Chronography of Science, Technology and Innovation

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See appendix below for Telegraph Lines

29/6/2007, Apple launched the iPhone,

20/5/1999, Bluetooth was announced. See also Computing

14/2/1989. The first of 24 satellites for the Global Positioning System were placed in orbit.

22/8/1989, British Telecom launched the first �pocket phones� which worked within 100 metres of a base station.

3/2/1989, British Telecom banned �chatlines�, because some people got addicted to them and ran up huge bills which they couldn�t pay.One 12-year-old ran up a bill of �6,000. The Internet had yet to arrive.

1/1/1985, The first mobile phone call in the UK was made, by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

23/10/1984. The end was announced for the old �H� shaped TV aerials, used for the old 405-line service. The 43 transmitters broadcasting on this frequency were to be closed to make way for the growing number of mobile and car phones.

14/4/1983, The first cordless telephone was introduced in Britain.

29/7/1982, Vladimir Zworykin, Russian-born US pioneer of TV technology, died aged 92.

1979, The Japanese technology company Matsushita took out a patent for the first flat screen pocket television, using a liquid crystal display for the screen.

21/11/1980. A Bill was presented in the UK Parliament separating the UK post from the telephone services.

24/9/1979. A remote control cordless telephone, imported from the USA to UK stores, was declared illegal in Britain as it had not been allocated a radio frequency. It was on sale for �260.

10/1/1977, In the UK, a miniature portable TV with a 5 cm screen went on sale.

8/4/1975, Pagers were launched in Britain.

3/4/1973, The world�s first ever mobile phone call was made, in New York.

15/10/1967. In Tokyo the Nippon Electric Co was offering the world�s first commercial television telephone.

8/10/1965, The UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the first telephone call as the �2 million, 620 foot tall, Post Office Tower in London�s Tottenham Court Road opened.

18/11/1963. The push button phone was introduced.

1960, Transistors made it feasible to construct very small TVs. Sony now pioneered an 8-inch transistorised TV set.

5/9/1959, Trunk call telephone dialling began in Britain, at Bristol.

5/12/1958. The first STD telephone exchange in the UK opened.It was in Bristol, and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II calling up the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

11/11/1952. John Mulin and Wayne Johnson at the Bing Crosby Enterprises Laboratory in Beverly Hills, California demonstrated the first video recorder.

28/5/1951, RCA had sued the FCC in an effort to stop the commencement of colour TV broadcasts in CBS format (see 11/7/1949), but this day the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of CBS. However the delay in starting colour broadcasts had been crucial; as in that time many more black and white sets had been sold. When CBS did begin colour broadcasting on 25/6/1951, over 10 million black and white sets could not receive its broadcasts. Viewer numbers and advertising revenues were disappointing, and in October 1951 CBS halted colour transmissions.

29/9/1950, The first automatic telephone answering machine was tested by the US Bell Telephone |Company.

11/7/1949, In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began hearings regarding the possible introduction of a colour TV service. There were three possible systems, the Field Sequential Method of CBS, the Dot Sequential approach of RCA, and the Line Sequential proposed by Color Television Incorporated (CTI). The CBS Field System was the simplest, and produced better quality images than the other two methods, so in 1950 the FCC adopted the CBS method. However the CBS approach was incompatible with current black and white TV sets, whereas the other two methods were not, see 28/5/1951.

25/8/1949. The UK began experiments with colour TV transmission.

9/10/1947. The first radio-telephone call was made, from a car to a plane, above Wimington, Delaware, USA. However radio contact between a person in a car and a person on the ground had been made in 1922. This was at Brooklands motor circuit where a Morse message was transmitted from a racing car at 80mph. The aerial was on large poles propped up on the car.

14/6/1946. Death of John Logie Baird, at Bexhill on Sea, Sussex, aged 58. He was born on 13/8/1888 at Helensburgh, Scotland. In 1926 he demonstrated the first true television before the Royal Institution of Great Britain, following developments on the first prototype in his laboratory in Hastings in 1924. In 1939 Baird demonstrated colour television, and had reportedly developed stereoscopic television by April 1946.

