Science, Technology and Innovation

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See also Astronomy and Space Travel

See also Atomic power and electricity

See also Biology

See also Cartography

See also Chemistry and the Elements, also for substances,compounds, invented.

See also Clothing and Fashion, also for clothes technology e.g. washing machines.

See also Computing and IT

See also Environment and Conservation

See also Geology and Mining

See also Light, cameras, optics

See also Maritime Innovations

See also Mathematics

See also Measurements, Metrology

See also Medical

See also Military Technology

See also Road Vehicle Technology


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein, 1954.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers”, Voltaire.

“Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret”, Horace. You can expel nature with a pitchfork, but she will keep returning.

“Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


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Scientific laws and principles

Telephonic communication


Coal, gas, iron and steam – see Appendix 2 below See also Economics and Coal

Construction, Buildings, Lifts, Escalators -  see Appendix 3 below

Games,Toys – see Appendix 4 below

Hygiene  see Appendix 6 below

Music Video Entertainment and Sound  -see Appendix 11 below

Postal Services – See Appendix 12 below

Robotics – see Appendix 13 below

TV Telephone and Radio – see Appendix 14 below, Click here for TV programmes and social developments in TV.

Writing, Books, Pens, Paper – see Appendix 15


20/5/1982, Merle Anthony Truve, US physicist, died.

9/4/1981, Nature magazine published a paper with the longest-ever scientific word, with 207,000 letters.

1980, In the USA, the United States Synthetic Fuel Corporation was created, to attempt to ensure energy security.

8/1/1980, John William Mauchly, US engineer, died.

9/2/1979, Dennis Gabor, physicist who invented holography, died aged 78.

17/5/1977, Erwin Wilhelm Mueller, Hungarian-US physicist, died in Washington DC.

10/9/1975, Sir George Paget, Thomson, English physicist, died in Cambridge.

25/8/1975, John Ray Dunning, US physicist, died in Key Biscayne, Florida, USA.

3/2/1975, William David Coolidge, US physicist, died in Schenectady, New York, USA.

13/7/1974, Peter Blackett, British physicist, died aged 76.

20/2/1973, Marie Goeppert Mayer, German-US physicist, died in San Diego, California.

12/4/1971, Igor Yevgenyevich, Russian physicist, died in Moscow.

21/11/1970, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Indian physicist, died in Bangalore.

19/8/1968, George Gamow, Russian-US physicist, died in Boulder, Colorado.

17/5/1968. The director of the Transport Studies Centre predicted that in the future people would be ‘piped’ in high speed pneumatic trains like oil and gas.

22/9/1966, Vladimir Iosofovich, Soviet physicist, died in Moscow.

10/3/1966, Frits Zernike, Dutch physicist, died in Naarden.

20/7/1965, The McLaren baby buggy was patented by Owen Findlay, Banbury, UK. It replaced much more cumbersome and heavier prams, and its easy folding made it very easy to take on board public transport.

21/5/1964, James Franck, German-US physicist, died in Gottingen.

1963, In Sweden, Aktiebolaget Flymo produced the first hover lawn mower, invented by Karl Dalhman.

15/9/1962, William Weber Coblentz, US physicist, died in Washington DC.

20/8/1961, Percy Williams Bridgman, US physicist, died in Randolph, New Hampshire, USA.

30/6/1961, Lee de Forrest, US inventor, died in Hollywood, California.

20/8/1960, Plastic carrier bags were used for the first time, by a Swedish shoe retailer.

9/10/1959, Henry Tizard, English inventor, died aged 74.

18/4/1955. Albert Einstein, born 14/3/1879, died in Princeton, New Jersey, of a stroke. He was born to a middle class German family of Jewish ancestry. Einstein graduated in 1900 from the Federal institute of technology in Zurich; he worked hard in the laboratory but skipped lectures. He completed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and received the Nobel Prize in 1922. He became an American citizen in 1940.

30/3/1954, Fritz Wolfgang London, German physicist, died in Durham, North Carolina.

26/12/1949. Einstein's Theory of Relativity was announced.

17/6/1948, The transistor was patented in New Jersey for Bell Telephones.

4/10/1947, The German physicist, Max Planck, died at his home in Gottingen, aged 89. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1918 for his work on quantum physics and black-body radiation.

25/2/1947, Louis Carl Heinrich Paschen, German physicist, died in Potsdam, East Germany.

21/11/1946, The first commercial aerosol sprays were marketed in the US by Airosol Inc of Kansas. The US army had discovered the usefulness of aerosol insect sprays whilst fighting the Japanese in the rainforests of south east Asia.

7/5/1944, Stuart Ballantine, US physicist, died in Morristown, New Jersey, USA.

23/2/1944, Leo Hendrik Baekeland, Belgian-born American chemist, inventor of a plastic called Bakelite, died.

3/10/1941. The aerosol was patented by L D Goodhue and W N Sullivan.

22/2/1941, Dayton Clarence Miller, US physicist, died in Cleveland, Ohio.

20/4/1940. The electron microscope was first demonstrated in America.

11/10/1938, Leroy Hood, scientist, was born.

23/11/1937, Sir Jagadischandra Bose, Indian physicist, died in Giridh.

12/3/1935, Michael Idvorsky Pupin, Yugoslav-US physicist, died in New York.

13/1/1934, Paul Ulrich Villard, French physicist, died in Bayonne.

1933, In Germany, Ernst Ruska built the first electron microscope that was more powerful than a light microscope, magnification x 12,000.

10/7/1932, Richard Threlfall, English chemist and engineer, died aged 70.

14/3/1932, US inventor George Eastman died in Rochester, New York.

9/5/1831, Albert Abraham Michelson, German-US physicist, died in Pasadena, California.

