Aronsson's Telecom History Timeline
We don't want people to be attracted by old things.
We want them to like the new ones.
-- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932
Just ten years ago the issues were so simple,
the arguments so clean.
-- Daniel Brandt, Cyberspace Wars, 1993
On this page: Telecom Timeline,
Telecom History Links.
by Lars Aronsson,
This telecom history timeline has not been updated after September
2001. The reason is that its format is uncomfortable. It started out
as a single web page and grew substantially during the spring of 2001.
Information from this page can instead, if it is found to be
authoritative and correct, be copied to
Old preface follows.
This started out as a timeline for the history of
telecommunication, but has grown to include most of information
processing, computing, media, electricity, science, and
transportation. There is a natural focus on the Nordic countries.
Suggested reading is indicated with bullets in the list.
The timeline is a list of individual, verifiable events (points in
time). General trends, failures, and silent ideas are not recorded.
Useful events include patents granted, public announcements, finalized
company mergers, and networks going into service. Under each year, I
first list all events with unknown dates, then a chronological list of
The information presented here may be incomplete or incorrect.
Please help me to put more exact dates on listed events. Send your
comments and suggestions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- ¶ September 3, Hewlett-Packard announces it will acquire Compaq in
a $25 billion deal.
- ¶ August 16, handheld computer maker Palm announces they are acquiring the
technology assets and intellectual property of software maker Be for $11 million in stock.
- ¶ July 17, Radio Sweden
International discontinues its program Mediascan after 53 years. The
weekly program, originally called Sweden Calling DX-ers or
SCDX, was started by Arne Skoog
(1913-1999) in February 1948.
- ¶ July 16, visiting Las Vegas, Nevada to present his paper at DefCon, 26-year old Russian
programmer Dmitry Sklyarov, an employee of Elcomsoft, is arrested by the
FBI after Adobe brought
allegations that Sklyarov had circumvented the company's e-book copy
protection mechanisms (a simple ROT-13 substitution), supposedly a
crime against the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The
hacker community at EFF and Slashdot is outraged, and websites are
soon created to free Sklyarov,
free Dmitry and boycott Adobe, even anti-DMCA. The EFF meets Adobe and on July 23, the
company pulls back its allegations, but the FBI doesn't release the
accused so easy. Sklyarov was released on bail on August 6.
- ¶ July 11, Denying a preliminary injunction to Random House Inc. (in the case
vs. Rosetta Books), Judge
Sidney H. Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York says
that so-called "e-books" do not fall within the company's exclusive
rights to publish written works.
- ¶ July 5, Marconi (formerly
GEC) share prices drop 54 percent in one day after an unexpected
profit warning. In the last four years, the new management had been
aggressively selling and acquiring various companies, perhaps a
little too fast. (Hope this won't affect the centenary celebrations.)
- ¶ July 2, new models of the Intel Pentium 4 processor operate at
1600 and 1800 MHz. (cf November 20, 2000)
- ¶ June 28, The United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit reversed the lower court's ruling that Microsoft must
be split up (cf June 7, 2000).
- ¶ June 25, Compaq announces that its Alpha processor technology (developed by
Digital Equipment Corporation before its merger with Compaq) will be
made available to Intel, and that future Compaq servers will be based
on the Intel Itanium processor.
- ¶ June 21, Forbes listing of the
world's richest people has
(1) Bill Gates, Microsoft $58 billion,
(2) Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway $32 billion,
(3) Paul Allen, Microsoft $30 billion, and
(4) Larry Ellison, Oracle $26 billion.
- ¶ June 14, first rumors that Ericsson's plans to reduce staff from
c. 105,000 down to 90,000 people might have to continue down to
70,000. Less than 6 months ago, Ericsson's job ads bragged about the
company's size "more than 100,000 employees in over 150 countries".
- ¶ June 12, Nokia shares fall more than 20 % in one day, as CEO
Jorma Ollila warns that this year's sales of cell phones (handsets)
will just barely beat last years sales, rather than the rapid growth
of the last few years.
- ¶ May, the annual survey of Sweden's 500 biggest IT companies
published by the weekly magazine Veckans Affärer lists (1) Ericsson
with an annual turnover of SEK 273 billion, (2) Telia SEK 54 billion,
and (3) WM-data SEK 13 billion (SEK 10 = US$1).
- ¶ May, an article by the father of the World Wide Web,
- Tim Berners-Lee, "The Semantic Web. A new form of Web content
that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new
possibilities", published in Scientific American, May, 2001, available online
- ¶ April 25, Sun Microsystems unveils project JXTA (announcement), an open-source project that will provide a basic
framework for building peer-to-peer applications.
- ¶ April 16, America Online membership surpasses 29 million
- ¶ April, Compaq is awarded three supercomputer wins in Japan and
- ¶ In March and April, Ericsson announces staff cuts of 12,000
(11 % of staff). Most of the telecom giant's problems are attributed
to poor sales of handsets, which all agree are not as good as the main
competitor Nokia's. Manufacturing of handsets is outsourced to
Flextronics. But Nokia is also gaining market shares in mobile
systems (GSM and UMTS base stations), where the company's cash surplus
helps finance customer deals. Still no mentioning of UMTS as a system
- ¶ March 22-28, the CeBIT exhibition in Hanover, Germany attracts
8.106 exhibitors and 830,000 visitors.
- ¶ March 21, Transatlantic cable TAT-14 is installed. Commercial service begins on May 10. The
cable system is a dual, bi-directional ring configuration using DWDM
multiplexing (dense wavelength-division multiplex) with 16 wavelengths
of STM-64 per fiber pair. It carries 640 Gbps, corresponding to 7.7
million telephone circuits, of which 80 percent will be used for
Internet traffic. The 15,000 kilometers of cable connecting Germany,
the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands with the
United States is owned by a consortium of 50 members, including
AT&T, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Deutsche Telekom, and
France Telecom. Main contractor is KDD/SCS of Japan.
- ¶ March, Compaq provides the key infrastructure to Microsoft
Technology Center in Silicon Valley.
- ¶ March, Compaq achieves No. 1 in Overall Market Revenue according
to IDC High Performance Technical Computer Qview report.
- ¶ March 2, Napster lawyer offers to install software over the
weekend to stop trading copywritten songs, but the measure seems to
have little effect.
- ¶ February 12, Napster is ordered by the 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals to block copying copyrighted songs.
- ¶ February 9, a ship anchor cuts the China-US Cable Network cable
in the waters off Chongming, China, causing a temporary break in
Internet connectivity between Asia and America.
- ¶ February 8, Global Crossing opens a new optic fiber ring network connecting Copenhagen,
Malmö, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Oslo, a distance of 2150 km. It
carries 10 Gbps.
- ¶ February (?), Cisco announces to cut staff by one third.
- ¶ February, Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, MP2800 Projector, and Compaq
biometrics card all win top honors at the 2001 Mobility Awards.
- ¶ February, Compaq donates $1.5 million to the National Center for
Missing & Exploited Children to create new Internet safety project
- the NetSmartz Workshop.
- ¶ January 30, introduction of the Intel Ultra Low Voltage Mobile
Pentium III processor, operating at 500 MHz (1.1 volt, less than 1
watt) or 300 MHz battery-optimized mode (less than 1 volt, less than
0.5 watt), intended for use in business and consumer mobile PCs. An
ultra low power celeron processor is also introduced.
- ¶ January 11, America Online and Time Warner complete merger.
- ¶ January 10, Global Crossing completes the sale of GlobalCenter to Exodus.
- ¶ January, introduction of the Apple PowerBook G4
("Titanium"), the nicest looking full-size portable of the time,
weight 5.3 lbs, having a 400/500 MHz PowerPC 7410 CPU, 64 bit
datapath, 1 MB ROM, RAM expandable to 1 GB, no floppy, built-in 10-30
GB hard disk, built-in 6-speed slot-load DVD-ROM, 15.3" active matrix
TFT 24 bit (true color) 1152x768 display, 16 bit stereo sound, 10/100
Mbps Ethernet, built-in 56 kbps modem, prepared for wireless LAN
(built-in antenna, optional card). Priced from $2599 up.
- ¶ January, Compaq and Yahoo! announce comprehensive global
technology and marketing alliance.
- ¶ January, Compaq and Microsoft provide wireless network for
delegates at the World Economic Forum's Davos annual meeting.
- ¶ January, a new book on open source development, based on the
- Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral & the Bazaar. Musings
on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary, O'Reilly
& Associates, January 2001, ISBN 0-596-00131-2
- ¶ America Online (AOL) merges with Time Warner.
- ¶ ICQ breaks the 85 million member mark.
- ¶ By the end of the year, 7.1 million U.S. homes and businesses
had high speed Internet connections, a 158 percent increase in the
last year. Of these, 5.2 million were homes or small businesses, 4.3
million were faster than 200 kbps in both directions (up 118 percent),
3.6 million were cable modems (up 153 percent), 2 million were DSL (up
- ¶ Motorola merges with General Instrument Corporation, to provide
integrated video, voice and data networking for Internet and
high-speed data services.
- ¶ November 20, introduction of the Intel Pentium-4 processor,
operating at 1400 or 1500 MHz, fabricated in Intel's 0.18 micron CMOS
process, die size is 217 mm², power consumption is 50W, delivering
delivers 535 SPECint2000 and 558 SPECfp2000 of performance. The only
faster general-purpose microprocessor is Compaq/Digital Alpha 21264B
CPU (cf June 25, 2001) delivering 544 SPECint2000 and 658 SPECfp2000
at 833 MHz. The previous Intel chip, Pentium-III "Coppermine", had
442 SPECint2000 and 335 SPECfp2000 results at 1GHz.
- ¶ November 15, opening of the Southern Cross cable,
connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the U.S. west
coast, a distance of 30,500 km. It carries 120 Gbps to Australia and
160 Gbps from Hawaii to California. The last cable segment from
Hawaii to California went into operation on February 28, 2001.
- ¶ November, completion of the Atlantic Crossing-2 (AC-2) cable by
Global Crossing. It has 4 pairs and carries 1.28 Tbps.
- ¶ November, Compaq and Walt Disney Internet Group announce
strategic infrastructure, marketing, and distribution alliance in
three-year deal totaling more than $100 million.
- ¶ November, the PAC cable is installed by Global Crossing between
Grover Beach, US; Tijuana, Mexico; Mazatlan, Mexico; Fort Amadour,
Panama; Puerto Viejo, Venezuela; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, a
distance of 9,500 km. It carries 2 x 10 Gb/s.
- ¶ October 31, Napster surprisingly announces a partnership with
German recording company Bertelsmann AG (BMG) to
develop a membership-based distribution system that would guarantee
payments to artists. Bertelsmann drops lawsuit against Napster in
exchange for a stake in the business.
- ¶ October 24, Swedish music e-business Boxman bankrupt. Dozens of
smaller dotcom and e-business companies, in Sweden alone, crash or lay
off significant parts of their staff from October to February. Most
of them are documented on the website
kickad.nu. American and international companies are documented by
- ¶ October, Compaq forms marketing partnership with San Jose Sharks
to create Compaq Center at San Jose.
- ¶ October 2, Napster case: Appeals court hears oral arguments.
- ¶ September, Compaq and Commerce One form strategic alliance in B2B
- ¶ September, Compaq announces a $100 million dollar investment
program for life sciences startup companies.
- ¶ September, Compaq is selected by U.S. Department of Energy to
build the world's fastest and most powerful supercomputer.
- ¶ September, Compaq expands iPAQ line with five new products,
including the iPAQ Home Internet Appliance and the iPAQ Personal Audio
- ¶ September 1, Ten applications competing for a total of four
Swedish UMTS licenses are turned in to Post- och Telestyrelsen (PTS)
in Stockholm. It is commonly believed that the first three will be
awarded to the current GSM operators Telia, Tele2, and Europolitan.
- ¶ August 30, Lars Aronsson founds Elektrosmog, a Stockholm-based discussion group on public
wireless LANs. Around the same time, similar grassroots wireless
networking groups pop up in London, Seattle, Portland, and San
- ¶ August 9, Swedish clothing e-business Dressmart bankrupt.
- ¶ August 3, the European Union opens an antitrust case against
Microsoft for allegedly abusing its market position in computer
operating systems software, after Sun Microsystems complained in 1998
to the European Commission that "Microsoft breached EU antitrust rules
by engaging in discriminatory licensing and by refusing to supply
essential information on its Windows operating system."
- ¶ In July, the Nupedia
project, aiming to create a free-for-all encyclopedia from
voluntary contributions, publishes their first articles. Ten months
later, only 17 articles have been published, mostly due to the far too
strict editorial policies. In the winter 2001, Nupedia
editor-in-chief Larry Sanger starts a wiki-based alternative, Wikipedia. Creating a free
encyclopedia is an old dream, from Vannevar Bush's vision of Memex
(1945) and Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu (1960), to Tim Berners-Lee's
World Wide Web (1989) and Ward Cunningham's Portland Pattern
- ¶ July 27, Nokia shares lose 20 % of their value in a single day.
- ¶ July 26, Napster case: judge Patel grants the RIAA's request for
a preliminary injunction and orders Napster shut down. The injuction
is stayed two days later by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
ruling that "substantial questions" were raised about the merits and
form of judge Patel's injunction.
- ¶ July, Compaq is named the Microsoft Global Services Partner of
- ¶ June 29, America Online completes acquisition of Mapquest.Com.
- ¶ June, Forbes listing of
the world's richest people has
(1) Bill Gates, Microsoft $60 billion,
(2) Larry Ellison, Oracle $47 billion,
(3) Paul Allen, Microsoft $28 billion, and
(4) Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway $25 billion.
- ¶ June 19, introduction of the Intel Low Voltage Mobile Celeron
processor, operating at 500 MHz, based on a 0.18 Micron process, using
a voltage of only 1.35 volts, power consumption is less than 2 watts,
intended for use in low-cost mobile PCs. A Low Voltage Mobile Pentium
III is also introduced, operating at 600 MHz. (The race for gigahertz
clock frequency continues, but there is also a new focus on mobility
and low power consumption. This fall everybody is buying a WLAN card
for their laptop.)
- ¶ June, Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC earns first ZDNet "Tech Trendsetter
Award" at PC Expo.
- ¶ June, Compaq Alpha technology enables early completion of
mapping the Human Genome by Celera Genomics.
- June 7, Judge Jackson (cf April 3) hands down his final judgment,
ordering Microsoft to split itself into two separate companies: an
operating system company and an applications company. Microsoft
- ¶ June 1 through October 31, Expo 2000, held in Hanover, Germany, attracts 18 million
- ¶ May 19, Swedish-based clothing e-business Boo.com bankrupt.
- ¶ May, data services company HavenCo starts operations from the Principality of Sealand (cf
- ¶ ... spring ... Telecom, IT, and e-business shares on the
Stockholm stock exchange fall dramatically.
- ¶ May, Compaq and 11 other high-tech industry leaders announce
formation of global supply chain trading exchange.
- ¶ May 5, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rules that Napster
is not entitled to "safe harbor" under the Digital Millennium
- ¶ May 3, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and the band's attorney
produce list of more than 335,000 Internet user names of people the
band says are illegally sharing their songs using Napster.
- ¶ April 18, the Japan-US Cable Network discovers a cable fault
that will delay the project for six months.
- ¶ April, Compaq and Siebel extend relationship into Global Strategic
- ¶ April, Compaq is ranked No. 1 vendor in Linux server market.
- ¶ April, Compaq is recognized by President Clinton as leader in
bridging the digital divide.
- ¶ April, Compaq announces broad 10-year corporate alliance with
The Walt Disney Company.
- ¶ April, Compaq unveils iPAQ Pocket PC.
- ¶ April 13, Heavy metal rock group Metallica sues Napster (cf May
1999) for copyright infringement and racketeering. Rapper Dr. Dre
files suit two weeks later.
- ¶ April 3, Judge Jackson (cf November 1999) concludes that
Microsoft maintains its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and
attempts to monopolize the Web browser market, both in violation of §2
[of the Sherman Act]. Microsoft also violated §1 of the Sherman Act by
unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system.
- ¶ March 13, ScanSoft,
based in Peabody, Massachusetts, acquires Caere, maker of Omnipage, a
competing small systems software product for optical character
recognition (OCR). ScanSoft's OCR products, including OmniPage,
TextBridge and PaperPort, are marketed through partnerships with
Apple, Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard,
IBM/Lotus, Microsoft, Mustek, Primax, Sharp, Symantec Corporation,
Visioneer, and Xerox. The only significant competitor in the small
systems OCR market is Russian Abbyy's FineReader product.
- ¶ March, Compaq launches Presario Internet PCs with 1 GHz
- ¶ in February, stock prices start to plunge for IT and e-business
companies. Companies that need their second round of venture capital
funding, don't find any capital. This is the beginning of "the
dotcom death". The downturn lasts well over a year. Laid-off
employees in San Francisco organize "pink slip parties". Computer and
network equipment from liquidated dotcom companies is auctioned off,
reducing sales of new equipment.
- ¶ February, Marconi acquires Bosch Public Networks.
- ¶ February, the Atlantis-2 cable is installed between Las
Toninas, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Fortaleza, Brazil; Dakar,
Senegal; Praia, Cape Verde Islands; El Medano, Canary Islands, Spain;
Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal; Conil, Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal,
a distance of 13,000 km. It carries 2 x 20 Gbps.
- ¶ February, the Columbus-III cable is installed between Holywood,
Florida, USA; Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands, Portugal; Lisbon,
Portugal; Conil, Spain; Mazara Del Vallo, Sicily, Italy, a distance of
9,900 km. It carries 2 x 20 Gb/s.
- ¶ February, Compaq acquires assets of Inacom and creates Custom
Edge, Inc., providing custom configurations and end-to-end order
- ¶ February, Compaq Enterprise Storage earns the No. 1 ranking from
leading network storage users.
- ¶ January 11, operations begin on one leg of the China-US Cable
Network, the first undersea fiber optic cable network to transfer
voice, data, and video traffic directly between the U.S. and China.
The network has two landing points in China (Chongming and Shantou),
two in the United States (Bandon, Oregon and San Luis Obispo,
California), two in Japan, and one in Guam, Korea, and Taiwan. It
carries 80 Gbps. The 640 gigabit Pacific Crossing 1, planned for July
1, and the 640 gigabit "Japan-U.S Cable Network", planned for the end
of 2000, go only as far as Japan.
- ¶ January, Compaq is named Consumer PC Market "world leader" by
- ¶ Sun Microsystem makes StarOffice productivity suite available to
all, free of charge.
- ¶ ICQ reaches 40 million members.
- ¶ IEEE presents the standard 802.11b for wireless LANs (WLAN) of
11 Mbit/s in the license-free ISM band at 2.4 GHz (12 cm wavelength,
the resonance frequency of the water molecule, also used in microwave
owens). During the summer and fall of 2000 many affordable products
appear in the market for office equipment, but WLAN home products soon
follow. The same products can be used for constructing point-to-point
links aswell. This sparks a wave of grassroots wireless network
initiatives. Wireless Internet cafes (and public access installations
at airports and hotels) appear in many places. See e.g. elektrosmog.nu and its link list.
- ¶ America Online surpasses 19 million members, 3 million AOL and
CompuServe members internationally, launches AOL Hong Kong and AOL
- ¶ Yahoo! is added to the S&P 500.
- ¶ Motorola's i1000plus handset is the first to integrate a digital
phone, two-way radio and alphanumeric pager with Internet
microbrowser, e-mail, fax and two-way messaging capabilities. It uses
Motorola's iDEN (cf 1994) integrated digital communications
- ¶ Global Marine
Systems is formed when Cable & Wireless (Marine) Ltd is sold
to Global Crossing Inc. It owns and operates the world's largest
fleet of cable ships and subsea equipment.
- ¶ December 7, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
sues Napster in federal court in San Francisco alleging copyright
- November 30, GEC (and Marconi Electronic Systems Limited, cf
1998) is renamed to Marconi plc
when Marconi is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
- ¶ November 29, GEC/Marconi sells its Electronics Systems division
to British Aerospace.
- ¶ November 24, at a
pressconference, Russian group of companies Elbrus report that in
their first year of operation they have developed a SPARC-compatible
processor V8 and a workstation based on it, running a localized
version of the Solaris operating system.
- ¶ November, Compaq joins forces with Cable & Wireless to
deliver global e-business solutions.
- ¶ November 5, District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson finds that
Microsoft is a monopolist in the market for Intel-compatible PC
operating systems. Furthermore, Microsoft has used its monopoly power
to restrict competition and harm consumers. (cf May 1998, April 2000)
- ¶ October 25, introduction of the Intel Mobile Pentium III
processor, operating at 400, 450, or 500 MHz, having 28 million
transistors, based on a 0.18 micron process, 100 or 133 MHz bus, 64
bit bus, intended for use in business and consumer PCs, one and
two-way servers and workstations. New and faster non-mobile Pentium
processors are also introduced, operating at 500, 533, 550, 600, 650,
667, 700, and 733 MHz.
- ¶ September, introduction of the Apple iBook, a portable
computer designed like the iMac, weight 6.6 lbs, having a 300 MHz
PowerPC 750 CPU, 64 bit datapath, 1 MB ROM, 32 MB RAM expandable to
160 MB, no floppy, built-in 56 kbps modem, built-in 3.2 GB hard disk,
built-in 24-speed CD-ROM, 12.1" 800x600 color display, AGP-based
graphics, 16 bit stereo sound, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, prepared for
wireless LAN (built-in antenna, optional card). Priced at $1599.
- ¶ September 15, introduction of the Intel Mobile Celeron
processor, operating at 466 or 433 MHz, having 18.9 million
transistors, based on a 0.25 micron process, intended for use in
low-cost mobile PCs.
- ¶ June 14, introduction of the Intel Mobile Pentium II processor,
operating at 400 MHz. Two models are made, one based on a 0.25 micron
process, the other on a 0.18 micron process. Both having 27.4 million
transistors, intended for use in mobile PCs.
- ¶ June, Compaq forms a strategic partnership with CMGI; CMGI
acquires control of Compaq's AltaVista business and its related
properties (Shopping.com and Zip2).
- ¶ June, Compaq unveils the MP1600, its first portable projector,
weighing 4.2 pounds, it is claimed the world's smallest projector.
- ¶ June, Compaq announces the new Aero 8000, a handheld PC.
- ¶ June 4, Global Crossing announces plans for Africa One, a 39,000 km fiber optic cable
system, worth $1.6 billion, to be completed in 2002.
- ¶ June 1, America Online acquires the Internet music brands
Spinner.Com, Winamp and SHOUTcast.
- ¶ June, BeOS release 4.5.
- ¶ June, Forbes listing of
the world's richest people has
(1) Bill Gates, Microsoft $90 billion,
(2) Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway $36 billion,
(3) Paul Allen, Microsoft $30 billion, and
(4) Steve Ballmer, Microsoft $19 billion.
- May 21, America Online completes acquisition of MovieFone, Inc.
- ¶ May, the FAST web search
engine is launched, based in Norway. The well-known URL is www.alltheweb.com
- ¶ May, Napster
Inc. file-sharing service founded by 18-year-old college dropout
Shawn Fanning (Time Magazine article from October 2000) and Sean Parker and
explodes in popularity. The central component is an indexing server
and software to use it. When files (MP3 music, often ripped from
music CDs) are found in the central index, they are copied not via the
central server but directly peer-to-peer (P2P). Originally so
designed to reduce the need for bandwidth to the central server, in
the following legal case against RIAA (cf December 7) and Metallica
(cf April 13, 2000), this P2P architecture is important because it
keeps Napster Inc. out of the actual (pirate?) copying. Still,
Napster puts everybody's focus on the technical benefits of P2P,
resulting in O'Reilly books and developer conferences and Sun's
project JXTA (cf April 25, 2001).
- ¶ April 5, America Online acquires When.com
- ¶ March 17, America Online completes acquisition of Netscape
- ¶ March 17, introduction of the Intel Pentium III Xeon processor,
operating at 500 and 550 MHz, having 9.5 million transistors, based on
a 0.25 micron process, 100 MHz bus, 64 bit bus, intended for use in
business PCs, two-, four- and eight-way (and higher) servers and
- ¶ March 1, GEC acquires the US telecommunication network products
- ¶ March, the SEA-ME-WE 3 (South-East Asia - Middle East - Western
Europe 3) cable is installed, passing 34 countries at 40 landing
points from Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Mediterranean,
India, Indonesia, Australia to Japan, for a total length of 39,000 km.
It carries 20 Gbps via 4-way WDM (wavelength-division multiplex) on 2
- ¶ March, India announces its new Telecom Policy which opens
domestic long distance telephony and changes the licence fee regime.
- ¶ March, Compaq acquires Shopping.com, which becomes an operating
division of AltaVista.
- ¶ February 26, introduction of the Intel Pentium III processor,
operating at 450 or 500 MHz, having 9.5 million transistors, based on
a 0.25 micron process, 100 MHz bus, 64 bit bus, intended for use in
business and consumer PCs, one and two-way servers and workstations.
A version in 550 MHz is introduced on May 17, and 600 MHz on August 2,
- ¶ February 25, pre-announcement of the Elbrus E2K processor by Russian company
Elbrus International, performing 3 to 5 times faster than Intel Merced
while still running all legacy MS DOS and Windows software, operating
at 1200 MHz, fabricated in a 0.18-micron process, delivering 135
SPECint95 and 350 SPECfp95, power consumption is 35W, die size is 126
- ¶ February 1, America Online announces it will acquire Moviefone,
Inc., USA's biggest movie listing and ticketing company.
- ¶ January, Compaq creates the AltaVista Company.
- ¶ January, Compaq delivers world's fastest workstation: the
AlphaPowered Professional Workstation XP1000.
- ¶ January 25, Sun Microsystems introduces the Jini network technology (announcement), promising to enable "the simple connection of any
device to any network, any time, anywhere". Embedded systems and
smart homes are all the rage this year.
- ¶ America Online surpasses 15 million members, launches AOL
Australia, and is added to the S&P 500. Sun Microsystems takes
over Netscape's server software development parts under a strategic
parternship known as iPlanet. The browser project Mozilla goes
- ¶ America Online acquires CompuServe and online messaging pioneer
- ¶ The Universal Music
Group is formed when Canadian Seagram Company Ltd. acquires
PolyGram. Deutsche Grammophon (cf 1898) is now part of Universal
- ¶ GEC-Marconi Limited (cf 1987) is renamed Marconi Electronic
- ¶ Asia's first CDMA cellular network is installed in Singapore by
Cable & Wireless.
- ¶ Yahoo! ends the year with 50 million unique members, 18 world
properties and completes its first profitable year.
- ¶ First satellite phone call made over Globalstar's system.
- ¶ WorldCom merges with MCI Communications.
- ¶ Hotbot is acquired by Lycos, but continues to run as a separate
- ¶ December 3, Visioneer,
based in Fremont, California, maker of small systems scanners and
scanning software PaperPort announces the acquisition of ScanSoft, Inc. from Xerox. ScanSoft, Inc., founded in 1993 and
headquartered in Peabody, Massachusetts, is the maker of the
TextBridge software for optical character recognition (OCR) (cf March
13, 2000). Visioneer's scanner hardware business, including the
Visioneer brand name, is sold to Taiwan-based Primax Electronics Ltd.,
finalized on January 7, 1999.
- ¶ December, two segments (8 and 9) of the SEA-ME-WE 3 (South-East
Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3) cable is installed. Segment S9
carries 2 x 20 Gbps over 1600 km between Penmarc'h, France and
Sesimbra, Portugal. Segment S8 carries 2 x 20 Gbps over 5300 km
between Sesimbra, Portugal; Tetuan, Morocco; Mazara, Italy; Chania,
Greece; Marmaris, Turkey; Yeroskipos, Cyprus; and Alexandria, Egypt.
- ¶ December, Compaq receives PC Magazine's "Best of '98"
award in the corporate PC category for its Deskpro EN Series 450
- ¶ November 24, America Online announces it will acquire Netscape
Communications Corporation in a stock transaction valued at $4.2
- ¶ November, Compaq co-develops with Panasonic world's first high
definition digital television tuner-decoder for personal computers.
- ¶ November, Compaq launches Prosignia brand and direct selling
program for small and medium businesses.
- ¶ November, Be introduces BeOS Release 4.
- ¶ November, Compaq introduces world's first broadband-ready
Internet PCs with Pinacor, Inc.
- ¶ November 11, America Online acquires Personalogic, Inc.
- ¶ October, Compaq affirms commitment to OpenVMS with introduction
of OpenVMS Galaxy architecture and major OpenVMS enhancements.
- ¶ October, Compaq announces major enhancements to AltaVista search
engine, including new searching techniques and features.
- ¶ October 1, Global Crossing announces the Pan European Crossing, a fiber optic network
directly linking 18 European cities with the United States, Asia and
- ¶ September, Compaq introduces the space-saving, full-featured,
high-performance rack server, the ProLiant 1850R.
- ¶ September, Compaq acquires rights to AltaVista domain name.
- ¶ September, Compaq unveils initiative with Microsoft to make
Digital UNIX more interoperable with Windows NT; propels the operating
system into a premier role in the enterprise data center.
- ¶ August, at the introduction, Apple Computer's curvy,
teal-and-translucent iMac was hailed as a revolution in computer design, having a 233
MHz PowerPC 750 CPU, 64 bit datapath, 1 MB ROM, RAM expandable to 256
MB, no floppy, 4 GB built-in hard disk, built-in 24-speed CD-ROM,
built-in 15" 1024x768 color monitor, 16 bit stereo sound, 10/100 Mbps
Ethernet. Priced at $1,299.
- ¶ July, Compaq launches industry's first Web-based enterprise
- ¶ June 29, introduction of the Intel Pentium II Xeon processor,
operating at 400 MHz, having 7.5 million transistors, 100 MHz bus, 64
bit system bus, intended for use in midrange and higher servers and
- ¶ June,
Forbes listing of the
world's richest people has
(1) Bill Gates, Microsoft $51 billion,
(2) Walton Family, Walmart $48 billion,
(3) Sultan Bolkiah, Brunei $36 billion, and
(4) Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway $33 billion.
- ¶ June, the Open Directory is
launched under the name NewHoo, and is acquired by Netscape in
November 1998. This web directory is built by volunteers.
- ¶ June, Compaq unveils industry's first open-standards enterprise
computer telephony modem.
- ¶ June, Compaq launches "Built For You" program, offering
custom-configured PCs via in-store kiosks at participating retail
- ¶ June, Compaq acquires Digital Equipment Corporation; largest
acquisition in computer industry history, creating the second largest
computing company in the world.
- ¶ June 8, America Online acquires Mirabilis Ltd and its ICQ
instant communications and chat technology.
- ¶ May, first announcement of the Bluetooth wireless technology
for personal area networks, initially developed by Ericsson, soon
formed as an industry membership organization. Bluetooth operates in
the license-free 2.4 GHz band and promises speeds up to 1 Mbps in
ranges up to 10 meters.
- ¶ May 26, Global Crossing announces opening of the (the first
segment, US to UK of the) Atlantic Crossing (AC-1) cable. It carries
20 Gbps. AC-1 is the first segment in the planned global network are
PC-1, MAC, and PAC.
- ¶ May 18, Lucent is
reported to have a stock value of US$ 96 billion, which is more than
the US$ 93 billion value of AT&T. In 1996, AT&T was split
into three parts: the current AT&T (then US$ 97 billion), Lucent
(then US$ 18 billion), and NCR. This means Lucent has increased its
stock value by 430 % in two years. At one time the value of AT&T
was down to US$ 57 billion, but has regained most of its value.
- ¶ May 12, following Microsoft's appeal, the Court of Appeals
granted a stay of the December 1997 injunction. Six days later, on May
18, 1998, the Justice Department filed a formal antitrust action
charging Microsoft with attempting to monopolize the market in
Internet browsers by tying the Internet Explorer to Windows.
- ¶ May 7, Japan Telecom, KDD, and NTT-WN agree together with the US
and European telecommunications carriers (AT&T, Cable &
Wireless, GST, GTE, MCI, PGE, Sprint, WorldCom) to integrate two
projects, Japan-US Cable System and TPC-6, which had been studied
individually, into one (1) new cable system named "Japan-US Cable Network" (JUSCN).
The cable network is planned to go into operation from the first
quarter of year 2000. (cf April 2000)
- ¶ May, the ACI cable is installed by Global Crossing between
Brookhaven, UK; Whitesands, UK; Beverwyjk, the Netherlands; Sylt,
Germany; and Brookhaven, US, a distance of 14,000 km. It carries 4 x
- ¶ May, Compaq launches color inkjet printers for retail.
- ¶ April, CADALYST Magazine declares Compaq monitors as best in
- ¶ April, Compaq introduces video conferencing kit and
high-capacity diskette drive for portable PCs.
- ¶ April 15, introduction of the Intel Celeron processor, operating
at 266 MHz, having 7.5 million transistors, based on a 0.25 micron
process, 66MHz bus, 64 bit system bus, intended for use in low-cost
- ¶ March 18, Nokia
introduces the Nokia 9110 Communicator at CeBIT, called a second
generation communicator. Weighing 249 grams, this 900 MHz GSM
telephone and pocket organizer with memory expandable to 4 Mbytes is
announced to ship in the third quarter of 1998. Nokia claims to be
the world's second largest maker of mobile phones (handheld terminal
- ¶ March, Compaq unveils new Armada SB series tailored for small
- ¶ March, BeOS Release 3 is the first version of BeOS for Intel
- ¶ March, Compaq introduces line of remote access servers based on
Windows NT server solutions.
- ¶ February, 16--19, at the GSM World Conference in Cannes, France,
Ericsson gives world's first live demo of GPRS (general packet radio
services - over GSM).
- ¶ February 2, America Online completes the acquisition of
CompuServe and the sale of ANS Communications.
- ¶ February, the Gemini cable is installed by Gemini Submarine
Cable System, Ltd. between Manasquan, NJ, U.S.A; Charlestown, RI, USA;
Oxwich Bay, UK; and Porthcurno, UK, a distance of 12,600 km. It
carries 2 x 15 Gb/s on an SDH Ring.
- ¶ January, 29th, ETSI decides on single air interface solution for
the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System), Europe's next generation
mobile communications based on W-CDMA and TD-CDMA technologies.
- ¶ January 21, America Online acquires Personal Library Software.
- ¶ January, Hotmail is sold to Microsoft for $400 million. (cf
July 4, 1996)
- ¶ January, Compaq announces 1997 revenues of $24.6 billion.
- ¶ January, Forbes magazine names Compaq its 1997 Company of
- ¶ Tyco Submarine
Systems Ltd. (TSSL) is formed when Tyco acquires AT&T
Submarine Systems Inc. (SSI). TSSL is one of the world's leading
suppliers of submarine cable systems. Two others are KDD-SCS of Japan
and Alcatel Submarine Networks of France.
- ¶ IBM's Deep Blue, a 32-node IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer,
defeated World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, in the first known
instance of a computer vanquishing the world champion chess player in
- ¶ America Online launches AOL Japan, passes 10 million members in
the USA and 1 million international.
- ¶ Global steel consumption 700 million tonnes.
- ¶ Mercury Communications Ltd (cf 1981) becomes part of Cable & Wireless Communications
- ¶ Motorola introduces the M-Core 32-bit embedded processor
- ¶ The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is
set up for regulation of commercial communication services in
India. It delivers its first judgement against the incumbent operator
- ¶ December 11, the District Court entered a preliminary injuction
banning Microsoft to tie the Internet Explorer to Windows. The
Justice Department believed that the 1995 decree banned the tying of
the IE browser to Windows and complained to the court that Microsoft
was in contempt. Microsoft files an appeal of this injunction. (cf
- ¶ December 10, creator of the Linux operating system, Linus
Torvalds, receives the 1997 Nokia Foundation Award worth FIM 50,000.