22/8/1940, Sir Oliver Lodge, pioneer of wireless telegraphy, died.

17/2/1938, John Logie Baird demonstrated a prototype colour television.

20/7/1937, Guglielmo Marconi, Italian scientist who pioneered the use of radio communications, died in Rome, aged 63.

26/2/1935. Radar (Radio Detection And Ranging) was tested at Daventry. Engineers had reported that passing aircraft distorted radio transmissions. The BBC transmitter at Daventry was used this day by Robert Watson Watt to detect a bomber 8 miles away at 10,000 feet. See 20/3/1934.

20/3/1934, Radar was first demonstrated in Kiel Harbour, Germany. See 26/2/1935.

14/2/1933, The world�s first speaking clock became available to telephone users in the Paris area.

30/10/1928, Static pictures were first transmitted by radio. Receivers required a special device called a Fultograph, attached to the radio set. This utilised a revolving drum upon which a stylus marked half-tone lines on special paper. The result was about as good as a mediocre picture in an underfunded local newspaper, and the device never became popular.

12/11/1927. The first automatic telephone exchange opened, in Holborn, London.

27/1/1926. Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, aged 38, demonstrated the principle of transmitting moving images by radio. The demonstration was to members of the Royal Institution, at his workshop in Soho, London. He called this �television�.

30/10/1925. In his workshop in London, John Logie Baird achieved the first TV pictures using a dummy�s head. He then persuaded a 15 year old office boy, William Taynton, to sit in front of the camera to become the first live person captured on TV.

12/2/1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first US President to deliver a speech on radio.

30/11/1924, Radio photographs were first transmitted from Britain to the USA.

26/7/1923, John Logie Baird patented a system for transmitting pictures by �mechanical television�. The transmitter and receiver both had a spinning disc with 24 holes; pictures were sent by photoelectric cells. The principle was the same as making repeated static images �move� by rapidly flicking the pages of a book; the persistence of images in the human eye gives the illusion of motion. Unfortunately the picture quality was mediocre, the flickering gave viewers a headache, and the intense light needed to film anything was exhausting for the cast.

2/8/1922. Death of Alexander Graham Bell, aged 75, at his home near Baddock, Nova Scotia. He was born on 3/3/1847 and patented the telephone on 7/3/1876. Many others had been working on the idea of sending speech by wire but Bell was the first to succeed. With his assistant Thomas Walsop, Bell began making improvements to the telegraph system, and formed the Bell Telephone Company in 1872. Bell also invented the photophone transmission of sound, precursor of fibre-optics, as well as techniques of teaching speech to the deaf.

14/2/1922. Marconi began first regular radio broadcasts from England (Writle, Essex). This invention had been patented by Marconi on 22/6/1896. See 14/11/1922.

29/7/1914, The first test call was made on the new transcontinental telephone line between New York and San Francisco.

1911, Advances in telegraphic technology meant that a message could be sent from New York to London in 30 seconds, at a cost just 0.5% of the 1866 level.

8/5/1911, A direct telephone link was established between New York and Denver.

18/10/1907, Wireless telegraphy began between the USA and Ireland.

1905, The Cathode Ray Tube was first produced. It is a vacuum tube in which cathode rays can be projected onto a fluorescent screen. It was later to be used for television.

31/10/1902, The Pacific Cable was completed at Suva.

12/12/1901. The first transatlantic wireless message (the letter �S�, three dots in Morse, was continually transmitted) was sent from a164 foot aerial at Poldhu, Cornwall to Signal Hill, St John�s, Newfoundland, a distance of 1,800 miles, where it was received by Marconi on an aerial suspended from a kite.Three previous transmission attempts, in which the aerial had been raised by balloon, were unsuccessful, thwarted by bad weather.

6/2/1901. Paris installed the first public telephones at railway stations.

12/12/1896, Guigliemo Marconi gave his first public demonstration of radio, at Tonybee Hall, east London.

2/6/1896, Marconi was granted patent no.12039 for his system of communication using radio waves. The maximum communications range was then about 12 miles.


9/1/1894, The first battery-powered telephone switchboard was installed in Lexington, Massachusetts.