8/9/1930, The first roll of Scotch Tape (Sellotape) was made. Although introducing a new product to US consumers during the recession was risky, in fact the mood of thriftiness at the time ensured the success of the product as it was used for mending and fixing things. The UK version, called Sellotape, was introduced in 1937.

5/4/1929, Ivar Glaever, Norwegian-US physicist, was born in Bergan, Norway. In 1973 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on superconductors and semiconductors.

1927, The first petrol driven chainsaw was demonstrated in the forests of Thuringia, Germany. This greatly speeded up wood harvesting and forest clearance.

27/3/1923, Sir James Dewar, Scottish scientist, inventor of the vacuum flask, died aged 80.

28/12/1919, Johannes Robert Rydberg, Swedish physicist, died in Lund.

20/4/1918, Karl Ferdinand Braun, German physicist, died in New York City.

14/4/1917, Dr Zamenof, Polish linguist and inventor of Esperanto, died.

1915, The start of the General Theory of Relativity was derived from the Special Theory of Relativity.

22/8/1915, Canadian-US physicist James Hillier was born in Brantford, Ontario.

28/7/1915, US physicist Charles Hard Townes was born in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1953 he developed the maser, precursor of the laser.

15/2/1915, Emile Hilaire Amagat, French physicist, died in Saint Satur.

1/4/1912, Pyotr Nicolaievich Lebedev, Russian physicist, died in Moscow.

31/12/1911. Marie Curie received her second Nobel prize, unprecedented in the history of the award.

16/9/1910, Ole Evinrude patented the outboard motor.

28/2/1909, Professor Linus Pauling, American chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize winner, was born.

23/10/1908, Pavel E Cherenkov, physicist, was born in St Petersburg, Russia.

17/12/1907, Lord Kelvin, physicist and inventor, died.

26/12/1906, German physicist Ernst August Friedrich Ruska was born in Heidelberg.

13/1/1906, Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Russian physicist, died in St Petersburg.

23/10/1905, Swiss-US physicist Felix Bloch was born in Zurich, In 1927 he proved that some electrons could travel through a crystal array without being scattered.

1/7/1905, Albert Einstein propounded the Special Theory of Relativity.

14/1/1905, Ernst Abbe, German physicist (born 1840) died in Jena.

25/12/1904, German-Canadian physicist Gerhard Hertzberg was born in Hamburg, Germany. In 1971 he was awarded the Nobel prize for his work on the geometry of molecules in gases.

31/10/1904. The radio valve was invented by John Fleming at London University.

16/9/1904, Willis Carrier filed US patent no. 808897 for air conditioning. The basic idea of air conditioning had been known since Roman times, when it was noted that cool vapour rose from water thrown on hot stones. In 1902 a Brooklyn printer, Sackett-Williams, told Carrier that he had a problem with changing heat and humidity altering the colours unpredictably on his printing. Willis Carrier designed the first air conditioning unit, which weighed 30 tons. Dust control was added in 1906.

24/5/1904, Engineer and inventor Friedrich Seimens died.

1902, The first commercially-succesful petrol driven lawn mower was marketed.

28/7/1902, Karl Popper, scientist, was born (died 1994)

23/6/1902. Albert Einstein began work in the Swiss Patent Office.

9/5/1902, Henry Morton, US scientist and President of the Stevens Institute of Technology since its founding in 1870, died aged 65.

8/8/1901, Ernest Lawrence, US physicist who invented the first subatomic particle accelerator and the first colour TV tube, and won the Nobel Physics prize in 1939, was born.

20/1/1901, Zenobe Theophile Gramme, Belgian-French inventor, died at Bois Colombes, France.

1900, The paper clip was patented by Johann Vaaler, a Norwegian working in Germany. In 1989 a gaint statue of a paperclip was erected in his honour in Oslo.

10/12/1900. The first Nobel prizes were awarded.

29/5/1900, The word "escalator" was introduced into the English language, as the Patent and Trademark Office formally granted the trademark to Charles Seeberger for a moving stairway However, Seeberger lost the trademark fifty years later when a patent commissioner ruled that the term had become generic, in Haughton Elevator Co. v. Seeberger,

16/8/1899. Death of the German chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, inventor of the Bunsen burner.

18/11/1897, Sir Henry Doulton, English inventor, died (born 25/7/1820).

13/8/1897, Sir Isaac Holden, British inventor, died (born 7/5/1807).

12/6/1897, Carl Elsener took out a patent for the Swiss Army Knife.

18/9/1896, Armand Fizeau, physicist, died (born 23/9/1819)

22/12/1895, The physicist Wilhelm Roentgen made a radiograph (X-ray photograph) of his wife’s hand.

8/11/1895. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X rays, during an experiment at the University of Wurtzburg. He made the first radiograph, or X-ray, of his wife’s hand, on 22/12/1895.

30/1/1894. Charles King of Detroit received a patent for the pneumatic hammer.

23/2/1893, The diesel engine was patented by Rudolf Deisel.

7/5/1890, James Nasmyth, inventor of the first steam hammer, died in London.

11/10/1889, James Joule, who established the First Law of Thermodynamics, died.

27/4/1889, Frederick Barnard, scientist, died in New York City (born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, 5/5/1809)

24/8/1888, Rudolf Clausius, German physicist, died (born 2/1/1822).

1887, The first semi-automatic glass bottle making machine was invented by John Ashley in Yorkshire, UK. It could produce 200 bottles an hour, but required manually feeding with molten glass, In 1898 MJ Owens of the USA imvented a fully auromatic bottle making machine. This in turn was improved on by Henry W Ingle of the US in 1925. Bottles could now be made faster and lighter than before.

22/1/1887, Sir Joseph Whitworth, the engineer who standardised screw threads, died at Monte Carlo.

