I could connect to pre-Internet bulletin board systems, I learned the AT command set. I then used and supported modems extensively for about 15 years, and occasionally still do. Because I worked with modems so much, I used to be able to speak the AT command set in my sleep. I know, it impresses the ladies.
June 6, 2009
Palm, Inc. releases the Palm Pre smartphone through Sprint in an attempt to regain marketshare, after their Treo line of smartphones is dwarfed by Apple’s iPhone. Featuring the Linux-based Palm webOS operating system, the Pre receives some praise from technical reviewers, but due to poor marketing and the rapid pace in which Apple dominates the New World of smartphones, Palm’s series of phones and the webOS never really have a chance to gain a foothold. Within the course of one year, Palm is purchased by HP for $1.2 billion. One year later, after just 2 months of abysmal sales of their TouchPad tablets, HP halts production of all webOS-based devices. HP has announced they will release the source code for webOS under an open-source license, but the future of this once-promising mobile operating system looks bleak.
May 24, 1844
Samuel Morse sends the first telegraphic message over a line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. The message, “What hath God wrought!” was transmitted to his partner, Alfred Vail, who retransmitted the same message back to Morse. This formally opened America’s first telegraph line, launching America’s first form of instant communication in history. The biblical text was selected by Annie Ellsworth, the teenage daughter of the U.S. Commissioner of Patents.
May 23, 1903
Paris, France and Rome, Italy are connected by telephone for first time. Feel free to congratulate me for finding this picture at any time.