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The People Behind The Way We Live

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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?

Air travel

1903
Orville and Wilbur Wright conduct first sustained flight.

1927
Charles A. Lindbergh completes first solo, nonstop trans-Atlantic flight.

1933
A modern airliner, Boeing 247, flies for the first time.

1939
Germany's Heinkel 178 is the first fully jet-propelled aircraft to fly.

1949
World's first commercial jet airliner, the DH 106 Comet, takes its first flight.

1957
The Boeing 707 offers a new level of comfort and safety.

Electricity

1570
William Gilbert coins the term "electricus" to describe the electric effect of amber and magnetic effect of lodestone.

1752
Benjamin Franklin completes his famous "kite string/key" experiments.

1791
Luigi Galvani is able to show electrical activity in living tissue, including muscle and nerve.

1826
Georg Simon Ohm makes the mathematic connections among current, voltage and resistance in physics law bearing his name.

1888
Nikola Tesla invents an AC motor and polyphase power transmission system, revolutionizing industry and commerce.

1800s
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.

Indoor plumbing

1596
Sir John Harrington develops the first flush toilet. It was never widely adopted because it had no running water supply attached to it.

1775
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.

1880s
Thomas Crapper invents a siphon system for emptying the septic cistern, solving leak problems common with earlier systems.

Food processing

1809
Nicolas Appert invents a vacuum bottling technique that helps supply food for French troops.

1818
Peter Durand introduces the tin-plated can in the U.S.

1832
John Deere invents the steel plough, allowing farmers to produce more crops.

1871
Louis Pasteur develops a method that dramatically improves the safety of food, allowing for longer preservation.

1892
Refrigeration starts to become popular in food processing.

1920s
Technology for refrigeration expands to homes, allowing people to store foods for long periods in their homes.

Computers & the Internet

1941
Konrad Zuse creates the Z3, the first fully operational programmable electromechanical computer.

1946
The massive ENIAC1 is unveiled; it takes up about 1,000 square feet of space.

1958
Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce develop the integrated circuit, paving the way for the microprocessor technology.

1960
J.C.R. Licklider, an American computer scientist, puts forth the idea for a network of computers in a 1960 research paper.

Early 1970s
ARPANET, funded through a Defense Department initiative, lays the groundwork for massive networking, the first inklings of the Internet in the early.

1971
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.

1973
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.

1976
Steve Wozniak develops the Apple I.

1979
Atari introduces the 400 and 800 computers.

1984
Apple releases the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven user interface.

1989
Tim Berners-Lee proposes a hypertext system that will run across the Internet on different operating systems. This essentially is the World Wide Web.

1992
The Internet Society (ISOC) is launched; use of WWW becomes hugely popular. Companies like Netscape are founded.

Potato chips

1853
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.

March 14
National Potato Chip Day

No. 1
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.

Cellphones

1971
AT&T submits a concept for cellular communication to the Federal Communications Commission.

1973
Martin Cooper makes the first analog mobile phone call using a blocky handset.

1979
A cellular network (1G) is launched in Japan.

1991
A second-generation network is launched in Finland.

1993
The first person-to-person SMS is sent.

Personal entertainment

1979
Sony introduces the first version of its iconic Walkman personal music device.

1984
The proliferation of CDs spurs the need for portable CD players.

1987
German researches begin work on a file format for digitizing audio.

1997
Kane Kramer, a British developer, creates an MP3 player called MPMan Player. Rio launches a version of an MP3 player later that year.

2001
Apple and Steve Jobs introduce iTunes and the iPod.

2007
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.

Cars

1885
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.

1888
Benz starts selling his vehicles.

1893
Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea test the first-ever American gasoline-powered automobile.

1909
Four-wheel brakes are introduced in Scotland.

1926
Safety glass makes becomes standard equipment in Rickenbacker vehicles.

1927
The last year Ford's Model-T is produced; in its nearly 20-year run, the Model-T revolutionized automobiles.

1956
Ford, Chrysler and GM offer seat belts as options.

1958
Volvo introduces the padded dashboard.

1974
Ford introduces airbags.

1998
Dual airbags become standard equipment on all new passenger cars.



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