12/4/1886, Thaddeus Fairbanks, inventor, died (born 17/1/1796)

1885, The first mechanical dishwasher was invented by Frenchman Eugene Daquin. The first electric dishwasher was made in 1922.

26/3/1885, The first cremation in modern times, of Mrs Pickersgill, took place at Woking.

19/11/1883, Sir William Siemens, inventor, died in London, UK.

4/11/1879. James R Ritty of Dayton, Ohio patented the first cash register. Pilfering by bartenders from Ritty’s saloon so undermined his health that he went on a sea voyage to Europe to recover. On board the ship, Ritty saw a machine that recorded the number of revolutions made by the ship’s propellers, which gave him the initial idea. In 1884 he formed the National Cash Register Company.

14/3/1879. Albert Einstein, physicist and mathematician, was born in Ulm, Bavaria, to Jewish parents.

24/1/1879, Heinrich Geissler, physicist, died (born 26/5/1814)

18/8/1874, Sir William Fairbairn, Scottish engineer, died (born 19/2/1789).

21/6/1874, Anders Jonas Angstrom, Swedish physicist (born 13/8/1814 in Logdo) died in Upsala.

27/11/1873, Auguste de la Rive, Swiss physicist, died (born 9/10/1801).

1871, Pierre Colignon, French-American, invented the first folding deck chair.

30/9/1870, Physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin was born in Lille, France.

10/3/1869, The first scientifically-designed cremator was used, in Padua, Italy, by Dr L Brunetti to cremate the body of a 35-year-old woman

11/2/1868, Jean Foucault, French physicist who invented the gyroscope, died in Paris.

10/2/1868, Sir David Brewster, Scottish physicist, died in Allerly, Roxburghshire.

1865, Rudolf JE Clausius coined the term entropy to describe the degradation of energy in a closed system.

25/5/1865, Pieter P Zeeman was born in Sommaire, Netherlands. In 1896 he discovered that spectral lines of gases in a magnetic field are split, now known as the Zeeman effect.

7/6/1862, Hungarian-German physicist Philipp von Lenard was born in Poszony, Bratislava. In 1892 he studied cathode rays.

7/11/1865, The Repeating Light Company of Springfield, Massachusetts manufactured the first pocket lighter.

18/1/1861, John Heathcoat, English inventor, died (born 7/8/1783).

12/10/1860, Elmer Sperry, prolific inventor, notably of the gyroscopic compass, was born in Corland, New York State.

14/9/1860, Niagara Falls was illuminated for the first time.

12/7/1859. (1) William Goodale patented the paper bag manufacturing machine.

(2) Robert Stephenson, engineer, died.

5/7/1859, Charles Cagniard de la Tour, French inventor, died (born 31/3/1777).

15/5/1859, Pierre Curie, French scientist, was born in Paris. He was the son of a physician.

19/2/1859, Svante August Arrhenius, Swedish physicist and chemist, was born near Uppsala.

28/7/1858. The first use of fingerprinting. William Herschel, a British civil servant in India, took the entire palm print of a Bengali hired to surface roads, to ensure that he did not back out of the contract.

6/9/1857, Johann Salomo Schweigger, physicist, died in Halle, Germany.

29/10/1856, Paul Curie, physicist, was born.

10/7/1856, Nikola Tesla was born.  His father, the Reverend Milutin Tesla, was a Greek Orthodox priest, and his mother Duka Mandic was the daughter of a priest who made handcraft tools.

9/7/1856, Amedeo Avogadro, Count of Quarenga, died in Turin, Italy.

27/9/1854, The Lady Isabella waterwheel at Laxey, Isle of Man was completed.  It was the largest in the UK, at 72 foot 6 inches in diameter, and was once used for draining a lead mine.

2/10/1853, Dominique Arago, physicist, died in Paris (born 26/2/1786 in Estagel, Perpignan).

17/3/1853, Death of Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who coined the term Doppler effect to explain the apparent change of frequency of a wave when the source is moving relative to the observer.

17/9/1851, Chemist and physician John Kidd died in Oxford, England.

6/5/1851, Linus Yale patented the Yale lock.

17/3/1849. Elastic bands patented, by Stephen Perry’s London rubber company.

1845, Rubber bands were first made by Perry and Co of London.

28/8/1845, The first edition of Scientific American was published.

26/8/1845, Philippe Gerard, French inventor, died (born 1/2/1775).

27/3/1845, Wilhelm von Roentgen, German scientist and discoverer of X-Rays, was born in Lennep, Prussia.

27/7/1844, John Dalton, chemist and physicist, died.  He developed modern atomic theory and also made advances in meteorology.

12/11/1842, The physicist and Nobel Prize winner Lord Rayleigh was born at Witham, near Maldon, Essex.

20/9/1842. Sir James Dewar, Scottish physician and chemist, and inventor of the vacuum flask, was born at Kincardine on Forth, in Fife.

30/9/1841. The stapler was patented by Samuel Slocum.

23/1/1840, Ernst Abbe, German physicist, was born in Jena (died 1905).

18/2/1838, Ernst Mach, Austrian scientist, was born in Moravia.

17/1/1834, Giovanni Aldini, Italian physicist, died in Milan (born in Bologna 10.4 1762).

1/1/1833, The first fire brigade to have full time permanent staff was established in London.

24/8/1832, Sadi Carnot, physicist, died (born 1/6/1796)

16/5/1831, David Hughes, English-American inventor of the teleprinter and microphone, was born in London.

3/12/1830, Frederick, Baron Leighton, President of the Royal Society, was born.

14/11/1830, Henry Bell, Scottish engineer, died in Helensburgh (born in Linlithgowshire 1767).

