Concepts : History – a timeline of mostly technology related events

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From - The Past, The Present & The Future

Musings by Genisys Consultant, Nigel

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The technological infrastructure developed by the human race might be considered entirely irrelevant to your daily life. But I find it sometimes helps to see where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, why or why not, who really did it first, what effect it’s had and how all the bits fit into place. It’s not for reading – just dip in now & again.

The list is not up-to-date, and, I trust will never be finished.

6500BC The wheel is invented in Sumaria
3800BC Mesopotamia develops cartography (maps), subdivides the circle into 360°
3500BC Shadow Clock. An obelisk - with markings on the ground to delineate time
3200BC Black ink appears in Egypt
2500BC Cuneiform Script Alphabet developed by Sumarians
1500BC The Sundial
0225BC The Astrolabe
0045BC+ Romans wrangle over dates. The Julian calendar is introduced. 8th, 9th & 10th months get relegated by 2 places.      New additions named after Julius and Augustus.
0190 The Abacus appears in China
0429 The Vandals invade North Africa - and enter the Dictionary
0700 The sand filled hourglass.    Block printing develops in India
1300 The use of weights to effect a mechanical clock with an 'hourly' bell chime…
Hour & Minute hands arrive later. Accuracy plus or minus 2 hours per day.
1400  The Coiled Spring & Escapement clock
'Moveable type' invented in Korea
1446 Engraving of Christ with Crown of thorns, on metal become the worlds first 'printing plate'.
1455 The Gutenberg Bible - the first printed book.
1581 Galileo discovers the pendulum effect. (Time consistent regardless of arc length)
1587 Mary Queen of Scots executed by Queen Elizabeth - Convicted by decryption of messages.
1590 Compound microscope is invented by Zacharias Janssen in the Netherlands
1593 Galileo develops the first thermometer
1605 Hans Lippershey of the Netherlands develops the telescope
1609 Galileo Galilei creates the astronomical telescope
1614 John Napier discovers logarithms
1633 Inquisition forces Galileo to recant his belief in Copernican theory.
(The bureaucracy doesn't want the Earth to revolve around the Sun. )
1642 Blaise Pascal invents the first Digital calculator.
1643 Evangelista Torricelli invents the barometer
1653 Peter Borel develops the first formula for invisible ink
1656 The pendulum clock
1714 British Parliament offers a cash reward for the invention of a seaworthy clock
(following the loss of a fleet foundered on the Isles of Scilly in 1707)
1761 John Harrison succeeds in producing a clock that will work at sea
and is swindled by bureaucrats who block payment of the prize money.
1765 Steam engine invented by James Watt
1798 First lithograph is made by Aloys Senefelder
1800s Eli Terry develops clock pattern parts enabling mass production & exchange parts for repairs.
1801 Joseph Marle Jacquard develops the 'punched card' - programming for weaving machines
1816-27 Joseph Nicephore Niepce develops the first paper negative and the first photograph
1829 Braille invented by Louis Braille
1835 Charles Babbage starts on the first "analytical engine" in the UK
1837 The telegraph is invented by Samuel F. B. Morse & Alfred Vail in the US
1839 The vulcanization process that creates rubber is discovered by Charles Goodyear in the US
1840 First postage stamp created in the UK
1846 Sewing machine is created by Elias Howe in the US
1852 Great Britain implements 'Greenwich mean Time'
Elisha G. Otis invents a safety device making passenger elevators viable.
Leon Foucault invents the Gyroscope
1854 George Boole forwards Symbolic & Logical reasoning… Boolean Logic, the basis for manipulation of binary numbers.
1858 The first telegraph cable spans the Atlantic Ocean - and works for a few days.
1867 Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glider develop the first typewriter in the US. ( Although William Austin patented one in 1929 )
1868 First traffic signal is built by JP Knight in the UK
1869 Ives W. McGaffey develops the vacuum cleaner
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone in the US
1877 Thomas A. Edison develops the gramophone and phonograph
1882 William Burroughs quits being a bank clerk, to develop a practical adding machine.
1883 First man-made fibre invented by Sir Joseph Swann in the UK
1884 Edward Butler creates the motorcycle in the UK
Lewis E. Waterman creates the fountain pen in the US