- ¶ December, Swedish datacom software developer Trio Information Systems buys Swedish
interactive voice response system developer Objecta Elektronik och Data AB for
the purpose of furthering computer telephony integration. The price
was 25 MSEK.
- ¶ November 20, America Online Studios acquires Extreme Fans, Inc.
- ¶ November, IBM introduces the Aptiva E16, its first PC priced
- ¶ November, Fiber Link Across/Around the Globe (FLAG) cable is
installed, passing 12 countries (including Shanghai, China) between
United Kingdom and Japan, a distance of 27,000 km. It carries 2 x 5
- ¶ October, NTT Worldwide Network Corporation (NTT-WN) is
established as the NTT group's first international facilities-based
(Type I) telecommunications company.
- ¶ October 8, Nortel and Norweb Communications announce a new
technology which allows data to be transferred over power lines.
- ¶ September, start of the Slashdot website, "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."
- ¶ September 8, America Online announces it intends to sell ANS
Communications to WorldCom in exchange from CompuServe Online Services
and $175 million in cash. The deal also involves Bertlesmann AG to
jointly operate CompuServe Europe.
- ¶ September 8, introduction of the Intel Mobile Pentium processor,
operating at 200 and 233 MHz, having 4.5 million transistors, based on
a 0.25 micron process, 64-bit bus, packaged in a 320-pin capsule,
intended for use in mobile PCs and mini-notebooks.
- ¶ August, Compaq acquires Tandem Computer Incorporated, creating a
global computer solutions company.
- ¶ August 12, the Northern
Light web search engine opens. The company is based in Cambridge,
- ¶ July 14, Be ships the first public, commercial release of BeOS
for PowerPC, BeOS Preview Release.
- ¶ June 26, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired Planet unite
to create an open common Wireless Applications Protocol. See the WAP Forum web site for details.
Version 1.0 of the WAP specifications are published on April 30th,
1998, at which time the forum has 37 members.
- ¶ June, Forbes listing of
the world's richest people has
(1) Sultan Bolkiah, Brunei $38 billion,
(2) Bill Gates, Microsoft $36 billion,
(3) Walton Family, Walmart $27 billion, and
(4) Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway $23 billion.
- ¶ June, 3Com Corporation acquires modem manufacturer
U.S. Robotics for $ 7.3 billion (including Palm Computing, Inc.).
- ¶ June, an Ericsson phone (fiction model) is featured in the James
Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.
- ¶ June, Compaq introduces the TFT 500, flat-panel monitor.
- ¶ June 1, Ask Jeeves goes into
full service after having been in beta since mid-April 1997. The
company Jeeves Solutions is based in Emeryville, California.
- ¶ May 7, introduction of the Intel Pentium II microprocessor,
operating at 300 MHz, having a 64 bit bus, 7.5 million transistors,
and being able to address 64 GB of memory.
- ¶ April, plans are announced for a cable system to link China
directly to the USA, based on a 30,000 km cable loop with four fibre
pairs, operating with 8-way WDM to give a total capacity of 80 Mbps,
and it is intended to have it in service by the end of 1999. Several
telecoms vendors are involved in the project, including NTT, the
dominant Japanese domestic supplier, in its first foray into this
- ¶ April 15, first issue of RLG DigiNews, an
academic online magazine on digital libraries published by the Research Libraries Group (RLG).
- ¶ April, in Santa Clara, CA, the Sixth International World Wide
Web Conference. One of the most popular topics was XML, as presented
by Tim Bray and Jon Bosak.
- ¶ April, Compaq acquires Microcom to broaden communications
- ¶ March, in San Diego, CA, the First XML Conference is arranged by
the Graphic Communications Association.
- ¶ February, Compaq announces its new Presario 2000, sub-$1000
- ¶ January, Be discontinues the BeBox to concentrate solely on
- ¶ January, Compaq unveils the Presario 1060ES, Compaq's first
portable designed specifically for education.
- ¶ Formation of the UMTS
Forum a membership organization of the dominating telcos and
telecom industry companies for the interest of the third generation
cell phone systems (3G).
- ¶ The Trans-Pacific cable TPC-5CN is installed between San Luis
Obispo, California, USA; Guam; Hawaii; Japan; and back to Bandon,
Oregon, USA. It carries 2 x 5 Gbps.
- ¶ The U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 heralds a new era in
- ¶ The world on an average has 12.8 main and 2.4 cellular telephone
lines per 100 inhabitants, with an annual growth of 7 % and 62 %
respectively. Asia and North America have 46 million cellular
subscribers each, but annual growth is 106 % and 30 % respectively.
- ¶ NTT is the world's leading telecom operator by revenue (US$ 71
billion), followed by AT&T (52) and Deutsche Telekom (40). NTT is
also the world's leading cellular operator (16 million subscribers).
In the next years, watch out for fast growing DGT (China) and Telebras
- ¶ The world's leading telecom equipment manufacturers by revenue are
Motorola (US$ 19 billion), Ericsson (18), Alcatel (16), Lucent (15),
Siemens (15), NEC (13), and Nortel (12).
- ¶ 1.5 million contactless cards are issued in Korea for bus fare.
- ¶ Smart Cards are used in local merchant stores at the Summer
Olympic games in Atlanta.
- ¶ Motorola's StarTAC is the world's smallest and lightest wearable
cellular telephone, weighing only 3.1ounce.
- ¶ Sun Microsystems introduces the UltraSPARC 64-bit chip and the
Sun Ultra workstation.
- ¶ America Online launches AOL France, surpasses 7 million members,
and moves from NASDAQ to NYSE under symbol "AOL".
- ¶ Yahoo! goes public on the NASDAQ under symbol YHOO.
- ¶ December 31, NCR becomes an independent company, a spin-off from
AT&T. (cf 1995)
- ¶ November, Compaq produces its one-millionth server.
- ¶ November, Compaq introduces its handheld PC, the PC companion.
- ¶ October 1, Lucent becomes an independent company, a spin-off from
AT&T. (cf 1995)
- ¶ October, 1st, Cellnet, Compaq, DeTeMobil, Ericsson, IBM, Intel,
Mannesmann, Microsoft, Nokia, Telia, Toshiba and Vodata unite to form
the Mobile Data Initiative. Learn more at the GSM Data Knowledge Site and the PCS Data Knowledge Site.
- ¶ August, 15th, Nokia starts sales of the Nokia 9000
Communicator, for the first time integrating a GSM cellular phone
with a personal organizer, introduced at the CeBIT fair earlier this
year. In April 1997, the communicator is featured in the movie The
- ¶ August, Transatlantic telephone cable TAT-12/13 is installed.
It is a ring of undersea cable segments interconnecting cable stations
in Green Hill, Rhode Island; Lands End, England; Penmarch, France; and
Shirley, New York, a distance of 6,321 km. Optical amplifier
technology is used. The redundant ring network carries 10 Gbps of
traffic (300,000 voice circuits). The investment was US$ 1,000 per
- ¶ August, first demonstrations of BeOS for Power Macintosh
- ¶ August 6, America Online acquires Imagination Network.
- ¶ July 4, Hotmail is launched, the first webmail service. The
company was started the year before by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith.
In January 1998 the company was sold to Microsoft for $400 million.
Prior to Hotmail, Bhatia was a systems integrator at Apple Computer,
where he coordinated the design and manufacturing of Apple
Powerbook. He also worked for Fire Power Systems - a Silicon Valley
- ¶ July, W3C begins work on SGML/XML.
- ¶ July, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) goes through "The Great Split"
as EFnet splits into two separate networks as a result of a
disagreement on whether the network should use timestamps (EFnet,
US-dominated) or Nick Delay (IRCnet, Europe-dominated) as a means to
prevent nickname collisions.
- ¶ June, Compaq announces its Armada family of value-priced,
- ¶ June,
Forbes listing of the
world's richest people has
(1) Bill Gates, Microsoft $18 billion,
(2) Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway $15 billion,
(3) Paul Sacher Family, Switzerland $13 billion, and
(4) Lee Shau Kee, Hong Kong $12 billion.
- ¶ May, HotBot is launched as
Wired Digital's entry into the web search engine market
- ¶ April, first public developer release of BeOS for the BeBox.
- ¶ April, more than 49 million messages have been sent since 1981
using e-mail on MTS (cf 1967).
- ¶ March, Compaq announces the LS-120, the industry's first 120 MB
- ¶ March 12, Swedish ISP Algonet is acquired by Telenordia.
- ¶ January 16, Supreme Court let the Appeals Court's ruling of
March 9, 1995 stand in the case between Borland and Lotus.
- ¶ January, Compaq announces 1995 sales of $14.8 billion, lifting
Compaq to No. 5 computer company in the world.
- ¶ U.S. Robotics acquires Palm Computing, Inc.
- ¶ Yahoo is incorporated.
- ¶ Bells Labs develops Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM),
which tremendously increses the capacity of optic fibre as a carrier
- ¶ Sun Microsystems introduces Tcl/Tk (pronounced "Tickle/Tea
Kay"), a multiplatform providing support for safe execution of
untrusted scripts from the network and the ability to run GUI
applications independent of the platform - UNIX, Microsoft Windows,
- ¶ Excite is launched.
- ¶ America Online reaches 4.5 million members.
- ¶ Motorola's FORTE data radio, which includes handwriting
recognition software and a two-way radio, wins the (American)
Industrial Design Excellence Award for communications equipment.
- ¶ GEC acquires Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. (VSEL).
- ¶ Internet services are launched in India.
- ¶ First cellular service is launched in India at Calcutta by Modi
- ¶ "Cable modems" are introduced. These high speed digital
connections over cable television networks are primarily used for
Internet connectivity. (One source says U.S. cellular subscribers
reach 40 million this year, but this number more likely refers to
- ¶ December 4, Netscape and Sun Microsystems announce plans to
for enterprise networks and the Internet.
- ¶ December, the Altavista web search engine is launched by Digital
Equipment Corporation's Palo Alto research labs, originally on the URL
- ¶ November, Compaq acquires NetWorth to extend internetworking
product line and include stackable hubs, high-speed hubs and Ethernet
- ¶ November 1, introduction of the Intel Pentium Pro
microprocessor, operating at 200 MHz, having a 64 bit bus, 5.5 million
transistors, and being able to address 64 GB of memory.
- ¶ October, IRC hits 15,000 simultaneous users.
- ¶ October, Be introduces BeOS at Agenda 96. The demo is done on
multiprocessor hardware Be has specially developed, the BeBox.
- ¶ October, Compaq acquires Thomas-Conrad and forms a new
internetworking products group.
- ¶ September, Compaq is awarded Europe's largest-ever PC contract
with British Telecom.
- ¶ September 20, AT&T announces that it will be splitting into
three companies over the susequent fifteen months: AT&T, providing
communication services; Lucent Technologies, a systems and technology
company, providing communications products; and NCR Corp., in the
computer business (cf 1991).
- ¶ May 23, Sun Microsystems introduces the Java programming language and the
Hotjava web browser (Java-enabled). Netscape Inc. licenses Java. (cf
- ¶ March, WebCrawler is acquired by America Online.
- ¶ March 9, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling
of July 1992. Borland's Quatro Pro did not infringe on the copyrights
of Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court and
the Court agreed to hear the case. However, on January 16, 1996, the
Supreme Court, by a 4-4 tie vote (Justice Stevens not participating),
let the Appeals Court's ruling stand.
- ¶ March, Compaq announces a complete redesign of the popular
Deskpro product line with new "Intelligent Manageability" features.
- ¶ February, federal judge Sporkin rejects the US Justice
Department's proposed consent decree in the antitrust case against
Microsoft (cf 1994). However, the Appeals Court overruled this and
the consent decree was finalized. Under the decree, Microsoft (1)
stops to use CPU licensing (cf 1983), (2) stops using long-term OEM
licensing, and (3) stops requiring non-disclosure agreements from
operating system beta testers.
- ¶ January, Compaq achieves the No. 1 worldwide PC marketshare
- ¶ Ward Cunningham founds the world's first Wiki
website, the Portland Pattern Repository. The concept of
collectively editable websites catch on big time in 2000 and 2001 with
a multitude of implementations (in Perl, Python, and PHP; names used
are MoinMoin, UseMod, and Wiki) and sites. The first book on Wiki is:
- ¶ Canadian Transatlantic cable CANTAT-3 is installed between
Pennant Point, Nova Scotia, Canada; Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland;
Tjornuvik, Faroe Islands; Redcar, United Kingdom; Blaabjerg, Denmark;
and Sylt, Germany, a distance of 7,104 km. It carries 2.5 Gb/s.
The investment was US$ 1,000 per voice channel.
- ¶ The Columbus-II cable is installed between Palermo, Sicily,
Italy; Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal; Sardina, Gran Canary Island,
Spain; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, USA; West Palm Beach, Florida,
USA; and Cancun, Mexico, a distance of 12,300 km. It carries 3 x 560
Mb/s (the segment St. Thomas - West Palm Beach carries 2 x 2.5 Gb/s).
- ¶ The SEA-ME-WE2 cable (South-East Asia - Middle East - Western
Europe 2) is installed between France, Italy, Indonesia, and
Singapore. It carries 2 x 560 Mbps.
- ¶ Yahoo opens service from
the Stanford office of graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo.
- ¶ Europay, MasterCard, and VISA (EMV) create specifications for
- ¶ Twenty percent of Mercury (cf 1981) is sold to BCE of Canada.
- ¶ Motorola's iDEN system is the first commercial radio system
designed to integrate paging, data communications, voice dispatch and
wireless telephones in a single radio network and a single handset.
- ¶ The National Telecom Policy is announced in India. It opens the
local telecom services for competition.
- ¶ Commercial radio paging services introduced in India.
- ¶ The U.S. FCC begins RF spectrum auctions.
- ¶ America Online reaches one million members.
- ¶ December, the Netscape Navigator web browser begins shipping.
- ¶ October 3, opening of the Swedish IDG\Online BBS.
- ¶ September, foundation of Swedish web consultancy
InformationsVävarna in Linköping, later renamed Idonex, and then Roxen
- ¶ August, Swedish ISP Algonet starts, the first to offer
affordable modem accounts for home Internet users.
- ¶ August, Swedish weekly z.mag@zine opens website z.central.
- ¶ August 25, the first Swedish newspaper on the Internet (WWW) is
- ¶ August, just before the Swedish parliamentary election on
September 18, the non-socialist government under Carl Bildt liquidates
the wage-earners' investment funds ("löntagarfonderna", legislated by
a previous social democrat government) and transfers 19 billion SEK to
various new foundations, many of which sponsor new Internet projects
in the next years. For a political context, read also Sweden Climbs the Information Technology Ladder, Speech Given by
Prime Minister Carl Bildt at the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering
Sciences (IVA) on 7 February 1994.
- ¶ July 15, the US Justice Department expands the FTC antitrust
case against Microsoft (cf 1993) and on this date proposes a consent
decree. (cf 1995)
- ¶ July, development of WWW moves from CERN to the W3 Consortium, established by Tim Berners-Lee and based both in
Europe and the US. Berners-Lee is concerned that, without an
organization like W3C to develop common software standards and
protocols, the Web will disintegrate into a number of proprietary and
- ¶ Summer, IRC split: Undernet (cf December 1992) spawns Dalnet.
- ¶ Summer, the term "intranet" for a company-internal web server is
coined by Steven L. Telleen at Amdahl Corporation (says
- ¶ June, Compaq announces its first rack-mountable Compaq server
- ¶ April 20, WebCrawler web search engine opens at the University
- ¶ April, analysts report that Compaq is No. 1 worldwide for 1Q
- ¶ February 4, Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt (later involved
with UN in Bosnia and ICANN at large) sends an e-mail to US president
Bill Clinton, the first Internet e-mail between two heads of state.
- ¶ February, Compaq introduces its first sub-notebook, the Compaq
- ¶ IBM posts a $8.1 billion loss and the company has 256,000
employees worldwide, down 36.8 perent from 1990.
- ¶ AT&T acquires McCaw Cellular for US$ 11.5 billion.
- ¶ South Atlantic cable SAT-2 is installed between Melkbosstrand,
South Africa; El Medano, Tenerife Island, Spain; and Funchal, Madeira
Island, Portugal, a distance of 9,500km. It carries 2 x 560 Mb/s.
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-11 is installed between Manahawkin, New
Jersey; Oxwich Bay, England; and St. Hilaire-de-Riez, France, a
distance of 7,162km. It carries 560 Mb/s. The investment was US$
2,000 per voice channel.
- ¶ The first digital mobile network is established in the US.
- ¶ Three payment systems recognize that comparable specifications
for the interchange of information between smart cards and readers are
- ¶ Europe sets 1998 as the date for full liberalization of its
- ¶ November, Compaq introduces the first mini-tower Compaq PCs,
Presario and Prolinea.
- ¶ October 29, the Council of the European Communities signs a directive to harmonize the copyright protection term to the
author's life + 70 years (was life + 50 in most countries).
Sweden implements this in legislation that takes effect on January 1,
- ¶ September, Compaq launches the Presario family for the consumer
marketplace (the first all-in-one Compaq PC).
- ¶ September, Compaq announces the Concerto, the first pen-based
notebook PC from Compaq.
- ¶ May, when I (Lars Aronsson) use Mosaic to surf "the entire web",
I find some 18 servers. One of them is Lysator's, started in February
by Per Hedbor.
- ¶ May, Compaq delivers its first Pentium processor-based products.
- ¶ April, Magnus Olsson starts the Usenet newsgroup
- ¶ April, Compaq signs a Frontline Partnership Agreement with
- ¶ March 22, introduction of the Intel Pentium microprocessor,
operating at 66 MHz, having a 64 bit bus, 3.1 million transistors,
being able to address 4 GB of memory.
- ¶ March 12, a U.S. federal judge awards Steve Jackson Games of
Austin, Texas US$ 42,000 for lost profits in 1990, plus expenses,
following a U.S. Secret Service crackdown on alleged computer hacking
activities. The judge also rules that the Secret Service had violated
the 1986 ECPA because it had seized stored messages from many users of
the BBS who were not suspected of anything.
- ¶ February, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), presented with
a case from its staff, deadlocks 2-2 on whether to issue a preliminary
injuction against several Microsoft practices. The same deadlock is
repeated six months later, but the US Justice Department expands the
case and on July 15, 1994 proposes a consent decree.
- ¶ February, Sweden's first web server is Lysator, started by Per Hedbor.
- ¶ The District Court rules in favor of defendant Microsoft after
Apple accused it of copyright infringement in 189 ways when
introducing the graphical user interface in Microsoft Windows. The
Judge found that of the 189 claimed infringement violations, 179 were
clearly protected by the licensing agreement. Of the remaining 10
claimed violations, the Judge ruled that the ideas were not original
to Apple (for the "look and feel", Apple had got some ideas from
Xerox), and therefore, could not be protected. Apple appealed this
decision to the Appeals Court, but the Court affirmed the decision.
Apple then appealed to the Supreme Court, which denied the appeal.
- ¶ Trans-Pacific cable TPC-4 is installed between Japan, Canada,
and the U.S. It carries 2 x 560 Mbps.
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-10 is installed between Green Hill,
Rhode Island; Norden, Germany; Terschelling, Netherlands; and Alkmaar,
Netherlands, a distance of 7,354km. It carries 560 Mb/s. The
investment was US$ 2,500 per voice channel.
- ¶ "Expo 92" held in Séville, Spain
- ¶ America Online goes public on the NASDAQ market at original
price of $11.50 under symbol AMER.
- ¶ This year, Cable & Wireless provides 1.66 billion minutes of
outgoing telephone traffic. The company owns 25 percent of the
world's digital and analogue submarine cable systems including 28,000
km of digital cable.
- ¶ Veronica, a search service for Gopher released by University of
Nevada. (The name is a pun on Archie, the FTP search service. Archie
and Veronica appear in the same comic strip.)
- ¶ The Multicast Backbone (MBONE) for the first time carries audio
- ¶ The Internet connects one million hosts.
- ¶ The Internet Society (ISOC)
is formed by Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, and others.
- ¶ The U.S. cable TV Act is introduced to regulate CATV pricing.
- ¶ December, IRC split: EFnet spawns Undernet (see the History of the Undernet).
- ¶ December 13, start of Project Runeberg, an
open and voluntary initiative to publish free electronic editions of
Scandinavian literature on the Internet. See also Project
- ¶ October, Compaq introduces its first low-cost server, the Compaq
- ¶ September, Compaq introduces its first printer product, the
- ¶ September 17, British software company Data Connection, founded
in 1981, announces their X.400 e-mail solution was selected by Microsoft.
- ¶ July, the District Court ruled that Borland had infringed on
Lotus copyrights, when it developed the spreadsheet calculation
program Quatro Pro based on ideas from Lotus 1-2-3. The ruling was
reversed on March 9, 1995 by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
- ¶ July, CERT advisory on ICMP attacks.
- ¶ June, Compaq introduces its first low-cost PCs, the ProLinea,
- ¶ Summer, the Mosaic web browser is developed by students at NCSA.
- ¶ March, Sun Labs and Hewlett-Packard begins work on CORBA.
- ¶ The NSFnet finally allows internetwork routing with commercial
networks. The NSFnet backbone is completely upgraded to T3 speed (45
- ¶ IBM sells ROLM Corp. (cf 1984) to Siemens of Germany.
- ¶ Bell Labs develops photonic switching.
- ¶ The Internet connects 600,000 hosts in more than 100 countries.
- ¶ Transatlantic telephone cable TAT-9 is installed. It carries
80,000 simultaneous telephone calls or 560 Mbps. The investment was
US$ 5,500 per voice channel.
- ¶ Gopher released by University of Minnesota (Paul Lindner and
Mark McCahill) - a campus-wide document delivery system.
- ¶ A technology alliance among Apple Computer, IBM and Motorola
begins development of the PowerPC family of microprocessors.
- ¶ WAIS (wide area information servers, Brewster Kahle) released by
Thinking Machines Corp.
- ¶ Globalstar is incorporated.
- ¶ AT&T acquires NCR in a US$ 7.3 billion deal. (cf 1995)
- ¶ Opening of the North Pacific Cable by Cable & Wireless,
capable of carrying 85,000 simultaneous calls.
- ¶ December (or earlier?), the term "ravioli code" is coined by (?)
Olga de Troyer at Tilburg University, meaning "the object-oriented
counterpart to spaghetti code".
- ¶ October, introduction of the Macintosh PowerBook
100, Apple's first truely portable was designed by Sony, weight
5.1 lbs, having a 16 MHz Motorola MC68HC000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 256
kB ROM, 2 MB RAM expandable to 8 MB, optional modem, 20-40 MB hard
disk, passive matrix B&W 640x400 screen, 8 bit mono sound. Priced
at $2,500. Introduced at the same time were the more powerful PowerBook 140 (6.8
lbs, MC68030 CPU, 32 bit datapath) and PowerBook 170 (25
MHz, MC68882 FPU, active matrix screen, $4,600).
- ¶ October, IRC usage averages 399 users on 120 servers with 44
- ¶ September, Compaq introduces its first modular PC, the Compaq
- ¶ July, Microsoft introduces MS-DOS 5.0, which had been announced
a whole year earlier, following the release of the competing DR-DOS
from Digital Research Incorporated (DRI). Microsoft thus took up
IBM's old tradition of pre-announcing new products long before
shipping, in order to stifle competition.
- ¶ July, Compaq enters the Japanese marketplace.
- ¶ June, the first non-English multi-user dungeons (MUD) game on
the Internet is the Swedish Svensk-MUD, started by Linus Tolke at Lysator, Linköping
- ¶ May, introduction of the Hewlett-Packard 95LX portable computer,
weighing 300 grams, having a 16 x 40 text screen, priced at $699.
- ¶ March, all of NSFnet is upgraded to T1.
- ¶ January, Compaq announces its first billion-dollar quarter.
- ¶ The NMT network in Sweden has 460,000 subscribers, nine times more
than the estimates nine years earlier.
- ¶ Motorola unveils the Iridium System concept for global personal
communications. It will use an array of 77 small satellites in
low-Earth orbit, and is named after the iridium atom, which has 77
electrons. It complements land-based wireless and wire line
communications systems. Iridium is a registered trademark and service
mark of Iridium IP LLC.
- ¶ The ARPAnet is formally closed, having been replaced by NSFnet
and interconnected networks.
- ¶ Archie, a search system for public FTP sites, is developed by
Peter Deutsch at McGill University School of Computer Science.
- ¶ IBM's revenue peaks at $68.9 billion and the company has 400,000
employees worldwide. (cf 1993)
- ¶ Sun Microsystems Laboratories (Sun Labs) established as an
- ¶ The Wireless LAN working group IEEE 802.11 is formed (cf 1980,
- ¶ GEC acquires parts of Ferranti.
- ¶ Be, Inc. (with BeOS and BeBox) is founded in Menlo Park,
California, by Jean-Louis Gassée (formerly with Apple) and Steve
- ¶ August, the world of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) splits into Anet
(Anarchy net, centered around the host eris.berkeley.edu) and EFnet
(Eris Free, see EFnet history).
- ¶ July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is founded.
- ¶ July, Compaq establishes its East European sales organization,
with an office in Berlin.
- ¶ July, use of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) averages 12 users on 38
- ¶ May, in Operation Sundevil, some 42 computer systems and 23,000
floppy disks are seized all over U.S.A. This is by far the largest
series of high-profile raids ever conducted against hackers. This
operation led to the foundation of EFF in July and is also documented
- Bruce Sterling, The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on
the Electronic Frontier, New York: Bantam books, 1992
- ¶ April 24, NASA launches the Hubble space telescope.
- ¶ February, IBM introduces the RISC System/6000 (RS/6000) family
of workstations and desk-side servers. The 540 processed 41 million
instructions per second, having up to 800,000 transistors per silicon
chip, RAM expandable to 256 megabytes, internal disk up to 2.5
- ¶ January, a large part of AT&T's telephone network crashes
from a software bug.
- ¶ At the European Nuclear Research Center (CERN), Tim Berners Lee
proposes the introduction of a networked hypertext system, thereby
inventing the World Wide Web.
- ¶ The Cray 3 supercomputer is announced.
- ¶ The Private Transatlantic Telecommunications System No.1 cable,
"PTAT-1", is installed by Cable & Wireless and Sprint/PSI between
Manasquan, New Jersey; Devonshire, Bermuda; Ballinspittle, Ireland;
and Brean, England, a distance of 7,552 km. It carries 420 Mb/s or
85,000 simultaneous telephone calls. The investment was US$ 6,000 per
- ¶ Sun Microsystems introduces the SPARC processor and the
SPARCstation 1 workstation.
- ¶ IBM invents silicon germanium (SiGe) transistors, replacing the
more expensive gallium arsenide for high speed semiconductors. In
1995, IBM commercializes its SiGe chips through partnerships with
telecom companies Hughes and Nortel.
- ¶ The NSFnet starts to upgrade to T3 speed (45 Mbit/s).
- ¶ CompuServe and MCImail test Internet relay of electronic mail.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the MicroTAC personal cellular telephone,
the smallest and lightest on the market.
- ¶ the ircII client software for Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is
released Michael Sandrof (BigCheese).
- ¶ Prodigy begins rolling out service in various metro
areas. Pricing is unique - a flat rate of $9.95 per month plus a
$49.95 start-up kit. It also sells modems for $100.
- ¶ Australia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands,
New Zealand and the United Kingdom connect to the Internet.
- ¶ The Atlanta Journal and Constitution launch Access Atlanta via a
telephone company videotex gateway.
- ¶ Knight-Ridder's PressLink opens services to other newspapers.
- ¶ GEC Alsthom is formed by an equal investment by British GEC and
French Compagnie General D'Electricitie (CGE).
- ¶ Plessey is acquired jointly by GEC and Siemens.
- ¶ November, the Internet connects 160,000 hosts.
- ¶ November, USA Today unveils its USA Today Sports Center, a
proprietary online sports news and gaming service, at COMDEX.
- ¶ November, Compaq introduces its first server, the Compaq
Systempro (first EISA).
- ¶ The final definition of Modula-3 (cf November 1986) is published in
- Greg Nelson (editor), Systems Programming with
Modula-3, Prentice Hall Series in Innovative Technology, ISBN
0-13-590464-1, L.C. QA76.66.S87, 1991.
- ¶ October 31, Prodigy says it has 100,000 customers in households
in eight major metro areas.
- ¶ October 25, New York Newsday and American CITINET announce an
online newspaper on a phone company videotex gateway called Info-Look.
- ¶ October, tenth edition of UNIX from Bell Labs, a research
- ¶ October, AppleLink is renamed America Online after Apple pulls
out of the partnership. Owner Quantum says PC software is in the
works. The company also offers Q-Link for Commodore users and PC-Link
for PC users.
- ¶ October, Omaha World Herald plans videotex system that does not
include its newspaper.
- ¶ October, Compaq introduces its first notebook PC, the Compaq
- ¶ September, introduction of the Apple Mac Portable,
having a 16 MHz Motorola MC68000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 256 kB ROM, 1
MB RAM expandable to 8 MB, SCSI port, built-in 1.4 MB 3.5" floppy,
optional 40 MB hard disk, active matrix B&W 640x400 graphics
screen, 8 bit stereo sound. Priced at $6,500 but didn't sell well.
- ¶ July, the Internet connects 130,000 hosts.
- ¶ June 29, CompuServe buys The Source for an undisclosed sum and
closes it for good on Aug. 1.
- ¶ June, Compaq becomes the No. 2 supplier of business PCs in
Europe, passing Apple and Olivetti.
- ¶ April 22, introduction of the Intel 486SX microprocessor,
operating at 33 MHz (?), having a 32 bit bus, 1.185 million transistors,
being able to address 4 GB of memory.
- ¶ April 10, introduction of the Intel 486DX microprocessor,
operating at 50 MHz (?), having a 32 bit bus, 1.2 million transistors,
being able to address 4 GB of memory.
- ¶ January, the Internet connects 80,000 hosts.
- ¶ January, Quantum and Tandy roll out PC-Link, an online service
for IBM-compatible owners and a forerunner of America Online.
- ¶ January, New York Newsday adds a second phone line to its online
system to handle multiple callers.
- ¶ The Swedish University
Network (SUNET) moves from X.25 to a 64 kbit/s wide-area ethernet
(Vitalink equipment) that carries TCP/IP aswell as DECnet and other
protocols. The TCP/IP network is connected to the Internet. This is
a controversial decision, as continental Europe still believes in OSI
and X.400. National networks in Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland
through Nordunet are connected to
Stockholm, where a common connection goes to the John von Neumann
Supercomputing Center (JVNC) at Princeton. Canada and France also
connects to the Internet this year.
- ¶ The first Interop conference is organized in San Jose.
- ¶ The NSFnet is completely upgraded to T1 speed (1.5 or 2 Mbit/s).
- ¶ Transatlantic telephone cable TAT-8 is installed, the first to
use fiber optic technology. It carries 8,000 circuits (simultaneous
telephone calls) or 280 Mbps. The cable is a joint venture between
AT&T, Standard Communications Laboratories (a subsidiary of STC),
and the French firm Submarcom. The investment was US$ 9,000 per voice
- ¶ Thirteen European countries issue a simultaneous tender for GSM
equipment heralding a new era in communication.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard introduces the Deskjet printer, HP's first
mass-market inkjet printer, offering plain-paper printing and
industry-standard print resolution.
- ¶ CCITT (now ITU-T)
jointly with ISO issues the second generation of recommendations for
the X.400 Message Handling System (MHS), an e-mail system for the Open
Systems Interconnection (OSI, X.200). Recommendations for a Directory
Service (DS, X.500) is also issued. The first generation of X.400 was
issued in 1984.
- ¶ The best-selling book of one of our times' greatest physicists,
- Stephen W. Hawking,
A brief history of time. From the big bang to black holes,
London : Bantam, 1988, ISBN 0-593-01518-5, ISBN 0-553-05340-X
- ¶ The first optic fiber is laid across the Atlantic (cf 1972,
- ¶ Spain, The national teletext system Telecinco is officially
- ¶ Formation of of GPT by GEC and Plessey (cf 1989).
- ¶ December 6, Covidea announces it will close its videotex services,
Pronto and Business Banking.
- ¶ November 2, Internet worm burrows through the Net, affecting
6,000 of the 60,000 hosts on the Internet, leading to the formation of
the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).
- ¶ October 10, New York Times photographers use a Macintosh and
9600 bps modem to send Dodgers-Mets photos from L.A. to New York.
- ¶ September 20, Apple and Quantum Computer Services announce
AppleLink, a graphical online service for Apple computer users.
- ¶ Summer, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is born when Jarkko Oikarinen
writes the first IRC client and server at the University of Oulo,
Finland. The first IRC server was named tolsun.oulu.fi.
- ¶ July, Prodigy begins test marketing in Hartford, Atlanta and
California with a service for PCs.
- ¶ June 16, introduction of the Intel 386SX microprocessor,
operating at 33 MHz, having a 16 bit bus, 275,000 transistors, being
able to address 4 GB of memory.
- ¶ June, IBM and Sears change the name of Trintex to Prodigy.
- ¶ June, IBM introduces the AS/400 system in the largest worldwide
product announcement in IBM history. More than 100,000 customers, IBM
business partners, consultants, analysts, vendors, reporters and IBM
branch people in more than 140 locations were linked to the main
product unveiling in New York City. Rolled out that day were six
AS/400 models and more than 1,000 software packages. The AS/400
family at announcement offered a 10-fold performance range from the
smallest to the largest model in the number of commercial transactions
it could process per hour -- up to 45,000 in IBM benchmark tests.
- ¶ In May, August, and September, the magazine Data
Communications (now Network Magazine, a McGraw-Hill publication) contained an
interesting debate in three articles between William Stallings (pro OSI) and
Joachim Martillo (pro TCP/IP). The fact that the benefits of
competing technologies is the topic of a public debate might indicate
that the battle had already been won (by TCP/IP).
- ¶ February, Compaq reports $1.2 billion sales for 1987.
- ¶ January 2, shutdown of Multics at MIT, then running MSS 38.3.
- ¶ NSFnet starts to upgrade to T1 speed (1.5 or 2 Mbit/s). (cf 1981)
- ¶ Optic fiber (of quartz glass) is doped with erbium, which causes
an amplifying effect (??).
- ¶ Microsoft ships the 1 millionth copy of Windows. Meanwhile,
Apple introduces "Hypercard," a hypertext system.
- ¶ Sun and AT&T announces an alliance to develop UNIX(R) System
V Release 4.
- ¶ The Middlesex (Mass.) News launches Fred the Computer, a
single-line BBS system previewing the next day's edition.
- ¶ Ted Turner starts the cable-TV revolution when he launches CNN,
Cable News Network.
- ¶ Siemens withdraws from the music recording business (cf 1941),
leaving Philips (cf 1962) as the majority owner of DGG/PPI and
PolyGram (cf 1971).
- ¶ ABB is formed by the merger betweeen Swedish Asea and Swiss
- ¶ The last Motorola car radio is produced in Stotfold, United
- ¶ Marconi Company Limited (cf 1963) is renamed GEC-Marconi
- ¶ France's Intelmatique has sold videotex systems in the U.S.,
Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, Kuwait, Greece, Holland,
New Zealand and Norway.