18/5/1830. Edwin Budding of Stroud signed an agreement for the manufacture of his invention, the lawnmower. The first customer was Regents Park Zoo. See 27/4/1828.

16/5/1828, Sir William Congreve, British inventor, died (born 20/5/1772)..

1827, Brownian Motion, the rapid vibration of tiny particles suspended in water, was first noted by the botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858). He also noted that small particles of inorganic matter such as carbon and metal dust were subject to this motuon, but he could not explain the phenomenon.

7/4/1827, Friction matches, the invention of Stockton on Tees chemist John Walker, went on sale. In 1826 Walker was mixing antimony and chlorate of potash with a stick; when he rubbed the stick to clean it, it caught fire. Such matchsticks would catch fire if rubbed on any rough surface, even each other, and in 1855 the first safety match was by the Swedish firm of Johan Edvard Lundstrom. In Britain, Bryant and May bought the rights to these matches where they went on sale in August 1855.

3/11/1825, The Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded.

26/6/1824, The physicist and mathematician Lord Kelvin was born in Belfast as William Thomson.

24/7/1824, The result of the first public opinion poll was published in the Harrisburg Pennsylvanian.  The poll was conducted at Wilmington to determine voters’ intentions in the 1824 Presidential election.

1822, Steel coiled springs were patented in Austria by Georg Junigl.

2/1/1822, Rudolf Clausius, German physicist, was born (died24/8/1888).

25/7/1820, Sir Henry Doulton, English inventor, was born (died 18/11/1897).

18/9/1819, Jean Foucault, French scientist, was born in Paris.

24/12/1818, Physicist James Joule was born at Salford, Manchester.

25/8/1814, Benjamin Thompson, scientist who researched heat (born in North Woburn, Massachusetts, on 26/3/1753), died near Paris, France.

1811, Amedeo Avogadro proposed what is now known as Avogadro’s Law – that equal volumes of gas at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules.

3/8/1811, Elisha Graves Otis, US inventor, was born in Halifax, Vermont.

18/8/1809, Matthew Boulton, partner of James Watt, British engineer, died in Soho, London.

5/5/1809, Frederick Barnard, scientist, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts (died in New York City 27/4/1889).

19/8/1808, James Nasymth, Scottish engineer who invented the first steam hammer, was born in Edinburgh.

1807, Thomas Young coined the word ‘energy’.

7/5/1807, Sir Isaac Holden, British inventor, was born (died 13/8/1897).

19/7/1806, Alexander Bache, US scientist, was born in Philadelphia (died 17/2/1867 in Newport, Rhode Island).

20/12/1805, Thomas Graham, chemist whose 1829 paper on gaseous diffusion introduced Graham’s Law, was born in Glasgow.

21/12/1803, Sir Joseph Whitworth, engineer, was born.

9/10/1801, Auguste de la Rive, Swiss physicist, was born (died 27/11/1873).

17/1/1796, Thaddeus Fairbanks, inventor, was born (died 12/4/1886).

13/1/1796, John Anderson, Scottish scientist (born 1726 in Roseneath, Dumbartonshire) died in Glasgow.

12/2/1791, Peter Cooper, US inventor, was born (died 4/4/1883).

19/2/1789, Sir William Fairbairn, Scottish engineer, was born (died 18/8/1874).

7/8/1783, John Heathcoat, English inventor, was born (died 18/1/1861).

1782, Josiah Wedgewood invented the pyrometer, for checking the temperature in the furnaces used to fire pottery.

11/12/1781, Sir David Brewster, scientist, was born (died 10/2/1868).

17/3/1782, Swiss physicist Edward Bernoulli died.

6/12/1778, Joseph Gay-Lussac, French scientist, was born in St Leonard.

30/4/1777, Carl Friedrich Gauss, scientist, was born.  His father, Gerhard Gauss, was a labourer and bricklayer, and his mother, Dorothea Gauss, was a maid.

31/3/1777, Charles Cagniard de la Tour, French inventor, was born (died 5/7/1859).

17/11/1776, James Ferguson, Scottish inventor, died (born 25/4/1710).

9/6/1776, Amedeo Avogadro, physicist who formulated Avogadro’s law, was born in Turin (died in Turin 9/7/1856).

1/2/1775, Philippe Gerard, French inventor, was born (died 26/8/1845).

25/11/1774, Henry Baker, English scientist, died in London (born in London 8/5/1698).

20/5/1772, Sir William Congreve, British inventor, was born (died 16/5/1828).

25/9/1769, The first recorded cremation in Britain. The body of Honoretta Pratt was burnt in her open grave at  St Georges Burial Ground, London.

20/4/1764, Rudolph Ackerman, German inventor, was born (died 30/3/1834).

10/4/1762, Giovanni Aldini, Italian physicist, was born in Bologna (died 17/1/1834 in Milan).

1760, Joseph Black discovered latent heat of fusion and vapourisation, and specific heat.

29/11/1759, Nicolas Bernoulli, scientist, died (born 10/10/1687).

1/1/1748, Jean Bernoulli, physicist, died (born in Basel 27/7/1667).

28/5/1738, Dr Joseph Guillotin, inventor of the Guillotine, was born.

20/6/1726, The first municipal fire brigade was established, at Beverley, Yorkshire.

31/7/1718, John Canton, English scientist (died 22/3/1772) was born.

18/5/1710, Jean Bernoulli, scientist, was born (died 1790).

25/4/1710, James Ferguson, Scottish inventor, was born (died 17/11/1776).

11/10/1705, Guillaume Amontons, French scientist, died in Paris (born 31/8/1663 in Paris).

3/3/1703, The scientist Robert Hooke died.

29/1/1700, Daniel Bernoulli, scientist, was born (died 17/3/1782).