1885 Karl Benz develops the first automobile with an internal combustion engine
1884 World delegates agree International time zones
1888 George Eastman is father of the modern camera
1889 Herman Holleriths' electric tabulating system wins data processing competition
1890 American population census uses the Hollerith system
1893 Thomas Edison develops the 'modern movie'
1895 Guglielmo Marconi transmits the first radio signal
Wilhelm Roentgen develops X-rays
First lie-detector test developed by Cesare Lombroso
1899 Valdermar Poulsen of Denmark develops the first tape recorder
1900 The Paper clip is patented
1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright invent the airplane
1911 Holleriths Tabulating Machine Company merges with two others to become
CTR (The Calculating, Tabulating & Recording Company)
1914 Mary Phelps Jacob first patents the brazierre
1914-8 World War 1 acts as a catalyst to switch from pocket watches to wrist watches.
1916 First successful use of sonar by Paul Langevin and M Chilowski
1917 Russian Bolshevik Revolution
1921 Treaty of Versailles levies huge reparations against Germany and its allies
Karel Capek coins the word Robot - derived from a Czech word meaning forced labour.
1924 T.J.Watson renames CTR to International Business Machines - IBM
1936 Jet propulsion engine by Sir Frank Whittle in the UK and Hans von Ohain in Germany
1937 Chester F. Carlson first patents his ideas for xerography
1938 Krystallnacht (Crystal Night) - referring to smashed windows - in Germany. The state promotes anti-Semitism along with the removal of most other undesirables like the sick , infirm, Gypsies and homeless: Many Jews have their homes ransacked, are detained, injured or murdered in the ensuing riots. 
Czechslovakia is lost to the Nazis in a gesture of "appeasement" by the British and French
William Hewlett & David Packard start business in garden garage
Konrad Zeus develops an electro-mechanical binary computer
1939 Germany invades Poland: Britain and France declare war on Germany: World War II.
1940 The first copy machine is developed from Carlson's patent
1945 Atomic bomb developed in Los Alamos US by J. Robert Oppenheimer et al
Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: World War II ends.
Vannevar Bush proposes hypertext
1947 Holograph is invented in the UK by Dennis Gabor
Microwave oven created by Percy Spencer in the US 
Edwin Land invents the Polaroid camera
1948 Invention of Transistor ("Transfer Resistor") at Bell Labs.
1949 Jay Forrester at MIT launches the first 'real-time' computer. (as opposed to batch processor)
1950 Remington Rand buys the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation
1950s Electronic Quartz crystal vibrators re-define accuracy capability of timepieces
1952 British Radar technician forwards the concept of multiple components etched on a block.
1953 The J Lyons company put LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) into service
1954 Texas Instruments (TI) start commercial production of Transistors.
1955 Fibre optics invented by Narinder Kapamy in the UK
1956 IBM produce the first Hard Disk
Fuji Photo Film Co. develops a 1700 valve computer for lens design calculations
1957 Burroughs supplies the Atlas Missile Guidance computer
Russia launches the Sputnik 1 - starting the 'Space Race'.
1958 Bell develop the Data Phone enabling binary data to travel by phone line.
1959 TI & Fairchild both announce the invention/s of an Integrated Circuit
1960 DEC (Digital Equipment Company) build first Mini-computer
Theo Maiman develops first laser,
Paul Baran at Rand Corp. develops Packet Switching technology
Frank Rosenblatt builds the Perceptron at Cornell University…
A computer that can learn by trial & error through a neural network.
DEC introduces the PDP-1 : The first commercial computer with a monitor & keyboard
1961 Fairchild produces first commercial Integrated Circuit
George Devol patents the first Robotic Device, built later by Unimation.
1962 Bell Labs develop software program for synthesizing music
Stanford & Purdue Universities establish first Computer Science departments. 
Telstar communications satellite is launched enabling transatlantic television
Joseph Weizenbaum develops the 'Eliza' psychological analyst software program - 
aimed at passing the Turing Test.
1963 The American National Standards Institute agrees the ASCII code.
The SAGE defense system is deployed costing about 58 billion dollars.
1964 Airline reservations go on-line as a result of IBMs Sabre project.