- ¶ Japan, Some 15,000 teletext decoders are in operation. Services
are carried on 10 stations in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
- ¶ December, the Internet connects 30,000 hosts.
- ¶ November, Bull takes over the Honeywell computer division.
- ¶ November, Compaq manufactures its one-millionth personal
computer and opens manufacturing in Scotland.
- ¶ September 20, First E-mail message from China is sent to Germany.
- ¶ April, IBM introduces Personal System/2 (PS/2), using the OS/2
operating system, intended as a replacement for the PC's MS-DOS. The
Model 30 was an Intel 8-megahertz system, with either two 720K
diskette drives or one 720K diskette drive and a 20-megabyte fixed
disk drive. the Model 80 was a floor-standing machine running at 16
megahertz, containing one megabyte of memory and featuring a 44
megabyte fixed disk drive. A second 44 MB fixed disk drive could be
added. Prices ranged from $1,695 for the Model 30 with two diskette
drives to $10,995 for the Model 80 with two fixed disk drives.
- ¶ April, The Source is bought by a venture capital firm.
- ¶ March, introduction of the Apple Mac SE, having a 8
MHz Motorola MC68000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 256 kB ROM, RAM expandable
to 4 MB, built-in 800 kB 3,5" floppy, a built-in expansion slot for an
internal 40 MB hard disk or a second floppy,
- ¶ March, introduction of the Apple Mac II, having a 16
MHz Motorola MC68020 CPU, 68881 FPU, 32 bit datapath, 256 kB ROM, RAM
expandable to 20 MB, SCSI port, built-in 800 kB 3,5" floppy, optional
40-80 MB hard disk, 8 bit stereo sound, external color monitor.
Priced from $3,898 (no RAM, no disk) up.
- ¶ January, UK has some 4 million teletext decoders in operation.
- ¶ January, the Internet connects 10,000 hosts.
- ¶ The great renaming of Usenet newsgroups. The previous net.*
hieararchy is replaced by the comp.* rec.* soc.* etc hierarchies of
today. The Distribution: header field is also introduced, as a new
means to limit distribution of messages.
- ¶ The five NSF supercomputing centers are connected by a 56 kbit/s
backbone network. This also sparks an evolution of regional networks
around each center.
- ¶ The Internet national top level domain for Sweden, .se, is
registered by Björn Eriksen (and ...!mcvax!enea!ber becomes
email@example.com). (cf 1983)
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP Precision Architecture (HP-PA)
family of RISC-based line of computers.
- ¶ High temperature superconductivity. IBM scientists J. Georg
Bednorz and K. Alex Muller discover superconductivity in ceramic
oxides that carry electricity without loss of energy at much higher
temperatures than any other superconductor. One year later, Bednorz
and Muller are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery.
- ¶ The Source hits the 60,000 subscriber mark and becomes
- ¶ CompuServe is purchased by H&R Block Co. for $23 million.
- ¶ First "personal" laser printer, the Apple Laserwriter, is
introduced. Priced at $7,000.
- ¶ The first optic fiber cable is laid across the English Channel
- ¶ The "Expo 86 (1986 World Exposition)" is held in Vancouver,
- ¶ The U.S. Congress passes the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- ¶ Prestel reports 65,000 terminals in use and 1,200 information
providers. Users view 8.7 million pages each week.
- ¶ France, some 1.4 million Minitel terminals are in use. French
Telecom grosses $70 million on the service.
- ¶ France, Parisien Libere, a French newspaper, reports 180,000
videotex calls a day via Minitel, averaging 52,000 hours of use per
- ¶ Spain, the Spanish videotex system Ibertex goes public, using
the CEPT and Antiope standards.
- ¶ India, the Overseas Communication Service (OCS) of DoT converted
- ¶ India, establishment of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).
- ¶ November 6, Maurice Wilkes writes to Niklaus Wirth proposing
that the Modula-2+ language be revised and standardized as a successor
to Modula-2. Wirth gave this project his blessing, and the Modula-3
committee was born. The original definition of Modula-3 was given in
SRC Research Report 31, August 1988. It was revised in report 52,
November 1989. And finally published in Systems Programming with
Modula-3, November 1989. (cf November 1989)
- ¶ September 16, New York Times and Covidea announce New York
Pulse, a service for computer users.
- ¶ September, ninth edition of UNIX from Bell Labs, a research
- ¶ July 16, the first Freenet (Cleveland) comes online under the
auspices of the Society for Public Access Computing.
- ¶ April, Compaq joins the Fortune 500 faster than any company in
history. The company ships its 500,000th personal computer.
- ¶ April, Japan's Captain expands to 245 cities and expects to sell
- ¶ March 12, the first CeBIT exhibition in Hanover, Germany,
attracts 2,142 exhibitors and 334,400 visitors. Earlier, the office
equipment exhibition had occupied a part of the annual industry
exhibition, but now the Centrum für Büro- und InformationsTechnik
(CeBIT) was moved to a separate event in March, one month after the
- ¶ January, opening of Meet:students, the first University of
Michigan computer conference organized by students, based on Confer
(cf 1975) on MTS (cf 1967). All students can "request accounts" on
the Amdahl-donated 470 computer named U-Blue.
- ¶ January, Compaq reports third year revenues of $503.9 million.
- ¶ January, introduction of the Apple Mac Plus computer,
having an 8 MHz Motorola MC68000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 128 kB ROM, 1
MB RAM expandable to 4 MB, built-in 800 kB 3,5" floppy, SCSI port.
The first platinum colored (light-grey, non-beige) personal computer.
Priced at $2600.
- ¶ The NSF awards five contracts to establish generic
supercomputing centers at Cornell (CTC), Princeton (JVNC), Illinois
(NCSA), Pittsburgh (PSC), and San Diego (SDSC).
- ¶ Token ring network technology is developed by the IBM Zurich
- ¶ Microsoft ships Windows 1.0. It is not well received and suffers
- ¶ Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond found Gateway, selling more
affordable personal computers.
- ¶ Murray Turoff's (see also 1969) group at NJIT offers the first
distance learning courses taught entirely over a computer network
using collaborative learning approaches via the "virtual classroom"
- ¶ San Francisco, Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, The WELL, is created
by Stewart Brand.
- ¶ In this book the co-founder of WiReD magazine predicts the
forthcoming information revolution,
- Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought,
MIT Press, 1985, ISBN 0-262-68115-3 (2000 edition)
- ¶ Quantum Computer Services, which goes on to create AppleLink,
Q-Link, PC-Link and, finally, America Online, is founded in Vienna,
- ¶ IBM, Sears and CBS announce a partnership to create Trintex,
eventually renamed Prodigy.
- ¶ IBM is the most profitable company in the world, earning almost
$6.6 billion in profits from a revenue of $50 billion.
- ¶ IBM introduces the IBM 3090 line of supercomputers.
- ¶ More than 80 Motorola cellular systems are in service or planned
in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The company has
received more cellular contracts than has any other provider.
- ¶ Ontario, Canada, The Hamilton Spectator starts up CompuSpec, a
mainframe-based BBS system.
- ¶ Worldwide, 22 nations are said to be involved in videotex and
teletext. Eleven use Prestel, five use CEPT, two use NAPLPS and four
use French Antiope.
- ¶ European countries using teletext or videotex include Austria,
Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands,
Norway, Spain and Sweden.
- ¶ Videotex systems are planned in at least 20 major U.S. cities.
Most are based on either Viewtron or Gateway technology, E&P reports.
- ¶ Asian countries using videotex or teletext include Australia,
China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand.
- ¶ Prestel reports its first profit in the third quarter.
- ¶ France, some 3 million Minitel terminals are in use.
- ¶ French telephone company registers 15.7 million videotex
sessions in a two-month period.
- ¶ Germany, Bildschirmtext boasts 28,000 subscribers and 3,700
- ¶ India, Department of Telecom (DoT) and Department of Posts (DoP)
- ¶ India, the government establishes the research organization
C-DOT, which develops the Rural Automatic Exchange (RAX), which
revolutionizes Indian telecom spread.
- ¶ Japan, Construction of a nationwide fiber-optic network nears
- ¶ Keycom shuts down late in the year.
- ¶ December, 22 million callers in France use videotex services.
- ¶ December, Japan's Captain boasts 630 information providers.
- ¶ December, the Internet connects 2,000 hosts.
- ¶ December, Compaq securities begin trading on the New York Stock
- ¶ November, Japan's first teletext services begin commercial
operation around Tokyo and Osaka.
- ¶ October 21, General Electric Co. announces the launch of GEnie,
a dialup information and entertainment system for PC users. Priced at
$35 an hour prime time; $5 an hour nights and weekends.
- ¶ October 1, Viewtron goes national with a service for personal
computers. Kits for early PCs cost $9.95.
- ¶ June 17, introduction of the Intel 386DX microprocessor,
operating at 33 MHz (16 MHz?), having a 32 bit bus, 275,000
transistors, being able to address 4 GB of memory. Most analysts
consider it overkill.
- ¶ June, Multics development is terminated by Honeywell after
almost one hundred sites have been installed.
- ¶ June, Multics release 11.0.
- ¶ June, Prestel reports 103,000 E-mail messages are being sent
each month and 7.3 million pages are viewed.
- ¶ May, French gaming system, Funitel, averages 100,000 hours of
use a month and grosses $7 million in 1985.
- ¶ March 15, first registered Internet domain name, Symbolics.com,
- ¶ February, eighth edition of UNIX from Bell Labs. This is
labeled a research version.
- ¶ January, Compaq reports second year revenues of $329 million.
- ¶ The term cyberspace is coined in a book by
(Some say the term might be older, but I need a date or citation for
- William Gibson, Neuromancer, Ace Books, New York, 1984,
- ¶ IBM introduces the PC-AT, based on the 80286 Intel chip. Fully
loaded with graphics, color monitor and 20MB hard disk, it costs
- ¶ IBM buys ROLM Corp., the US third largest business telephone
system manufacturer and provider.
- ¶ Philips and Sony introduces CD-ROM, an optical disk that can
store very large amounts of digital data.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the MC68HC11 8-bit embedded controller.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the MC68020, the first true 32-bit
microprocessor, having 200,000 transistors on 10 x 10 mm chip.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard unveils the first Laserjet, a instant business
hit at $3,600.
- ¶ The NSF invites proposals for the establishments of generic
- ¶ The Joint Academic Network (JANET) in Great Britain addresses
higher education needs regardless of discipline.
- ¶ Japan, JUNET (Japan Unix Network) is established using UUCP.
- ¶ DNS deployment is initiated.
- ¶ Micael Dell founds Dell, selling personal computers by mail
- ¶ Sun Microsystems introduces the Network File System (NFS) and
licenses it for free to the industry.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard enters the printer business with its own line of
inkjet and LaserJet printers. The introduction of the ThinkJet
printer brings quiet, portable 96-dpi printing to desktop and portable
PCs. The HP LaserJet also debuts and becomes the world's most popular
personal desktop laser printer - and HP's most successful product
ever. By mid-1999 HP sold more than 35 million units. Sun CEO Scott
McNealy later refers to H-P as "a printer company".
- ¶ Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB) uses smart card technology
for banks in France.
- ¶ Britain has 1.5 million teletext decoders and 42,000 Prestel
units in operation.
- ¶ CBS opens ExtraVision teletext system on various network
- ¶ France, Minitel has about 1 million terminals in use.
- ¶ Spain, RTVE decides to adopt the British system for teletext,
but with 182 characters, so it can give service to the four different
languages spoken in Spain.
- ¶ Spain, online access to 52 databases is available through
- ¶ CCITT (now ITU-T)
issues the first recommendations for the X.400 Message Handling System
(MHS), an e-mail system for the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI).
The next generation was issued in 1988 in a joint effort with ISO.
- ¶ November 16, USA Today launches USA Today Update, a business
news summary service eventually available on Trintex, Minitel, GEnie,
The Source, Datatimes and others.
- ¶ November 1, Keytran, owned by Centel, Honeywell and Chicago
Sun-Times, is renamed Keycom and launches commercial videotex service.
- ¶ November, BT plc. is offered for sale.
- ¶ August 27, constitution of AUUG, the Australian Unix systems User Group.
- ¶ August 6, the business of the statutory corporation British
Telecommunications is transferred to BT plc.
- ¶ June, Compaq introduces its first desktop, the Compaq Deskpro.
- ¶ April 12, the Telecommunications Act 1984 receives the Royal
Assent, confirming the intention of the British government (cf 1982)
to privatize British Telecom.
- ¶ April, introduction of the Compaq PCs in Europe.
- ¶ April 1, British Telecommunications plc (BT) is incorporated as
a public limited company.
- ¶ March, CompuServe charges 13 cents per minute daytime and 10
cents at night. Dow Jones is $1.20 daytime and 20 cents at night.
- ¶ January 24, Apple introduces the Macintosh, based on
the 8 MHz Motorola MC68000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 64 kB ROM, 128 kB RAM
not expandable, built-in 400 kB 3,5" floppy, built-in 9" monitor,
512x342 B&W graphics screen, 8 bit mono sound. Priced at
$2,495. Within 75 days, 50,000 are sold. In September 1984 the RAM
was increased to 512 kB.
- ¶ January, Compaq reports first year revenues of $111.2 million -
a U.S. business record. The company has shipped more than 53,000
- ¶ January 1, the divestiture of AT&T marks the end of the Bell
System. In its place was a new AT&T and seven regional telephone
holding companies. (cf 1974, 1982) The new AT&T retains assets
worth $34 billion (was $149 billion) and 373 thousand employees (was
one million). The globe logotype replaced the bell.
- ¶ Sun Microsystems is formed.
- ¶ Microsoft first demonstrates "Interface Manager," later renamed
- ¶ Microsoft starts to issue "CPU licenses" for the MS-DOS
operating system. This means a PC manufacturer would pay a licens fee
per shipped processor, whether MS-DOS was installed for this processor
or not. This is a monopolist practice, since the motivation to
install any competing operating system is eliminated. CPU licenses
were to stop with the 1995 consent decree.
- ¶ Motorola's DynaTAC cellular system begins commercial operation.
Motorola has devoted 15 years and $100 million to the development of
its cellular program.
- ¶ The U.S. Department of Defense separates the classified Milnet
from the since then public ARPAnet, now having only 45 hosts.
- ¶ ARPAnet begins using TCP/IP.
- ¶ Deutsche Bundespost carries out study on smart card technology
for phone systems in Germany.
- ¶ U.S. Department of Defense tests the IC card (smart card) for
military identification systems.
- ¶ FidoNet, a store and forward network of BBS systems, is
developed by Tom Jennings.
- ¶ Prestel boasts over 200,000 users on 30,000 registered
terminals. Its database contains 250,000 pages.
- ¶ Prestel begins to woo PC owners with free software.
- ¶ Germany, Deutsch Telekom launches T-Online, its videotex system.
- ¶ France, The first smart card is introduced for commercial
transactions via Minitel.
- ¶ Central Paris gets electronic phone book access. About 10,000
Minitel terminals are in use.
- ¶ Spain, online access to 23 online databases is available through
- ¶ Japan, Captain is introduced commercially late in the
year. Trials now have cost 20 billion yen.
- ¶ December, Compaq's initial public offering raises $67 million,
securities traded on NASDAQ.
- ¶ December, The largest U.S. online services are Dow Jones, with
90,000 users, CompuServe, 63,000, and The Source, 36,000 users.
- ¶ November 21, after two years of testing, Time, Inc. announces it
will not go commercial with Time Teletext and closes it down.
- ¶ November, the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) specifications
are published, developed at the University of Wisconsin.
- ¶ October 30, Viewtron launches commercially in Miami.
- ¶ October 10, constituting meeting in Stockholm of Svenska
UNIX-systemanvändares förening (EUUG-S), the Swedish branch of the
European Unix Users Group, later renamed EurOpen.SE.
- ¶ Midyear, Keycom Electronic Publishing launches Keytran, a
videotex service, in Chicago.
- ¶ May, IBM introduces System/36.
- ¶ April 7, first Internet/UUCP e-mail to Sweden was sent from Jim
McKie in Amsterdam to Björn Eriksen (...!mcvax!enea!ber) in Stockholm.
Björn's employer, the UNIX consulting company Enea becomes the Swedish
landing point for the European Unix network (Eunet). (cf 1986)
- ¶ January 3, Time Magazine names no "Man of the Year." Instead,
the computer is dubbed "Machine of the Year."
- ¶ January, introduction of the Apple IIe computer,
based on the 1 MHz MOS Technology/SynerTek 6502/65C02 CPU, 16/32 kB
ROM, 64 kB RAM expandable to 128 kB, built-in speaker, optional
floppy, 80x24 text screen, 560x192 B&W graphics screen, 140x192
sixteen color graphics screen. Note that the IIe was introduced three
years after the Apple III, six years after the first Apple II. This
model was terminated in 1993.
- ¶ January, introduction of the Apple Lisa
computer, having the 5 MHz Motorola MC68000 CPU, 16 bit datapath, 16
kB ROM, 512 kB RAM expandable to 2 MB, 12-inch color monitor, 720x360
B&W graphics screen, dual built-in 871 kB 5.25" floppies, built-in
5 MB hard disk. Priced at $10,000.
- ¶ The Atlantis cable is installed between Burgau, Portugal; Dakar,
Senegal; and Recife, Brazil, a distance of 6,350 km. It carries 1380
simultaneous telephone calls to Brazil and 2580 calls to Portugal.
Atlantis was retired in 2000.
- ¶ EUnet (European UNIX Network) is created by EUUG to provide
email and USENET services.
- ¶ Snipes, a PC network demo game by Drew Major and Kyle Powell is
quoted as the beginning of Novell.
- ¶ Smart cards (cf 1974, 1976) are used in Point of Sale (POS)
applications in France.
- ¶ The Cray X-MP supercomputer is announced.
- ¶ Commodore Computer announces the Commodore 64. It has 64K of
RAM, sound and color graphics when hooked to a color TV. Priced at
- ¶ Clones of the IBM PC are announced.
- ¶ Microsoft begins developing its first Mac applications.
- ¶ Sun Microsystems is incorporated, with four employees. Sun I,
the first workstation is introduced. It runs BSD Unix (Berkeley
Software Distribution) where the support for TCP/IP has earlier been
implemented by Bill Joy.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP 9000 workstation, "the first
- ¶ Project Grassroots opens in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
- ¶ Prestel introduces "gateways" which provide access to outside
- ¶ Eleven U.S. newspapers begin daily transmission of "electronic
versions" via CompuServe, which now has 10,000 subscribers.
- ¶ Spain, First trials of teletext systems take place through RTVE
(Radio Televisión Española) with Antiope and UK systems.
- ¶ Spain, First trials of Ibertex take place during the Football
World Championship with 400 terminals in airports, hotels, train
stations, etc., which provide updated information.
- ¶ Sweden, the videotex service Datavision is introduced. It uses
the telephone network and 75/1200 bps modems.
- ¶ Italy, Videotel, a videotex service, begins testing in the first
quarter with 2,000 terminals.
- ¶ France, Major public trial of Teletel begins using 270,000
Minitel terminals distributed free of charge.
- ¶ France, Another 300,000 Minitel terminals are ordered by the
- ¶ INDAX, an interactive cable TV system is tested in Southern
California by Cox, a cable and newspaper company.
- ¶ Hong Kong, Trials of Viewdata, a videotex system, begin in
spring with 500 terminals.
- ¶ Austria, Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland also have videotex
experiments under way.
- ¶ November, Keyfax, a $10 per month teletext service, begins
broadcasting on WTBS Atlanta.
- ¶ October, Multics release 10.0, featuring X.25 networking and the
Forum conferencing system. Forum was a descendant of Continuum, a
bulletin board program that ran on Multics in the late 1970s.
- ¶ September, MTS (cf 1967) is able to send and receive e-mail to
and from remote, non-MTS systems.
- ¶ Summer, The Danbury (Ct.) News-Times starts TimesView, a
- ¶ StarText, the only early newspaper videotex system intended for
display on computers, opens in Fort Worth, Texas.
- ¶ July 19, the British government formally announces its intention
to privatize British Telecom (BT) with the sale of up 51 percent of
the company's shares to private investors. (cf 1984)
- ¶ April, In Netherlands in the last 12 months, 100,000 teletext TV
sets have been sold - at twice the price of regular TVs.
- ¶ March 15, opening in Los Angeles of the videotex trial Gateway,
conducted by Times-Mirror. Closes on December 31.
- ¶ February, Compaq Computer Corporation is founded by Rod Canion,
Jim Harris and Bill Murto, three senior managers who left Texas
Instruments and invested $1,000 each to form their own company. The
first product was a portable personal computer able to run all of the
software being developed then for the IBM PC.
- ¶ February 1, introduction of the Intel 80286 microprocessor,
operating at 12.5 MHz (6 MHz?), having a 16 bit bus, 134,000
transistors, able to address 16 MB of memory.
- ¶ January, Viditel in Holland has 4,000 users, 130 IPs and 90,000
pages of information. Krantel now includes 10 Dutch newspapers.
- ¶ January, Prestel has attracted 15,000 purchasers or renters of
equipment, but readership is estimated at up to 75,000.
- ¶ January 8, the antitrust case against IBM is dropped. It was
filed in 1969.
- ¶ January 8, the United States Justice Department announces a
consent decree has been reached, in which AT&T agrees to divest
itself of the wholly owned Bell operating companies that provide local
exchange service. In return, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to
lift the constraints of the 1956 decree (cf 1974, 1984)
- ¶ The Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) network is opened in Sweden.
50,000 subscribers are expected by the end of the decade.
- ¶ The first commercial Ethernet network interface card is marketed
- ¶ National Science Foundation backbone goes up to connect
U.S. universities to Arpanet.
- ¶ The new TCP/IP suite is incorporated into BSD Unix by Bill Joy.
- ¶ The Internet Working Group plans the transition from NCP to
- ¶ Scanning tunneling microscope. Two scientists from the IBM
Zurich Research Laboratory, Gerd K. Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, invent
the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, which provides a first-ever look at
the topography of surfaces in an atom-by-atom format. In 1986, Binnig
and Rohrer are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their
- ¶ Adam Osborne introduces the Osborne 1, a portable computer with
64K of RAM, two floppy drives, and a 5-inch display. Priced at $1,795.
- ¶ An estimated 10,000 Prestel terminals are in use. The service
boasts 500 information providers.
- ¶ Financial Times buys out Extel and continues to operate Fintel
on Prestel and Newsbase separately.
- ¶ Austria, Videotex system based on Prestel with improved MUPID
terminal is introduced in March.
- ¶ Chemical Bank begins trials of Pronto, a telebanking service, in
200 New York homes. It goes commercial in late 1983 as part of
- ¶ An important science fiction novel:
- Vernon Vinge, True Names, Tor Books, 1981
- ¶ November, First Bank System of Minneapolis announces a full
interactive trial using Teletel technology. Ends in March, 1983.
- ¶ October, Multics release 9.0.
- ¶ Cable & Wireless is privatized and telecommunications are
deregulated by the conservative British government elected in 1979.
- ¶ Foundation of Mercury Communications Ltd. by Cable &
- ¶ August, second trial of Japanese videotex system Captain
commences with 2,000 terminals.
- ¶ August 12, IBM introduces the PC. Based on the 4.77 MHz Intel
8088 CPU, having 16 kB RAM expandable to 256 kB, one or two diskette
drives, it sells 50,000 units in the first eight months. Priced at
$1,565 to $6,000.
- ¶ July, $MESSAGE e-mail is available on MTS (cf 1967), designed by
- ¶ June, WETA, a PBS TV station in Washington, D.C., launches a
pilot alphageometric videotex service with 40 homes and 10 public
- ¶ June, Teletel, the French electronic telephone book, begins
wider trials. France orders 300,000 Minitel terminals.
- ¶ April 12, first flight of NASA's space shuttle Columbia. (Test
flight of shuttle Enterprise on February 18, 1977)
- ¶ April, formation of EUUG, the European Unix Users Group, later
- ¶ April, WFLD-TV in Chicago begins teletext transmissions. On
Sept. 4, it introduces Nite Owl, a full-channel, late-night service
that requires no decoder.
- ¶ March 26, La Parisien Libere, a French newspaper, produces its
first online edition on Teletel .
- ¶ Feb. 17, Time, Inc. announces it will develop and test a
multi-channel teletext service to be distributed via satellite, the
first of its kind.
- ¶ January, more than 200 computers are connected to CSNET.
- ¶ The fractal set. (cf 1967)
- ¶ A modified CSNET proposal, involving more universities, gets
- ¶ The Group 3 standard for digital facsimile transmission over
PSTN is issued by CCITT (ITU-T) (cf 1968, 1976). Transmitting a page
of text takes less than one minute. Scanning resolution is 200 lines
- ¶ RISC architecture. IBM successfully builds the first prototype
computer employing RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer)
architecture. Based on an invention by IBM scientist John Cocke in
the early 1970's, the RISC concept simplified the instructions given
to run computers, making them faster and more powerful.
- ¶ The FCC issues its Computer Inquiry II decision which
differentiated between basic and enhanced services. Basic services
- ¶ IBM begins assembling a team to design the PC. It contacts
Microsoft and Digital Research about creating an operating system.
Digital Research declines.
- ¶ The LAN/MAN Standards Committee IEEE 802 is formed. Among the
first standards is IEEE 802.3 Ethernet.
- ¶ Motorola is the first company to develop electronic engine
control modules, small computers that improve fuel efficiency and
reduce emissions. Electronic components for the automotive industry
become the first major market for Motorola microprocessors.
- ¶ Stratus is founded in
Maynard, Massachusetts, developing the VOS virtual operating system
and related high-availability server products. Many people leave the
Multics project at Honeywell CISL (Cambridge Information Systems
Laboratory) to join Stratus.
- ¶ The Brighton Argus, owned by Westminster Press, launches a
Prestel service called Viewpress.
- ¶ Netherlands, Krantel, a consortium of Dutch newspaper
publishers, is formed in May to explore videotex. Its service is
presented on Viditel. Meanwhile, in April, teletext service begins.
- ¶ Prestel is now within a local phone call for 62 percent of the
- ¶ Miami, Viewtron, the videotex service created by Knight-Ridder
and AT&T, begins "concept trials" near Miami.
- ¶ France, Teletel, the videotex system now called Minitel, is
- ¶ China begins development of an electronic phone book called
CTDE, or Chinese Telephone Directory Enquiry.
- ¶ The VCR is introducted by Matsushita. 40,000 U.S. homes will
have one within a year.
- ¶ The Source is purchased for $6 million by Reader's Digest. It
has fewer than 5,000 subscribers.
- ¶ "Intelmatique" is incorporated in France to sell its Teletel
technology to the rest of the world.
- ¶ Qube, the first two-way cable TV system, is started by Warner
Amex in Columbus, Ohio. It closes in 1984.
- ¶ Hungary, National videotex service begins test transmissions.
- ¶ X.25 service is introduced in Sweden, called Datapak.
- ¶ Pac-Man, a successful video game, is released.
- ¶ This year, Cable & Wireless transmits 219 million words by
telegraph (less than in 1929) and provides 176 million minutes of
outgoing telephone traffic.
- ¶ September, an article on VOS, the Virtual Operating System from
STUG, the Software Tools Users Group, appears in Communications of the
ACM. VOS was developed by Dennis Hall, Debbie Scherrer, and Joe
- ¶ August, In the Netherlands, Viditel public trials begin. System
goes commercial in 1982. Krantel provides about 300 pages per day and
gets 14,000 hits a month.
- ¶ July, The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio becomes the first newspaper
to offer an electronic edition via CompuServe, which now has 3,600
- ¶ June, Introduction of the Apple III computer
having a 2-MHz Motorola 6502A CPU, 4 kB ROM, 128 kB RAM expandable to
256 kB, 80x24 text screen, 590x192 B&W graphics screen, built-in
speaker and 143 kB 5.25" floppy. Priced at $4,500 to $8,000,
depending on configuration.
- ¶ June, Usenix meeting in Delaware.
- ¶ June 16, meeting of STUG, the Software Tools Users Group.
- ¶ June, Germany's first public trials of Bildschirmtext involve
6,000 terminals in Dusseldorf and Berlin. Three newspapers are among
- ¶ April 25, The Associated Press Videotex Wire begins
- ¶ March, Multics release 8.0.
- ¶ February, IBM introduces the IBM 5120 Computer System, having
typically 32 kB RAM, support for the BASIC programming language,
bidirectional matrix printer, diskette unit, priced between $9,340 to
- ¶ Two extremely successful early PC software programs, WordStar
and dBase II hit the market.
- ¶ Thin film recording heads. Instead of using hand-wound wire
structures as coils for inductive elements, IBM researchers substitute
thin film "wires" patterned by optical lithography. This leads to
higherperformance recording heads at reduced cost, and establishes
IBM's leadership in "areal density" - storing the most data in the
least space. The result is higher-capacity and higher-performance
- ¶ Motorola introduces its first 16-bit microprocessor, the
MC68000. Capable of completing two million calculations per second,
it is used both to run and to write programs for scientific, data
processing and business applications.
- ¶ After a year of testing, Fintel takes its company information
off Prestel to create a private database called Newsbase.
- ¶ Usenet newsgroups are communicated between the University of
North Carolina (UNC) and Duke University.
- ¶ GEC acquires Avery.
- ¶ Ethernet inventor Robert M. Metcalfe founds the 3Com Corporation.
- ¶ A best-selling book among computer programmers,
- Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach. An eternal golden
braid, New York : Basic books, 1979, ISBN 0-465-02685-0
- ¶ Infocast, a closed-user-group electronic mail service debuts in
the U.S. using FM radio signals and packet-switched networks for data
transmission. Euronet Diane (Direct Information Access Network for
Europe) opens late in the decade.
- ¶ Japan, The first cellular telephone network is built in Tokyo.
- ¶ The International Maritime Satellite Organization (Inmarsat) is
formed to provide communication and navigation services via satellite.
- ¶ Japan, Captain, an ambitious videotex system trial is launched
in December. The system can display some 3,500 characters of Japanese
- ¶ Sweden, Text-TV, a teletext system is implemented by Sveriges
Radio, and Televerket, a versatile videotex system are under
- ¶ Canada, Telidon, the Canadian answer to videotex, opens. The
system uses the Antiope standard.
- ¶ November, a group representing eleven universities, headed by
Larry Landweber at the University of Wisconsin, submits a proposal to
the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund building a Computer
Science Research Network (CSNET). The proposal is turned down.
- ¶ October, VisiCalc is released, the first spreadsheet calculation
- ¶ September, Prestel, the world's first commercial videotex
system, is launched. The system has 165,000 information pages the
same year. It operates until spring 1994. Trials had started already
in 1976. Prestel trials opened in the spring in Norwich and
Birmingham. (cf 1974)
- ¶ July 11, Skylab falls to Earth.
- ¶ June 20-23, Usenix meeting in Toronto.
- ¶ June 1, introduction of the Intel 8088 microprocessor, operating
at 4.77 MHz, having an 8 bit bus, 29,000 transistors, being able to
address 1 MB of memory.
- ¶ March, Multics release 7.0a, featuring the Emacs text editor.
- ¶ June, introduction of the Apple II+
computer, essentially the same design as the Apple II, but with 48 kB
RAM and improved ROM software.
- ¶ April 17, Knight-Ridder becomes the first U.S. newspaper
publisher to announce it will undertake a videotex project. It will be
- ¶ March, Multics release 7.0.
- ¶ January, seventh edition of the UNIX Time-Sharing System and its
- ¶ Hayes begins to sell the first commercial modem, capable of 300
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-7 is installed between New Jersey and
England, carrying 4,000 simultaneous telephone calls. The investment
was US$ 23,000 per voice channel. TAT-7 was retired in 1994.
- ¶ Philips and Sony unveil the music CD.
- ¶ Motorola introduces computer-controlled radio systems and
equipment that use the trunking method. Trunking helps radio
operators use crowded radio frequencies more efficiently.
- ¶ Cable & Wireless builds and operates a cellular telephone
network in Qatar, which it claims to be the world's first (cf Sweden
- ¶ Apple introduces the Apple II, the first computer in a beige
plastic case and first to display color graphics. Priced at $1,298.
- ¶ The Source is founded by William von Meister to do for computing
"what AT&T did for telephones." At around the same time, CompuServe
begins offering dialup services to the public.
- ¶ The first "hypermedia" presentation, the Aspen Movie Map, is created
by MIT researchers.
- ¶ This book describes much of what Internet has become fifteen
- Murray Turoff, Roxanne Hiltz, The Network Nation, 1978
- ¶ The first Swedish conferencing/forum system, KOM, is launched,
created by Jacob Palme and Torgny Tholerus, who quote Forum/Planet
(1971) and the work by Murray Turoff (1969, 1975) as their main
- ¶ The Swedish Personal Privacy in Comptuters Act (see 1973) is
used to forbid a forum/conferencing system from operating. In 1979,
it is allowed, but only if it does not permit discussions on politics
and religion and if it promises to erase all messages after two years
(personal mail must be erased within one month).
- ¶ Financial Times and Extel form partnership called Fintel to
deliver business information via Prestel.
- ¶ Salt Lake City, KSL-TV uses Ceefax software to start an
over-the-air teletext system. It was the first example of local
teletext creation in the U.S.
- ¶ CBS tests both Ceefax and Antiope software on KMOX-TV in St.
Louis. CBS settles on Antiope and starts a service on KNXT in Los
- ¶ Liverpool Post and Echo makes a brief appearance on Prestel.
- ¶ Eastern Counties Newspapers, a consortium, launches Eastel on
the Prestel service.
- ¶ Germany, Bildschirmtext, a videotex system based on Prestel
technology begins technical trials.
- ¶ Netherlands, Viditel, a national videotex service is introduced.
It's based on Britain's Prestel technology.
- ¶ Spain, Spanish Videotex Project enters trials with 200 terminals.
- ¶ Japan, NHK goes on the air with an experimental teletext system
late in the year.
- ¶ December, First trials of the French videotex (Minitel) begin in
Velizy, Versailles, Val de Bievre while electronic phone book is
tested in Ille et Vilaine.
- ¶ November, formation of NLUUG, the Netherlands Unix Users Group.
- ¶ October, Birmingham Post and Mail launches its Viewtel 202
service on Prestel.
- ¶ October, Prestel test service opens in London.
- ¶ October, IBM introduces System/38.
- ¶ September, Multics release 6.5, featuring support for video
- ¶ August, Telidon is first demonstrated in Canada.
- ¶ June 8, introduction of the Intel 8086 microprocessor, operating
at 4.77 MHz, having a 16 bit bus, 29,000 transistors, able to address
1 MB of memory.
- ¶ June, Trials begin of Finnish videotex system Telset. It goes
public in 1982 as the only non-government owned system in Europe.
- ¶ May 24-27, the UNIX USERS group is renamed USENIX, so not to conflict with any
trademark of Bell Laboratories.
- ¶ March, Field trials of the Japanese videotex system Captain
start in Tokyo. Among the services is an electronic newspaper.
- ¶ February 16, Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss launch a computer
Bulletin Board System in Chicago.
- ¶ January, IBM introduces the IBM 5110 computer, having 16K RAM expandable to 64K, 1024
character text screen, and diskette storage.
- ¶ International internetworking between the ARPAnet and packet
radio network SATNET is demonstrated by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.
- ¶ The Columbus-1 cable is installed between Agüimes, Canary
Island, Spain and Camurí, Venezuela, a distance of 5,200 km. It
operates at 14 MHz. Columbus-1 was retired in 1997.
- ¶ The Tandy TRS-80 computer is announced.
- ¶ The Commodore Pet computer is announced.