8/5/1698, Henry Baker, English scientist, was born in London (died in London).

16/2/1698, Pierre Bouguer, French scientist, was born (died15/8/1758).

30/12/1691, Robert Boyle, scientist, died.  He formulated Boyle’s Laws on gases.

1687, Newton stated the Laws of Motion of bodies.

10/10/1687, Nicolas Bernoulli, scientist, was born (died 29/11/1759).

11/5/1686, Otto von Guericke, German scientist, died (born 20/11/1602).

1683, In Oxford, Britain, the Ashmolean Museum was opened as a centre for experimental science.

1682, Isaac Newton proposed the Law of Gravitation. See also astronomy.

31/12/1679, Giovanni Borelli, Italian physicist, died in Rome (born in Naples 28/1/1608).

27/7/1667, Jean Bernoulli, physicist, was born in Basel (died 1/1/1748).

1665, Isaac Newton worked out a system of ‘fluxions’ – precursor of modern calculus. He also began work on a theory of gravity.

1663, Pascal showed that the pressure of a liquid depended on its depth and density.

31/8/1663, Guillaume Amontons, French scientist, was born in Paris (died 11/10/1705 in Paris).

1662, Robert Boyle first proposed Boyles Law for gases; that the volume of an ‘ideal’ gas varies inversely to the pressure when the temperature is held constant.

28/11/1660, The Royal Society was founded in England.

1643, From Galileo’s note that ‘water would not rise in a pump above 18 cubits’; his pupil, Torricelli deduced the existence of air pressure. In 1648 Pascal demonstrated that air pressure falls with increasing altitude. This led to the invention of the barometer.

18/7/1635, Robert Hooke, English scientist, was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

1632, Galileo introduced the concept of relativity by pointing out that experiments done in a closed cabin on a ship cannot be used to tell if the ship is moving or not.

25/1/1627, Robert Boyle, Irish chemist and physicist, was born at Lismore Castle, Munster, Eire.

19/6/1623. Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, was born in Clermont. He invented the first calculating machine; other research of his led to the invention of the syringe and the hydraulic press; and so to Pascal’s law of pressure.

1620, The term ‘gas’ first used, by van Helmont, to describe substances like air. It was a variant of the Flemish word for ‘chaos’.

28/1/1608, Giovanni Borelli, Italian physicist, was born in Naples (died in Rome 31/12/1679).

20/11/1602, Otto von Guericke, German scientist, was born (died 11/5/1686).

1590, Galileo discovered that all bodies fall at the same rate, regardless of their mass.

1581, An earthquake in the Italian town of Pisa set the great chandeliers in the church swinging. A 17 year old student called Galileo noticed that, timed by his own pulse, the time of each swing was constant regardless of the range of the swing.

1537, Niccolo Tartaglia’s book, Della Nova Scientai, intitiated the science of ballistics.

2/5/1519. Leonardo Da Vinci died, at the Chateaux Cloux near Amboise, aged 67.

17/12/1493, Paracelsus, scientist and occultist, was born. He died on 24/9/1541.

1490, Leonardo da Vinci observed that liquids tend to crawl up tubes with a small diameter; the first observation of capillary action,

285, Pappus of Alexandria described ‘five machines’ in use.These were the cogwheel, lever, pulley, screw and wedge.

271, The compass began to be used in China.

212 BCE, Archimedes reputed to have used a concave mirror to use the Sun’s rays to set fire to the Roman fleet.

220 BCE,Archimedes discovered the force of buoyancy in liquids.

230 BCE, Oil lamps introduced in Greece.

260 BCE, Archimedes knew of the Law of Moments and the principle of the lever.

265 BCE, Archimedes invented the Archimedes Screw, a device for raising water.

4350 BCE, The horse was domesticated in Europe, providing agricultural power and transportation.


Appendix 2 – Coal, gas, iron and steam

11/2/1931, Sir Charles Pearsons, inventor of the first practical steam turbine, died in Kingston, Surrey.

13/6/1854, Sir Charles Pearsons, engineer who invented the steam turbine, was born in London.

1826, First recorded usage of the word ‘steam’ as a metaphor for power, energy, progress.

19/1/1813. Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of the blast furnace for converting cast iron to steel, was born at Charlton, Hertfordshire.

28/1/1807. London’s Pall Mall became the first street in the world to be lit by gaslight. This was an initiative to publicise the new method of illumination by German migrant FA Winzer (later Anglicised to Winsor), and his company, the Gas Light and Coke Company, floated in 1812. In 1814 street gas lighting began in Westminister and by the end of 1816 London had 26 miles of gas mains. This rose to 122 miles by 1823 and 600 miles by 1834. By 1823 52 English towns had gas lighting and by 1859 Britain had nearly 1,000 gas works. The gas industry produced many useful chemical by-products such as ammonia, naphtha and crude tar.

1789, James Watt invented the governor, a centrifugal-driven negative feedback device that controlled the speed of a steam engine.

31/3/1763, Abraham Darby (Junior), ironmaster, died.

21/8/1754, William Murdock, inventor of coal-gas lighting in 1792, was born at Auchinlek, Ayrshire.

20/3/1717, Abraham Derby (senior), first ironmaster to use coke to smelt iron, died at Worcester.

12/3/1711, Abraham Darby, iron worker, was born.

2/7/1698, Thomas Savery patented an early steam engine. See also railways, 1699. This engine could be used to pump water out of mines, an increasing problem as miners went ever deeper. However Savery’s (1650-1715) engine was fairly primitive. It could not pump water up from more than 10 metres below it, meaning it had to be installed deep within mines. This was dangerous as Savery’s engine  was prone to explosions. In 1721 Thomas Newcomen (1664-1729), working with Savery, produced an improved atmospheric engine. The full potential of the steam engine was not realised until James Watt (1736-1819) added a condenser in 1769, with the backing of businessman Matthew Boulton.