10/3/1891, US undertaker Almon Brown Strowger patented the Strowger Switch, enabling automated dialling. He was motivated by the fact that the wife of a rival undertaker worked at the local phone exchange, and was diverting calls for his business to her husband.


18/10/1892, Telephone services began between New York and Chicago.

13/8/1889. The coin operated phone was patented in the USA by William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut.

13/8/1888. Birth of television pioneer John Logie Baird in Helensburgh, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

3/5/1888, Sir Charles Bright, English telegraph engineer, died (born 8/6/1832).

1887, Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of radio waves,

31/12/1887, US telephone listings reached 200,000.

15/1/1880. The first telephone directory in Britain was published by the London Telephone Company. It contained 255 entries.

6/9/1879, The first British telephone exchange opened, in Lombard Street, London.

21/2/1878, The first telephone directory was issued by the New Haven Telephone Company, USA. It contained 50 subscribers.

14/1/1878. Queen Victoria was given a demonstration of Alexander Graham Bell�s new invention, the telephone, at Osborne House.

29/11/1877. Thomas Alva Edison made the first recording of a human voice. He spoke Mary had a little lamb into his phonograph. Edison was working to improve the efficiency of the telegraph transmitter, and noticed that the machine gave off sounds resembling the spoken word when played at high speed. He wondered if he could record a telephone message. He attached the diaphragm of a telephone receiver to a needle, using the needle to prick paper to record a message. He then progressed to using a cylinder wrapped in tinfoil instead of paper, which succeeded in playing back the nursery rhyme he had recorded. He patented this device on 6/12/1877.

10/3/1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first telephone message to his assistant, from 5 Exeter Place, Boston, Massachusetts. The words were �Come here Watson, I want you�.

7/3/1876. The first telephone was patented by the American Alexander GrahamBell, who was born on 3/3/1847. Bell was just a few hours ahead of a similar patent by Elisha Gray.

19/10/1875, Sir Charles Wheatstone, English physicist who pioneered telegraphy, died in Paris.

25/4/1874, Guglielmo Marconi, Italian scientist and radio pioneer, was born in Bologna.

26/8/1873, Birth of Lee de Forest, inventor of the Audion vacuum tube which made broadcasting possible.

2/4/1872, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, American inventor of the Morse Code for telegraphy, died in New York City aged 80.

3/3/1847, The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was born in Edinburgh.He was the son of a teacher of elocution.

24/5/1844. The inventor Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message, from his home in Washington to a friend in Baltimore, 40 miles away. The message was �What hath God wrought�.

18/10/1842. The first telegraph cable was laid by Samuel Morse. It ran from Governor�s Island to The Battery across New York Harbour, and lasted only 24 hours; 200 feet of it was wrecked when a ship weighed anchor.

6/1/1838. Samuel Morse first publicly demonstrated the telegraph. He had begun work on this device in 1832.

8/6/1832, Sir Charles Bright, English telegraph engineer, was born (died 3/5/1888).

6/2/1802, Sir Charles Wheatstone, physicist and pioneer of telegraphy, was born in Gloucester.

27/4/1791, Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse Code, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.


AppendixTelegraph lines

4/7/1903, The Pacific Cable opened between Honolulu and Manila.

1/1/1903, The Pacific Cable opened between Honolulu and San Francisco.

1883, A telegraph cable opened between the USA and Brazil.

1872, A telegraph line opened connecting Adelaide with Port Darwin in Australia; it was soon extended to link Australia with Java, India and Europe. London was now connected to Melbourne.

1871, A telegraph cable was laid from Vladivostok to Shanghai, Hong Kongt, and Singapore, also serving Nagasaki.

18/2/1876. A direct telegraph link was set up between Britain and New Zealand.

1869, The first successful cable was laid between the USA and France. An earlier cable had been laid in 1858 but ceased functioning after a few weeks.

27/7/1866, The Atlantic Telegraph Cable was completed. This connected London to New York

1861, Western Union completed a telegraph line between New York and San Francisco. This ended the Pony Express enterprise.

1851, The first successful telegraph cable was laid under the English Channel, between Dover and Calais. This connected London with Paris.

1848, Telegraph communication opened between New York and Chicago.


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