- ¶ The Apple
II computer is announced by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Based
on the 1 MHz Mostek 6502 CPU, 12 kB ROM, 4 kB RAM expandable to 64 kB,
40x48 text screen, 280x192 graphics screen, built-in speaker, optional
- ¶ First computerized word processor introduced by Wang
Laboratories. Priced at $30,000.
- ¶ First lightwave system is installed in Chicago, Illinois.
- ¶ Introduction of the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 personal computer.
- ¶ An experimental Motorola cellular phone system designed to
employ both portable and vehicular phones begins construction in the
neighboring cities of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.
- ¶ Photographs of Saturn taken by Voyager 1 are returned to Earth
over a distance of 1 billion miles. Voyagers 1 and 2 use Motorola
equipment as their primary communications link with Earth during their
12-year tour of the solar system.
- ¶ Several British newspapers begin experimenting with information
delivery via Prestel.
- ¶ Dow Jones opens Dow Jones News/Retrieval. It provides Wall
Street Journal articles and information on publicly held companies.
- ¶ Finland, Telset videotex system is announced.
- ¶ Spain's national telephone adminstration Telefonica creates the
videotex service Ibertex, which can connect with other countries using
Teletel or Prestel. Access is via a dedicated terminal or installing
a card in the computer.
- ¶ October, Multics release 6.0.
- ¶ July, the UNIX NEWS newsletter is renamed ;login:
- ¶ May 27, a Unix Colloquium in Glasgow marks the beginning of
UKUUG, the U.K. Unix Users Group.
- ¶ April, IBM introduces System/34.
- ¶ January 3, Apple Computer is founded.
- ¶ The Cray-1 supercomputer is presented.
- ¶ AT&T installs its first digital telephone switch.
- ¶ At the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), the TCP/IP
protocols are incorporated into Unix, in a DARPA-sponsored project.
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-6 is installed between Rhode Island and
France, carrying 4,000 simultaneous telephone calls. The investment
was US$ 24,500 per voice channel.TAT-6 was retired in 1994.
- ¶ A group at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
including Murray Turoff (see also 1969) launches Electronic
Information Exchange System (EIES), the first group communication
system specifically designed for dispersed scientific groups to work
together. EIES was an R&D system that led to the development of
The WELL and to the development of
the Participate System as well as influencing KOM's development (see
- ¶ An important book describing Ratfor and inspiring the formation
of STUG, the Software Tools Users Group,
- Brian W. Kernighan, P.J. Plauger, Software tools,
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, 1976 ISBN 0-201-03669-X
- ¶ The term "meme", describing an idea that lives and replicates on
its own, a parallel to the biological "gene", is coined in
See also A
Brief Overview and History of Memetics as presented by on the
website of the Journal of Memetics.
- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976
- ¶ A smart card (cf 1974) is developed by Cili Honeywell Bull, a
French computer company.
- ¶ The Group 2 standard for facsimile transmission over PSTN is
issued by CCITT (ITU-T) (cf 1968, 1980). The time for transmitting a
page is halfed to 3 minutes. Scanning density is 100 lines per inch.
- ¶ Detailed color photographs of the surface of Mars taken by the
Viking 2 spacecraft are transmitted to Earth by Motorola radio
- ¶ Gary Kildall and Dorothy McEwen form Digital Research Inc., in
Kildall's Pacific Grove, CA, toolshed. They market CP/M.
- ¶ The Merit Network (cf 1966) introduces the Hermes program that
allows text terminal users to select "which host?" before logging in.
- ¶ World exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (cf 1926, 1876)
- ¶ First known e-mail from a head of state: Elizabeth II, Queen of
the United Kingdom, sends a message via Prestel.
- ¶ Ethernet, which allows coaxial cable to move data extremely
fast, is described by Robert M. Metcalfe. This is a crucial component
in development of LANs. (cf 1973, 1979)
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard begins Project Capricorn, to build a computer-like calculator.
- ¶ (end) At Xerox, the Display Word Processing Task Force
reccommends that Xerox produce an office information system like the
Alto. Code name for the project is Janus.
- ¶ Advanced Micro Devices and Intel sign a patent cross-license
agreement, giving Advanced Micro Devices the right to copy Intel's
processor microcode and instruction codes.
- ¶ Xerox management rejects two proposals to market the Alto
- ¶ Fairchild introduces the Channel F, the first programmable (via
plug-in cartridges) home video game system. Price: US$170.
- ¶ At Xerox, John Ellenby proposes they build the Alto III, to be
marketed as an advanced word processing system. The proposal is
- ¶ Processor Technology releases VDM, a video display module. It
works on the Altair, IMSAI, Sol, Polymorphic computers, and any other
with an S-100 bus.
- ¶ Dynalogic of Canada creates its own advanced microcomputer.
- ¶ Gary Kildall founds Intergalactic Digital Research.
- ¶ Kentucky Fried Computers is founded.
- ¶ Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow" TV show features the Sol computer,
playing a game called "Target".
- ¶ John Martin sells Bill Millard on the idea of a chain of
computer stores. Bill promises John shares in the company in exchange
for the idea. The chain later becomes ComputerLand.
- ¶ U.S. Robotics is founded, in Skokie, Illinois.
- ¶ MOS Technology ships the 6502 microprocessor. The 6502 was
developed by Chuck Peddle.
- ¶ MOS Technology Inc. announces the KIM-1 Microcomputer System,
with 1-MHz 6502 CPU, 1KB RAM, 2KB ROM monitor, 23-key keypad, LED
readout, cassette and serial interfaces, for US$245.
- ¶ Chuck Peddle designs the Commodore PET.
- ¶ MITS unveils the Altair 680, based on the Motorola 6800
- ¶ Steve Wozniak proposes that Hewlett-Packard create a personal
computer. Steve Jobs proposes the same to Atari. Both are rejected.
- ¶ Warner Communications buys Atari from Nolan Bushnell for US$26
- ¶ Lore Harp and Carole Ely form Vector Graphic Incorporated,
selling memory boards for S-100 bus systems.
- ¶ George Morrow founds MicroStuf.
- ¶ The first issue of Dr. Dobbs is published.
- ¶ IMS is renamed IMSAI and begins shipping the IMSAI 8080.
- ¶ Polymorphic Systems introduces the Poly morphic 8800. It is the
first microcomputer with an interface for a video monitor, a
connection for a cassette tape recorder, and its basic operating
system in ROM.
- ¶ Stephen Wozniak demonstrates the Apple I at the Homebrew
- ¶ The bus of the Altair is named (or renamed) the S-100 bus.
- ¶ December, The United States FCC rules that a portion of the TV
signal can be used for teletext.
- ¶ December, Bill Gates drops out of Harvard.
- ¶ December, Michael Shrayer completes writing Electric Pencil, the
first popular word-processing program for microcomputers.
- ¶ December, Shugart announces its 5.25 inch "minifloppy" disk
drive for US$390.
- ¶ December, Dick Wilcox demonstrates his Alpha Micro, a multi-user
CPU board, at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club.
- ¶ December, Multics release 5.0, capable of addressing 4 megawords
- ¶ December, Don French and Steve Leininger are given official
approval to develop and sell a microcomputer for Radio Shack.
- ¶ December, Steve Wozniak and Randy Wigginton demonstrate the
first prototype Apple II at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting.
- ¶ November, The tradename "Microsoft" is registered.
- ¶ November, ComputerLand opens a pilot store in Hayward,
California, as a retail outlet and a training facility for franchise
- ¶ November, Paul Allen resigns from MITS.
- ¶ October, Commodore International buys MOS Technology.
- ¶ October, Mike Markkula, ex-marketing wizard at Intel, visits
Steve Jobs' garage, to see the Apple computers.
- ¶ October, Steve Wozniak decides to remain at Hewlett-Packard, but
is soon convinced that he should leave and join Apple Computer
- ¶ October, Confer (cf 1975) and MTS (cf 1967) are used in support
of a conference of the International Society for Technology
- ¶ September, Computer Shack is incorporated. The name is later
changed to ComputerLand, due to objections from Radio Shack.
- ¶ August, Paul Terrell receives his order for 50 Apple computers.
- ¶ August, iCOM advertises their "Frugal Floppy" in BYTE magazine,
an 8-inch floppy drive, selling for US$1200.
- ¶ August, Several computer hobbyist clubs hold their first
convention at the Personal Computing Festival, in Atlantic City, New
- ¶ August, Steve Wozniak begins work on the Apple II.
- ¶ July, The Apple I computer board is sold in kit form, and
delivered to stores by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Price: US$666.66.
- ¶ July, Paul Terrell orders 50 Apple computers from Steve Jobs,
for his Byte Shop.
- ¶ July, Zilog releases the 2.5-MHz Z80, an 8-bit microprocessor
whose instruction set is a superset of the Intel 8080.
- ¶ July, Micom Data Systems ships its first product, the Micom 2000
word processing computer.
- ¶ July, MTS (cf 1967) is installed at Rensselaer Polytechnic
- ¶ July, Multics release 4.0, featuring the new storage system.
- ¶ June, The Western Digital MCP-1600 3-chip CPU appears.
- ¶ June, Texas Instruments introduces the TMS9900, the first 16-bit
microprocessor. The microprocessor implemented Texas Instrument's
16-bit architecture on the TI 990 minicomputer.
- ¶ June, The Midwest Area Computer Club conference is held.
- ¶ June, Wang Laboratories announces a word-processing system using
advanced computer technology, rather than traditional
electromechanical devices. The price is US$30,000, more than twice
that of the most expensive competitor's word-processor.
- ¶ June, Processor Technology unveils the Sol-20 to the public at
PC '76 at the Shelbourne Hotel in Atlantic City. It is sold in kit
form, using the Intel 8080 CPU.
- ¶ May, Digital Research copyrights CP/M, its industry-standard
microcomputer operating system, created by company founder Gary
- ¶ May, The Trenton Computer Festival is held, in New Jersey.
- ¶ April, National Semiconductor releases the SC/MP 8-bit
microprocessor, providing early advanced multiprocessing
- ¶ April 1, Steve Jobs and Mike Wozniak incorporate Apple Computer
and introduce the Apple I. Based on the 1 MHz Mostek 6502 CPU, 8 kB RAM expandable
to 32 kB, 40x24 text screen, optional floppy. Priced at $666.66.
- ¶ March, by the end of its first year in business, Micom Data
Systems ships 180 Micom 2000 computers, worth $2 million.
- ¶ March, the first World Altair Computer Convention is held in
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- ¶ March, Paul Terrell incorporates Byte, Inc.
- ¶ March, Multics release 3.1.
- ¶ March, Intel introduces the 8085 microprocessor, operating at 5
MHz, performing 370,000 instructions per second, having 6,500
transistors, based on 3-micron technology, an 8-bit bus. Operates on
a single 5-volt power supply.
- ¶ February, Bill Gates write software routines for BASIC on the
Altair to use diskettes for storage.
- ¶ February, Lee Felsenstein and Bob Marsh deliver the first
Processor Technology Sol computer to Popular Electronics magazine
publisher Les Solomon.
- ¶ February, David Bunnell publishes an open letter from Bill Gates
to the microcomputer hobbyists, complaining of software piracy.
- ¶ February, Japan's NHK publishes a proposal for a text television
- ¶ February, Multics MSS 28.0 is released, featuring a new storage
- ¶ February 10, third issue of UNIX NEWS.
- ¶ January 13, First public demonstration of "Viewdata," later renamed
Prestel (cf 1974, 1979).
- ¶ January, David Jackson founds Altos Computer Systems.
- ¶ January, Paul Terrell begins signing dealership agreements,
allowing Byte Shop franchises to open elsewhere in the US.
- ¶ At a Nordic telecom conference, the committee on the Nordic Mobile
Telephone network from 1969 presents its report, and it is decided to
start tests, aiming towards an operational network in 1981.
- ¶ The ARPAnet connects 61 nodes.
- ¶ 90,000 Swedish vehicles have communication radios mounted.
- ¶ Amdahl introduces its first model, the 470 computer, after Gene
Amdahl left IBM to found his own company in 1970.
- ¶ The European Space Agency (ESA) is founded by merging two
- ¶ This book contains a set of articles dealing with group
communications technology to carry out Group Decision Support Systems
using the delphi approach (see also 1969, 1971):
- Murray Turoff, The Delphi Method, 1975
- ¶ The Confer conferencing system is introduced on the MTS system
at the University of Michigan, architected by psychology grad student
Bob Parnes, with topics like MNET:Caucus, USER:Forum, CRLT:Micros,
where CRLT means Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. Confer
was later commercialized by Advertel Communication Systems, Inc.,
founded by Bob Parnes. In 1993 or 1994, Confer on MTS was replaced by
Confer U on Unix. The U-M instance of Confer U was shut down in 1999.
- ¶ France, An ambitious project to update the telephone system is
begun. Leads to creation of electronic phone book, mass-fax and
videotex systems (Minitel).
- ¶ Canada begins development of Telidon, an advanced videotex
- ¶ Cromemco is founded, by Harry Garland and Roger Melen. The
company is named after the Crowthers Memorial dorm at Stanford.
- ¶ IMSAI (or IMS) announces the IMSAI 8080 microcomputer.
- ¶ Manhattan Cable Television, first in New York City, opens
prompting Reuters to start "Newsview," a teletext news service on two
- ¶ Canadian microchip maker Microsystems International shuts down,
after accumulating losses of over $50 million.
- ¶ Microcomputer Associates releases the JOLT computer kit.
- ¶ MITS begins work on a Motorola 6800-based Altair.
- ¶ Southwest Technical Products releases the M6800 computer kit.
- ¶ Sphere Corporation introduces its Sphere I computer kit,
featuring a Motorola 6800 CPU, 4KB RAM, ROM monitor, keyboard, and
video interface, for US$650.
- ¶ Wavemate releases the Jupiter II computer kit.
- ¶ Zilog is founded.
- ¶ December, Paul Terrell opens the Byte Shop, in Mountain View,
California, one of the first computer stores in the US.
- ¶ December, Lee Felsenstein and Bob Marsh begin work on a complete
computer, 8080-based with a keyboard and color video display
- ¶ October, MITS releases a version of MicroSoft BASIC 2.0 for its
Altair 8800, in 4K and 8K editions.
- ¶ October 8, second issue of UNIX NEWS.
- ¶ September, IBM introduces the IBM 5100 portable computer ("Project Mercury"), having 16K RAM
expandable to 64K, priced between $8,975 and $19,975, featuring the IBM 5100 data cartridge tape, storing 204 kB on 300 feet of 1/4
inch tape. The IBM 5100 was discontinued in March 1982.
- ¶ September, the first issue of Byte magazine is published,
founded by Wayne Green.
- ¶ September, Multics release 3.0, featuring a COBOL-74 compiler.
- ¶ July 30, first issue of UNIX NEWS.
- ¶ July, IBM introduces Winchester disk drive 3344 (280 megabytes),
and disk drive 3350 (317 megabytes). Lease prices amount to $2.86 and
$2.37 per megabyte per month, respectively.
- ¶ July, Bill Gates and Paul Allen sign a licensing agreement with
MITS, for their implementation of the BASIC language.
- ¶ July, Bill Gates and Paul Allen ship 4K and 8K version of BASIC
- ¶ July, Dick Heiser opens Arrow Head Computer Company, subtitled
"The Computer Store", in Los Angeles, selling assembled Altairs,
boards, peripherals, and magazines. This is the first retail computer
store in the USA.
- ¶ July, Micom Data Systems ships its first product, the Micom 2000
word processing computer.
- ¶ June, MOS Technology announces the MC6501 at US$20 and the
MC6502 at US$25. At this point, the Intel 8080 costs about US$150.
- ¶ June, Bob Marsh delivers the first Processor Technology 4KB
memory boards for the Altair.
- ¶ June, The Southern California Computer Society is formed.
- ¶ June, The National Computer Conference is held in Anaheim,
- ¶ June, at Xerox, John Ellenby proposes they build the Alto II, a
modified Alto, making it easier to produce, more reliable, amd more
easily maintained. His request is approved.
- ¶ June, Paul Terrell signs a deal with MITS in which Terrell would
receive a 5% commission on every Altair sold in Northern California,
for promoting and selling the Altair.
- ¶ June, Multics release 2.2.
- ¶ June 18, meeting of Unix users at the City University of New
York draws 40 people representing 20 installations.
- ¶ May, the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey is formed.
- ¶ May, sixth edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual.
- ¶ April, The 3rd meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club is held.
- ¶ April, MITS delivers the first generally-available Altair 8800,
sold for US$375 with 1KB memory.
- ¶ April, Micro-Soft (the hyphen is later dropped) is founded by
Bill Gates, 19, and Paul Allen, 22, in Gates' dorm room at Harvard.
Its first product is BASIC, a simple programming language, licensed to
MITS for the Altair. (cf 1972)
- ¶ April, Bob Marsh and Gary Ingram found Processor Technology.
- ¶ March, Fred Moore and Gordon French hold the first meeting of a
new microcomputer hobbyist's club in French's garage, in Menlo Park,
California. 32 people meet, including Bob Albrect, Steve Dompier, Lee
Felsenstein, Bob Marsh, Tom Pittman, Marty Spergel, Alan Baum, and
Steven Wozniak. Bob Albrect shows off an Altair, and Steve Dompier
reports on MITS, and how they had 4000 orders for the Altair.
- ¶ March, Stephen Dorsey, founder of Automatic Electronic Systems,
sells his 25% of the company for $135,000.
- ¶ March, Stephen Dorsey and Louis Miller found Micom Data Systems,
- ¶ March, Ed Roberts hires Paul Allen as director of software at
- ¶ March, Multics release 2.1.
- ¶ February, Bill Gates and Paul Allen license their newly written
BASIC to MITS, their first customer. This is the first computer
language program written for a personal computer.
- ¶ February, The Xerox PARC-developed Gypsy word-processing system
is first field-tested by end-users. Gypsy is one of the first word
processors termed "WYSIWYG", meaning what you see is what you get.
Gypsy runs on the PARC-developed Alto personal computer.
- ¶ January, Multics release 2.0.
- ¶ First Use of term "Internet" appears in a conference paper by
Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn.
- ¶ Canadian Trans-Atlantic Telephonic cable CANTAT-2 is installed
between Nova Scotia and England, carrying 1,840 simultaneous telephone
calls. CANTAT-2 was retired in 1992.
- ¶ Licklider returns as head of IPTO.
- ¶ The ARPAnet moves 3 million packets a day.
- ¶ Ethernet is demonstrated at Xerox PARC, connecting the new Alto
- ¶ Xerox releases the Alto computer.
- ¶ Gary Kildall and John Torode begin selling the CP/M disk
operating system for microcomputers.
- ¶ French journalist Roland Moreno invents the "smart card", a
credit card with a microprocessing chip.
- ¶ IBM introduces the IBM 3850 Mass Storage System, storing small
cartridges containing spools of magnetic tape in a "honeycomb" cell
structure. Each spool stores 50 MB for a system total up to 472 GB.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the MC6800 microprocessor, containing 4,000
transistors, having an 8-bit bus, used in microcomputers and
industrial and automotive control devices. The 6800 was designed by
Chuck Peddle and Charlie Melear.
- ¶ Motorola's television business, including the Quasar trademark,
is purchased by Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, Ltd. Motorola
focuses its efforts on semiconductor and wireless products and
- ¶ RCA releases the 1802 processor, running at a blazing 6.4
MHz. It is considered one of the first RISC chips. It is used on a
variety of devices, from video games to NASA space probes.
- ¶ GEC acquires Yarrow Shipbuilders.
- ¶ The Eastern Telecommunications Philippine Inc. is formed by
Cable & Wireless and Philippine interests. This company took over
the assets of the EEA&C (cf 1873).
- ¶ The British Post Office's Research Laboratory demonstrates
"Viewdata," the world's first videotex system, later called
Prestel. (cf 1976, 1979) Videotex was an online system using special
home terminals connected with 75/1200 baud modems to a central
computer running all the services. The entire system was owned by the
national telephone administration (except the US systems). A Swedish
book that documents this development is:
- Tomas Ohlin, Videotex, Riksdataförbundet, 1986, ISBN
- ¶ Book:
- Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities,
- ¶ The U.S. Department of Justice files an antitrust suit against
AT&T, finally settled in January 1982 when AT&T agreed to
divest itself of the wholly owned Bell operating companies that
provided local exchange service.
- ¶ Southwest Technical Products Company introduces the TVT-11 kit
for US$180, and ASCII keyboard kit for US$40.
- ¶ December, The microcomputer age takes off when Popular
Electronics publishes a cover story on the Altair 8800, a
lights-and-switches computer that costs $439 in kit form. It uses the
Intel 8080 processor.
- ¶ December, Scelbi sells its last Scelbi-8H, discontinuing
hardware to concentrate on software.
- ¶ November, Hal Chamberlin and others begin publishing The
Computer Hobbyist magazine.
- ¶ September, Creative Computing, the first magazine for home
computerists, is founded.
- ¶ September, Hal Singer starts the Micro-8 Newsletter for
enthusiasts of the Mark-8.
- ¶ September, Bravo is developed for the Xerox Alto computer. It is
the first WYSIWYG program for a personal computer.
- ¶ September, despite being US$300,000 in debt, Ed Roberts is able
to borrow an additional US$65,000 from the bank to complete work on
what would be the Altair.
- ¶ August, MITS completes the first prototype Altair 8800
- ¶ July, Radio Electronics magazine publishes an article on
building a Mark-8 microcomputer, designed by Jonathan Titus, using the
- ¶ June, Intel receives a patent for a "memory system for a
multichip digital computer".
- ¶ June, fifth edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual.
- ¶ June, Multics release 1.0 (unlike the internal MSS versions,
these are official release numbers), featuring the BASIC programming
language. During the spring, Multics systems have been installed at
Ford and General Motors.
- ¶ May 15, UNIX Users Meeting organized by Lou Katz, Columbia
- ¶ May, the first MTS (cf 1967) workshop is held at the University
of British Columbia.
- ¶ April 1, introduction of the Intel 8080 microprocessor,
operating at 2 MHz, performing 640,000 instructions per second, having
an 8 bit bus, 6,000 transistors, based on 6-micron technology, able to
address 64 kbytes of memory.
- ¶ January, Multics MSS 22.0 is released.
- ¶ A PhD thesis lays the foundation for the author's
invention of the Ethernet at Xerox PARC. Republished:
- Robert M. Metcalfe, Packet Communication, May 1996,
Peer to Peer Communications, ISBN 1573980331.
- ¶ The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is presented at the
International Networking Group (INWG) conference in England.
- ¶ In trying to connect other networks to the ARPAnet, Bob Kahn and
Vint Cerf try to design a network-to-network connection protocol.
- ¶ First international connections to Arpanet are created in
England and Norway.
- ¶ TV station WGBH in Boston, MA, begins same-day teletext
captioning of news programs.
- ¶ Sweden as the first country in the world adopts a Personal
Privacy in Comptuters Act ("Datalag"), which forbids use of computers
for exchange of messages containing information about identifiable
individual persons, except with special permission and for special
- ¶ New York Times Information Service provides online search of six
databases via telephone access.
- ¶ Gary Kildall of Microcomputer Applications Associates creates
PL/M for the Intel 8008, based on PL/I. He then (in 1974?) writes a
simple operating system in his PL/M language and calls it CP/M
- ¶ Scelbi Computer Consulting Company offers the first computer kit
in the U.S. using a microprocessor, the Intel 8008-based Scelbi-8H,
for US$565, with 1KB programmable memory. An additional 15KB is
available for US$2760.
- ¶ Bill Millard founds IMS (renamed IMSAI in 1976).
- ¶ Michael Cowpland and Terence Matthews found Mitel, in Canada.
- ¶ December 1, University of California (Berkeley) signs a contract
with Western Electric (Bell Labs) for UNIX version 5. This would be
the origin of BSD UNIX.
- ¶ December, the Honeywell 6180 computer running Multics is
connected to the ARPAnet as host No. 44.
- ¶ November, fourth edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual.
- ¶ October 15-17, at the fourth ACM Symposium on Operating Systems
(SOSP) held at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown
Heights, New York, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie present a paper on
UNIX. The paper was published in the July 1974 issue of
Communications of the ACM.
- ¶ July 20, CTSS is turned off at MIT.
- ¶ June, the term "microcomputer" first appears in print, in
reference to the Micral.
- ¶ May, Design work is completed on the Micral, the first non-kit
computer based on a microprocessor (the Intel 8008). Built in France,
the Micral is advertised in the U.S., but is not successful there.
- ¶ May 14, NASA launches Skylab I.
- ¶ April, Oracle, a competing teletext system, is described by
Britain's Independent Broadcasting Authority.
- ¶ March, IBM introduces the Winchester disk drive, the 3340. It
does not use removable disk packs, but the fixed disks and read/write
heads are contained in an airtight cartridge. The recording head
rides on a layer of air 18 millionths of an inch thick. Model 35
stores 35 megabytes, model 70 twice as much.
- ¶ March, the first prototype Alto workstation computer is turned
on at Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center. Its first screen display is a
bitmapped image of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster. The
first operational Alto computer is completed in April.
- ¶ February, third edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual. The
number of Unix installations has grown to 16, with more expected. All
installed sites are within AT&T and Western Electric (AT&T's
manufacturing subsidiary). The system is now largely rewritten in C.
- ¶ January 17, Multics and Honeywell 6180 are announced at the
Boston Museum of Science.
- ¶ January, Intel files a patent application for a "memory system
for a multichip digital computer".
- ¶ January, First public demonstration of the Ceefax system, takes
place in London.
- ¶ January, the Internet connects 30 sites. (How many hosts?)
- ¶ The SmallTalk programming language and environment is designed
at Xerox PARC.
- ¶ Gary Kildall implements PL/I on the Intel 4004 processor.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard introduces the world's first handheld scientific
calculator, the HP 35. HP also branches into business computing with
the HP 3000 minicomputer, which introduces the era of distributed data
- ¶ Canada launches world's first geostationary (domestic)
satellite, ANIK I.
- ¶ First TV program ever captioned with teletext: Julia Child's
"The French Chef."
- ¶ 5.25 inch diskettes / floppy disks first appear.
- ¶ Steve Wozniak, later cofounder of Apple, this year builds a
"blue box" tone generator that cancels the toll ticketing in AT&T's
long distance network.
- ¶ Bill Gates and Paul Allen form the Traf-O-Data company. They
had developed an 8008-based computer hardware/software system for
recording automobile traffic flow on a highway.
- ¶ Ray Tomlinson of BBN writes an e-mail program for the ARPAnet
and introduces the notation "user@host".
- ¶ ITT's first installation of a stored program computer controlled
automatic telephone exchange, the Metaconta system.
- ¶ Ericsson (or Siemens-Halske?) introduces a carrier frequency
system using coaxial cables, transfering 10,800 channels (cf 1950,
1959). Optical fibers exist in laboratories, but are not yet ready
for large scale use.
- ¶ By doping quartz glass with germanium, researchers at Corning
(cf 1970) makes a optic fiber with an attenuation of only 4 dB per
kilometer. (cf 1986)
- ¶ Texas Instruments introduces the TMS1000 one-chip
microcomputer. It integrates 1KB ROM and 32 bytes of RAM with a simple
- ¶ National Semiconductor introduces the IMP-16 microprocessor.
- ¶ Canada's Automatic Electronic Systems introduces the world's
first programmable word processor with a video screen, the AES 90. The
computer system uses magnetic disks for storage, and a custom-built
- ¶ December, Multics MSS 18.0 is released.
- ¶ November, Atari is founded by Nolan Bushnell and ships Pong, the
first commercial video game.
- ¶ November, researchers at Xerox PARC begin work on a prototype
Alto personal computer.
- ¶ October, in Washington, DC, the ARPAnet is demonstrated for the
public at the International Conference on Computer Communication
(ICCC). The demo is a success.
- ¶ October 23, Ceefax is announced by the BBC, which outlines a
series of tests to be conducted.
- ¶ October, the first issue of People's Computer Company is
- ¶ August, IBM introduces System/370 models 158 and 168 featuring
- ¶ August, Scelbi Computer Consulting Company begins design work on
what would be the Scelbi-8H microcomputer.
- ¶ June 12, in the second edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual,
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie write "the number of UNIX
installations has grown to 10, with more expected". The C programming
language is developed by Ritchie. For more UNIX history, see
- Peter H Salus, A Quarter Century of UNIX,
Addison-Wesley, 1994, ISBN 0-201-54777-5
- ¶ April 1, introduction of the Intel 8008 microprocessor,
operating at 200 kHz, performing 60,000 instructions per second,
having an 8 bit bus, 3,500 transistors based on 10-micron technology,
able to address 16 kBytes of memory. The processor was originally
developed for Computer Terminal Corporation (later called Datapoint).
- ¶ March 15, date of the first UNIX manual page for cc, the C
- ¶ February 9, Patent application for teletext is filed by the BBC in
London. (cf 1971)
- ¶ Swedish Telecom (Televerket) opens its third mobile telephone
network, MTD, where subscribers bought their own equipment from
competing manufacturers, rather than renting it from the telco. The
system had 2,400 subscribers and 58 base stations in 1974. In 1980,
there were 19,300 subscribers and 110 base stations.
- ¶ The NWG specifies Telnet and FTP.
- ¶ Commission of the European Community passes resolution to create
a network to be called Euronet.
- ¶ Recording company PolyGram is formed by DGG/PPI. (cf 1962)
- ¶ The first U.S. teletext system is tested in Reston, VA, by
Mitre Corp. Funded by the National Science Foundation, it closes in
- ¶ Paul Catrucci is awarded U.S. patent 3,702,464 for an
information card for credit and accounting system having monolithic or
solid state memory for storage of information responsive to computer
controlled systems. This is a credit card with memory, not a smart
card (cf 1974).
- ¶ The lunar roving vehicle uses a Motorola FM radio receiver to
provide a voice link over the 240,000 miles between Earth and the
moon. The receiver is 100 times more sensitive than a standard car
radio, but it weights only 1.5 pounds.
- ¶ Ericsson's first international installation of a stored program
computer controlled automatic telephone exchange, in Rotterdam.
- ¶ Institute of the Future launches Forum/Planet, one of
the first forum/computer conferencing systems.
- ¶ Murray Turoff implements the EMISARI (Emergency Management
Information Systems and Reference Index), the first real world group
communications systems to allow a group to collaborate in the managing
of a major effort, in this case the 1971 wage price freeze. See also
- ¶ Speech recognition. IBM achieves its first operational
application of speech recognition, which enables engineers servicing
equipment to talk to, and receive spoken answers from a computer that
can recognize about 5,000 words.
- ¶ Direct telephone dialing as opposed to operator assisted calling
begins between parts of US and Europe.
- ¶ The National Radio Institute introduces the first computer kit,
for US$ 503.
- ¶ The Kenback Corporation introduces the Kenback-1 computer, for
US$750. It uses a 1KB MOS memory made by Intel.
- ¶ Niklaus Wirth invents the Pascal programming language.
- ¶ Texas Instruments develops the first microcomputer-on-a-chip,
containing over 15,000 transistors.
- ¶ IBM introduces the "memory disk", or "floppy disk", an 8-inch
floppy plastic disk coated with iron oxide.
- ¶ Wang Laboratories introduces the Wang 1200 word processor
- ¶ Intel introduces the 1101 chip, a 256-bit programmable memory,
and the 1701 chip, a 256-byte erasable read-only memory (EROM).
- ¶ November 15, introduction of the Intel 4004 microprocessor, the
world's first computer on a chip, operating at 108 kHz, performing
60,000 operations per second, having a 4 bit bus, 2,300 transistors on
a 3 x 4 mm die, based on 10-micron technology, able to address 640
bytes of memory. Initial price is US$200. Documentation manuals were
written by Adam Osborne. The chip is introduced to the public in Las
Vegas by Wayne Pickette. Intel also announces the first
microcomputer, the MCS-4 system. It uses the 4004 microprocessor, 4001
ROM chip, 4002 RAM chip, and 4003 shift register chip.
- ¶ November 3, first edition of the UNIX Programmer's Manual by
K. Thompson and D. M. Ritchie.
- ¶ October, the GE 645 running Multics is connected to ARPAnet as
host No. 6.
- ¶ August, the newly developed device, the EPROM, is integrated
with the 4004 to Enhance Development Cycles of microprocessor product.
- ¶ (summer) Steve Wozniak and Bill Fernandez build a computer with
lights and switches, from parts rejected by local companies. They call
it the Cream Soda Computer.
- ¶ June, Gary Boone, of Texas Instruments, files a patent
application relating to a single-chip computer.
- ¶ May, IBM introduces the 3270 Information Display System. The
3270 system was withdrawn from marketing in October 1977, but the 3270
synchronous terminal standard lives on in emulation.
- ¶ May, IBM decommits from the TSS/360 timesharing system for the
- ¶ May, IBM introduces the "fixed term plan", offering to reduce
prices on disk drives (where IBM faces competition from Memorex and
other companies) in exchange longer lease contract cancellation terms.
This measure creates a lock-in effect that is used to increase prices
- ¶ April, a coaxial telephone cable is laid between Bermuda and
Canada, carrying 480 simultaneous telephone calls.
- ¶ April, Multics MSS 15.0 is released.
- ¶ February 9, the BBC files for a patent on "Teledata," the first
teletext system, later renamed Ceefax.
- ¶ February, Intel ships copies of the 4004 microprocessor to
Busicom. Intel (month unknown) manages to renegotiate its contract
with ETI, gaining Intel the right to market the 4004 microprocessor
- ¶ January, the ARPAnet has 14 connected nodes and five more join
during this year.
- ¶ January, MTS (cf 1967) is installed at Wayne State University.
- ¶ January 21-22, a Multics Symposium is organized at MIT.
- ¶ January, Multics MSS 14.0 is released.
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-5 is installed between Rhode Island and
Spain, carrying 845 voice circuits. The investment was US$ 49,000 per
voice channel. TAT-5 was retired in 1993.
- ¶ In the fall, glass maker Corning announces they have
successfully made a quartz glass fiber useful for long distance
communication (cf 1966). Researchers Maurer, Keck, Schultz, and Zimar
had achieved to make a fiber with 17 dB optic attenuation per
kilometer by doping quartz glass with titanium.
- ¶ One node is added to the ARPAnet each month.
- ¶ Robert Metcalfe builds a high-speed (100 kbit/s) network
interface between the MIT IMP and a PDP-6 to the ARPANET.
- ¶ Gene Amdahl leaves IBM to found Amdahl corporation, with the
intention to manufacture IBM System/360 compatible mainframes. The
first system is delivered in 1975.
- ¶ The world's first installation of a digital telephony system in
Lannison, France. Note that the development of digital audio
telephony systems and computer controlled telephone exchanges are two
separate paths. Computers can control relays that switch analog
- ¶ Relational databases. IBM scientist Ted Codd published a paper
introducing the concept of relational databases.
- ¶ The "Japan World Exposition (Expo '70)", held in Osaka, Japan,
attracts 64 million visitors.
- ¶ This year, Cable & Wireless transmits 547 million words by
telegraph (less than in 1950) and provides 21.5 million minutes of
outgoing telephone traffic.
- ¶ Global steel consumption 460 million tonnes
- ¶ December, the first version of the Network Control Protocol
(NCP) is specified by the NWG. This is the precursor of TCP/IP.
- ¶ December, Information Sciences contacts Bill Gates and Paul
Allen, offering them PDP-10 computer time in exchange for their
- ¶ December, Gilbert Hyatt files a patent application entitled
"Single Chip Integrated Circuit Computer Architecture", the first
basic patent on the microprocessor.
