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Modern Technology Timeline
1850s 1850s Henry Bessemer pioneers a new method of making steel in large quantities. 1.Louis Pasteur develops pasteurization: a way of preserving food by heating it to kill off bacteria. 2.Italian Giovanni Caselli develops a mechanical fax machine called the pantelegraph. 1.Frenchman tienne Lenoir and German Nikolaus Otto pioneer the internal combustion engine. 2.James Clerk Maxwell figures out that radio waves must exist and sets out basic laws of electromagnetism. 3.Fire extinguishers are invented. Elisha Graves Otis invents the elevator with built-in safety brake. Joseph Monier invents reinforced concrete. Christopher Latham Sholes invents the modern typewriter and QWERTY keyboard. Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone, though the true ownership of the invention remains controversial even today. 1.Thomas Edison develops the phonograph, the first practical method of recording and playing back sound on metal foil. 2.Lester Pelton invents a useful new kind of water turbine known as a Pelton wheel. 1.Thomas Edison invents his sound-recording machine or phonographa forerunner of the record player and CD player. 2.Edward Very invents the flare gun (Very pistol) for sending distress flares at sea. 1.Thomas Edison patents the modern incandescent electric lamp. 2.Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie discover the piezoelectric effect. 1.Thomas Edison opens the world's first power plants. 2.Charles Chamberland invents the autoclave (steam sterilizing machine). 3.Charles and Julia Hall and Paul Heroult independently develop an affordable way of making aluminum. 4.Carrie Everson invents new ways of mining silver, gold, and copper. Jacques d'Arsonval suggests heat energy could be extracted from the oceans. Charles Eastman invents plastic photographic film. Charles Parsons develops the steam turbine. Karl Benz builds a gasoline-engined car. Iron and steel Pasteurization Fax machines


Car engines Radio Fire extinguisher Elevators Reinforced concrete

1861 1867 1868



Telephones Music recording Turbines



Record players Flares


Incandescent lamps Piezoelectricity Power plants Autoclaves Aluminum Mining gold



OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion)

1883 1884 1885

Cameras Steam turbines Car engines

1886 1888

Josephine Cochran invents the dishwasher. Friedrich Reinitzer discovers liquid crystals.

Dishwashers LCD screens and displays


Nikola Tesla patents the alternating current (AC) electric induction motor and, in opposition to Thomas Edison, becomes a staunch advocate of AC power. Everett F. Morse invents the optical pyrometer for measuring temperatures at a safe distance. French brothers Joseph and Louis Lumiere invent movie projectors and open the first movie theater. German engineer Rudolf Diesel develops his diesel enginea more efficient internal combustion engine without a sparking plug. German physicist Wilhelm Rntgen discovers X rays. American Ogden Bolton, Jr. invents the electric bicycle. Joseph-Marie Jacquard invents the automated cloth-weaving loom. The punched cards it uses to store patterns help to inspire programmable computers. Guglielmo Marconi sends radio-wave signals across the Atlantic Ocean from England to Canada The first electric vacuum cleaner is developed. Brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright build the first engine-powered airplane. Albert Einstein explains the photoelectric effect. Samuel J. Bens invents the chainsaw. Willis Carrier pioneers the air conditioner. Mikhail Tswett discovers chromatography. Leo Baekeland develops Bakelite, the first popular synthetic plastic. Alva Fisher invents the electric clothes washer.







Diesel engines

1895 1895 1900s

X rays Electric bikes History of computers



1901 1903 1905 1905 1906 1906 1907 1907

Vacuum cleaners Airplanes Photoelectric cells Chainsaws Air conditioners Chromatography Plastics Clothes washer

1906 08 Frederick Gardner Cottrell develops the electrostatic smoke precipitator (smokestack pollution scrubber). Air pollution Electrostatic smoke precipitators 1908 American industrialist and engineer Henry Ford launches the Ford Model T, the world's first truly affordable car. German chemists Fritz Haber and Zygmunt Klemensiewicz develop the glass electrode, enabling very precise measurements of acidity. American chemist Gilbert Lewis describes the basic chemistry that leads to practical, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (though they don't appear

History of cars pH meters



in a practical, commercial form until the 1990s). 1912 Hans Geiger develops the Geiger counter, a detector for radioactivity.