60 AD, Hero of Alexandria invented the aeolopile (, a rotating ball full of water with tangential vents that would spin when heated as the steam escaped. It was effectively an early steam engine, but was not put to any practical use.


Appendix 3 – Construction, Buildings, Lifts Escalators

31/12/2004, The world’s tallest skyscraper, Taipei 101, 508 metres or 1.676 feet tall, was opened.

12/11/1968. One thousand people attended the first public meeting of the Greater London Council. Ideas discussed included a monorail down Oxford Street by 1972 and an ‘end to the architecture of totalitarianism’. The Milton Keynes Development Corporation announced that the first blueprint for the new city would be available by February 1969.

7/12/1961, The London County Council approved the building of 300-foot high blocks of flats at Hammersmith, the tallest in Britain.

12/12/1951, The geodesic dome was patented by Richard Buckminster Fuller in New York, USA.

30/4/1944, Pre-fabricated houses went on show in London. 500,000 of them were planned as temporary housing for those who had lost their homes to Luftwaffe bombs.

1/5/1931. The Empire State Building was opened by President Hoover in New York. 102 storeys and 1,245 feet high, it had a 220 foot TV antenna added in 1950. This total height of 1,472 feet was reduced to 1,454 feet when the antenna was replaced in 1985. In 2001 the world’s tallest building was the  twin Petronas Towers in Malaysia, 1,483 feet high.

29/1/1927. In London the Park Lane Hotel opened, the first with en-suite bathrooms.

26/6/1916, Peter Nissen (1871-1930) patented the Nissen Hut. He noticed that there was a lack of easy to build housing for the troops in World War One. 100,000 of these huts were built by the end of the War; each one taking 6 men 4 hours to build. Their main drawback was they were very cold in the winter.

15/3/1892. The world’s first ‘escalator’ was installed at Coney Island, New York. This had a continuous sloping surface. It was called the ‘Reno inclined elevator’.  The American inventor Charles A Wheeler patented the first escalator with flat steps on 2/8/1892.

31/3/1889. The 300 metre Eiffel Tower was completed, in time for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, and opened by Premier Tirard on 6/5/1889..  Many people said it was ugly.

6/10/1887, Le Corbusier, who promoted the idea of a house as a ‘machine for living’, was born in Switzerland.

16/7/1867, Joseph Monier of Paris patented reinforced concrete.

1/4/1867. In Paris, the World Fair opened. The first hydraulic lift was demonstrated by the engineer Edoux, and Japanese art was on show in the West for the first time.

8/4/1861, Elisha Graves Otis, American inventor of the first safe elevator in 1852, died in Yonkers, New York.

1860, The floor covering, linoleum, was invented in England by Frederick Walton.

23/8/1859, The first hotel elevator was installed in the 6 storey building of Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.

23/3/1857, The first passenger lift was installed by Elisha Otis in a department store, in the 5-storey building of E V Haughwout and Co on Broadway, New York. The elevator system cost US$ 300.

20/9/1853, Elisha Graves Otis opened a factory in New York State for the production of the first modern lifts.

25/3/1843. The first tunnel under the Thames, the 1300 foot Wapping Tunnel, linking Wapping and Rotherhithe, opened. Work had begun on 2/3/1825.

1842, Engineer John A Roebling invented wire rope. This proved indispensable for constructions such as New York’s Brooklyn Bridge.

15/12/1832, Gustave Eiffel, French engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower, built for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, was born in Dijon.

21/10/1824, Portland Cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin of Wakefield, Yorkshire.

11/12/1769, In London, venetian blinds were patented by Edward Beran.

1747, The first engineering school, the Ecole des ponts et chaussees (school of bridges and highways) was established in France.

1738, The caisson, a device essential for building bridges and underwater tunnels, was developed by Charles Dangeau de Labelye for building a bridge over the Thames at Westminster.

1735, The first machine-made carpets were produced, at Kidderminster.

1200, The flying buttress was developed to support European Mediaeval churches. The tall roof of a large church would push the walls outwards, collapsing it, without these supports providing a counter-force to the walls.


Appendix 4 – Games, Toys  -  See also Sports and Games

30/1/1975, The Rubik Cube was patented by Erno Rubik in Hungary.

28/1/1958, Lego building bricks were patented by Godtfred Christiansen in Billund, Denmark. Lego is short for the Danish for ‘play well’, Leg-Godt. By a happy coincidence, it also means ‘I assemble’ in Latin.

11/6/1954, The game Scrabble was patented in the USA.

1/11/1945, The Slinky coil was patented by Richard James in Pennsylvania.

4/12/1935. The game of monopoly was born, invented by unemployed engineer Charles Darrow. It is the world’s most successful box game, having sold over 500 million sets.

9/1/1901, Meccano was patented by Frank Hornby (1863-1936), England.

14/9/1759, The earliest dated English board game, A Journey Through Europe, or The Play of Geography, invented by John Jeffries, was sold by him at his London home.


Appendix 6 – Hygiene

1982, 21.5% of French homes possessed no indoor fluhing toilet, down from 45% in 1968 and 73% in 1954. In 1954 90% of French homes had no bath or shower, a figure down to 12.2% by 1984. By 1984 just 10.7% of French homes had no indoor flushing toilet; many of these being old rural farmsteads.

1960, Hitchin Council in the UK became the first to use black plastic polythene bin bags for refuse collection. Previously, rubbish was put loose straight into bins, causing smells and being scattered in the road when the bin was emptied.

1948, The first disposable nappies were sold by Saks, Fifth Avenue, New York. Proctor and Gamble test marketed them in the 1950s, and launched the first mass-produced disposable nappies in 1961 under the brand name Pampers.