- ¶ December, UNIX is ported to the DEC PDP-11 at Bell Labs.
- ¶ December, Multics MSS 12.0 and 13.0 are released.
- ¶ November, Multics MSS 11.0 is released.
- ¶ October, at Intel, Wayne Pickette proposes to Ted Hoff the idea
of building a computer-on-a-chip for the Busicom project. (cf October
- ¶ October, Multics MSS 10.0 is released.
- ¶ September, MTS (cf 1967) is installed at the University of
- ¶ August, the first sold Multics is installed at RADC, the Rome
Air Development Center in Rome, New York.
- ¶ August, Multics MSS 9.0 is released, featuring directory control
and user control.
- ¶ June 26, the U.S. FCC announces its plans for regulating the
cable television industry.
- ¶ June, Multics MSS 8.0 is released, featuring pre-paging and
- ¶ June, Xerox opens the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
- ¶ May or December, Honeywell buys the General Electric computer
division, which becomes the Honewell Large Information Systems
- ¶ May, the first Multics talk is held at GESHUA XI (the 11th
meeting of the General Electric Six Hundred series Users' Association)
- ¶ April, Wayne Pickette (cf May 1968) takes his computer-on-a-chip
design to Intel, and is hired, began working for Dr. Ted Hoff.
- ¶ March, Xerox announces that it will create a computer laboratory
to research digital technology.
- ¶ March 28, DEC introduces the PDP-11, having 16 bit words, and
the Unibus for attaching peripherals. Over 250,000 units are sold in
a big variety of configurations.
- ¶ March, Multics MSS 6.0 is released, featuring a revised command
loop (shell). MSS 7.0 features a rewritten page control (swapping).
- ¶ Ken Thompson and his colleagues at Bell Labs start implementing
the UNIX operating system on a PDP-7, later moved to PDP-11.
- ¶ Bill Gates and Paul Allen, calling themselves the "Lakeside
Programming Group" sign an agreement with Computer Center Corporation
to report bugs in PDP-10 software, in exchange for computer time.
- ¶ Microsystems International is incorporated to manufacture
microchips. The company was formerly the Advanced Devices Centre of
Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company (Canada).
- ¶ The South Atlantic cable, SAT-1, is installed between
Melkbosstrand, South Africa; Sal, Cape Vert Island; St. Cruz, Tenerife
Island; and Sesimbra, Portugal, a distance of 10,787 km. It carries
360 simultaneous telephone calls. SAT-1 was retired in 1993.
- ¶ At a Nordic telecom conference, it is agreed to coordinate
research activities towards next generation mobile telephone
networks. A committee is formed, and work continues throughout the
- ¶ Motorola's new portable two-way radio is one-half the size and
weight of its predecessor. The model HT220 Handie-Talkie radio uses
just two specially designed integrated circuits to replace 51 discrete
- ¶ CompuServe Information Service launches in Columbus, Ohio, as a
computer time-sharing service.
- ¶ Dialog, an online database provider, is launched in Palo Alto,
CA, by Lockheed Corp with a single database. By 1982 it grows to 200
databases containing over 70 million records.
- ¶ A lecture on "The Architecture of Complexity", held in 1968 (the
high-water mark of the classical hierarchical organization) is
- Herbert A. Simon (ed.), The Sciences of the Artificial,
1969, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
- ¶ Murray Turoff
designs, implements, and demonstrates Delphi, the world's first ever
group communication / conferencing system. See also the web site for Roxanne
- ¶ Intel announces a 1 kilobit RAM chip, which has a significantly
larger capacity than any previously produced memory chip.
- ¶ Gary Starkweather, at Xerox's research facility in Webster, New
York, demonstrates using a laser beam with the xerography process to
create a laser printer.
- ¶ December, Multics MSS 5.0 is released.
- ¶ December, Memorex introduces an IBM 2314-compatible disk drive,
ready to ship one year later. As a countermeasure, IBM changes the
interface to its disk drives.
- ¶ October, 25th, the first host-to-host connection is made between
the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Stanford
Research Institute (SRI), through the IMPs developed by BBN. In the
preparations for this event, Vint Cerf, Steve Crocker, and Jon
Postel at UCLA have formed the Network Working Group (NWG) and written
the first Request for Comments (RFC) document.
- ¶ October, Multics goes into public use at MIT. This is MSS 4.0
(Multics Standard System version 4) featuring a new PL/1 compiler and
new "traffic control" (process scheduler).
- ¶ October, Engineers from Japan's ETI company meet with Intel to
inspect work on their calculator IC project, known as the Busicom
project. They accept the Intel design for a chip set, and sign an
exclusive contract for the chips. (cf November 1971)
- ¶ July, IBM introduces System/3, a family of minicomputers,
featuring the RPG programming language, incompatible with Cobol used
on System/360 mainframes.
- ¶ July, experimental use of Multics at MIT.
- ¶ July 20, Man walks on moon.. Astronaut Neil Armstrong's
first words from the moon are relayed to Earth by a Motorola radio
transponder aboard the Apollo 11 lunar module. The transponder
provides telemetry, tracking, two-way voice communications and
television signal transmissions between Earth and the moon.
- ¶ May, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is founded by Jerry
Sanders and seven others who have left Fairchild Semiconductor.
- ¶ May, Multics filesystem version 2.0.
- ¶ April, IBM recommits to the TSS/360 timesharing system for the
System/360 Model 67 (cf 1968).
- ¶ April, Bell Labs drops out of Multics development.
- ¶ February, MTS (cf 1967) is installed at Newcastle University.
- ¶ January, Multics runs with twelve users.
- ¶ January 17, U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, on his last day
in office filed an antitrust suit against IBM. It was withdrawn in
1982. (cf 1932, 1952) Suggested reading:
- Richard Thomas DeLamarter, Big Blue. IBM's Use and Abuse of
Power. The Controversial Exposé of the Largest and Most Powerful
Company in the World, 1986, ISBN 0-330-30293-0 (paperback,
- ¶ Burroughs, under a NASA contract, builds ILLIAC IV supercomputer
featuring RAM chips manufactured by Fairchild Semiconductor Corp.
- ¶ Programming language Algol revised, the big "Algol 68" report.
- ¶ Under the "Carter-phone Decision", the U.S. FCC strikes down
existing interstate telephone tariffs prohibiting attachment of
connection to the public telephone system of any equipment or device
that was not supplied by the telephone companies (Bell System).
- ¶ IBM scientist John Cocke and others complete a prototype
scientific computer called the ACS. It incorporates some RISC
concepts, but the project is later canceled due to the instruction set
not being compatible with that of IBM's System/360 computers.
- ¶ Ed Roberts and Forest Mims found Micro Instrumentation Telemetry
- ¶ Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore leave Fairchild Semiconductors to
found Intel Corporation.
- ¶ The world's first scientific desktop calculator, the HP 9100, is
introduced by HP. This programmable desktop calculator is built
without integrated circuits or a disk drive. Programs are stored on a
- ¶ The first installation in Sweden of a stored program computer
controlled automatic telephone exchange, in Tumba, by Ericsson and
- ¶ The Group 1 standard for facsimile transmission over the public
switched telephone network (PSTN) is issued by the International
Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) (now ITU-T).
(cf 1976, 1980) Transmitting an A4 size page takes 6 minutes. Earlier
facsimile systems used radio or telegraph networks (cf 1926, 1948).
- ¶ SER (founded by Ericsson in 1938) is merged with Rifa (acquired
by Ericsson in 1948). Since the 50s, SER also produces semiconductor
- ¶ December, Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) wins ARPA's contract to
develop the IMP. BBN's bidding project is headed by Frank Heart.
- ¶ November, MTS (cf 1967) is installed on the IBM System/360 Model
67 at the University of British Columbia, because IBM has decommitted
from TSS/360 in April.
- ¶ (fall) Douglas C. Engelbart, of the Stanford Research Institute,
demonstrates his system of keyboard, keypad, mouse, and windows at the
Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco's Civic Center. He
demonstrates use of a word processor, a hypertext system, and remote
collaborative work with colleagues.
- ¶ October, Multics runs with eight simultaneous users.
- ¶ September 11, the experimental Empress digital tandem exchange
near Earls Court, London is formally opened for live traffic by an
inaugural call from Postmaster General John Stonehouse to the Mayor of
Hammersmith. In his address the PMG emphasised the significance of
the exchange as the first example in the world of switching
pulse-code-modulation (PCM) signals carrying live traffic.
- ¶ September 6, GEC (cf 1967) merges with English Electric,
incorporating Elliott Bros., The Marconi Company, Ruston and Hornsby,
Stephenson, Hawthorn & Vulcan Foundry, Willans and Robinson and
- ¶ May, Wayne Pickette proposes to Fairchild Semiconductor that
they develop his design for a computer-on-a-chip, modeled on an
enhanced PDP-8/S. Fairchild turns down his offer.
- ¶ May, IBM releases CP/67 version 1 for the System/360 Model 67 to
- ¶ April, IBM decommits from the TSS/360 timesharing system.
- ¶ March, Multics is capable of running three processes.
- ¶ February, the first remote graphics station is connected to the
MTS system (cf 1967) at the University of Michigan.
- ¶ USA installs their 100 millionth fixed telephone line.
- ¶ At an ACM conference, American (Paul Baran and Larry Roberts)
and British (Donald Davies) researchers meet and become aware of their
independent research into packet switching data networks.
- ¶ At an ARPA conference in Ann Arbor, MI, Wesley Clark suggests
that the network be managed by interconnected "Interface Message
Processors" (IMPs) in front of the major computers.
- ¶ Introduction of Simula 67, the first object-oriented programming
language, designed by Dahl, Myhrhaug, Nygaard. at Norwegian Computing
Center, Oslo. Simula was based on Algol, and later served as the main
inspiration for Bjarne Stroustrup's design of C++ in the 1980s.
Simula's concept of object-orientation was taken even further in
- ¶ IBM builds the first floppy disk.
- ¶ Fractals. IBM Research scientist Benoit B. Mandelbrot publishes
a paper in Science introducing fractal geometry - the concept that
seemingly irregular natural shapes, such as the branching of trees,
have the same form when viewed from close up or from far away. "The
Mandelbrot Set," a fractal object discovered in 1980, has been
described as the most complex - and possibility most beautiful -
object ever seen in mathematics. In the 30 years since they were
first identified, the study of fractals has brought new insight to a
wide variety of fields, including mathematics, physics, earth
sciences, economics and the arts.
- ¶ Stanley Milgram, a sociologist at Harvard University in the US,
claims that any person in the world can be traced to any other by a
chain of five or six acquaintances. This feature of social networks
came to be known as "six degrees of separation" after John Guare's
Broadway play and movie.
- ¶ GEC acquires Associated Electrical Industries (AEI),
which encompasses Metropolitan-Vickers, BTH, Edison Swan, Siemens Bros., Hotpoint and W.T. Henley.
- ¶ Motorola expands its international business by adding
manufacturing facilities in many countries, including Australia,
France, Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea,
Taiwan, the United Kingdom and West Germany. Joint ventures for the
production of automotive and other products are established in Italy
- ¶ Motorola's Quasar television is America's first all-transistor
color television set. It is designed to be easy to service, the
feature stressed in its "Works in a Drawer" trademark.
- ¶ The "Expo 67 (Universal and International Exhibition of 1967)"
is held in Montreal, Canada.
- ¶ December, Multics boots for the first time, running a single
- ¶ November, Michigan's MTS is ready to use the virtual memory
functions of the IBM System/360 model 67.
- ¶ September, work on the TENEX operating system is begun at BBN.
- ¶ September, DEC announces the PDP-10, a 36-bit architecture.
- ¶ September 2, the World War II fort Roughs Tower, situated in
international waters 7 nautical miles off the British coast, is
formally occupied by former English major Paddy Roy Bates, who settles
there with his family, proclaimes the island his own state the Principality of Sealand, and
calls himself Prince.
- ¶ June, The first Consumer Electronics Show is held in New York
- ¶ May, the Michigan Terminal System (MTS)
goes into service at the University of Michigan, running on an IBM
System/360 Model 67. MTS is in use at U-M until June 30, 1996. Two
important MTS applications were Confer (cf 1975) and MIDAS.
- ¶ March, the GE 635 computer is removed from Project MAC.
- ¶ January, a GE 645 computer is delivered to Project MAC.
- ¶ The very first (?) IBM System/360 Model 67 is installed at the
Computing Center of the University of Michigan. Originally a modified
Model 65 (65M, with M as in Michigan), it had hardware support for
addressing virtual memory.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard Laboratories is established as the company's
central research facility.
- ¶ IBM scientist Bob Dennard invents one-transistor dynamic RAM
(now known as DRAM) which permits major increases in memory density.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan presents Dennard with the National
Medal of Technology. DRAM chips based on Dennard's invention still
reign as a dominant form of computer memory.
- ¶ Charles Kao, born in China, in his PhD thesis estimates that
glass fibers need to have an optic signal attenuation of less than 20
dB per kilometer to be useful for long distance communication. (cf
- ¶ Honeywell introduces the DDP-516 minicomputer.
- ¶ Bob Taylor succeeds Sutherland as IPTO head. US$ 1 million is
granted to a networking project.
- ¶ The MERIT (Michigan Education and Research Information Triad)
Network is founded, connnecting computers at Michigan State
University, Wayne State University, and the Uniersity of Michigan.
- ¶ Completion of a co-axial telephone cable between Bermuda and
Tortola in the British Virgin Islands by Cable & Wireless. The
cable carries 80 simultaneous telephone calls.
- ¶ November, IBM has 150 orders for the new time-sharing System/360
Model 67, but suspends all order taking after considering its
inoperability, and in January 1967 decommits several functions. The
model was prematurely rushed to market in response to General
Electric's timesharing computers.
- ¶ September, IBM introduces the first disk storage system, the IBM
RAMAC 305. It holds 5 MB of data on 50 2-foot wide platters.
- ¶ May, Steven Gray founds the Amateur Computer Society, and begins
publishing the ACS Newsletter.
- ¶ January, building on some basic ideas developed at MIT, a
revolutionary new concept called "virtual storage," or virtual memory,
was proposed as a new approach for handling storage needs in the
- Bruce Arden, Bernard Galler, Frank Westervelt, Tom O'Brian,
Program and Addressing Structure in a Time-Sharing Environment,
Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery, Vol. 13, No. 1,
- ¶ Swedish Telecom (Televerket) opens the second generation mobile
network, "system Berglund", gradually to replace "system Lauhrén" from
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-4 is installed between New Jersey and
France, carrying 138 simultaneous telephone calls. The investment was
US$ 365,000 per voice channel. TAT-4 was retired in 1987.
- ¶ DEC initiates the minicomputer revolution by pricing the PDP-8
at only $ 18,000, one fifth of the price of the smallest model IBM
360. Having 12 bit words, over 50,000 units were sold.
- ¶ In conjunction with Ford Motor Company and RCA Corp., Motorola
designs and manufactures the first eight-track tape players for the
- ¶ The declining cost of semiconductors and their increasing
application in consumer electronics products creates a major market.
Motorola responds with a full line of low-cost plastic-encapsulated
transistors. Their design is adopted by the entire semiconductor
- ¶ In the office equipment department (the CeBIT precursor) of the
Hanover Fair, Germany, entrepreneur Heinz Nixdorf introduces the
820 universal computer.
- ¶ World exposition in New York.
- ¶ November, the Fall Joint Computer Conference. A special Multics
session is held.
- ¶ August, a GE 635 computer is delivered to Project MAC.
- ¶ August, IBM announces TSS/360, a timesharing system.
- ¶ Ivan Sutherland succeeds Licklider as IPTO head.
- ¶ America Airlines' travel reservation system SABRE, developed by
IBM, links 2,000 online terminals via phone lines.
- ¶ Texas Instruments receives a patent on the integrated circuit.
- ¶ The "New York World's Fair" is held in New York.
- ¶ SRA (cf 1919) stops making radio and TV receivers for the
consumer market, instead focusing on utility communication radio
- ¶ The transistorized Pageboy pager is the first personal
communications device to become a standard tool for business and
industry. It is supplied to AT&T under the name of Bellboy in
- ¶ John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz develop the BASIC programming
language at Dartmouth College.
- ¶ Packet-switching networks with no single outage point are
- Paul Baran, On Distributed Communications, RAND
Corporation, 1964, available
- ¶ Gordon Moore suggests that integrated circuits would double in
complexity every year. This later becomes known as Moore's Law.
- ¶ Soviet Russia launches the communications satellite Molniya 1,
which carries transmissions of television programs to India.
- ¶ An International Telecommunication Satellite Organization
(Intelsat) is set up by the US and 11 other countries to develop a
global commercial satellite system.
- ¶ December, Ian Sharp and others found I.P. Sharp Associates, in
- ¶ November, Bell Telephone Laboratories joins the Multics project
with MIT (Project MAC) and General Electric.
- ¶ October, Project MAC at MIT selects PL/1 as the programming
language for the Multics operating system. There is no compiler yet,
but the implementation is left to a contractor.
- ¶ August, Project MAC at MIT selects General Electric as its
- ¶ May 1, the Darthmouth Timesharing System (DTSS) runs on a GE-225
/ Datanet-30 (GE 635?) computer.
- ¶ April 7, IBM introduces System/360, a series of compatible
computers, setting the standard of 8 bit bytes. Within two years
orders reach 1,000 systems per month. Shipment starts in 1965. IBM
also announces the IBM 2302 Disk Storage of up to 1 gigabyte on a
24-inch diameter, 25-disk module for the System/360.
- ¶ April 6, commercial communications satellite "Early Bird" is
launched from Cape Kennedy.
- ¶ ASCII, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange,
- ¶ Syncom, the world's first geostationary (synchronous) satellite
is orbited by NASA.
- ¶ Full deployment of SAGE, the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment
computers built by IBM ("declared fully operational" in 1958). The
system consisted of 27 centers throughout North America, each with a
duplexed AN/FSQ-7 computer system containing over 50,000 vacuum tubes,
weighing 250 tons and occupying an acre of floor space. SAGE was the
first large computer network to provide man-machine interaction in
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-3 is installed between New Jersey and
England, carrying 138 simultaneous telephone calls. TAT-3 was retired
- ¶ The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company (cf 1900) is renamed
Marconi Company Limited.
- ¶ Douglas Engelbart receives a patent on the mouse pointing device
- ¶ Digital Equipment sells its first minicomputer, to Atomic Energy
- ¶ the British Post Office phototelegraphic (facsimile) system is
operating services to and from 56 European terminals and 38
- ¶ Motorola develops the first rectangular picture tube for color
television in a joint venture with National Video Corporation. The
tube quickly becomes the standard for the industry.
- ¶ December, Honeywell announces the H-200 computer, able to run
IBM 1401 software with little or no modification, running faster, and
priced lower, it became known as the "Liberator". Within six weeks of
marketing, it attracted 400 orders, as reported by Datamation
- ¶ December, opening of the COMPAC telephone cable, by Cable &
Wireless, linking Vancouver to Sydney across the Pacific via Fiji.
- ¶ September, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth begin a
project to establish a time-sharing system.
- ¶ July, Project MAC summer study discusses the future of
computing. Among the topics were CTSS, the Compatible Timesharing
System, designed by a team led by J. Corbato, running on a modified
- ¶ March, U.S. Dept of Defence ARPA approves funding for Project
MAC at MIT, as proposed by J. C. R. Licklider.
- ¶ Revised Algol report.
- ¶ Medlars, the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System,
one of the world's first computerized information services, opens in
- ¶ Transatlantic cable Scotice-Icecan is installed, carrying 24
voice circuits between Newfoundland and Scotland.
- ¶ Two IBM 7090 mainframes form the backbone of the SABRE
(Semi-Automatic Business Related Environment)
reservation system for American Airlines. As the first airline
reservation system to work live over phones lines, SABRE links high
speed computers and data communications to handle seat inventory and
passenger records from terminals in more than 50 cities.
- ¶ The recording arm of Siemens (Deutsche Grammophon, cf 1941)
links up with the Dutch firm of Philips to create the DGG/PPI Group.
- ¶ World exposition in Seattle.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the fully transistorized Handie-Talkie HT200
portable two-way radio. Weighing 33 ounces, it is nicknamed the
"brick" because of its shape and durable construction.
- ¶ On its flight to Venus, Mariner 2 spacecraft carries a Motorola
radio transponder that provides a radio link spanning 54 million
- ¶ Ivan Sutherland creates a graphics system called Sketchpad.
- ¶ December 7, Ferranti introduces the Atlas computer, featuring
- ¶ November, CTSS is demonstrated, running on an IBM 7090 at the
MIT Computation Center.
- ¶ November, Project MAC at MIT is suggested by
J. C. R. Licklider. An application is sent to ARPA in January 1963.
- ¶ October, J.C.R. Licklider becomes the first head of the
computer research program at U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced
Research Project Agency (ARPA). He names the program the Information
Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). Some publications by this
- J.C.R. Licklider, "Man-Computer Symbiosis", IRE Transactions on
Human Factors in Electronics, volume HFE-1, pages 4-11, March
1960. (IRE is now IEEE)
- J.C.R. Licklider, "Man-Computer Partnership", International
Science and Technology, May 1965
- J.C.R. Licklider, Robert W. Taylor, "The Computer as a
Communication Device", Science and Technology, April 1968
- The 1960 and 1968 papers are available online from Compaq
- ¶ September, the BBN timesharing system runs on the DEC PDP-1.
- ¶ August, a paper describing a "Galactic Network" concept
encompassing distributed social interactions:
(Another source says: Proceedings Spring Joint Computer Conference,
Vol. 21, pp. 113-128, National Press, Palo Alto, California, May 1962)
- J.C.R. Licklider, W. E. Clark, On-Line Man-Computer
Communication, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, August 1962
- ¶ July 10, Telstar, the world's first international
communications satellite, was rocketed into orbit.
- ¶ June, Teletype ships its Model 33 keyboard and punched-tape
terminal, used for input and output on many early microcomputers.
- ¶ A paper on CTSS is presented at the Spring Joint Computer
Conference (in Boston? at MIT?).
- ¶ March, the FCC approves the "Bellboy" radio paging system on a
developmental basis for use at the Century 21 World's Fair in Seattle
(same year). This marked the first commercial application of the
- ¶ February 20, John Glenn is the first American to orbit the
Earth, completing three Earth orbits onboard the Friendship VII.
- ¶ January 8, opening of the Bermuda to USA co-axial telephone
cable by Cable & Wireless. This cable was retired in 1990.
- ¶ The computer industry has its first billion dollar year. An
estimated 9,300 systems now exist world wide.
- ¶ Burroughs introduces the B5000 computer, featuring dual CPUs,
- ¶ To alleviate the financial strains on journal publishing, the
U.S. federal government approves the payment of page charges by
federal agencies and from federal grants to non-profit publishers.
This fuels the post-WWII "information explosion" in academic
- ¶ GEC takes over Radio and Allied Industries (RAI).
- ¶ Fairchild markets the first commercial integrated circuit (IC).
- ¶ Motorola develops low-cost techniques to produce the silicon
rectifiers used in automobile alternators, making the alternator an
economical replacement for the less durable generator. The company
becomes a supplier of "under the hood" automotive electronics
- ¶ Opening of CANTAT, the Canadian Trans-Atlantic Telephone cable,
by Cable & Wireless, having 80 telephone circuits, planned to fill
the need for the next 20 years. This was wrong by a factor of 100;
traffic has been doubling every three years since. CANTAT was retired
- ¶ June, IBM introduces the 1301 Disk Storage Unit, storing 56 MB
per disk on up to five disks per unit for a total of 280 MB.
- ¶ May 31, PhD thesis on queuing theory in message-forwarding
(packet-switched) communication networks:
- Leonard Kleinrock, Information Flow in Large Communication
Nets, May 31, 1961, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, available
- ¶ January 18, the FCC authorizes AT&T to operate experimental
radio stations for basic earth-satellite communications study
- ¶ January 16, Bell System proposes a new service called TELPAK
which would create "electronic high-ways" between specific points,
over which many types of communications could be transmitted.
- ¶ Bell Laboratories installs the world's first telephone exchange
based on a stored program computer, in Morris, Illinois, USA.
- ¶ Echo, the first passive commnication satellite is launched. John
Robinson Pierce, the man behind the project, feels that future of
communication lies in satellites.
- ¶ 10,000 Swedish vehicles have communication radios mounted.
- ¶ Ted Nelson founds Project
Xanadu with the ambitious aim to create a hypertext encyclopedia
based on two-way, never-breaking hypertext links and transcopyright
free publishing. The project provided inspiration for HyperCard,
Lotus Notes, and the World Wide Web (1989). The first ideas were
published in 1965, the name Xanadu chosen in 1967. "We see the World
Wide Web as a diabolical dumbdown of our original hypertext idea."
- ¶ IBM develops the first automatic mass-production facility for
transistors, in New York.
- ¶ American physicist Theodore Maiman demonstrates the generation
of a pulse of coherent red light by means of a solid ruby, the first
laser. The idea, however, dates back to the days of Albert Einstein.
- ¶ Customer trials begin of the world's first electronic telephone
central office in Morris, Illinois. (cf 1955)
- ¶ The first STD (?) call in India introduced between Kanpur and
- ¶ November, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) starts shipping
the PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor) computer for $ 120,000. Having
between 4K and 32K words of 18 bits, a memory cycle of 5 µs, using
3,500 transistors, and featuring macro assembler and an Algol
compiler, a total of 53 units were sold.
- ¶ May, computer programming language Algol defined by "Report on
the Algorithmic Language ALGOL 60", Peter Naur ed, Communications
of the ACM, 3(5):299-314 (May 1960).
- ¶ May, IBM announces 1406, an external memory expansion unit for
the 1401 processor (cf 1959), offering 4, 8, or 12 thousand extra
memory cells (to the internal 1.4, 2, or 4 thousand cells). Profit
margins from in-unit and external memory expansion and high-end add-on
features was higher (60-80 %) than the overall average for the 1400
systems (30-40 %). The effects of "software lock-in" made customers
stay with the IBM 1401 series because of the investment made in
software that couldn't easily be ported to competing brands of
hardware. (cf 1963)
- ¶ January 1, trademarkes British Thomson-Houston (BTH) and
Metropolitan Vickers are replaced by AEI (cf 1929). This results in
reduced sales and profits.
- ¶ A major breakthrough for the telephone industry occurred when
Bell Laboratories carefully characterized the reflections and echoes
from a wide range of telephone line channels, and developed
statistical models and sensing techniques that could be used in
echo-canceling equipment. From accurate models of the channel, it
became possible to invent the equalizer, a signal-processing device
that in the early 1960s undid the echoes, and thus greatly reduced the
need for signal shaping amplifiers. The cost savings and quality
increase was astounding.
Echo-cancellation theory was developed in the early 1960s by
AT&T Bell Labs, followed by the introduction of the first
echo-cancellation system in the late 1960s by COMSAT TeleSystems
(previously a division of COMSAT Laboratories). COMSAT designed the
first analog echo canceller systems to demonstrate the feasibility and
performance of satellite communications networks. Based on analog
processes, these early echo-cancellation systems were implemented
across satellite communications networks to demonstrate the network's
performance for long-distance, cross-continental telephony. These
systems were not commercially viable, however, because of their size
and manufacturing costs.
In the late 1970s, COMSAT TeleSystems developed and sold the first
commercial analog echo cancellers, which were mainly digital devices
with an analog interface to the network.
- ¶ Computer programming language LISP is created by John McCarthy,
and first described in
- John McCarthy, "Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions
and their Computation by Machine, part I", CACM, 1960, Vol. 3,
No. 4, pp. 184-195
- John McCarthy, History of LISP, 1979
- ¶ John McCarthy proposes a time-sharing in memo to Philip
M. Morse, director of the MIT Computation Center.
- ¶ The term "software" comes into use.
- ¶ Transatlantic cable TAT-2 is installed between Newfoundland and
Paris. It carries 48 simultaneous telephone calls. TAT-2 was retired
- ¶ The X11 portable radio is Motorola's first pocket-sized
- ¶ Ericsson introduces a carrier frequency system using coaxial
cables, transfering 2700 channels (cf 1950, 1972). This system uses
- ¶ With the last central battery exchange taken out of service at
Scuol (Grisons canton) in 1959, Switzerland was the first country in
the world to have a fully automatic telephone system.
- ¶ December, DEC unveils the prototype of its PDP-1 at the Eastern
Joint Computer Conference in Boston.
- ¶ October, IBM introduces the all-transistorized 1401 Data
Processing System, the 1402 card read-punch, and the 1403 chain
printer. The 1401 had ferrite-core memories of 1,400, 2,000 or 4,000
bytes and could perform 193,300 additions of eight-digit numbers in
one minute. The 1402 could punch 250 or read 800 cards per minute.
The 1403 had 132 electronically-timed hammers spaced along the
printing line, printing up to 4,800 lines per minute. By the end of
1961, the number of 1401s installed in the United States alone had
reached 2,000 - representing about one out every four electronic
stored-program computers installed by all manufacturers at that time.
The number of installed 1401s peaked at more than 10,000 in the
mid-1960s, and the system was withdrawn from marketing in February
1971. The monthly rental for a 1401 was $2,500 and up, depending on
the configuration. Most important for IBM's success in the early
computer market was its dominating position in the market for business
machines. During 1959, IBM had 61,000 card sorters, 120,000 card
punches, and 143,500 calculators rented out to customers, or 95 % of
the total market (cf 1936). In the time period 1960-65, IBM delivered
four fifths of the value of all installed computer systems.
- ¶ July, Fairchild Semiconductor files a patent application for the
planar process for manufacturing transistors. The process makes
commercial production of transistors possible and leads to Fairchild's
introduction, in two years, of the first integrated circuit.
- ¶ May 28, NASA monkeys Able and Baker launched in Jupiter nose
- ¶ (early) At Fairchild Semiconductor, Robert Noyce constructs an
integrated circuit with components connected by aluminum lines on a
silicon-oxide surface layer on a plane of silicon. Fairchild
Semiconductor announces their independent discovery of the integrated
- ¶ January, Texas Instruments announces the discovery of the
- ¶ All Number Calling (ANC) instituted to handle consumer demands
for individual telephone numbers.
- ¶ AEI (cf 1929) acquires W.T. Henley and London Electric Wire
Company & Smiths.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the Motrac radio, the first two-way
vehicular radio to have a fully transistorized power supply and
receiver (but not transmitter). Its low power consumption allows the
radio to be used without running the automobile engine. Although the
Motrac radio costs twice as much as previous models, it becomes a best
- ¶ The "Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles (Expo
'58)" is held in Brusells, Belgium.
- ¶ October 11, NASA's first launch, the Pioneer.
- ¶ October 1, NASA is founded
in response to Russian artificial satellite Sputnik.
- ¶ September, at Texas Instruments, Jack Kilby completes building
the first integrated circuit, containing five components on a piece of
germanium half an inch long and thinner than a toothpick.
- ¶ July, at Texas Instruments, Jack St. Clair Kilby comes up with
the idea of creating a monolithic device (integrated circuit) on a
single piece of silicon.
- ¶ January, AT&T announces the Bell System Dataphone service,
which permits high-speed transmission of data over regular telephone
- ¶ Swedish air craft manufacturer Saab starts using its in-house
developed electronic computer, Saab's Räkneautomat (SARA).
- ¶ Digital Equipment Corporation is founded by Ken Olsen.
- ¶ Europe's largest turbine works are completed in Larne in
Northern Ireland, built by BTH, costing 8 million pounds.
- ¶ A group of eight engineers leave Shockley Semiconductor to form
- ¶ Soviet Russia launches Sputnik 2, carrying the dog Laika.
- ¶ October 4, Soviet Russia launches Sputnik-1, the Earth's first
- ¶ April, compiler released for computer programming language
FORTRAN I, John Backus, IBM for the IBM 704. Design begun 1954.
- ¶ The first public mobile telephone network in Sweden is opened.
Already at the end of the 1940s, Sture Lauhrén at the Swedish
governmental telegraph administration (Telegrafverket -> Televerket)
had started a series of experiments with automated mobile telephony,
resulting in a number of patents. In the 1950s, a network was set up
outside Stockholm and some equipment designed in cooperation between
Televerket and Swedish radio equipment manufacturer Svenska Radio AB
(SRA). 40 kg of mobile equipment used 18 amps at 12 volts during
operation and 5 amps during standby. After two years, the network had
80 subscribers, but was designed for a maximum of 1,000 subscribers
- ¶ Motorola's first commercial product to incorporate transistors
is an automobile radio. It is smaller and more durable than previous
models and demands less power from a car battery.
- ¶ Motorola becomes a commercial producer and supplier of
semiconductors for sale to other manufacturers. The Semiconductor
Products Division is established.
- ¶ Introduction of Ericofon, a.k.a. Cobra, Ericsson's one piece telephone and
handset, standing on a table with its a rotary dial facing down. In
1972 the Ericofon was mentioned as one of the 20th century's best
industry designs by the New York Museum of Modern Art.
- ¶ The first transistorized computer is completed, the TX-O
(Transistorized Experimental computer), at the Massachusetts Institute
- ¶ A judgement delivered limiting Bell System to common carrier
communications and government projects but preserving the long
standing relationships between the manufacturing, research, and
operating arms of the Bell System. AT&T retains Bell Laboratories
and Western Electric Company.
- ¶ The Nobel Prize in physics is awarded to John Bardeen, Walter
Brattain, and William Shockley for their work on the transistor. (cf
- ¶ September 25, inaugural call over the TAT-1, the first
transatlantic telephone cable, allowing 35 simultaneous telephone
calls. At 11 am EST, AT&T chairman Craig calls British Postmaster
General Dr. Charles Hill. The TAT-1 cable is a joint project
involving AT&T, the British Post Office, Canadian Overseas
Telecommunications Corp., and Eastern Telephone & Telegraph
Co. (AT&T's subsidiary in Canada). In the first 24 hours of
public service there were 588 London-U.S. calls and 119 from London to
Canada. During its first year of service TAT 1 carried twice as many
calls as the radio circuits had done in the previous 12 months - about
220,000 calls between Britain and the United States, and 75,000
between Britain and Canada. This brought in UKP 2 million revenue to
be shared between the three countries. The investment was US$ 557,000
per voice channel. TAT-1 was retired in 1978.
- ¶ Summer, the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial
Intelligence was the first organized study of AI. It inspired John
McCarthy to start work on the LISP programming language (cf 1959).
- ¶ June 4, laying of the TAT-1 cable: the "Monarch" (cf 1955)
leaves Oban to lay the other cable (these are uni-directional
repeaters). Final splice at Clarenville, August 14. All links and
channels were tested within 6 weeks. A total of 102 repeaters were
needed on the main cables.
- ¶ January 24, in the so-called 1956 Consent Decree, following the
antitrust case filed in 1949, AT&T and Western Electric are
restricted from doing business outside telecommunications. Among the
exceptions is research.
- ¶ January, in the so-called 1956 Consent Decree, following the
antitrust case filed in 1952, IBM agrees to start selling machines,
make its punch card technology available to competitors, and to drop
its share of the card market to less than 50 percent by 1963.
- ¶ AEI (cf 1929) acquires Siemens Brothers.
- ¶ William Shockley founds Shockley Semiconductor in Palo Alto,
- ¶ A germanium transistor intended for car radios is Motorola's
first mass-produced semiconductor and the world's first high-power
transistor in commercial production.
- ¶ The first electronic switching demonstrated in Morris, Illinois.
