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The People Behind the Way We Live
Do you know how the inventions you use every day really came to be?
Orville and Wilbur Wright conduct first sustained flight.
Charles A. Lindbergh completes first solo, nonstop trans-Atlantic flight.
A modern airliner, Boeing 247, flies for the first time.
Germany's Heinkel 178 is the first fully jet-propelled aircraft to fly.
World's first commercial jet airliner, the DH 106 Comet, takes its first flight.
The Boeing 707 offers a new level of comfort and safety.
William Gilbert coins the term "electricus" to describe the electric effect of amber and magnetic effect of lodestone.
Benjamin Franklin completes his famous "kite string/key" experiments.
Luigi Galvani is able to show electrical activity in living tissue, including muscle and nerve.
Georg Simon Ohm makes the mathematic connections among current, voltage and resistance in physics law bearing his name.
Nikola Tesla invents an AC motor and polyphase power transmission system, revolutionizing industry and commerce.
Inventors like Thomas Edison, J.W. Star and Joseph Swan work simultaneously (though certainly independently) on pursuing patents on light bulbs that could be used in homes and businesses. Edison eventually gains a huge consumer base by also inventing a system to run his type of light bulb.
Sir John Harrington develops the first flush toilet. It was never widely adopted because it had no running water supply attached to it.
Alexander Cumming invents an S-shaped trap that uses standing water (to seal the outlet of the bowl and keeping foul air from escaping) and uses a sliding valve.
Thomas Crapper invents a siphon system for emptying the septic cistern, solving leak problems common with earlier systems.
Nicolas Appert invents a vacuum bottling technique that helps supply food for French troops.
Peter Durand introduces the tin-plated can in the U.S.
John Deere invents the steel plough, allowing farmers to produce more crops.
Louis Pasteur develops a method that dramatically improves the safety of food, allowing for longer preservation.
Refrigeration starts to become popular in food processing.
Technology for refrigeration expands to homes, allowing people to store foods for long periods in their homes.
Computers & the Internet
Konrad Zuse creates the Z3, the first fully operational programmable electromechanical computer.
The massive ENIAC1 is unveiled; it takes up about 1,000 square feet of space.
Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce develop the integrated circuit, paving the way for the microprocessor technology.
J.C.R. Licklider, an American computer scientist, puts forth the idea for a network of computers in a 1960 research paper.
ARPANET, funded through a Defense Department initiative, lays the groundwork for massive networking, the first inklings of the Internet in the early.
Kenbak-1, the first personal computer, goes on sale for $750. Designed by John V. Blankenbaker, eventually only 40 machines are sold before the company goes out of business.
Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf create the transmission control protocol (TCP) that controls how data moves around the Internet in 1973. Both men have been called fathers of the Internet.
Steve Wozniak develops the Apple I.
Atari introduces the 400 and 800 computers.
Apple releases the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven user interface.
Tim Berners-Lee proposes a hypertext system that will run across the Internet on different operating systems. This essentially is the World Wide Web.
The Internet Society (ISOC) is launched; use of WWW becomes hugely popular. Companies like Netscape are founded.
Chef George Crum, frustrated with a fussy customer, fries up thin strips of potato; what he intends as a thumb in the eye to a picky eater is really the first potato chip.
National Potato Chip Day
Chips are Americans' favorite snack food; we consume about 1.2 billion pounds each year as a nation
Sour cream & onion and barbecue
The two most popular flavors in the U.S.
AT&T submits a concept for cellular communication to the Federal Communications Commission.
Martin Cooper makes the first analog mobile phone call using a blocky handset.
A cellular network (1G) is launched in Japan.
A second-generation network is launched in Finland.
The first person-to-person SMS is sent.
Sony introduces the first version of its iconic Walkman personal music device.
The proliferation of CDs spurs the need for portable CD players.
German researches begin work on a file format for digitizing audio.
Kane Kramer, a British developer, creates an MP3 player called MPMan Player. Rio launches a version of an MP3 player later that year.
Apple and Steve Jobs introduce iTunes and the iPod.
Apple's iPod Touch gives listeners the ability to connect to the Internet from the device, download apps, send emails and download music. Several other companies launch similar devices.
Karl Benz builds an automobile powered by his own four-stroke engine design. His invention was the first vehicle that could reasonably be called a modern automobile.
Benz starts selling his vehicles.
Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea test the first-ever American gasoline-powered automobile.
Four-wheel brakes are introduced in Scotland.
Safety glass makes becomes standard equipment in Rickenbacker vehicles.
The last year Ford's Model-T is produced; in its nearly 20-year run, the Model-T revolutionized automobiles.
Ford, Chrysler and GM offer seat belts as options.
Volvo introduces the padded dashboard.
Ford introduces airbags.
Dual airbags become standard equipment on all new passenger cars.