Lithium-ion batteries Geiger counters


Francis Aston pioneers the mass spectrometer and uses it to discover many isotopes. John Logie Baird develops mechanical television. Philo T. Farnsworth invents modern electronic television. Robert H. Goddard develops the principle of the modern, liquid-fueled space rocket. German engineer Gustav Tauschek and American Paul Handel independently develop primitive optical character recognition (OCR) scanning systems. Albert W. Hull invents the magnetron, a device that can generate microwaves from electricity. Karel Capek and his brother coin the word "robot" in a play about artificial humans. John Larson develops the polygraph ("lie detector") machine. Thomas Midgley, Jr. invents coolant chemicals for air conditioners and refrigerators. The electric refrigerator is invented. Peter Goldmark pioneers color television. Laszlo and Georg Biro pioneer the modern ballpoint pen. Maria Telkes creates the first solar-powered house.

Mass spectrometers Television Television Space rockets

1920s 1920s 1920s




Magnetrons Microwave ovens Robots


1921 1928

Polygraphs Air conditioners Refrigerators

1928 1930s 1930s 1930s 1930s

Refrigerators Television Digital pens Eco homes, Solar cells

Wallace Carothers develops neoprene (synthetic rubber used in wetsuits) and nylon, the first popular synthetic clothing material. Kevlar, Nomex, Nylon, Wetsuits Robert Watson Watt oversees the development of radar. Arnold Beckman develops the electronic pH meter. Harold E. Edgerton invents the xenon flash lamp for high-speed photography. Arne Olander discovers the shape memory effect in a gold-cadmium alloy. W.B. Elwood invents the magnetic reed switch. Chester Carlson invents the principle of photocopying (xerography). Roy Plunkett accidentally invents a nonstick plastic coating called Teflon. Radar pH meters Xenon lamps Shape memory alloys Reed switches Photocopiers Gore-Tex, Nonstick pans

1930s 1930s 1931 1932 1936 1938 1938

1939 1940s

Igor Sikorsky builds the first truly practical helicopter. English physicists John Randall and Harry Boot develop a compact magnetron for use in airplane radar navigation systems. Enrico Fermi builds the first nuclear chain reactor at the University of Chicago.

Helicopters Magnetrons Radar

1942 1945

Nuclear power

US government scientist Vannevar Bush proposes a kind of desk-sized memory store called Memex, which has some of the features later incorporated into electronic books and the World Wide Web (WWW). Electronic books, World Wide Web


John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley invent the transistor, which allows electronic equipment to made much smaller and leads to the modern computer revolution.



Bernard Silver and N. Joseph Woodland patent barcodesstriped Barcodes and barcode scanners patterns that are initially developed for marking products in grocery stores. Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow invent the maser (microwave laser). Gordon Gould coins the word "laser" and builds the first optical laser in 1958. Stanford Ovshinksy develops various technologies that make renewable energy more practical, including practical solar cells and improved rechargeable batteries. European bus companies experiment with using flywheels as regenerative brakes. Percy Spencer accidentally discovers how to cook with microwaves, inadvertently inventing the microwave oven. Indian physicist Narinder Kapany pioneers fiber optics. First commercial nuclear power is produced at Calder Hall, Cumbria, England. Soviet Union (Russia and her allies) launch the Sputnik space satellite. Lawrence Curtiss, Basil Hirschowitz, and Wilbur Peters build the first fiber-optic gastroscope. Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce, working independently, develop the integrated circuit. IBM and General Motors develop Design Augmented by Computers-1 (DAC-1), the first computer-aided design (CAD) system. Joseph-Armand Bombardier perfects his Ski-Doo snowmobile. Theodore Maiman invents the ruby laser. William Armistead and S. Donald Stookey of Corning Glass Works invent light-sensitive (photochromic) glass. Lasers



Batteries, Solar cells




Microwave ovens

1954 1956

Fiber optics Nuclear power plants

1957 1957

Satellites Endoscopes


integrated circuits


Computer-aided design

1960s 1960 1962

Snowmobiles Lasers Photochromic lenses


Ivan Sutherland develops Sketchpad, one of the first computer-aided design programs. IBM helps to pioneer e-commerce with an airline ticket reservation system called SABRE. Frank Pantridge develops the portable defibrillator for treating cardiac arrest patients. Stephanie Kwolek patents a super-strong plastic called Kevlar.