- ¶ Scientist Narender S Kapany, born in Moga, India, introduces the
optical fibre surronded by a cladding can conduct light over great
distance with little loss of intensity.
- ¶ A new radio communications product - a small receiver called a
Handie-Talkie radio pocket pager - selectively delivers a radio
message to a particular individual. Pagers begin to replace public
announcement systems in hospitals and factories.
- ¶ October 2, ENIAC is taken out of operation.
- ¶ June 28, laying of the TAT-1 cable: HMTS "Monarch" starts out
from Clarenville, Newfoundland. After weathering Hurricane Ione, it
reaches the Firth of Lorne in Oban, Scotland on September 26. (cf
- ¶ IBM releases the 704 computer, a successor to the 701, designed
by Gene Amdahl.
- ¶ Mauchley and Eckert sell the Univac I, the first commercial
computer (cf 1951), to General Electric.
- ¶ AEI (cf 1929) acquires Birlec.
- ¶ May, Texas Instruments announces the start of commercial
production on silicon transistors.
- ¶ In Sweden, MMN presents the Binary Electronic Sequence Calculator
(BESK), using vacuum tubes. Claimed to have been the fastest computer
in the world for a short period of time.
- ¶ July, IBM introduces the IBM 650 Magnetic Drum Calculator, the
most popular computer of the 1950s. A total of 2,000 units were sold.
This was less of a general purpose computer than the 701, and more of
an electronic unit record accounting machine.
- ¶ IBM introduces the 701 Electronic Data Processing Machines
System, the company's first commercially available scientific
computer. Using cathode ray tube (Williams tube) memory for speed and
flexibility, the 701 could process more than 2,000 multiplications and
divisions a second. The design team of 35 was led by Nathaniel
Rochester and Jerrier Haddad.
- ¶ Grace M. Hopper and her group at Remington Rand designs the
first complete compiler.
- ¶ The Whirlwind II project is renamed SAGE (cf 1963).
- ¶ Although the principal design was ready in 1946 (then the first
stored-program computer), the EDVAC was first built to completion in
- ¶ Motorola's semiconductor development group begins to manufacture
a three-amp power transistor.
- ¶ Bell introduces the first hearing aids equipped with junction
- ¶ Sweden's first 380 kV power line starts operation. It runs 900
kilometers from the hydroelectric power plant at Harsprånget (67° N)
to Hallsberg (59° N). Harsprånget is still Sweden's largest
hydroelectric power plant, producing 940 MW (year 2000) from a 107
meter high waterfall. Read more in this Swedish report:
- ¶ W. L. van der Peol proposes the subroutine return stack,
- F. L. Bauer, Historical Remarks on Compiler
Construction; LNCS 21, 1974.
- ¶ January, the newly elected US goverment of Dwight Eisenhower
files an antitrust case against IBM (cf 1932), which is dropped in
1956 when IBM agrees to sell machines, not only rent them. (cf 1956)
- ¶ The first UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) is delivered from
Remington-Rand, who had bought the development project started in 1947
by Eckert and Mauchly from the American Totalizator Company. This is
the first commercially available electronic computer. (cf 1954)
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard invents the high-speed frequency counter (HP
524A) and dramatically reduces the time required to accurately measure
high frequencies. Radio stations adopt the HP 524A to set frequencies
accurately, in compliance with FCC regulations.
- ¶ The first real credit card is issued by Franklin National Bank
in New York.
- ¶ Paging starts in New York, with no facility to page someone from
- ¶ World exposition in London.
- ¶ Ericsson starts to market coordinate selector based mechanic
automatic telephone exchanges (cf 1937). Having dominated the world
market for manual exchanges, Ericsson now starts to regain its leading
position also in automated exchanges.
- ¶ Ericsson's first installation of a carrier frequency system
using coaxial cables, transfering 960 channels. This system uses
vacuum tubes (cf 1959).
- ¶ The field of artificial intelligence (AI) and an "imitation
game" later known as the "Turing test" are outlined in an article by
(AI is also attributed to Herbert A. Simon and Allen Newell)
- Alan Turing, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", published
in the philosophical journal Mind, 1950
- ¶ Mauchly and Eckert found the first company setting out to
- ¶ This year, Cable & Wireless transmits 650 million words by
telegraph. Following nationalization in 1947, the company owns
286,750 km of submarine cable.
- ¶ Harold Horace Hopkins invents the first endoscope for medical
use, i.e. a glass fiber used for looking inside people.
- ¶ Repeatered SB submarine cable used on Key West-Havana route.
- ¶ The earliest form of regular expressions (and the term itself)
were invented by mathematician Stephen Cole Kleene in the mid-1950s,
as a notation to easily manipulate "regular sets", formal descriptions
of the behavior of finite state machines, in regular algebra.
- ¶ The proposal that information is a measureable quantity and the
basic rules governing all kinds of communication including electronic
forms are presented in
- Claude Shannon, The mathematical Theory of
- ¶ Motorola establishes a small research and development operation
in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A, partly to investigate the new field of
solid-state technology. By anticipating the enormous potential of the
transistor, Motorola becomes one of the world's largest manufacturers
- ¶ AT&T develops the "SB" submarine cable, using polyethylene
and five percent butyl rubber dielectric. A core of several dozen
steel wires is covered by a copper tube, then about .2 inches of
dielectric and another copper tube, covered by a plastic jacket and
- ¶ John William Mauchly develops the Short Code, which allows
computers to recognize mathematical codes consisting of two
numbers. This is considered to be the first high-level programming
- ¶ Mauchly and John Presper Eckert build the Binary Automatic
Computer, the first electronic-stored program computer in the US.
- ¶ AEI (cf 1929) acquires Sunvic Controls.
- ¶ May, the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator
(EDSAC) is completed by a team led by Maurice Wilkes and put into
operation at Cambridge, England, the first computer that had
high-speed memory (mercury delay lines) and I/O devices (paper tape
and teleprinter). EDSAC, using only 3,000 vacuum tubes, was a
scaled-down version of the ENIAC.
- ¶ January 14, the U.S. Attorney General Field files a suit against
AT&T Company and Western Electric Company, alleging violation of
the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and asking that Western Electric be
seprated from the Bell system. The suit ultimately results in the
1956 consent decree.
- ¶ In Sweden, Matematikmaskinnämnden (MMN, the governmental
mathematic machine commission) presents the Binary Arithmetic Relay
Calculator (BARK). The commission was instituted in 1946 after it was
known that the allied forces had developed automatic computers during
World War II. After paying study visits to USA, it was decided that
existing products were too immature for import, and so the commission
set out to design its own computers.
- ¶ The Manchester Mark 1 ("Baby"), the first stored program
computer, is completed by a team led by Freddie Williams and Tom
- ¶ Western Union introduces the "Desk Fax" system, allowing private
companies to rent facsimile transmitters for sending short messages
via a Western Union telegraph office.
- ¶ Claude Shannon, John R Pierce, and Bernard M Oliver develop
pulse code modulation.
- ¶ Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) set up at Banglore as
independent India's first public sector unit.
- ¶ The first cable television system introduced in the US.
- ¶ IBM introduces the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator
(SSEC) which has electronic circuits for performing calculations and
data storage. It used 13,000 tubes and 23,000 relays and was operated
behind glass in the street level at IBM headquarters in Manhattan. It
was dismantled in August 1952.
- ¶ The Overseas Communications of South Africa (OCSA) is
nationalized under the South African Post Office. One of the major
shareholders had been Cable & Wireless.
- ¶ Ericsson acquires all shares in Rifa, a Swedish radio component
manufacturer formed in 1942 of which Ericsson earlier owned a part.
The main part of the production is capacitors. (cf 1968)
- ¶ Two automobile manufacturers, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler
Corporation, are supplied with Motorola car radios for factory
- ¶ AT&T starts to use a microwave relay system for telephone
traffic between New York and Boston.
- ¶ June, the Maniac computer is completed by John von Neumann and
colleagues at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton
University. It used the electrostatic memory invented by
F. C. Williams and Tom Kilburn, based on a single cathode ray tube
("the Williams tube").
- ¶ May 13, first flight of "Canberra", the first jet-propelled
bomber ever produced in Britain, built by the English Electric Co. (cf
1918), which had started to manufacture aircrafts in 1938.
- ¶ The transistor, a key to modern electronics, was invented at
Bell Labs by a team consisting of William Schockley (born February 13,
1910, died August 12, 1989), Walter Brattain (born February 10, 1902,
died October 13, 1987), and John Bardeen (born May 23, 1908, died
January 30, 1991).
- ¶ Microwave radio transmission was used for long-distance
- ¶ Polyethylene replaces rubber and gutta-percha as preferred
- ¶ Cable & Wireless is nationalized by the British government.
Assets in the U.K. are transfered to the Post Office and the
government-owned company continues own assets overseas, where not
- ¶ The Australian government forms the Overseas Telecommunications
Commission (Australia) to nationalize assets from Cable &
- ¶ The Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (cf 1928) is renamed
- ¶ Motorola's first television, the $179 Golden View model VT71, is
the first to sell for under $200 in the U.S. More than 100,000 units
are sold in one year.
- ¶ Motorola's Dispatcher brand of two-way radios uses new radio
channels for industrial and business customers in the U.S. Aggressive
marketing and a reputation for reliable equipment earn Motorola a
leading role in this growing industry.
- ¶ A landmark publication in the empirical study of organizations,
- Herbert A. Simon, Administrative Behavior, 1947
- ¶ First commercial mobile telephone service put into service,
linking moving vehicles to the telephone network by radio.
- ¶ February 15, the ENIAC is formally dedicated at the Moore School
of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania, and it
was accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in July.
- ¶ The English Electric Co. (cf 1918) acquires Marconi (cf 1897).
- ¶ Lazarenko and Klingberg invent the photo typesetting machine.
- ¶ The Telex (Teleprinter Exchange Service) network is introduced in
- ¶ Konrad Zuse, Germany, develops the programming languange
- ¶ Arthur C. Clark proposes a geosynchronous satellite, which would
hover over the same spot on Earth because it revolves at the same
speed as Earth's rotation.
- ¶ Book on management:
- Peter Drucker, The Concept of the Corporation, 1945
- ¶ A (British) Imperial Wireless & Cable Conference is held.
- ¶ November, John W. Mauchly (1907-1980), J. Presper Eckert (1919-)
and their team at Pennsylvania University finalize the implementation
of ENIAC, using 17,468 radio tubes, weighing 30 tons. 20 accumulator
registers hold 10 decimal digits each, each digit encoded with 10
bits. Multiplication takes 3 milliseconds.
- ¶ July, the future development of information processing
machinery, including a hypertext device called Memex, is predicted in
- ¶ June, John von Neumann (1903-1957) joins the ENIAC team, and
writes a paper on a future computer, later implemented as EDVAC (cf
1952), having its program stored in memory. The stored-program
computer is since known as the "von Neumann architecture".
- ¶ May, end of World War II
- ¶ Konrad Zuse, Germany, designs and almost completes the
implementation of his first full scale machine, "V4" (later "Z4").
The memory stores 1,000 words of 32 bits in less than one cubic meter.
The machine is housed in a shelter and not damaged by the ongoing war.
- ¶ June 1, the first Colossus Mark II machine operational at
Bletchley Park in total 10 Colossii are built. Some useful links:
- ¶ Z3, designed by Konrad Zuse, Germany, is destroyed by allied air
- ¶ Motorola stock is offered to the public for the first time.
- ¶ The first portable FM two-way radio, the SCR300 backpack radio,
is designed by Motorola chief scientist Daniel E. Noble (1902-1980)
for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Weighing 35 pounds, the radio has a
range of 10 to 20 miles and is known as the "walkie-talkie."
- ¶ December, Tommy Flowers, Bletchey Park, presents Colossus, an
electronic calculator using 2,400 radio tubes. Paper tape is read at
5,000 characters per second. To achieve some performance, five of
these paper tape readers are used. A total of ten Collossi are built.
- ¶ September, Wiliams and Stibitz finish the relay interpolator.
This is a programmable calculator, reading its program from paper
tape, using a two-out-of-seven bit representation for each decimal
- ¶ June 5, the first six-month contract is signed between the US
military and University of Pennsylvania for the "research and
development of an electronic numerical integrator and computer and
delivery of a report thereon", which later became the development of
- ¶ April, Max Newmann, Wynn-Williams et al at the Secret Government
and Cypher School, Bletchey Park, Bletchey, England, finish a
cipher-breaking machine called Tunny (later replaced by the Colossus),
using optical readers to read 2,000 characters per second from
closed-loop punched paper tapes.
- ¶ January, Howard H. Aiken (1900-1973) and his team at Harvard
University, Cambridge, MA, supported by IBM, present the Automatic
Sequence-Controlled Calculator (ASCC) Mark I, aka Harvard Mark I.
This is the first widely known electromechanic programmable
calculator: Aiken is to Zuse what Pascal was to Schickard. Mark I
uses 72 accumulators, each with its own arithmetic unit, of
twenty-three digit fix point numbers and a sign. Conditional branches
are not possible.
- ¶ Swedish governmental paper (SOU 1942:51), based on experiments,
recommends the use of FM (frequency modulation) over AM for police
land-mobile radio. After the war, ambulances and fire brigades start
using the same technology.
- ¶ Claude E. Shannon, Information theory. (a book?)
- ¶ Bell Telephone Laboratories applies for a patent on an
oscillator circuit which almost at once proved of great value in radar
systems used in the war.
- ¶ Motorola introduces the first commercial line of FM two-way
radio systems and equipment. FM technology provides greater range and
quieter operation than AM technology. The first FM system is
installed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
- ¶ Deutsche Grammophon (cf 1898) is taken over by the electronics
giant Siemens & Halske.
- ¶ December, Konrad Zuse, Berlin, presents "V3" (later "Z3"), a
project sponsored in part by the German Aeronautical Research
Institute (DVL, Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfart).
Z3 is the first reliable,
programmable calculator. It uses floating point numbers with seven
bit exponent, fourteen bit mantissa, and one sign bit. The memory
stores 64 numbers using 1,400 relays. The arithmetic and control
units use 1,200 relays. Conditional branches are not possible. Z3
performs 3 or 4 additions per second, and one multiplication in 5
seconds. The machine is too small to solve DVL's computational
- ¶ Summer, Atanasoff and Berry present a calculator (Atanasoff-Berry
Computer, ABC) for simultaneous linear equotions. The memory, mounted
on two rotating drums, stores 60 fifty bit numbers in capacitors with
refresh circuits. Clock frequency is 60 Hz. Addition takes 1 second.
Punch cards are used as secondary storage. Holes are actually burnt
into the cards, not punched, and this system never gets reliable
- ¶ Helmut Schreyer, Berlin, designs a ten bit adding machines using
radio tubes, and a prototype memory using neon lamps. Konrad Zuse
returns from military service and finishes Z2. It works, but is
- ¶ The first complete Motorola two-way AM police radio system is
installed in Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S.A.
- ¶ Motorola develops the first handheld two-way radio for the
U.S. Army Signal Corps. The SCR536 Handie-Talkie AM radio is used
worldwide during World War II.
- ¶ Broadband carrier systems are introduced allowing for
simultaneous calls over a single pair of wires.
- ¶ September, at a mathematical conference in Hanover, NH, a teletype
terminal is connected to Williams' and Stibitz' machine in New York.
- ¶ January, Samuel Williams and George Stibitz, Bell Labs, present a
calculator operating on complex numbers, using telephone components:
450 relays and 10 crossbar switches. Numbers are represented in
"BCD+3", as this requires fewer relays than ordinary BCD. Connected
to the machine are three teletype keyboard terminals at different
places in the building.
- ¶ Konrad Zuse and Helmut Schreyer, Berlin, start work on "V2" (later
"Z2"), using the memory from Z1, but an arithmetic unit based on
relays. Work is interrupted for a year during Zuse's military service.
- ¶ George Stibitz and Samuel B Williams introduce the principle of
operating a computer via a terminal.
- ¶ The "New York World's Fair" is held in New York.
- ¶ The "Golden Gate International Exposition" is held in San
- ¶ The West India and Panama company (cf 1935) becomes part of
Cable and Wireless (West Indies) Limited.
- ¶ At the end of 1939 Alan M Turing cracks the Enigma encryption.
In cooperation with Polish crypto analyzers, he devises an
electro-mechanical machine called a "Bombe" that is put into regular
operation during 1940.
- ¶ November, John V. Atanasoff (1903-) and CLifford Betty (-1963),
Iowa State College, present a sixteen bit adding machine, the first to
use radio tubes.
- ¶ Hewlett-Packard Company is incorporated by Bill Hewlett and
David Packard in a now-famous garage. The company's first product was
a resistance capacity audio oscillator (HP 200A), an electronic
instrument used to test sound equipment, built the year before. Walt
Disney orders eight HP 200B oscillators for the production of
Fantasia. David Packard is said to have created the concept of
Management by Walking Around (MBWA).
- ¶ Chester Carlson invents Xerography.
- ¶ Konrad Zuse (1910-), Berlin in Germany, assisted by Helmut
Schreyer, finalizes a prototype mechanical binary programmable
calculator, "V1" (later "Z1"). It uses floating point numbers with
seven bit exponent, sixteen bit mantissa, and one sign bit. The
memory for 16 numbers works well, but not the arithmetic unit. The
program is read from 35 mm camera film. The output is displayed on
- ¶ The first crossbar central office installation goes into service
at Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
- ¶ Claude E. Shannon (1916-) publishes a paper on the implementation
of symbolic logic by use of relays.
- ¶ PCM (cf 1937) is patented.
- ¶ This year, Cable & Wireless transmits 231 million words by
- ¶ In December, the foundation of Aktiebolaget Svenska Elektronrör
(SER), a Swedish electron tube manufacturer, a wholly owned subsidiary
of Ericsson (cf 1968).
- ¶ Canada's Radio Act.
- ¶ George Stibitz (c. 1910-), Bell Labs in New York City, designs a
one bit binary adder with relays, as a demonstration.
- ¶ Alan M. Turing (1912-1954), Cambridge University in England,
publishes a paper "On computable numbers" (or is this 1936?) and
introduces what will later be known as the Turing Machine.
- ¶ The idea of using pulse code modulation (PCM) for speech is
developed by A. H. Reeves working for the Western Electric Company in
Paris. (cf 1938)
- ¶ Motorola's car radios are the first to feature push-button
tuning, fine-tuning and tone control. The company also targets
the home radio market with a new line of models.
- ¶ The first US installation of a coordinate selector telephone
exchange, based on the link coupling principle by Betulander and
Palmgren (cf 1912). Until 1976 a total of 40 million subscriber lines
had been installed in the USA based on this system.
- ¶ USA can call 68 countries via HF radio telephony - 93 percent of
the world's telephones are interconnected via wires and radio waves.
- ¶ A line of radar stations are installed along the coast of
- ¶ The "Exposition Internationale de Arts et Techniques dans la Vie
Moderne" is held in Paris. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia
competes in showing the most impressive works of architecture and
shares the gold medal. Spain's pavilion features Picasso's painting
of the horrors of the civil war at Guernica.
- ¶ Robert A. Watson-Watt invents the Radar.
- ¶ First coaxial cable is demonstrated.
- ¶ IBM agrees to open up the blank punch card market (cf 1932).
During 1935, IBM had 4,100 card sorters, 8,400 card punchers, and
4,300 calculators rented out to customers, or 80 percent of the total
market. (cf 1959)
- ¶ The world's first television service, BBC's public high
definition television service, adopts the Marconi-EMI system.
- ¶ Motorola's Police Cruiser mobile radio is a redesigned car radio
that is preset to a single frequency to receive police broadcasts.
This is the company's first entry into the new field of mobile radio
- ¶ IBM introduces IBM 601, a punch card machine with an arithmetic
unit that uses relays. It performs a multiplication in one second.
Some 1,500 units are manufactured.
- ¶ World exposition in Brusells, Belgium.
- ¶ The operations of Halifax & Bermudas (cf 1889) is taken over
by the West India and Panama company (cf 1939).
- ¶ The Associated Press of the USA installs a country-wide
facsimile network based on the new principle of reflected light.
Early photoelectric facsimiles (cf 1902) required a photo negative to
be taken of the original before transmission.
- ¶ Church invents lambda calculus.
- ¶ Radar is invented in the UK.
- ¶ Formation of Marconi-EMI Television Co. Ltd. by EMI and Marconi,
for the interest of developing all aspect of television transmission.
- ¶ Imperial and International Communications, formed in 1929, is
renamed Cable & Wireless. (cf 1929)
- ¶ July 1, the U.S. Federal Communications Act becomes effective.
Approved by President Roosevelt, this act brings interstate telephone
business under regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) instead of the Interstate
- ¶ June 19, the 73rd U.S. Congress approves Public Law No. 416, "An
Act to provide for the regulation of interstate and foreign
communication by wire or radio, and for other purposes", a.k.a. the Communications Act of 1934.
- ¶ Edwin H. Armstrong invents FM radio.
- ¶ The "Century of Progress Exposition" is held in Chicago.
- ¶ Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933.
- ¶ Harry
Nyquist explains the principles for feedback amplifiers.
- ¶ Vannevar Bush completes the Differential Analyzer, an analog
computer (mechanical calculator) which could solve calculus problems.
- ¶ The newly elected US government of Franklin D. Roosevelt files
an antitrust case against IBM, charging it with abusing a dominant
market position and engaging in anticompetitive tactics to maintain
that position. IBM (having 85 % of the punch card equipment market,
using 80 column cards with square holes) and Remington (having 10 % of
the same market, using incompatible 90 column cards with round holes)
had agreed not to to sell blank cards to each other's customers. The
equipment was rented, not sold, and customers had to buy blank cards
from the same manufacturer. In 1936, IBM agreed to change this. (cf
- ¶ The world's first microwave telephone link is installed by
Marconi between the Vatican City and the Pope's summer residence,
- ¶ Formation of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC),
a precursor of CBC.
- ¶ The Australian Broadcasting Company (cf 1929) is nationalized by
the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act.
- ¶ The Indian Cable & Radio Communications Company is formed to
amalgamate the country's overseas wireless and cable services
Seventy-five percent of the company is owned by Cable & Wireless.
- ¶ An important dystopic novel is published,
- ¶ March 12, Swedish match industrialist Ivar Kreuger (born 1880)
found shot dead in his hotel room in Paris, presumably from suicide.
After having successfully merged match industries in Sweden (cf 1917),
acquired monopoly licenses in several countries, holding 60-70 percent
of the world market for matches in 1930, he was turning to
telecommunications as the next profitable monopoly business (probably
inspired by AT&T and ITT) and he started to acquire shares in
Ericsson, but his high-risk financing schemes had started to fall
apart following the great crash 1929 on Wall Street.
- ¶ (1931-1932) E. Wynn-Williams, Cambridge in England, use tyratron
tubes to design an electronic binary digital calculator. It is used
in physical experiments.
- ¶ Transmitter tubes for 500 kW exist (cf 1923). One such tube is
installed at the radio station in Rugby, United Kingdom.
- ¶ The Trans Canada Telephone System (TCTS) consortium is formed.
In 1983 the name was changed to Telecom Canada.
- ¶ "Exposition Coloniale Internationale de Paris" held in Paris.
- ¶ Gödel's incompleteness theorem.
- ¶ Imperial and International Communications takes over
communications in Bahrain.
- ¶ Dixon/Point Reyes, California radio begins transpacific radio
- ¶ Siemens-Halske of Germany installs an automated telephone
exchange in a rural area in Bavaria. Most earlier automation efforts
had been invested in inner city networks.
- ¶ "Exposition internationale" held in Antwerp, Belgium.
- ¶ The first practical and affordable car radio is designed and
produced by the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (cf 1928). The
original model 5T71 radio sells for between $110 and $130, and can be
installed in most popular automobiles. The brand name Motorola is
- ¶ Swedish royal telegraph agency starts using tele typewriters.
- ¶ The Australian government nationalizes broadcast radio
transmission facilities and contracts the provision of programming to
the Australian Broadcasting Company, a consortium of entertainment
- ¶ September, the Great Crash 1929: the New York Stock
Exchange on Wall Street starts to tumble down. After a brief recovery
in the spring of 1930, stocks continue to fall until the summer of
- ¶ April, Imperial & International Communications (in 1934
renamed Cable & Wireless Ltd.)
is formed at the instigation of the British and Dominion Governments,
because the Imperial Wireless Chain (cf 1927) posed a threat to the
British Empire's cable interests, by merger of Marconi's Wireless
Telegraph Company (its communications network investments, patents and
licences, but not its manufacturing assets), The Pacific Cable Board's
Cables, The Pacific Cable Board's West Indian Cable and Wireless
System, The Imperial Atlantic Cables, The Post Office Overseas Beam
Services, and Eastern & Associated Telegraph Companies.
Also included in the merger are
Indo-European Telegraph Company.
formation, the company owns 304,140 km of submarine cable. This year,
the Imperial and International transmits 244 million words by
- ¶ January 4, foundation of Associated Electrical Industries
Limited (AEI) as a financial holding company for a number of leading
electrical manufacturing and trading companies in the United Kingdom,
including British Thomson-Houston (BTH), Metropolitan-Vickers, Edison
Swann and Ferguson Pailin.
- ¶ Philo T. Farnsworth invents the television pickup tube.
- ¶ IBM introduces the Type IV Tabulator, using 80-column, 12-row
- ¶ A teleprinter is invented and put to use by Siemens & Halske
- ¶ Metrovick merges with British Thomson Houston (BTH).
- ¶ The Galvin Manufacturing Corporation is founded by Paul
V. Galvin (1895-1959) and his brother Joseph E. Galvin (1899-1944),
purchase a battery eliminator business in Chicago, Illinois. In 1947
the company is renamed Motorola.
- ¶ The Telephone Association of Canada (cf 1921) completes an
all-Canadian line linking Montreal and Winnipeg.
- ¶ A (British) Imperial Wireless & Cable Conference is held.
- ¶ January 13, the first public demonstration of television is made
by Ernst Alexanderson. (cf 1906)
- ¶ A public demonstration of television by wire from Washington, DC
to Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City is made.
- ¶ The first picturephone conversation takes place. The device
allows transmission of pictures as people speak.
- ¶ With the assistance of two colleagues at MIT, the American
scientist, engineer, and politician Vannevar Bush designed an analog
computer that could solve simple equations. This device, which Bush
dubbed a Product Intergraph, was subsequently built by one of his
- ¶ Scottish inventor John
Logie Baird records television
- ¶ Ralph V. L. Hartley introduces the concept of information as a
measure for the quantity of data in a message.
- ¶ IBM Svenska AB, the Swedish branch of IBM, is founded.
- ¶ Opening of Imperial Wireless Chain, established for the British
Post Office, based on Marconi's Beam System (cf 1924). The Post
Office beam radio stations (soon) takes 65 percent of all Eastern
Telegraph Company and Eastern Extension Telegraph Company traffic.
The Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies were in financial
difficulties, and chairman Sir John Denison-Pender (1855-1929, son of
Eastern Telegraph founder John Pender) appealed to the government to
save the company, leading to the formation in 1929 of Imperial and
- ¶ Ericsson acquires a majority stake in SRA, with Marconi as a
minority owner. Ericsson stops its own manufacturing radio receivers
for the consumer market.
- ¶ Transatlantic telephone service from New York (AT&T) to
London becomes operational, transmitted by radio waves. (cf 1956)
Initially, only one circuit is open, transfering 2000 calls per year.
Initially, these calls cost US$ 75 each for five minutes. In 1928 the
price for a 3 minute call was was reduced to UKP £9.
- ¶ U.S. legislation curtails spark-gap transmissions.
- ¶ Harold Black (born April 14, 1898, died December 11, 1983),
working for Bell Labs, invents "negative feedback", a novel technique
for correcting instability and distortion in amplifying communications
signals (US Patent No. 2,102,671).
- ¶ July 23, Lord Irwin sends the first wireless telegram from India
to King George V in London.
- ¶ May 21, Charles A. Lindbergh is the first to fly alone nonstop
across the Atlantic.
- ¶ February 23, the 69th U.S. Congress approves Public Law No. 632,
"An Act for the regulation of radio communications, and for other
purposes", a.k.a the Radio Act of
1927. It recognized broadcasters' right to free speech.
- ¶ John Logie Baird produces television images of moving objects
and succeeds in transmitting pictures over telephone lines between
London and Glasgow. He patents a system for television using a trunk
of glass fibers.
- ¶ A commercial radio link for facsimile working is opened between
the London office of the Marconi Wireless and Telegraph Company and
the New York office of the RCA.
- ¶ The Burroughs Adding Machine Company (formed in 1886) has
produced a million machines.
- ¶ "Sesquicentennial International Exhibition" held in Philadelphia
- ¶ In Britain, the Electricity (Supply) Act is passed, leading to
the formation of the Central Electricity Board and the building of a
national electricity "grid".
- ¶ Ireland's Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926.
- ¶ Baird invents television (see 1923, though).
- ¶ J. P. Maxfield invents the all-electric phonograph.
- ¶ Western Electric Research Laboratories and part of the
engineering department of AT&T are consolidated to form Bell
Telephone Laboratories, Inc.
- ¶ First coast to coast commercial radio broadcast made over
Canadian National lines.
- ¶ The International Western Electric Company, a telephone
equipment manufacturer, is sold by AT&T to International Telephone
and Telegraph Company (ITT) for $33 million.
- ¶ AT&T introduces commercial wirephoto service.
- ¶ In January, the Swedish radio monopoly (Radiotjänst) starts
broadcasting. Owners or receivers must pay an annual license of 12
kronor. Already at the start, 40,000 licenses are sold, and 300,000
more are sold in the next three years.
- ¶ A Swedish-American radio telegraphy line is opened, with the
Swedish station in Grimeton in Halland on the Swedish west coast. The
station's equipment was designed by Ernst Alexanderson of the Radio
Corporation of America (RCA), who was born in Sweden. See online
presentations by Telemuseum and Föreningen
Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vänner.
- ¶ A new Atlantic telegraphy cable is installed, that allows a
transfer of 1900 characters per minute.
- ¶ The Beam System, a directional shortwave system developed by
Marconi, is adopted by Canada, Australia, South Africa and India. (cf
1927) The Marconi Company also built its own beam transmitting
stations for communicating with Argentina, Brazil, the USA and Japan,
parts of the already running "Via Marconi" network.
- ¶ A radio exhibition is held in Gothenburg, Sweden.
- ¶ The British Empire Exhibition is held at Wembley, London. King
Georg V sends a telegram to himself that travels around the world in
twenty-eight seconds, on British telegraph lines only.
- ¶ June 5, Ernst Alexanderson (cf 1906) transmits the first
facsimile message across the Atlantic.
- ¶ May 19, Bell System engineers publicly demonstrate the first
transmission of pictures over telephone wires.
- ¶ February 14, C-T-R becomes the International Business Machines (IBM)
Company with Thomas J. Watson as both CEO and chief operating officer.
- ¶ Introduction of Ericsson's first automated telephone exchange,
the 500 selection system (500-väljarsystemet). Most other telephone
equipment manufacturers already market automated systems, but Ericsson
dominated the market for manual exchanges.
- ¶ V. K. Zworykin invents television.
- ¶ Transmitter tubes for 1 kW exist (cf 1931).
- ¶ A breakthrough for shortwave radio: On November 28, the radio
amateur Léon Deloy (call sign 8 AB) in Nice, France, connects on 109
meter wavelength with F. H. Schnell (1 MO) in Hartford, Connecticut,
USA. All established science recommends longwave stations with
enormous transmitter power.
- ¶ The Indian Radio Telegraph Company is established by a group of
Indian enterpreneurs: Sir Rahimtoola Chinoy, Sir Cursow Wadia, Sir
Ness Wadia, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola, and Sir Purushottamdas Thakurdas.
- ¶ SRA starts experimental radio broadcasts in Sweden. These end
in November 1924, after the Swedish radio monopoly has been
established. The company also starts manufacturing receivers for the
consumer market, using the trademark Radiola.
- ¶ A. H. Taylor and L. C. Young, USA, discover that moving ships
can be detected by radio waves (early radar). Early experiments used
continuous waves and only moving targets could be detected. (cf 1937)
- ¶ Korn (cf 1902) successfully transmits by radio a facsimile
picture from Rome to New York.
- ¶ Formation of the British Broadcasting Company, later to become
the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), merging the competing interests for radio broadcasting in
Britain, after the question of broadcasting had been referred to the
Broadcasting Sub-Committee of the Imperial Conference. Sir John Reith
was the Director General of the BBC from 1922 to 1938 (in 1944 he
became a director of Cable & Wireless).
- ¶ October 26, the first radio concert in Switzerland was broadcast
from the airport transmitter (cf 1919) Lausanne-Champ-de-l'Air.
- ¶ August 4, telephone service is suspended for one minute on the
entire U.S. and Canadian telephone system, during the funeral services
of Graham Bell, who died at his summer home, Beinn Breagh, near
Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia on August 2.
- ¶ Key West to Havana telephone cable begins service, using
continuous loading via "permalloy" wrap and a blend of rubber and
- ¶ Marconi Co. offers 3 MHz radio telephone calls between England
- ¶ Formation of the Telephone Association of Canada, designed to
promote the exchange of technical and operating information among
- ¶ January 1, formation of Canadian National Telegraphs, charged
with providing for the railway communications needs of the newly
created Canadian National Railway system. It would also offer
telegraph service to the public.
- ¶ June 15, Britain's first advertised public broadcast program
takes place. A song recital by Dame Nellie Melba was broadcast using
a Marconi 15 kW telephone transmitter at the Marconi works in
Chelmsford, and was heard in many countries. This is the birth of
- ¶ H. S. Black invents the negative feedback amplifier using three
- ¶ C-T-R introduces a printer-lister.
- ¶ W. H. Eccles and F. W. Jordan present the first design of a
- ¶ The Bell System introduces the dial telephone with Western
Electric Company manufacturing the equipment used.
- ¶ Watson presents a mathematic treatment of the theory of a
Heaviside layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio signals (cf
- ¶ Ericsson and televerket, Sweden, conducts experiments with
coordinate selectors as a replacement for relay-based telephone
exchanges. (cf 1923)
- ¶ Foundation year of Svenska Radioaktiebolaget (SRA). Founders
are five companies, among them Ericsson.
- ¶ GEC establishes Britain's first separate industrial research
laboratories at Wembley.
- ¶ Canada's first broadcast license is issued to Montreal Station
now known as CIQC (CFCF).
- ¶ Switzerland's first airport radio station opens 1919 at
Dubendorf, followed by Kloten 1921, Geneve-Cointrin 1922, and
Lausanne-Champ-de-l'Air also 1922. These airport radio stations
primarily served aeronautical purposes, but soon the idea suggested
itself to use them, in between flights, for broadcasting music
programmes (cf 1922).
- ¶ September 8, British Westinghouse (cf 1899) is restructured and
renamed Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company, or Metrovick.
- ¶ Ericsson merges with (acquires) SAT (Stockholms Allmänna
Telefonaktiebolag, founded 1883).
- ¶ U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issues a proclamation assuming
control of the telephone and telegraph systems in the US, placing them
under the direction of the Post Office Department.
- ¶ Ten million Bell System telephones are in service.
- ¶ This year, the Eastern Telegraph Company transmits 180 million
words by telegraph.
- ¶ The English Electric Co. is formed from the merger of a number of
companies, in the heavy electrical industry: Dick Kerr and Company
(engineering), Willans & Robinson (diesel engines), the Phoenix
Dynamo Manufacturing Company (small motors, alternators and
generators) and the Stafford works of Siemens Bros.