1942, Soft toilet paper first appeared in Britain. It was made at the St Andrews paper mill, Walthamstow, London.

1937, The first tampons were marketed under the name Tampax.

1924, Kleenex, the first face tissues sold in Western countries, was introduced, as Celluwipes (the Japanese had been using them for centuries).

1921, The first commercially produced sanitary towels were marketed under the brand name Kotex.

1914, The first modern sewage plant, designed to treat sewage with bacteria, opened in Manchester.

30/8/1901, Scotsman Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner. Houses often had no electricity then, and  the motor and pump were so large they were mounted on a horse-drawn cart whilst a tube that might be over 200 metres long was used for suction. Booth later introduced a clear tube so clients could see the dirt being sucked out of their house.

1900, Only 1 in 7 US homes possessed a bath-tub.

15/3/1891, Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, engineer, died.

17/2/1883, The vacant / engaged toilet sign was patented by Mr Ashwell of Herne Hill, London.

19/9/1876, Melville R Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan patented the Bissell carpet sweeper, the first practical way to sweep carpets of dust. He suffered from headaches caused by his allergy to straw dust which came from the straw packing he used in his china shop. He invented a sweeper with a sprung brush roller that responded to pressure on the handle.

1871, In the USA, toilet paper was first put on a roll.

1864, In Britain, the first of the Baths and Wash Houses Acts were passed (1864-1896). Then provison of bathing facilities in UK towns was now deemed necessary.

1859, Glasgow opened its new water supply from Loch Katrine; this was a significant developemtn in the hygiene of the city.

1857, The first mass production of toilet paper began, in the USA, pioneered by Joseph Cayetty. Toilet paper had been in use at the Imperial Court of 14th century China, but most people in 19th century Europe and America simply used torn up newspaper. Cayett’s paper, at 50 cents for 500 sheets, was not cheap; it was impregnated with aloe as a supposed cure for piles. Gradually the cost fell and it became universally used. The term ‘toilet paper’ was first used by the New York Times in 1888.

11/2/1852, The first flushing public toilet for women opened in Fleet Street, London. The cost was 2d. See 2/2/1852.

2/2/1852, The first public convenience for men opened in Fleet Street, London. See 11/2/1852.

1844, In the UK, the Commission for Enquiring into the State of Large Towns established a link between dirt and epidemic disease.

28/3/1819, The engineer Sir Joseph William Bazalgette was born.

1778, In England, Joseph Bramah improved on Cumming’s design for a flushing toilet and begn commercial manufacture of them.

1775, In England, the first patent for a flushing toilet was granted to Alexander Cumming.

1589, English writer Sir John Harrington had an early non gravity fed flushing toilet at his house in Kelston, Somerset.

24/12/1508, London houses received piped water for the first time.

1503, The pocket handkerchief came into use in polite society in Europe. In Mediaeval times, people just wiped their faces on their robe sleeves.

589, Earliest reference to toilet paper, in China.

50 AD, Romans learnt the use of soap, from the Gauls.

1550 BCE, Date of the Egyptian Elbers Papyrus, which describes in detail how to make soap from animal fats and vegetable oils, and the uses of this soap for washing.

2000 BCE, The Minoans possessed flushing toilets, using cisterns fed by streams, flushed by a lever.

2800 BCE, Soap was in use in ancient Babylon. Soap is also mentioned in the Bible Book of Jeremiah, and by 1550 BCE it was in use in Egypt.


Appendix 11 – Music Video Entertainment  and Sound

21/4/1989, Nintendo began selling Game Boys in Japan.

2/9/1987, Philips introduced the CD-video.

1983, The first Compact Discs were marketed, in Britain.

1979, The Sony Walkman began to be sold.

17/5/1978. Compact Discs created by Philips.

7/6/1975, Sony introduced the Betamax home videotape recorder.

14/4/1956,  The first videotape was demonstrated in Chicago.

1955, The first electronic musical synthesisiser was built. Operating on punched tape, it took up a whole room.

31/1/1955, RCA introduced the first musical synthesiser.

31/8/1951. Long playing 33 rpm records went on sale in West Germany.

10/1/1949 33.3 and 45 rpm vinyl records went on sale in the USA.

26/6/1948, Columbia officially released its new 33.3 rpm long playing records.

22/6/1948. Dr Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records unveiled the first successfully produced micro-groove, or long playing, record.

3/8/1929, Emile Berliner, US inventor of the flat phonographic record, died.

8/12/1924, The Theremin, the world’s first electronic musical instrument, was patented in Germany by Lev Sergievitch Termen, a Russian cellist and electronic engineer, born in St Petersburg in 1896 (died 1993). It worked on the heterodyne principle, that a combination of two radio high frequency sound waves could combine to produce a lower frequency audible sound equal to the difference, As the high frequency waves varied, so did the audible sound. The presence of a human body altered the radio waves, which was how the machine could produce changing sounds as a hand was waved over it. The machine was later superseded by the Moog Synthesiser.

1/4/1924. The first gramophone to automatically change records went on sale, produced by HMV.

19/2/1916, Ernst Mach, Austrian scientist after whom the speed of sound in air is named, died the day after his 78th birthday.

2/12/1906, Hungarian-US physicist Peter Mark Goldmark was born in Budapest. In 1948 he developed the first long-playing record in the USA.

14/4/1894, Edison’s kinetoscope, or moving pictures, were shown to the public for the first time.

23/11/1889, The first jukebox was installed, in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco.

16/5/1888, Emile Berliner demonstrated the first gramophone, to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

26/9/1887, The first gramophone player, invented by Emile Berliner, a German immigrant living in Washington DC, was patented.