Computer graphics





1966 1967 1968


Japanese company Noritake invents the vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). Vacuum fluorescent displays Alfred Y. Cho and John R. Arthur, Jr invent a precise way of making single crystals called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). World's first solar power station opened in France. Long before computers become portable, Alan Kay imagines building an electronic book, which he nicknames the Dynabook. Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith invent the CCD (chargecoupled device): the light-sensitive chip used in digital cameras, webcams, and other modern optical equipment. Astronauts walk on the Moon. Douglas Engelbart develops the computer mouse. James Russell invents compact discs. Electronic ink is pioneered by Nick Sheridon at Xerox PARC. Ted Hoff builds the first single-chip computer or microprocessor. Martin Cooper develops the first handheld cellphone (mobile phone). Molecular beam epitaxy

1969 1969

Solar cells, Energy Electronic books


CCDs, Digital cameras

1969 1960s 1960s 1971 1971 1973

Space rockets Computer mouse CD players Electronic ink and paper History of computers Cell phones


Robert Metcalfe figures out a simple way of linking computers together that he names Ethernet. Most computers hooked up to the Internet now use it.

Computer networks, Internet

1974 First grocery-store purchase of an item coded with a barcode. scanners 1975 1975 1976 Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman invent public-key cryptography. Pico Electronics develops X-10 home automation system. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs launch the Apple I: one of the world's first personal home computers.

Barcodes and barcode

Encryption Smart homes History of computers

1970s 1980s James Dyson invents the bagless, cyclonic vacuum cleaner. 1970s 1980s Scientists including Charles Bennett, Paul Benioff, Richard Feynman,

Vacuum cleaners Quantum computers

and David Deutsch sketch out how quantum computers might work. 1980s Japanese electrical pioneer Akio Morita develops the Sony Walkman, the first truly portable player for recorded music. Stung by Apple's success, IBM releases its own affordable personal computer (PC). The Space Shuttle makes its maiden voyage. Patricia Bath develops laser eye surgery for removing cataracts. CD players


History of computers

1981 1981

Space Shuttle Lasers Quantum dots

1981 1982 Alexei Ekimov and Louis E. Brus (independently) discover quantum dots. 1983 1987 Compact discs (CDs) are launched as a new way to store music by the Sony and Philips corporations. Larry Hornbeck, working at Texas Instruments, develops DLP projectionnow used in many projection TV systems. Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web. German watchmaking company Junghans introduces the MEGA 1, believed to be the world's first radio-controlled wristwatch. Linus Torvalds creates the first version of Linux, a collaboratively written computer operating system. American-born mathematician John Daugman perfects the mathematics that make iris scanning systems possible. Israeli computer scientists Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty invent VoIP for sending telephone calls over the Internet. becomes one of the world's first online radio stations. Pierre Omidyar launches the eBay auction website. WRAL-HD broadcasts the first high-definition television (HDTV) signal in the United States. Electronics companies agree to make Wi-Fi a worldwide standard for wireless Internet. Apple revolutionizes music listening by unveiling its iPod MP3 music player. Richard Palmer develops energy-absorbing D3O plastic. The Wikipedia online encyclopedia is founded by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales. Bram Cohen develops BitTorrent file-sharing. Scott White, Nancy Sottos, and colleagues develop self-healing materials. iRobot Corporation releases the first version of its Roomba vacuum

CD players DLP projectors

1989 1990

Internet, World Wide Web Radio-controlled clocks


Computers, Linux


Iris scans



1995 1995 1996

Streaming media E-commerce HDTV


Wireless Internet

2001 2001 2001

MP3 players Energy-absorbing materials Electronic books

2001 2001 2002

BitTorrent Internet Self-healing materials Robots

cleaning robot. 2004 Electronic voting plays a major part in a controversial US Presidential Election. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov discover graphene. A pioneering low-cost laptop for developing countries called OLPC is announced by MIT computing pioneer Nicholas Negroponte. launches its Kindle electronic book (e-book) reader. Apple introduces a touchscreen cellphone called the iPhone. Apple releases its touchscreen tablet computer, the iPad. 3D TV starts to become more widely available. Touchscreens

2004 2005

Graphene Computers

2007 2007 2010 2010

Electronic books Cellphones, Touchscreens Computers, Touchscreens 3D Television, Television