Seymour Cray at CDC launches a 9 megaflops system - the first 'supercomputer'. 
Doug Engelbart invents the Mouse.
1965 Kemeny & Kurtz release BASIC
1966 Bell Labs announce invention of Magnetic bubble memory
1967 IBM makes the first floppy disk. 8 inch, one sided - read only. 
The Atomic Clock …
(based on Caesium 133 oscillations. Accurate to 1 second in 1.4 million years)
1968 IBM gets patent on first Dynamic Random Access Memory (RAM)
Burroughs launches the first computers based on integrated circuits
Intel is Incorporated
Rand Corp. presents a decentralised communications network concept to ARPA.
1969 Xerox demonstrate the concept of using a laser beam to produce print images
Bell Labs begins development of Unix
US Defense department commissions ARPANet with UCLA, SRI UC Santa Barbara and University of Utah as the first operational nodes.
(So, in 1969 there were 4 organisations on the Internet")
1970 Xerox opens the Palo Alto Research Centre - Xerox PARC 
Plessey Telecommunications invent the 'Bar Code' in the UK 
Liquid crystal display (LCD) invented by Hoffmann-LaRoche in Switzerland
The Daisywheel printer makes its debut.
1971 Intel starts production of the first programmable chip for Busicom of Japan - the 4004
(The first run in 1970 failed). Then the first (4 bit) microcomputer chipset - the MCS-4
'Silicon Valley' first mentioned in print - in 'Electronic News'.
Ray Tomlinson sends the first network email message.
1972 Intel produces the 8008 chip & the MCS-8 microcomputer chipset, followed by the 8080.
Nolan Bushnell forms Atari due to the success of his 'pong' computer video game.
DEC launches the PDP-11 - on which Paul Allen & Bill gates later run an 8080 emulator to develop BASIC for Ed Roberts MITS Altair.
1973 IBM produces an 8" two-sided read/write floppy disk
R2E in France produce the first non-kit commercial microcomputer.
Bob Metcalfe invents Ethernet at Xerox PARC
Gary Kildall develops CP/M microcomputer operating system
Alan Kay develops the 'Office Computer', with Graphics, Icons and a Mouse.
1974 Ed Roberts creates an 8080 based microcomputer kit to sell for $500
Paul Allen & Bill Gates reckon they can write a version of BASIC for it…
1975 and it works. Altair Basic is the first microcomputer programming language.
The 'Homebrew Computer Club' has its' first meeting in Gordon Frenchs' Garage
Paul Allen & Bill Gates found 'Micro-Soft'.
The Worlds first retail Computer store opens - selling the MITS Altair & components.
Frederick Brooks (IBM) - "The Mythical Man-Month" shows that increasing the time & effort involved in communication & collaboration, adding people to a project only works up to a point.
1976 Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs launch the Apple 1.
Gary & Dorothy Kildall found Intergalactic Digital Research
1977 Commodore launches the Chuck Peddle designed 'Pet' computer.
Tandy launch the TRS-80
1978 Wordstar the first microcomputer word processing application comes to market for any system running on the Digital Research (Gary Kildall) CP/M operating system.
1979 The cellular telephone goes on test in Chicago & Japan
Visicalc, the first microcomputer spreadsheet is launched for the Apple II
1980 Adam Osborne launches the Osborne 1, the first portable computer.
Wayne Ratcliff releases dBase, the first widely used microcomputer database application
IBM buys a version of DOS from Microsoft - after finding Gary Kildall 'Gone flying' when they called.
1981 Victor Computers launch the first 16bit microcomputer, a Chuck Peddle design labelled the Victor 9000. Clearly more advanced, cheaper and better value than the IBM PC which followed shortly afterwards, it was nevertheless swamped by IBMs market dominance and the fact that, unusual for IBM - it made the internal bus specification public, encouraging much of the industry to supply add-on equipment, and inherently ensuring their support.
The IBM PC is launched. Corporate America stops denigrating the microcomputer.
1982 ACT (Later Apricot) in the UK launch the Victor 9000 as the Sirius 1. With IBM delaying release of its' PC for 18 months after the launch in America, Sirius moves ACT towards its period of having up to 30% of the UK market - and a significant turnover in the rest of Europe. 
The IBM PC itself never did take a large share of the UK market, but compatibility with it enabling use of the myriad add-ons became a minimum requirement, killing off anything on the market that wasn't.
1999 The Caesium Fountain Atomic Clock. Accurate to 1 second in 20 million years - precisely.

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