30/8/1881. Clement Ader of Germany patented the first stereo system, for a telephonic broadcasting service.

23/11/1869, Valdemar Poulson, Danish inventor of the tape recorder, was born.

13/3/1866, Dayton Miller was born in Strongsville, Ohio. In 1912 he invented the photodeik, a devuice that made sound visible as patterns of light.

1822, Arago determined the velocity of sound.

29/11/1803, Christian Johann Doppler was born in Salzburg, Austria. In 1842 he discovered that the frequency of sound waves emitted by a moving source changes according to relative speed towards or away from the observer; this is called the Doppler Effect.


Appendix 12 – Postal Services

19/10/1993, The UK Post Office began selling self-adhesive stamps that didn’t need licking.

3/10/1959, The postcode system for sorting mail was first used in Britain, in Norwich.

28/7/1959. Postcodes were introduced to Britain by the Postmaster General, along with new postal sorting machines. They were used first in the Norwich area on 3/10/1959.

16/4/1900. The world’s first book of stamps was issued, in the USA.

27/8/1879, Sir Rowland Hill, pioneer of the postal service, died.  He devised the Penny Post in 1840.

11/4/1855, London’s first six ‘pillar boxes’ were installed, and were painted green.

23/11/1852. Britain’s first pillar box was erected, in St Helier on Jersey.

3/12/1795. Sir Rowland Hill, who pioneered the postal service, was born in Kidderminster.


Appendix 13 - Robotics

28/9/1990, At the first ever Robot Olympics, held in Glasgow, an 8-legged machine called Penelope built at Edinburgh University won the flat race for robots without wheels, achieving 0.13 metres per second.

14/6/1967. At a telecommunications conference in London, the Postmaster General discussed the imminent arrival of household robots.

1954, The robotic arm was designed by George Devol.

1920, The word ‘robot’ (worker) was coined by Czech playwright Karel Capek.


Appendix 14 – TV, Terlephone and Radio, Click here for TV programmes and social developments in TV

29/6/2007, Apple launched the iPhone,

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

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

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.

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.

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.

5/12/1958. 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.

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.

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.

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,

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.

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

6/12/1877. 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.

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 Graham  Bell, who was born on 3/3/1847. Bell was just a few hours ahead of a similar patent by Elisha Gray.

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

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.

27/7/1866, The Atlantic Telegraph Cable was completed.

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.

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.


Appendix 15 – Writing, Books, Pens, Paper

6/4/1980. Art Fry invented the ‘Post-It’ note.

19/9/1968, Death of Chester Carlson, US inventor of the Xerox photocopier.

10/6/1943. The ball point pen was patented by its inventor, a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro. He had devised a prototype pen that would not blot in 1938, but fled to Paris and then Argentina in 1940, to escape the Nazis. In 1944 the RAF began using the pens as they were not affected by low air pressure in aircraft.

26/12/1931, Melvil Dewey, inventor of a classification system for library books, died.

1924, The spiral bound notebook was first produced.

12/1/1897, Sir Isaac Pitman, who invented phonetic shorthand in 1837, died in Somerset aged 84.

17/2/1890, Christopher Sholes, American inventor of the typewriter, died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

30/10/1888, The first patent for a ball point pen was issued to the American, John H Loud.

7/6/1886, Richard Hoe, inventor of an improved printing press, died (born 12/9/1812).

5/1/1873, Joseph Gillott, English pen maker, died (born 11/10/1799).

6/1/1852, Louis Braille, who invented the raised-dot system of writing used by the blind, died.

10/12/1851, Melvil Dewey, US librarian who devised a system of library cataloguing, was born in Adams Centre, New York State.

1843, The typewriter was invented by Thurber.

1842, Sir William Herschel, astronomer, patented the blueprinting process, or cyanotyping. A sheet of paper was coated in chemical, dyed to a bronze colour, then left in contact with the drawing to be copied under glasss in the sunlight. The paper turned blue with a white image of the drawing lines. The process was cheap, the prints lomg-lasting, and could be done by anybody.

27/5/1842, The first public library was opened, in Frederick Street, Salford, Manchester.

15/11/1837. Isaac Pitman’s stenographic shorthand, the first shorthand system, was published, price 4d.

14/2/1819. American inventor Christopher Latham Stokes, who invented an early typewriter, was born near Mooresburg, Pennsylvania.

4/1/1813, Isaac Pitman, who invented phonetic shorthand, was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

12/9/1812, Richard Hoe, inventor of an improved printing press, was born (died 7/6/1886).

4/1/1809, Louis Braille, French benefactor of the blind, was born in Coupvray, near Paris.

7/10/1806. Ralph Wedgewood of London patented carbon paper. In the 1820s Wedgwood had a successful business selling his invention at 4 Rathbone Place, near Oxford Street, London.

1799, The Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt.

11/10/1799, Joseph Gillott, English pan maker, was born (died 5/1/1873).

8/1/1775, John Baskerville, printer, died (born in Wolverley, Worcestershire 28/1/1706).

1737, Pierre Simon Fournier introduced the point system for measuring type font sizes.

28/1/1706, John Baskerville, printer, was born in Wolverley, Worcestershire (died 8/1/1775).

1660, A pencil factory was opened in Nuremberg, by Freidrich Stadtler.

1495, John Tate set up England’s first paper mill, at Hertford. Spain and Italy had such mills from the 13th century.

3/2/1468, Johann Gutenberg (born ca. 1395), German inventor of printing from moveable type, died.

30/9/1442, Johannes Gutenberg’s Bible became the first book to be printed using moveable metal type.

360, Scrolls began to be replaced by books.

250 BCE, Parchment was produced, at Pergamum.

1400 BCE, First alphabets in use, in the Middle East.


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