- ¶ Several Swedish match industries merge into Svenska
Tändsticksaktiebolaget (in 1980 renamed Swedish Match) with Ivar
Kreuger as president (cf 1932).
- ¶ Telephone transmission from airplane to ground is demonstrated.
- ¶ The Indo-European Telegraph Company (cf 1868) establishes a
wireless link between Bahrain and the international cable system at
- ¶ The "Panama California Exposition" is held in San Diego,
- ¶ The "Panama Pacific International Exposition" is held in San
- ¶ Overhead telephone cable disappears within the city of London
and Birmingham with the laying of underground cables.
- ¶ AT&T engineers experimentally transmits the human voice
across the Atlantic Ocean via radio. The first transatlantic
radiotelephone conversation takes place between Arlington, VA, and
Eiffel Tower, Paris.
- ¶ January 25, opening of the transcontinental line from New York
to San Francisco by AT&T. Graham Bell, in New York, speaks to
Thomas Watson in San Francisco repeating the first complete sentence
transmitted by telephone, "Mr Watson, come here, I want you."
- ¶ Ericsson installs the world's biggest ever manual telephone
exchange in Moscow, having 60,000 subscriber lines.
- ¶ Belin's portable fax machine is used to send the first remote
photo news story from the World War I over the telephone lines.
- ¶ AT&T sells its holdings of Western Union Telegraph Company
stock to comply with the Kingsbury Commitment. (cf 1913)
- ¶ International Western Electric Company, a subsidiary of AT&T
(cf 1925), has locations in Antwerp, London, Berlin, Milan, Paris,
Vienna, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Tokyo, Montreal, Buenos Aires, and
- ¶ The Baltic Exhibition is held in Malmö, Sweden, attracting
exhibitors from the Scandinavian countries and Germany. World War I
breaks out two months before the opening of the ambitiously planned
- ¶ Marconi installs radio telegraph stations at various points
around the British Empire, including Singapore.
- ¶ October, formed after Hiram Percy Maxim's ideas (cf January),
the newly founded American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.) publishes its' first
callbook, listing some 400 stations in 33 states and Canada.
- ¶ May 4, Thomas J. Watson, earlier fired from NCR, takes over as
General Manager of C-T-R. IBM has traditionally recognized this date
as its anniversary.
- ¶ January, Hiram Percy Maxim calls to order the first meeting of
the Radio Club of Hartford with some 23 members in attendance. By
March the attendance has grown to 35 members. It was then that Maxim
had the idea that messages could be relayed over great distances. In
order to accomplish this, a network would have to be set up across the
- ¶ In Berlin, Germany, the company
"Hochfrequenz-Maschinen-A.-G. für drahtlose Telegraphie" is building
radio telegraph stations with 250 meter high antenna towers for the
- ¶ Thomas Edison invents talking motion pictures.
- ¶ Edouard Belin invents the portable facsimile machine (fax) which
he calls Belinograph and is capable of using ordinary telephone lines.
- ¶ The "Wheatstone-Creed" system for automated telegraphy is
introduced in Sweden. It used punched paper tape for transmission and
reception, and the received paper tape could be taken to a printer for
- ¶ In the Kingsbury Commitment, the United States government
accepted the establishing of a telephone monopoly, where AT&T
agrees to sell its controlling interest in Western Union Telegraph,
provide long distance connection to independent telephone systems, and
not to purchase any more independent telephone companies except as
approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
- ¶ The first practical electrical amplifiers, devised at AT&T
make transcontinental telephony possible. (cf 1915)
- ¶ Meissner and Edwin
H. Armstrong (born December 18, 1890, died February 1, 1954)
introduce the three electrode tube (cf 1907) in field radio
transmitters for amplification, detection, and wave generation. This
is much used during World War I.
- ¶ J. N. Reynolds, USA, makes an early design of a coordinate
selector for telephone exchanges. Previous designs used relays.
- ¶ Formation of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd. (AWA) by
merger of Marconi's and Telefunken's businesses in Australia.
- ¶ The third and final volume is published of a landmark work on mathematical logic and the foundations of
- Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), Bertrand Russell
(1872-1970), Principia Mathematica, 3 volumes, Cambridge
University Press, 1910-1913
- ¶ Canada's Radiotelegraph Act.
- ¶ This year, the Eastern Telegraph Company transmits 64 million
words by telegraph.
- ¶ The United Kingdom's first public automatic telephone exchange
opens in Epsom, Surrey (England).
- ¶ Austin presents an empiric formula for the correspondance
between wavelength and transmission distance over seas (including
reflexion in the Heaviside layer, cf 1902, 1919). The formula is
revised at the breakthrough in shortwave radio in 1923.
- ¶ Marconi invents a new way to generate a continuous wave, known
as the Multiple Spark System.
- ¶ Gotthilf A. Betulander and Nils Palmgren, Sweden, invent the
link coupling principle (länkkopplingsprincipen). This is a
relay-based design that reduces the cost for designing telephone
- ¶ August 13, the 62nd U.S. Congress approves Public Law No. 264,
"An Act to regulate radio communication", a.k.a. the Radio Act of
1912, mandating that radio stations must be manned 24 hours a day.
- ¶ April 14, Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg. Marconi
wireless equipment on board calls help, reducing the loss in life. As
Lord Samuel, British Postmaster General at the time, stated: "Those
who have been saved have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi and
his wonderful invention."
- ¶ February 22, NCR (National Cash Registers) is the first company
ever prosecuted under the new United States antitrust laws. Among the
top executives is Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, who had been an
NCR employee since 1895.
- ¶ Swedish governmental telegraph administration (Telegrafverket)
opens their own coastal radio telegraphy station in Gothenburg.
- ¶ A note says that the word "wireless" is losing ground in the USA
this year, becoming replaced by "radio telegraphy".
- ¶ American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) takes control of
Western Union Telegraph Company.
- ¶ June 16, Charles Flint, an investment banker and trust builder,
combined Tabulating Machine Co., International Time Recording Co. and
Computing Scale Co. into C-T-R Co. (Computing-Tabulating-Recording
Co.) as a trust. C-T-R Co. eventually became IBM. (source: Dean
- ¶ Swedish navy coastal radio telegraphy stations opens for messages
from the public.
- ¶ Morkrum designs the first teletypewriter.
- ¶ Western Electric introduces "the rotary system" for automatic
telephone exchanges, as an alternative to the Strowger system (cf
1889). For four decades, the rotary system was the main system used
by ITT. The main principles of the rotary system is register control
(registerstyrning), machine operation (maskindrift) and non-decade
design (icke dekadisk uppbyggnad).
- ¶ Chesapeake Bay telephone cable is first to use loading
(inductor) coils underwater. Contained 17 pairs of 13-guage
- ¶ U.S. passes Wireless ship act of 1910.
- ¶ Edward C Molina invents [graderingar] which enables huge trunk
lines between telephone exchanges. (What?)
- ¶ Korn (cf 1902) establishes phototelegraphy (facsimile) links
from Berlin to Paris and London.
- ¶ The "Exposition Universelle et Industrielle" is held in
- ¶ Alexanderson designs a rotating generator for 100 kHz, 2 kW.
(No, see 1906 already)
- ¶ The first Swedish central battery telephone network is installed
- ¶ The third Stockholm exhibition (cf 1866, 1897) is not an
- ¶ Marconi is awarded the Nobel Prize for physics.
- ¶ November, Marconi of Italy and Karl Ferdinand Braun of Germany
win the Nobel Prize in physics for wireless telegraphy.
- ¶ January, over 1,700 people are rescued at sea when the
S.S. Republic is in collision with Italian steamer Florida in thick
fog off the US East Coast. For two days in freezing conditions Jack
Binns, the Marconi radio operator aboard the Republic, sends out a
total of two hundred messages to help guide rescuing ships to his
stricken vessel's position. Thanks to his messages, all but those
passengers killed by the initial impact were rescued. Binns received
a special medal for his services and Marconi himself presented him
with a gold watch.
- ¶ Fessenden designs a rotating generator for 75 kHz, 2.5 kW, thus
generating HF (continuous waves) without sparks.
- ¶ General Electric develops a 100 KHz, 2 kW alternator for radio
- ¶ Tabulating Machine Co. 070 Vertical Sorting Machine designed by
Herman Hollerith could automatically sort 250-270 punched cards per
- ¶ The Swiss telephone network gradually starts to introduce the
central battery system.
- ¶ The "Franco-British Exhibition" is held in London.
- ¶ Image telegraphy network connects Great Britain, France, Germany.
Sweden and Denmark also join in.
- ¶ Clarence D. Tuska started working with the coherer.
- ¶ Leo Hendrik Baekeland (born November 14, 1863 in Belgium, died
February 23, 1944) invents Bakelite (US Patent No. 942,699), the first
all-artificial plastic, and in 1909 founds General Bakelite Corp.
- ¶ Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) is acquired by U.S. Steel. In
1899, TCI was the first company to produce steel in Birmingham,
Alabama, which until then had been producing pig-iron only. (cf 1897)
- ¶ Marconi opens trans-Atlantic wireless telegraph service between
Clifden in Ireland and Glace Bay in Canada.
- ¶ Mississippi becomes the first state to regulate telecom
- ¶ AT&T president Theodore Vail formulates the principle that
the telephone by the nature of its technology would operate most
efficiently as a monopoly providing universal service. Vail wrote in
that year's AT&T Annual Report that government regulation,
"provided it is independent, intelligent, considerate, thorough and
just," was an appropriate and acceptable substitute for the
- ¶ Lee DeForest (born 1873) is awarded U.S. patent No. 879,532,
titled "Space Telegraphy", for a three electrode vaccum tube (the
"audion") amplifier for radio receivers.
- ¶ Greenleaf Pickard invented the silicon detector.
- ¶ Kgl
Telegrafverkets apparater 1906, a handbook of all equipment models
in use at the Swedish governmental telegraph administration
- ¶ Henry Babbage, Charles' son, together with R. W. Munro, finalizes
the implementation of the CPU (the "mill") of his father's analytical
engine to prove that it works, which it does.
- ¶ Electric power transfer in Deje, Sweden, 34 kV.
- ¶ First telephone directory featuring classified business
advertising on yellow pages issued in Detroit by the Michigan State
- ¶ The "Esposizione Internazionale del Sempione" is held in Milan,
- ¶ Professor Max Wien uses a high frequency transformer to connect
his antenna to a very short spark gap with a quickly attenuated spark
(Löschfunken). The antenna circuit, however, maintained the
[continuous] wave between the sparks. See reports in the German
"Phys. Zeitschr. 1906, 7, 872" and "Jahrb. d. drahtl. Tel. 1907,
Bd. I. 469". A Swede named Rendahl is said to have helped in the
design of this system.
- ¶ 27 nations signed the International Wireless Telegraph
Convention in Berlin.
- ¶ December 24, Fessenden (cf 1901) transmits the world's first
radio broadcast from Brant Rock Station, Massachesetts. The
transmitter's 2 kW 100 kHz high-frequency alternator (US Patent
No. 1,008,577) was built by Ernst
F. W. Alexanderson (born January 25, 1878 in Sweden, died May 14,
- ¶ "Exposition universelle et internationale" in Liège, Belgium.
- ¶ Fleming develops the first diode known as the Fleming Valve.
- ¶ Marconi patents his directive horizontal antenna.
- ¶ DeForest invents the audion.
- ¶ Australia's Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1905.
- ¶ Canada's Wireless Telegraphy Act requires operators of wireless
telegraphy to obtain a license.
- ¶ Fleming invents the radio tube, the thermionic valve.
- ¶ Ruhmer and Pieper patent a transmitter tube.
- ¶ Marconi builds a rotating oscillator and discovers the directive
properties of horizontal antennas. Starts to use the Fleming
- ¶ Foundation of the Royal Typewriter Company, based on inventions
by Edward B. Rees, who in his lifetime got 140 typewriter patents.
The American typewriter industry's four biggest vendors were the Union
Typewriter Company (Remington), Underwood, L. C. Smith, and Royal.
- ¶ The "Louisiana Purchase International Exposition" is held in
St. Louis, Missouri.
- ¶ Valdemar Poulsen (cf 1898) redesigns Duddell's ["sjungande
ljusbåge"] and succeeds in designing a generator for continuous waves,
thus aiding the development of radio broadcasting.
- ¶ The "star microphone" became Ericsson's standard for the
following 50 years. This was a carbon microphone with six chambers to
avoid packing all carbon dust (English antracit).
- ¶ Ericsson's first installation of a central battery telephone
network, in Hague, the Netherlands. Central battery systems from
other companies had been around since the mid 1890s (cf 1888). Early
systems were powered by local batteries at each subscriber.
- ¶ The four Smith brothers (cf 1893) break away from the Union
Typewriter Company of America to form the L. C. Smith and Brothers
Typewriter Company (later part of the Smith-Corona Company in 1926,
and SCM Corporation in 1958).
- ¶ An automobile and motor boat exhibition is held in Stockholm.
- ¶ Marconi establishes the first press agency between Europe and
- ¶ Coin collecting pay telephones are introduced in New York. The
collector is a single slot model and the charge for a local call is 10
- ¶ December 17, first powered flight is made by the brothers
Orville and Wilbur Wright on the sands at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- ¶ Jaunary 18, the first two-way transatlantic transmission between
Poldhu, England and Cape Code Mass. USA.
- ¶ First radio transmission of the human voice.
- ¶ Electric power transfer in Sandvik, Sweden, 20 kV.
- ¶ The coherer is replaced as a radio signal detector by the
crystal detector and earphone. Radio receivers have only passive
components. Radio transmitters essentially consist of a rotating
generator, a telegraph key, a high voltage transformer, a spark gap,
and an antenna. Despite increasing transmitter power to 100 kW, poor
receivers limit coverage to 800 km during daytime and 1500 km (900
miles) at night.
- ¶ Kennelly tries to explain Marconi's chance transatlantic
connection by presenting a theory of signals reflected by a conducting
layer high in the atmosphere (the Heaviside layer).
- ¶ Opera singer Caruso makes his first recordings on Deutsche
Grammophon (cf 1898).
- ¶ the sensitive photoelectric cell is developed by Dr Arthur Korn,
Germany. An important application is to speed up phototelegraphy or
facsimile. Early facsimile machines (cf 1842, 1865) used slow contact
type transmitters, where a scanning stylus was in physical contact
with the relief text (raised lettering) of the message.
- ¶ Reginald A. Fessenden (born Oct 6, 1866, died July 22, 1932)
invents the radio telephone or amplitude-modulated (AM) radio (US
Patent No. 706,747). One source says 1900.
- ¶ Donald Murray links typewriter to high-speed multiplex system,
later used by Western Union.
- ¶ The "Pan-American Exposition" is held in Buffalo, New York.
- ¶ The "Glasgow International Exhibition" is held in Glasgow,
- ¶ December 12, Guglielmo Marconi sends radio telegraphy signals
across the Atlantic, from Poldhu in Cornwall, England to Signal Hill,
St. John's, Newfoundland, America. This is a chance connection and
remains a curiosity for ten more years.
- ¶ The Strowger company (cf 1891, 1895) installs an automatic
telephone network in Berlin, operated by Reichspostamt.
- ¶ Rene Graphen invents the photocopying machine.
- ¶ (A previous note about the International Time Recording Company
has been removed on suspicion that it was incorrect. See 1911)
- ¶ Michael Pupin, USA, invents a system [pupiniseringen] that
reduces the signal attenuation in telephone cables, by introducing
inductor coils (solenoids or transformers?) at regular distances along
- ¶ The first coin telephone was installed in Hartford, Connecticut.
- ¶ The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company (cf 1897) is renamed
Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company.
- ¶ The British Power Act of 1900 is passed.
- ¶ "Exposition Universelle" held in Paris attracts 50 million
- ¶ April 26, (British?) patent 7777 is granted (to Marconi?) for a
system for tuned coupled circuits and allowed simultaneous
transmissions on different frequencies. Adjacent stations were now
able to operate without interfering with one another and ranges were
- ¶ Valdemar Poulsen invents the magnetic recorder.
- ¶ Electric power transfer in Örebro, Sweden, 15 kV
- ¶ British Westinghouse is formed in Manchester by the American
George Westinghouse. (cf 1919)
- ¶ Loading coils are invented independently at AT&T and
elsewhere, allowing AT&T's network to extend from New York to
- ¶ The Eastern Telegraph Company builds the cable link between
Britain and South Africa via St Helena and Ascension (cf 1815). This
is the third West African link (cf 1885, 1889) and it is built in deep
waters as a protection against sabotage during the Boer war.
- ¶ The first life-saving possibilities of wireless is realised when
the East Goodwin lightship, which had been equipped with an Marconi
wireless apparatus, is rammed in dense fog by a steamship
R.F. Matthews and sends a request for the assistance of a lifeboat.
- ¶ Guglielmo Marconi establishes the first radio link between
England and France transmitting greetings to the French scientist
- ¶ December 30, in a corporate reorganization, AT&T assumes the
business and property of American Bell and becomes the parent company
of the Bell System. (cf 1885, 1984)
- ¶ Foundation of Kodak. Chairman until 1913 is James Pender, son
of Eastern Telegraph founder John Pender.
- ¶ Ganz, an Austrian company, builds an electric three phase
railroad in Lecco, north Italy.
- ¶ Emile Berliner, inventor of the flat disk gramophone (cf 1887)
returns from America to his native town Hanover in Germany and founds
the Berliner Grammophon Gesellschaft, (today: Deutsche Grammophon).
He also founds the Gramophone Company in London and introduces the
logotype with the dog listening to His Master's Voice, later adopted by RCA.
- ¶ December 1, Danish electrical engineer and inventor Valdemar
Poulsen (born Nov. 23, 1869, died July 1942) patents the first
practical magnetic sound recorder, the Telegrafoon, using magnetised
piano wire as the recording medium. A working model created great
interest at the Paris Exposition in 1900.
- ¶ September, Marconi comes to the US where he carries out a
telegraph circuit for the Navy between the cursers New York and
- ¶ Febaruary 8, the telegraph cable between Turks Island and
Jamaica is opened, thus connecting Halifax to Jamaica.
- ¶ January 17, the telegraph cable between Bermuda and Turks Island
is opened for public traffic by the Direct West India Cable Company
- ¶ The "Exposition Internationale de Bruxelles" is held in
- ¶ Edison develops the first practical incandescent lamp.
- ¶ July, Marconi registers his company as the Wireless
Telegraph and Signal Company.
- ¶ May 15 through October, the second Stockholm exhibition
"Allmänna konst- och industriutställningen" (cf 1866) coincides with
Oscar II's 25th anniversary as king of Sweden.
- ¶ January 31, in the last 7 months (since July 1, 1896), two
leading American steel works in Alabama and Tennessee have shipped
90,000 tons of pig-iron (tackjärn) to Europe. It was the panic of
1893 that led American steel works to risk competing on the European
market and a first shipload of 250 tons was sent in 1895. By 1900
Birmingham, Alabama exported three-fourths of all the pig-iron shipped
from the US.
- ¶ The rotary dial is invented, which makes it easy for the
subscriber to use an automated telephone system such as Strowger's (cf
- ¶ December 3, Herman Hollerith's invention is incorporated as the
Tabulating Machine Company, the predecessor of IBM.
- ¶ September 2, Marconi demonstrates radio transmission at Three
Mile Hill on Salisbury Plain, England, with officials from the General
Post Office the Navy and the Army present.
- ¶ July, Marconi demonstrates his apparatus to the British Post
- ¶ June 2, British Patent number 12039 is filed for Guglielmo
Marconi's invention of radio transmission.
- ¶ May, foundation of British Thomson-Houston Ltd. (BTH, cf 1892, 1929) by American
Thomson-Houston (part of GE of America) British and French bankers.
- ¶ February, Marconi travels to England.
- ¶ The first Swedish electric tramway is Djursholmsspårvägen.
- ¶ Guglielmo Marconi (born April 25, 1874, died July 20, 1937) uses
Hertz' generator for communication, connecting antenna and ground, and
uses Branly's coherer as a detector (Popoff had used it for
registering remote lightning storms). In his early experiments (and
for the transatlantic in 1901?), Marconi used a wavelength of c. 100
meters. See the memorial Marconi Calling website.
- ¶ The Strowger company (cf 1891) is granted US patent 638249 for a
step-by-step operated, decadic selector design for 10x10 lines.
- ¶ Foundation of Harris
- ¶ First signals transmitted by radio-relay system.
- ¶ John T. Underwood and his father, John Underwood, acquires the
Wagner typewriter and establishes a factory in Hartford, Connecticut,
to build the Underwood Model 5, the first widely distributed
typewriter to feature front-strike technology.
- ¶ "Exposition universelle" held in Antwerp, Belgium.
- ¶ Alexander Graham Bell's second telephone patent expires,
allowing competing companies to enter the U.S. telephone market. In
the next ten years, six thousand companies do.
- ¶ Electric power transfer between Hellsjön and Grängesberg in
Sweden, 9500 volts, 300 horse powers.
- ¶ Financial panic and depression in America, forcing companies to
consolidate. (cf 1929) The Remington Typewriter Company merges with
an organization of four Smith brothers (cf 1903) to form the Union
Typewriter Company of America.
- ¶ May through October, the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago is the most comprehensive
of all exhibitions of the 19th century. It celebrates the 400th
anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
- ¶ William Crookes predicts the revolutionary influence that Hertz'
waves will have on communication.
- ¶ AT&T connects New York and Chicago by telephone.
- ¶ Ericsson introduces the world's first subscriber telephone with
a combined handset. Earlier subscriber phones had a handheld earpiece
and a microphone mounted on the phone (table or wallmounted).
Combined handsets had earlier been used by switchboard operators.
- ¶ British firm Laing, Wharton and Down (cf 1886) is renamed
Thomson-Houston Electric Company.
- ¶ Thomas Edison invents Motion Picture Projector.
- ¶ Swedish governmental telegraph administration (Kgl Telegrafverket)
establishes its own manufacturing unit.
- ¶ Electric power transfer between Lauffen and Frankfurt in Germany.
- ¶ Strowger's patent is granted (cf 1889). Foundation year of The
Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange Co (in 1906 renamed Automatic
Electric Co, Autelco). (cf 1895).
- ¶ The decennial U.S. census uses Herman Hollerith's (1860-1929)
punched card tabulator. Hollertith's first machine was patented in
1884, with improvements in 1886 after having been tried in the
Baltimore census. Inventive also in business, Hollerith rented the
machines and sold the patented cards.
- ¶ Jonas Wenström, Sweden, patents a three phase electric system.
This is the foundation for ASEA (Allmänna Svenska Elektriska
Aktiebolaget) in Västerås, Sweden, which soon acquires Elektriska
Aktiebolaget (founded in Stockholm, 1883). Almost a century later,
ASEA is merged with Brown Boveri of Switzerland to form ABB.
- ¶ Rotary dials are introduced on telephones.
- ¶ July 10, the telegraph line from Bermuda to Halifax is completed
by the Halifax and Bermudas Telegraph Company, and the Governor of
Bermuda sends an inaugural message to H.M. the Queen in London.
Service is opened on July 14.
- ¶ Almon B. Strowger (-1902), undertaker in Kansas City, USA,
applies for patent for an automated telephone exchange. The US patent
447918 is granted in 1891. The Strowger system includes step-by-step
operation (steg-för-stegdrift), direct control (direktstyrning), and
decade design (dekadisk uppbyggnad). These three principles are kept
in almost all later improvements. Cf 1910 the rotary system.
- ¶ A second telegraph line is laid along the West African route (cf
- ¶ The Halifax and Bermudas Telegraph Company is established for
providing a telegraph line between the naval base at Nova Scotia with
the British Naval harbour at Hamilton, Bermuda. (cf 1935)
- ¶ "Exposition Universelle" held in Paris. The main attraction is
the newly erected Eiffel Tower.
- ¶ The "New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition" is held in Dunedin,
- ¶ The General Electric Apparatus Company (G.Binswanger) in London
(cf 1886) is incorporated and renamed General Electric Co. Ltd., also
known as G.E.C.
- ¶ September 30, Bundy Manufacturing Co. is incorporated (a maker
of time recording equipment), the first of many components that
eventually became the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, Inc.
(C-T-R), and later IBM.
- ¶ E. J. Marey invents the motion picture camera.
- ¶ The common battery system, developed by Hammond V. Hayes,
permitted a central battery to supply all telephones on an exchange.
- ¶ Harlow Bundy creates the Bundy Key Recorder. His firm vent into
the 1911 C-T-R merger.
- ¶ A Nordic industry, farming, and art exhibition is held in
- ¶ Talbot Lanston invents the monotype machine.
- ¶ Dorr Eugene Felt patents the Comptometer, the first successful
key-driven, multiple-order calculating machine.
- ¶ The Eastern Telegraph Company owns 22,000 miles of submarine
- ¶ September 29, Emile Berliner (born May 20, 1851 in Germany, Died
August 3, 1929) invents the gramophone using a flat disk record (US
Patent 372,786) and in 1898 founds the Berliner Grammophon
- ¶ (some say 1887) Heinrich Hertz discovers electromagnetic waves,
similar to light, as described by Maxwell's theory in 1864.
- ¶ With typewriter sales not reaching the expected levels,
Remington sells its typewriter business for $186,000 to patent-holder
Densmore (cf 1873), who retains the trademark in the new Remington
Standard Typewriter Company. The American market was 50,000 machines
per year, of which Remington had one third.
- ¶ The American Arithmometer Co. is formed in St. Louis to market
the Burroughs calculating machine. (cf 1885)
- ¶ World exposition in London.
- ¶ The "International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art" is
held in Edinburgh, Scotland.
- ¶ Foundation of London firm Laing, Wharton and Down, to exploit in
the United Kingdom the sale of products made by the American Electric
- ¶ Foundation of the General
Electric Apparatus Company (G.Binswanger) in London (later GEC, cf
1889) by German immigrants Gustav Binswanger and Hugo Hirst.
- ¶ Charles S. Tainter invents the dictaphone.
- ¶ Formation of the African Direct Telegraph Company to lay a cable
to the West Coast of Africa (cf 1880). The existing route to St
Vincent is extended to Bathurst in the Gambia and to Freetown, Accra
and Bonny in Nigeria.
- ¶ William S. Burroughs submits a patent application in 1885 for
his Calculating Machine and the patent (US Patent No. 388,116) was
awarded in 1888.
- ¶ "Exposition universelle" held in Antwerp, Belgium.
- ¶ "International Exhibition of Inventions" held in London.
- ¶ July, in a typewriting contest in Cincinnati, the winner used a
modern touch machine.
- ¶ March 3, AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) is
incorporated in New York as a wholly owned subsidiary of the American
Bell Telephone Company. Its functions as a long-distance carrier,
connecting the local Bell companies.
- ¶ Ottmar Mergenthaler invents the linotype machine.
- ¶ Herman Hollerith patents his first machine.
- ¶ San Francisco-Oakland gutta-percha cable begins telephone
- ¶ Foundation year of Elektriska Aktiebolaget in Stockholm. This
company was later acquired by ASEA (cf 1890).
- ¶ Foundation year of Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolag (SAT) a
privately held telephone network operation company in Stockholm, to
offer competition with the Bell company. The founder is
H. T. Cedergren (cf 1877). The first central office is opened on
October 31. Before the end of the year, SAT has 785 subscribers.
Ericsson's first order from SAT is for switchboards and 500
- ¶ Test telephone calls are placed over five miles of under-water
- ¶ "International Exhibition" held in Calcutta, India.
- ¶ The fair "Internationale Koloniale en Untvoerhandel
Tentoonstellung" is held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
- ¶ Jonas Wenström, Sweden, designs a direct current electric
motor (cf 1890).
- ¶ Telephones arrive in India as a 50-line manual exchange is
installed in Calcutta.
- ¶ American Bell acquires a controlling interest in the Western
Electric Company (founded 1869), which became its manufacturing unit.
- ¶ Ericsson wins a bid to sell equipment to a new telephone society
in Gävle (Gävle telefonförening), Sweden. This is Ericsson's first
order for telephone equipment to a public network. During this year,
Ericsson sells 500 telephones.
- ¶ The first international electricity exposition is held in Paris.
- ¶ The Sloss Company's City Furnaces, is built in what is now the
center of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1881-1882, producing pig iron for
the foundry market until their close in 1970. (cf 1897)
- ¶ Henry Hunnings invents the carbon microphone.
- ¶ Thomas Alva Edison invents the carbon microphone and the carbon
filament light bulb. His demonstration site has a steam powered
electric generator, 425 light bulbs, and an electric tram.
- ¶ Alexander Graham Bell transmits a sound over light beams for a
short distance. He calls the device photophone and terms it his
greatest invention, "greater than the telephone."
- ¶ Oliver Heaviside's analysis shows that a uniform addition of
inductance into a cable would produce distortionless transmission.
(It would be 40 more years before Bell Labs devised a practical method
of producing uniform inductance -- "permalloy" magnetic ribbon spiral
winding around a conductor. This would permit 400 WPM on the New
York-Azores Western Union cable in 1925.)
- ¶ Installation of a submarine telegraph cable between Hong Kong
and the Philippines, by the company later known as Cable &
- ¶ Switzerland's first local telephone network was opened in
- ¶ Africa's first international telegraph cable is completed,
connecting Aden in the Arabian Gulf, along the East Coast of Africa,
Zanzibar, Mozambique, Delgoa Bay, and Durban.
- ¶ November 20, the first telephone directory for Oslo
(Christiania), Norway lists 169 names.
- ¶ In September, the Bell company opens operation in Sweden. The
first station in Stockholm has 121 subscribers, with Gothenburg soon
- ¶ May 13, the Bell company announces that the central office in
Oslo (Christiania), Norway is open for traffic.
- ¶ World exposition in Melbourne, Australia.
- ¶ Introduction of telephone cables (with many wires) on poles, in
American telephone networks. Ground cables come later. Open air
unisolated wires on porcelain isolators on poles dominate, are
installed until the 1950s. Local cable networks constitute the
biggest investment for telephone operating companies.
- ¶ London gets its first telephone system as Bell Telephone opens
its first exchange.
- ¶ The latter part of 1879 and the early part of 1880 saw the first
use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. This story is that
during an epidemic of measles, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker feared that
Lowell's four operators might succumb and bring about a paralysis of
telephone service. He recommended the use of numbers for calling
Lowell's more than 200 subscribers so that substitute operators might
be more easily trained in the event of such an emergency. Parker was
convinced of the telephone's potential, began buying stock,
and by 1883 he was one of the largest individual stockholders in both
the American Telephone Company and the New England Telephone and
- ¶ "Sydney International Exhibition" is held in Sydney, Australia.
- ¶ Edison forms the Edison Telephone Company Ltd.
- ¶ Based on experience from repairing US-made phones,
L. M. Ericsson starts to manufacture his own design, "telephone with a
trumpet". The first copies were delivered on November 14, and some 20
phones were delivered before the end of the year. The "trumpet" was
an extension of the mouthpiece where the caller would blow to initiate
- ¶ David E. Hughes (1831-1900) invents the carbon microphone.
- ¶ The Remington No. 2 typewriter features both upper and lower
case letters, priced at $100. (cf 1873)
- ¶ "Exposition Universelle" held in Paris. Edison's phongraph is
among the main attractions.
- ¶ January, the first telephone exchange is opened in New Haven,
Connecticut, USA. It operates under license from the Bell Telephone
Company. This manual station had some ten subscribers and used local
batteries (at each subscriber). Central battery exchanges were
introduced in the mid 1890s (cf. 1888).
- ¶ The Bell Telephone Company is formed by inventor Alexander
Graham Bell and his financers Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders.
- ¶ December, Stockholm's first few private telephone lines are
installed. The first two lines connected the private home of Henrik
Tore Cedergren (cf 1883) with a jewelery shop on Drottninggatan, and
the city gas works with the gas reservoir at Klara sjö.
- ¶ December 8, opening of an inter-colonial line, 2532 km long.
Congratulatory messages were keyed along the single iron wire linking
the colonies enabling Western Australia to be in telegraphic
communication with the rest of the world.
- ¶ December 7, at the offices of Scientific American magazine,
Edison demonstrates his improved phonograph, using a cylinder wrapped
with tinfoil instead of wax-coated paper.
- ¶ July, inspired by Bell's telephone and his own telegraph signal
recorder, Thomas Edison invents the phonograph, a predecessor of the
gramophone. The first recording of the human voice is the words "Mary
had a little lamb". Despite the inspiration from Bell's electric
device, the phonograph was purely mechanic. Earlier inventions could
trace sound waves, but Edison's phonograph was the first that could
reproduce or replay the recording. Suggested reading:
- David Morton, Off the Record. The Technology and Culture of
Sound Recording in America, Rutgers University Press, 2000, ISBN
0-8135-2746-5 (cloth), ISBN 0-8135-2747-3 (paperback)
- ¶ August, a norwegian engineer, Jens Hopstock, makes the first
demonstration of Bell's telephone in Drammen, Norway and Stockholm,
Sweden. Two Swedish companies, Joseph Leja and Numa Peterson, starts
to market telephones imported from the USA. Lars Magnus Ericsson, who
started a telegraph equipment repair workshop the previous year,
bought a few samples for experiments and made a few copies.
- ¶ Alexander Graham Bell (born March 3, 1847 in Scotland, died
August 2, 1922) patents the telephone (U.S. Patent No. 174,465, issued
on March 3). The patent application is submitted on February 14. On
March 10, his coworker, instrument maker Watson hears Bell's voice
over the phone saying "Mr Watson, come here, I want you".
- ¶ Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson established.
- LM Ericsson 100 år, 3 volumes, 1976, ISBN 91-7260-064-0, in
- Ericsson 100 Years, 3 volumes, 1977, ISBN 91-7260-065-9,
English translation of the previous.
- John Meurling, Richard Jeans, The Ericsson Chronicle. 125
years in telecommunications, 2000, ISBN 91-7736-464-3
- John Meurling, Richard Jeans, Ericssonkrönikan. 125 år av
telekommunikation, 2000, ISBN 91-7736-480-5, Swedish translation
of the previous
- ¶ A telegraph cable from Australia to New Zealand is laid by
EEA&C (cf 1873).
- ¶ Centennial
International Exhibition is held in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. The main attractions are George Corliss' great steam
engine and Bell's telephone.
- ¶ Frank Stephen Baldwin patents an invention that substitutes
Leibniz' stepped wheel with a variable number of protrunding teeth.
Based on this patent, the Brunsviga adding machine is sold in 20,000
units between 1892 and 1912.
- ¶ Charles Coulomb demonstrates the manner in which electric
charges repel each other.
- ¶ Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders agree to finance Alexander
Graham Bell work, trying to invent a talking telegraph. This is the
beginning of the company that became the AT&T.
- ¶ The "Wheatstone" system for automated telegraphy is used in Sweden
for the first time.
- ¶ "International Exhibition" held in London.
- ¶ Baudot invents a practical Time Division Multiplexing scheme or
telegraph. Uses 5-bit codes & 6 time slots - 90 bps max. rate.
Both Western Union and Murray would use this as the basis of multiplex
- ¶ June 23, a cable linking Portugal to Brazil, via Madeira and St
Vincent is opened by the Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Company and
linked to the Eastern Telegraph Company's Carcavellos (cf 1869) to
- ¶ Formation of the Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Company.
- ¶ Formation of the Western and Brazilian Telegraph Company.
- ¶ The "Weltausstellung 1873 Wien" world fair is held in Vienna,
coinciding with Franz Josef's 25th anniversary as emperor.
- ¶ This year, the Eastern Telegraph Company transmits 225,160 words
(11,258 twenty word messages).
- ¶ May, the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph
Company (EEA&C) is formed by John Pender by merger of The British
Indian Extension Company, The China Submarine Telegraph Company (cf
1869) and The British Australian Telegraph Company. (cf 1974)
- ¶ September 19, the hype caused by false marketing of arable land
along Jay Cooke & Co.'s Northern Pacific Railroad from Minneapolis
to Seattle results in the financial "panic of 1873". In the winter of
1874, 25 percent of New York's workforce is unemployed.
- ¶ February, the typewriter developed by Christopher Latham Sholes
of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, meets the financial backing of James
Densmore, and the manufacturing capabilities of rifle maker
E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, New York. A contract for one to
twenty-four thousand units was signed on March 1. The first Remington
No. 1 typewriters appeared in 1874.
- ¶ The Chicago International Exposition building is erected.
- ¶ "International Exhibition" held in London.
- ¶ "Exposition universelle et internationale" held in Lyon, France.
- ¶ The first purpose-designed cableship is built.
- ¶ The company Gray and Barton (cf 1869), is acquired by the
Western Union Telegraph Company, with funding from the Vanderbilts and
J.P. Morgan. The name is changed to the Western Electric
- ¶ The Eastern Telegraph Company is formed with John Pender (cf
1858) as chairman (until his death in 1896) and Great Eastern captain
Sir James Andersson (cf 1866) as General Manager through merger of The
Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Company (cf 1869), The
Marseilles, Algiers and Malta Telegraph Company, The
Anglo-Mediterranean Telegraph Company (cf 1868), and The British
Indian Submarine Telegraph Company. The company's initial ocean
assets are approximately 8,860 miles of submarine cable.
- ¶ The telegraph links between Cuba and Jamaica are completed. (cf
- ¶ First Trans-Siberian telegraph line connects Europe with China and
Japan. Installed by Det Store Nordiske Telegraf-Selskap.
- ¶ A submarine cable between Singapore and Hong Kong is completed
by the China Submarine Telegraph Company. (cf 1869) A submarine cable
is installed between Singapore, Penang and Madras.
- ¶ John C. Wilson conceives and patents the mechanical time stamp.
- ¶ "International Exhibition" held in London.
- ¶ The Indo-European Telegraph Company (cf 1868) completes a
telegraph line from England via Germany and South Russia to Teheran
where it joined the Indian Government landline to Bushire and from
there to Karachi via the Persian Gulf Cables. The line was in
operation until 1931.
- ¶ Completion of the first telegraph line between Europe and India.
The line runs from London, through Porthcurno near Land's End,
Carcavellos in Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, and Aden to Bombay.
The links between Suez, Aden and Bombay was completed this year and
the Falmouth Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Company (cf 1869) won a
concession from the Portuguese government to establish and work a
telegraph between Portugal, England and Gibraltar.
- ¶ The Cuba Submarine Telegraph Company is formed to lay a
submarine cablea between Cuba and Jamaica. (cf 1869)
- ¶ A total of 17 Meyer facsimile machines are installed in the
French telegraph network, which at this time has 4,000
electromechanical telegraph machines. The main advantages seen at
this time are the virtual elimination of errors in transmission and
the availability of a facsimile signature.
- ¶ Det Store Nordiske Telegraf-Selskap (Great Nordic Telegraph
Company) founded in Copenhagen. Installs undersea telegraph cables
between Great Britain and the Nordic countries and Russia.
- ¶ Asia's first submarine telegraph cable is installed between
Singapore and Hong Kong by the company later known as Cable &
Wireless. (cf 1871)
- ¶ The company Gray and Barton is founded by Elisha Gray (born
August 2, 1835 in Barnesville, Ohio, died January 21, 1901 in
Newtonville, Massachusetts) and a partner. (cf 1872, 1882)
- ¶ Start of telegraph service between Tokyo and Yokohama.
- ¶ The British Indian Submarine Telegraph Company is founded by
John Pender (cf 1858) to lay an all undersea cable to India.
- ¶ The Falmouth Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Company is formed by
John Pender. (cf 1870)
- ¶ The West India and Panama Telegraph Company is formed to lay a
submarine telegraph cable between Cuba and Jamaica.
- ¶ December, the China Submarine Telegraph Company is formed by
- ¶ Since this year, Europe has been connected with India by
telegraph lines. (Is this true? cf 1870 One source even says 1865)
- ¶ The Indo-European Telegraph Company is formed in Germany.
- ¶ Foundation of Dominion Telegraph in Canada, offering connections
between Quebec and Detroit.
- ¶ The Anglo-Mediterranean Telegraph Company (cf 1872) installs a
telegraph cable between Malta and Alexandria, Egypt.
- ¶ A duplex system for telegraphy is designed by Stearns.
- ¶ A telegraph cable is laid from Florida to Cuba.
- ¶ Sholes, Glidden, and Soule invent the typewriter.
- ¶ "Exposition Universelle" is held in Paris.
- ¶ An exhibition is held in Stockholm, displaying art, crafts, and
industry, but only from the Scandinavian countries.
- ¶ The Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company (Telcon) buys
the Hawk, the first cableship with direct connections with the Cable
& Wireless group of companies.
- ¶ July 13-27, a new Transatlantic undersea telegraph cable
connects Europe and America (cf 1858), and the two continents have
been connected since. The ship used was the "Great Eastern"
(part-owned by Daniel Gooch, cf 1841) (cf 1858), under captain James
Anderson. The cable was manufactured by John Pender's cable-making
company Telcon. It transmitted telegraph messages at 7 words per
- ¶ First undersea telegraph cable between Sweden and Germany.
- ¶ The "Great Eastern" (cf 1858) starts to lay the transatlantic
cable, but after 1,000 miles the cable breaks off and an act of
sabotage is suspected. The second attempt in July of 1866 is
- ¶ the first working trials for a commercially viable facsimile
machine is set up in France by Caselli, an Italian. Shortly after
this Meyer facsimile machines are also tried out in the French
- ¶ May 17th, representatives from 20 countries sign the first
international telegraph convention, leading to the formation of the International Telecommunications
- ¶ The Anglo-American Telegraph Company is founded to lay the new
Atlantic cable (cf 1858). John Pender was one of the founders.
- ¶ Governmentally owned railroads in Sweden span Stockholm,
Gothenburg, and Malmö.
- ¶ Maxwell presents a theory of electromagnetic radiation (cf Hertz
- ¶ March 17, the cable manufacturing company Telegraph Construction
and Maintenance Company (Telcon) is formed with John Pender (cf 1858)
as the chairman (or was that Daniel Gooch?) and with a capital of one
million pounds through the amalgamation of the Gutta-Percha Company
and the cable makers Glass Elliot of Greenwich. Its formation was
brought about by the need to supply 700,000 pounds worth of submarine
telegraph cable to span the Atlantic (cf 1866).
- ¶ Stockholm Stock Exchange established.
- ¶ The "International Exhibition of 1862" is held in London.
- ¶ The Indo-European Telegraph Department is formed to join India
to the telegraph network.
- ¶ First USA transcontinental telegraph cable begins service.
- ¶ Electric telegraph connects Sweden with Finland and Russia along
the path Stockholm - Haparanda - Tornio - Turku.
- ¶ Swedish governmental telegraph agency (Kungl. Telegrafverket)
signs agreement with Swedish governmental railroads agency (Statens
Järnvägar) to use the same poles along railroads.
- ¶ Feddersen conducts a successful experiment that supports
(proves?) Henry's hypothesis (1842) and W. Thomson's theory (1853)
about the oscillatory nature of sparks.
- ¶ August 18, the first Transatlantic cable is installed, but stops
working after 20 days, having carried only 800 telegrams. John Pender
(born 1815) was director of the Atlantic Telegraph Company since 1856.
See the website http://atlantic-cable.com/ and the beautiful picture album http://atlantic-cable.com/Album/
- ¶ January, launch of the "Great Eastern", a 4,000 passenger steam
ship with iron hull and paddle wheels built by Isambard Kingdom
Brunel. The ship had a gross tonnage of 18,915 tons, was 210 m long,
25,3 m wide, could make 13,5 knots using 2 oscillating steam engines,
one of 3400 hp for side wheels and one of 4900 hp for propellor. The
ship was ahead of its time and too big for most ports, made its maiden
journey only in 1860, and drove its company to bankruptcy three years
later, when the ship was sold to the Anglo-American Telegraph Company.
(cf 1865, 1866)
- ¶ Swedish telegraph equipment manufacturer Öller & Co
- ¶ Sir Charles Wheatstone (cf 1829, 1838) introduced the first
application of perforated paper tapes as a medium for the preparation,
storage, and transmission of data. Sir Charles' paper tape used two
rows of holes to represent Morse's dots and dashes. Outgoing messages
could be prepared off-line on paper tape and transmitted later.
- ¶ Electric telegraph connects Sweden with Denmark and Norway. The
cable between Sweden and Denmark is installed January 1st.
- ¶ Telegraph service becomes available to public in India.
- ¶ "Exposition Universelle" held in Paris.
- ¶ Development of the logical algebra that will underlie
computer logic, published in this work:
- George Boole, An investigation of the laws of thought, on
which are founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and
- ¶ Swedish governmental telegraph administration (Telegrafverket)
starts cooperation with (private?) railroads.
- ¶ Norway starts to install telegraph lines.
- ¶ W. Thomson presents a theory about the oscillatory nature of
sparks (cf 1842, 1858).
- ¶ November 1st, a network of electric telegraphs open in Sweden.
The initiative was taken by A. L. Fahnehjelm who got the support of
K. F. Akrell. A government decision was taken in February 1853 and
installation of the first line between Stockholm and Uppsala begun the
same summer. Akrell was appointed officer of this new royal telegraph
agency (Kungl. Telegrafverket), which is today's Telia.
- ¶ In a show of Goethe's play Faust, the Paris Opera uses a
light-conducting fountain, using the principle discovered by Colladon
- ¶ The "Great Industrial Exhibition" is held in Dublin, Ireland.
- ¶ The "Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations" is held in New
- ¶ Denmark starts to install telegraph lines.
- ¶ Canada's first Telegraphs Act empowers telegraph companies to
construct lines along public roads, required dispatches to be
transmitted in the order received (the first legislative provision
enforcing a requirement of non-discrimination of communications
carriers), and permitted the government to requisition the use of
- ¶ The first telegraph line in India is laid from Calcutta to
- ¶ England-France commercial telegraph service begins. This one
uses gutta-percha, and survives.
- ¶ The Great
Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations is held in the
newly built Crystal Palace in London. It draws 13,937 exhibitors of
which 6,556 are foreign. At the exhibition, Daniel Gooch (cf 1841)
was awarded a gold medal for the development of a new class of
locomotives containing eight wheels, named "Lord of the Isles".
At this fair, Bakewell demonstrates his facsimile machine (cf 1848).
- ¶ D. D. Parmalee patents the first keyboard-driven calculator.
- ¶ The world's first international submarine telegraph cable is
installed between England and France, by the company later known as
Cable & Wireless. The ship used is the Goliath.
- ¶ Morse patents "clicking" telegraph.
- ¶ The first submarine cable to be put into operation stretched
between France and England, but for lack of proper covering in
insulation failed after 8 days.
- ¶ Swedish chemist Johan Edward Lundström invents the first
phosphorus-free safety match (cf 1844), and starts the industry
Jönköpings Tändsticksfabrik (cf 1917). The matches were distributed
in a later much imitated blue and yellow box with the text "Tändas
endast mot lådans plån" (can only be lit against the surface of the
box). See the Match Museum in Jönköping.
- ¶ A facsimile machine is patented by Bakewell. (cf 1851).
- ¶ Richard Hoe invents the rotary printing press.
- ¶ Gutta-percha (an inelastic latex) is discovered. It serves as a
reliable insulator in water (reliable, but not great capacitance).
- ¶ Foundation of the Montreal Telegraph Company, the first
telegraph company incorporated in Canada. It connected Trois-Rivieres
to Toronto via Montreal.
- ¶ General Oceanic telegraph Co. registered in NYC to link Europe
and North America (was this just another stock swindle?).
- ¶ Siemens and Halske lay the first submarine telegraph cable from
Dover, England to Calais, France.
- ¶ January 1, after having poisoned his mistress in Slough, John
Tawell escapes by train to London, but is caught by police on arrival
because an electric telegram arrived before him. The event generated
much publicity for the telegraph.
- ¶ Britain's first public telegraph line is opened along the
railway line between London and Gosport. It provided the Admiralty
with a direct link to the naval base at Portsmouth.
- ¶ 1844--1846 Railroad telegraphs are installed in Belgium, France,
the Netherlands, and Germany.
- ¶ Swedish chemist Gustaf Erik Pasch invents the first safety
match. It could only be lit by striking it against a prepared
surface, but it contained phosphorus which made it dangerous. (cf
- ¶ May 24, Samuel Morse sends a world famous message "What hath God
wrought" over the new telegraph line from the Capitol in Washington
D.C. to Mount Clare Depot, Baltimore.
- ¶ The chemical telegraph (cf 1842) is patented.
- ¶ Henry presents a hypothesis of the oscillating nature of
sparks (cf 1853).
- ¶ The chemical telegraph is invented by Alexander Bain
(1810-1877). This is the first facsimile equipment for use in
communications. It consists of a metallic contact resting on a moving
paper slip saturated with an electrolytic solution. The wire and the
tape forms part of an electric circuit and when current flows,
discoloration of the tape occurs.
- ¶ Notes from Charles Babbage's tour of continental Europe in 1840
are later published in Paris, then translated to English and augmented
by Ada Lovelace and published:
- Ada Lovelace, Observations on Mr. Babbage's Analytical
Engine, 1842 or 1843
- ¶ Daniel Colladon, Switzerland, discovers that light can follow
running water through a bend, the same phenomenon later used in optic
fibers (cf 1970).
- ¶ Completion of the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the principal engineer. Locomotive
superintendent from 1837 to 1864 was Daniel Gooch (born August 24,
1816, died 1889). In 1839, Gooch designed the "North Star" engine,
which was both compact and symmetrical. (cf 1851)
- ¶ Dr W. B. O. Shaughnessy, a medical practitioner in Calcutta,
starts experiments in electric telegraphy.
- ¶ A railroad telegraph line is installed in England by Wheatstone
(cf 1829, 1857) and Cooke (cf 1836). To overcome the insulation
problems (cf 1837), the six wires needed by this five needle telegraph
were suspended on glass insulators in open air. The trial line went
between Paddington and West Drayton with an extension to Slough, on
the condition that railway messages were carried free of charge. This
extension was paid for by Cooke and Wheatstone and to recover some of
the expense they offered the public the opportunity to send messages
at a shilling (5p) a time.
- ¶ The first ship to cross the Atlantic under continuous steam
power was the 714 tonne Sirius.
- ¶ The Swedish optic telegraph network is opened for messages from
- ¶ William Cooke demonstrates his electric telegraph between the
railroad stations of Euston and Camden, a distance of 2.4 km, using
cotton-isolated iron wires in iron pipes burried in the ground, which
worked fine in dry weather.
- ¶ Morse patents his version of the telegraph. The idea to use an
electromagnet for transmitting signals comes upon him during a
transatlantic trip when he sees a demonstration of one.
- ¶ July 24, prof. Charles Wheatstone and William Fothergill Cook
successfully transmit a message between two places, almost two
kilometres apart, using a needle telegraph they have developed (and
- ¶ William Cooke, whose father had assisted Francis Ronalds (cf
1816), attends a lecture in Heidelberg at which Baron Schilling's
needle telegraphs (cf 1832) is demonstrated. Within three weeks,
Cooke develops his own electric telegraph.
- ¶ Joseph Henry develops the basic principles of the telegraph
which are put into more practical form 11 years later by Samuel
F. B. Morse - these include the electric relay and the use of the
Earth as a ground.
- ¶ George Scheutz, Stockholm in Sweden, designs a wooden difference
engine after having read a summary of Babbage's project.
- ¶ The first practically useful telegraph line is installed in
Göttingen, Germany, by professors Gauss and Weber.
- ¶ c. 1833 Schilling designs a device where electricity moves a
compass needle, a precursor of the needle telegraph.
- ¶ Babbage starts to plan for the more general Analytical Engine.
- ¶ Göta Canal opens, making it possible to go by boat from Norrköping
on Sweden's east coast to Gothenburg on the west coast. Ideas of
digging a network of canals across Sweden (and Europe) go back to the
middle ages, but in Sweden the great plans were only implemented in
the early 19th century, soon before the technology was obsoleted by
- ¶ Charles Babbage and Joseph Clement build a prototype for the
difference engine, operating on six digit numbers and two digit
differences. The complete machine, never implemented, is designed for
6th degree polynomials with twenty digit numbers or 3rd degree
polynomials with thirty digit numbers.
- ¶ Baron Pawal Schilling, in Berlin demonstrates an electric
telegraph using electromagnets to attract iron needles, to Czar
Nicholas. Schilling died before he could develop his telegraph
- ¶ Michael Faraday demonstrates the principle of Induction. His
research into electricity lead him into the field of electromagnetism.
That current flowing through a wire produced magnetic lines of force
around that wire.
- ¶ Joseph Henry invents the electromagnet by winding insulated wire
around an iron core. He then uses the electromagnet to make an iron
bar strike a bell, thereby inventing a simple signalling device.
- ¶ The first American typewriter patent goes to William Austin
Burt for his "typographer". For the early history of business
- James W. Cortada, Before the Computer. IBM, NCR, Burroughs,
& Remington Rand & the Industry They Created 1865-1956,
Princeton University Press, 1993, paperback 2000, ISBN
- ¶ Sir Charles Wheatstone invents the accordion. (cf 1838, 1857)
- ¶ This book by a wellknown teacher at the Ecole Polytechnique in
Paris presents an explanation for the electromagnetic relation
discovered by Ørsted in 1820:
- Andre Marie Ampere, Mathematical Theory of Electrodynamic
- ¶ Benoit Fourneyron invents photography.
- ¶ Charles Babbage (1792-1871), London, (re-)invents the difference
engine. It is described in a paper that wins the gold medal from the
Royal Astronomical Society, for which he demostrates a minor
prototype. He also starts to design a six digit calculator.
- ¶ Sweden legalizes coffee. Coffee had been banned five times,
starting in 1756. (cf 1650)
- ¶ Michael Faraday reversed Ørsted's experiment and in so doing
- ¶ Hans Christian Ørsted, Denmark, observes a correspondance
between elecricity and magnetism: The flow of electric current makes
a magnetic compass needle move.
- ¶ Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1785-1870), France, designs an
"Arithmometer", the first mass-produced calculator. It performs
multiplication like Leibniz' machine, and can do manually assisted
division. Sold for almost 100 years. In 1878, a total of 1,500 units
had been sold, nearly 30 per year.
- ¶ Francis Ronalds in London develops an electric telegraph, using
static high voltage electricity, and sucessfully sends messages over
eight miles. The Admirality shows no interest.
- ¶ Ascension Island, strategically located half way between South
America and Africa, is claimed by British King George III, preventing
the French from using it as a base for recapturing Napoleon, exiled on
- ¶ Frederick Koenig invents the steam-powered printing press.
- ¶ Luddites (after Edward "Ned" Ludd) break into their former
factories and mills, destroying machines.
- ¶ The second industrial exhibition (cf 1798) is held in Paris at
the Louvre for a total of six days. The exhibition is then repeated
in 1802, 1806, 1819, 1823, 1827, 1834, 1839, 1844, and 1849.
- ¶ Joseph Jacquard invents a loom controlled by punched cards. (cf
1725, 1728, 1748)
- ¶ April 2, Beethoven gives his first public concert.
- ¶ Volta's battery combines chemistry and electricity.
- ¶ The Rosetta Stone is found in Egypt, which is used to decipher
- ¶ N. L. Robert invents a paper-making machine.
- ¶ "Exposition Publique des Produits de Industrie" is held by
merchants in Paris.
- ¶ On the Weeks Mechanical Exhibition on Cockspur Street, the young
Charles Babbage (born 1792) gets a dancing silver doll, inspiring his
interest in mechanic devices.
- ¶ The Parachute is invented
- ¶ Small pox vaccine
- ¶ A network of optic telegraphs is opened in Sweden (around
Stockholm), designed by Abraham Edelcrantz. It is for military and
governmental messages only. This history is documented by Telemuseum,
see link below.
- ¶ Cotton Gin
- ¶ The first official semaphore telegram is sent on 15 August to
announce the French victory over Austria via Claude Chappe's network
of semaphore stations. Chappe coins the term "Telegraph" for his
system of transmitting the message.
- ¶ Claude Chappe develops an optic telegraph in France.
- ¶ The optical semaphore signaling system, invented by Claude and
Ignace Chappe to send each other messages while at school, is
officially adopted by French legislature.
- ¶ A minor industrial exhibition is held in Prague.
- ¶ Observer newspaper is founded
- ¶ British Ordnance Survey is created
- ¶ A minor industrial exhibition is held in Hamburg, Germany.
- ¶ May 31, United States copyright act signed by president George
Washington. The duration of the copyright, which required recording
of the titled prior to publication in the district court where the
author or proprietor resided, was 14 years with a renewal option of 14
years to the author or assigns, provided the party renewing engaged in
a new registration and publication.
- ¶ Crew of the Bounty mutinies at the Pitcairn Islands
- ¶ French revolution.
- ¶ A minor industrial exhibition is held in Geneva, Switzerland.
- ¶ First steamboat demonstrated in Scotland
- ¶ US Constitution is written
- ¶ J. H. Mueller, Hessen in Germany, prepares a design of a
polynomial difference engine, but does not receive financing.
- ¶ William Jones discovers structural similarities between Sanskrit
and European langauges. This is the start of "Indoeuropean" studies.
- ¶ Montgolfier's first hot air balloon flight
- ¶ Herschel discovers Uranus
- ¶ First Iron Bridge is built
- ¶ Cook finds Hawaii
- ¶ (or 1770-1776) Mathies Hahn, Germany, designs a multiplication
- ¶ United States declaration of independence.
- ¶ Explaining the laws of a free market economy, this book becomes
a driving force for the freedom of all trades:
- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776
- ¶ Charles, 3rd Earl Stanhope, England, designs a multiplication
calculator, similar to Leibniz' machine.
- ¶ Discovery of oxygen
- ¶ James Cook discovers New South Wales
- ¶ Encyclopaedia
- ¶ James Watt's steam engine
- ¶ Lloyds Ship Register recognised
- ¶ An exhibition for farming equipment is held in England.
- ¶ The British Museum opens.
- ¶ First canals are built in Britain.
- ¶ Lisbon is hit by an earthquake that kills 30,000
- ¶ The Gregorian calendar is adopted in Sweden.
- ¶ Charles Morrison proposes the construction of a telegraph
consisting of 26 electrical lines, each corresponding to an
alphabet. Individual letters were to be indicated by the movement of a
light object, which was repelled when a current passed through one of
- ¶ The Gregorian calendar is adopted in Britain.
- ¶ Jacques de Vaucanson combines bands of perforated paper and
cards to control a loom.
- ¶ The abbe Nollet (where?) applies electricity to a connected
"circuit" of monks, and notes the electricity travels along the entire
circuit at a very high speed.
- ¶ January, Dutch physicist and professor Pieter van Musschenbroek
(born March 14, 1692, died September 19, 1761) develops the Leyden jar, a device that can store electricity and discharge it
later (a capacitor).
- ¶ Falcon introduces perforated cards to control a loom.
- ¶ Bouchon introduces an endless perforated paper tape to control a
- ¶ Dutch merchants start the first coffee growing plants on the
island Java. (cf 1650, 1995)
- 1671 or 1674
- ¶ Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), Leipzig in Germany,
develops the "stepped reckoner", designed by Olivier, Paris. A
movable carriage allows multiplication of five by twelve digit
numbers. Demostrated to the Royal Society in London in 1676.
- ¶ Sir Samuel Morland (1625-1695), England, designs a "non-decimal"
adding machine suited for the English currency units. The carry is
noted on a scale, from where the operator has to transfer them
- ¶ The first academic journals are published by learned societies:
Journal des Scavants in Paris, and Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society of London.
- ¶ The first public coffee house in Europe is opened in Oxford,
England. Within a few decades, coffee houses spring up in major
European cities. Coffee was known in Europe since the late 16th
century, but used mostly as a medicine. (cf 1688)
- Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer, The World of
Caffeine. The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular
Drug, Routledge, 2001
- ¶ Denmark's first carillon is installed in Helligåndskirken church
in Copenhagen, imported from The Netherlands by king Christian IV. (cf
- 1642 or 1644
- ¶ Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) designs the "Pascaline" calculator for
adding (not subtracting) numbers of five decimal digits.
- ¶ February, the burst of the tulip bulb investment bubble in
- ¶ Slide rule developed by William Oughtred (1575 - 1660). The
slide rule was used by engineers through the 1970's, when it was
replaced by electronic calculators.
- ¶ Wilhelm Schickard (1592-1635), Tübingen in Württemberg in Germany,
designs a calculating clock, a machine for addition and subtraction of
six decimal digit numbers. Overflow is indicated by a ringing bell.
The lost design documents were found in 1935, lost again in WWII, and
found again in 1956. A replica built in 1960 was operational.
- ¶ Denmark's first chime with 19 bells is installed in the royal
castle Frederiksborg, imported from The Netherlands by king Christian
IV. (cf 1647)
- ¶ John Napier (1550-1617), Scotland, describes his invention of
logarithm in his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio,
published 1614 (cf 1567). The slide rule is invented just a few years
later. (cf 1632)
- ¶ The first large exhibition for machinery is held at the city
hall of Nuremberg, Germany.
- ¶ Michael Stifel (1487-1567) invents logarithms, independent of
Napier, and uses the square root symbol.
- ¶ The first catalog of books for sale at the exhibition in
- ¶ The Catholic Queen Mary Tudor capped off a 120-year monarchal
struggle to censor printing presses in England by issuing a charter to
the Stationers' Company, a guild of printers. Only members of the
company could legally produce books. The only books they would print
were approved by the Crown.
- c. 1500
- ¶ Leonardo da Vinci (Italy, 1452-1519) draws a calculating device
or ratio machine in "Codex Madrid" (discovered 1967) (similar to one
in "Codex Atlanticus"). Its function is uncertain. A replica
was built in 1968.
- ¶ Christopher Columbus discovers America.
- ¶ Pellos introduces the decimal point.
- ¶ In Germany "+" evolved from "&" for "et" (Latin and) and "-"
from the tilde on "mio" (minus) (e.g. Johannes Widman 1489); used in
whole Europe since the late 16th century.
- ¶ Nicolas Chuquet (France, 1445-1488) uses elevated numbers for
the (only) variable of different powers in formulas. He is also the
first to use (unpublished) negative numbers as coefficients, exponents
- ¶ The first book exhibition is held in Frankfurt, Germany. The
city soon establishes itself as the center of the the European book
- c. 1476
- ¶ Johann Müller Regiomontanus (German mathematician and
astronomer, 1436-76) introduces the multiplication dot ".".
- c. 1450
- ¶ Mathematics: In France and Italy, "p" and "m" (also with a tilde
on them) are used for plus and minus. Al-Kashi (Persia, 1390-1450)
uses fixed-point iteration to solve a cubic equation.
- ¶ Johann Gutenburg invents the moveable-type printing press.
- ¶ The earliest dated intaglio-printed (metal) engraving is "The
Flagellation", part of a Passion series.
- ¶ The earliest dated woodcut is a "Madonna with Four Virgin Saints
in a Garden".
- c. 1400
- ¶ Automated carillons in
- ¶ Giovanni de Dondi, Italy, designs a clock that uses chains of
varying length to represent the seasons and calculate the date for
- ¶ Black Death strikes Europe.
- ¶ Ramon Llull (philosopher, Mallorca, 1235-1316) publishes Ars
Magna, an attempt at formalization of knowledge and language,
which served as an inspiration for Leibniz.
- ¶ Chu Shih-Chieh's (China, 1270-1330) transformation method for
solving equations, used up to degree 14.
- ¶ The Hansa merchant city union is formed in northern Germany and
around the Baltic Sea, including cities like Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen,
Hanover and Colone.
- ¶ Fabriano begins to manufacture paper in Italy.
- ¶ Last Cruzade (cf 1096).
- c. 1275
- ¶ Yang Hui (China, 1238-1298) uses decimal fractions in the modern
- c. 1250
- ¶ Jordanus Nemorarius (Germany, 1225-1260) uses letters to replace
- ¶ Magna Charta "All merchants shall have safety and security in
coming into England and going out of England, as well by land as by
water, to buy and sell without any unjust exaktions, according to
ancient and right customs..."
- ¶ Leonardo Fibonacci (Pisa, 1170-1250) in his "Liber Abaci"
introduces the Indian / Arabian digits (including 0) to Europe.
- ¶ The first European paper is made at Xativa (modern Játiva),
- ¶ First Cruzade (cf 1275).
- The digit zero o is used for the empty position in a decimal
system (Gualori inscription).
- ¶ First dated printing is a scroll of the Diamond Sutra (one of
the discourses of the Buddha) is printed by Wang Chieh, found in a
cave in eastern Turkestan.
- c. 830
- ¶ Muhammad ibn-Musa Al-Khowarizmi (Tashkent and Baghdad, 780-850)
in his "Arithmetics" introduces Arabic decimals (integers and ratios)
and the four basic arithmetic operations on them. His "[Al Kitab al
muktasar fi] hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala" ("Short Book on Calculation
of Restoration and Reduction", latinized title: "Algebra et
Almuqabala") about quadratic equations and geometric squares describes
formalized, step-by-step procedures for calculations, known as
algorithms, from his name "Al-Khowarizmi".
- ¶ Buddhist charms are printed (rubbed from wood blocks) in Japan
- c. 650
- ¶ Brahmagupta (India, 598-670) calculates with the number zero and
with fractions in a decimal system.
- ¶ Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus (c. 500-560) proposes the number
of years starting with the birth of Jesus Christ, 525 years earlier.
- ¶ The decimal number system is used by Aryabhata the Elder (India,
476-550) (Gurjara inscription 595).
- c. 250
- ¶ Diophantos of Alexandria's (200-284) "Arithmetica" gives
numerical solutions of determinate and indeterminate (linear and
- c. 100 AD
- ¶ Nicomachus of Gerasa (Jordan, 60-120 AD) treats arithmetic as a
separate topic from geometry (but gives no abstract proofs of his
theorems, like Euclide). His work contains the first multiplication
table in a Greek text, and uses Arabic numerals, not Greek.
- c. 100 BC
- ¶ Geminus (Rhodos 130-70 BC) deals with the logical subdivisions
of mathematics, considers the concepts of 'hypothesis', 'theorem',
'postulate', 'axiom', 'line', 'surface', 'figure', 'angle' etc.
- c. 250 BC
- ¶ Algorithms: Archimedes (Syracuse, 287-212 BC) perfects an
exhaustion-based method of integration. Eratosthenes (Alexandria,
276-194 BC) develops the "Sieve of Eratosthenes" for finding prime
- c. 300 BC
- ¶ First logical treatment of mathematics by axiomatization:
- Euclid (Alexandria, 326-265 BC), Elements
- ¶ "Chiu-chang Suan-shu", a Chinese mathematics textbook with
negative numbers and square equations.
- c. 500 BC
- ¶ Romans create the Latin alphabet by adapting the Etruscan and
- ¶ Pythagoras of Samos (569-475 BC) teaches the abstract concept
of numbers and geometric figures, geometrical algebra, discovers
irrationals. The school believes that all relations can be reduced to
- ¶ Panini (520-460 BC) describes the grammar of Sanskrit by formal
- c. 750 BC
- ¶ Etruscans adapt the Greek alphabet (cf 1000 BC)
- c. 1000 BC
- ¶ Alphabetic script (cf 1500 BC) is adapted by the Greek.
- c. 1400 BC
- ¶ Final transition to syllabic script: Linear A and B in Crete and
Mycenae. The first syllabic script is Akkadian, used in Babylon and
Assyria in the 3rd millenium BC.
- ¶ Chinese abacus.
- c. 1500 BC
- Phoenicians develop the first alphabet, the West-Semitic
consonants, based on the Egyptian hieroglyphs whose name begins with
- c. 1600 BC
- ¶ A Babylonian tablet lists Pythagorean triples, i.e. numbers a, b, c
where a² + b² = c².
- c. 2000 BC
- ¶ Babylonian tablet for squares up to 59, and cubes up to 32.
Babylonians use a positional system of base 60.
- c. 3000 BC
- ¶ Egyptians write with hieroglyphs.
- c. 3100 BC
- ¶ Sumerian clay tablet enscriptions are logographic: A limited set
of some 1200 symbols are used for recording particular events,
numerals, names, and such material objects as cloth and cow. Graphs
for numerals are geometric shapes, while those for objects are often
stylized pictures of the things they represented.
- c. 3400 BC
- ¶ Sumerian scribes (in today's Iraq) invent the practice of
writing cuneiforms on clay tablets with styluses.
- c. 4000 BC
- ¶ Sumerian early shapes in clay are pictograms, i.e. they look
like what they mean. Some of the found small, distinctively shaped
clay objects date back to as early as 8000 BC.
- c. 15,000 BC
- ¶ The earliest known forms of information representation are cave
- Undated mergers...
- ¶ (after 1874) Western Telegraph Company is formed by merger of
The Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Company and The Western and
Brazilian Telegraph Company.
- ¶ The London-Platino Brazilian Telegraph Company is formed by
take-over of the Companhia Telegrafica Platino-Brasiliera.
- ¶ (early 20th century, before 1927) Eastern & Associated
Telegraph Companies is formed by merger of The Eastern and South
African Telegraph Company, The African Direct Telegraph Company, The
West African Telegraph Company, The Europe and Azores Telegraph
Company, The West Coast of America Telegraph Company, The River Plate
Telegraph Company, The Pacific and European Telegraph Company, Société
Anonyme Belge de Cables Télégraphique, Eastern Telegraph Company, and
the Eastern Extension Australasia & China Telegraph Company.
Telecom History Links
See also Aronsson's Telecom Links.
- Adventures in Cybersound by Russel Naughton.
- Apple History
- History of
Computing Information compiled by (late) Mike Muuss (author of
ping) at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
- Cable & Wireless. A
vänner, official website for the friends-of-Datasaab society.
- The Dead Media Project, by Bruce Sterling
- HTML by Ian
- at Vancouver
archives, by way of the Media History Project.
- Forgotten Futures,
role playing game (and website) by Marcus Rowland
- Hobbes' Internet Timeline
- One of the most quoted resources on this subject.
- 2001 IEEE Conference on the History of Telecommunications
- International Conference of
High Performing Computing and Communications
of the Internet, 1962--1992
- History of the
- Telecom indicators.
- ITU Landmarks.
- The Language List
tells the history of various computer programming languages.
- Links2Go: Computer History
- The History of
Lysator, Linköping University
MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
- Manchester Computer Museum
- The Media History Project
- Multicians is the
history of the Multics operating system.
- "An informal history of BITNET and the Internet"
- Obsolete Computer Museum
- Andrew Odlyzko is
a researcher with a keen eye for technological development and head of
the Mathematics and Cryptography Research Department of AT&T Labs.
- Sveriges Telehistoriska
- Telemuseum, Stockholm
History Website, with information about the Antique Telephone
- Ulf's History of
Information and Computing
- Wearable computing timeline from the MIT Media Lab.
Aronsson was here September 3, 2001.