Timeline of United States inventions: Wikis

  
  

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United States patent X1, issued to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790.

Timeline of United States inventions encompasses the ingenuity and innovative advancement of the United States within a historical context, dating from the colonial period to the 21st century, which have been achieved by inventors who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States. Copyright protection secures a person's right to his or her first-to-invent claim of the original invention in question, highlighted in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution which gives the following enumerated power to the United States Congress:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

On March 6, 1646, the first patent in North America was issued to Joseph Jenkes by the General Court of Massachusetts for making scythes.[1] On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 109) into law which proclaimed that patents were to be authorized for “any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement therein not before known or used.”[2] On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, Vermont became the first person in the United States to file and to be granted a patent for an improved method of “Making Pot and Pearl Ashes.”[3] The Patent Act of 1836 (Ch. 357, 5 Stat. 117) further clarified United States patent law to the extent of establishing a patent office where patent applications are filed, processed, and granted, contingent upon the language and scope of the claimant’s invention, for a patent term of 14 years with an extension of up to an additional 7 years.[2] However, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 (URAA) changed the patent term in the United States to a total of 20 years, effective for patent applications filed on or after June 8, 1995, thus bringing United States patent law further into conformity with international patent law.[4] The modern-day provisions of the law applied to inventions are laid out in Title 35 of the United States Code (Ch. 950, sec. 1, 66 Stat. 792).

From 1836 to 2009, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a total of 7,472,428 patents[5] relating to several well-known inventions appearing throughout the timeline below. Some examples of patented inventions include Nikola Tesla’s transmission of radio,[6] Ransom Eli Olds’ assembly line,[7] Willis Carrier’s air-conditioning,[8] the Wright Brothers’ airplane,[9] William Shockley’s transistor,[10] John Blankenbaker’s personal computer,[11] Vinton Cerf's and Robert Kahn’s Internet protocol/TCP,[12] and Martin Cooper’s mobile phone.[13]

A separate timeline focusing on United States discoveries as well as a list of NASA spinoffs developed by the United States’ space program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), are also available.

Contents

Colonial Period (1500s–1775)

1717 Swim fins

  • Swim fins, also known as swimfins, fins, or flippers, are blade-shaped extensions worn on feet or hands for use in water. They aid movement in aquatic sports such as swimming, surfing, and underwater diving. Swim fins are typically made of rubber or plastic. Benjamin Franklin invented wooden swim fins in 1717. His original design consistied of 10-inch long and 6-inch wide palettes.[14][15]

1731 Octant

An example of an octant

An octant, also called reflecting quadrant, is a measuring instrument used primarily in navigation. It is a type of reflecting instrument that uses mirrors to reflect the path of light to the observer and, in doing so, doubles the angle measured. This allows the instrument to use a one-eighth circle arc to measure a quarter circle or quadrant. The octant was invented 1731 by Thomas Godfrey, a glazier in Philadelphia, and independently at the same time in England by John Hadley, who began work on a similar version of the octant. Both men have an equal and legitimate claim to the invention of the octant.[16]

1742 Franklin stove

The Franklin Stove, also known as the circulating stove, is a metal-lined fireplace with baffles in the rear to improve the airflow, providing more heat and less smoke than an ordinary open fireplace. The stove became very popular throughout the American Colonies and gradually replaced open fireplaces. The Franklin stove was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1742.[17]

1744 Mail order

A mail-order catalog is a publication containing a list of general merchandise from a company. Those who publish and operate mail-order catalogs are referred to as catalogers within the industry, who also buy or manufacture goods and then market those goods to prospective customers. Mail ordering uses the postal system for soliciting and delivering goods. According to The National Mail Order Association, Benjamin Franklin invented and conceptualized mail order cataloging in 1744.[18]

1749 Lightning rod

  • A lightning rod is one component in a lightning protection system. In addition to rods placed at regular intervals on the highest portions of a structure, a lightning protection system typically includes a rooftop network of conductors, multiple conductive paths from the roof to the ground, bonding connections to metallic objects within the structure and a grounding network. Individual lightning rods are sometimes called finials, air terminals or strike termination devices. The pointed lightning rod conductor, also called a "lightning attractor" or "Franklin rod," was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1749 as part of his groundbreaking explorations of electricity.[19]

1752 Flexible urethral catheter

  • In medicine, a catheter is a tube that can be inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel. Catheters thereby allow drainage, injection of fluids, or access by surgical instruments. Prior to the mid 18th-century, catheters were made of wood or stiffened animal skins which were not conducive to navigating the anatomical curvature of the human urethra. Extending his inventiveness to his family's medical problems, Benjamin Franklin invented the flexible catheter in 1752 when his brother suffered from bladder stones. Franklin's flexible catheter was made of metal with segments hinged together in order for a wire enclosed inside to increase rigidity during insertion.[14][20]

1761 Armonica

  • Also known as the glass harmonica, Benjamin Franklin invented a musical instrument in 1761, an arrangement of glasses after seeing water-filled wine glasses played by Edmund Delaval in Cambridge, England. Franklin, who called his invention the "armonica" after the Italian word for harmony, worked with London glassblower Charles James to build one, and it had its world première in early 1762, played by Marianne Davies. In this version, 37 bowls were mounted horizontally nested on an iron spindle. The whole spindle turned by means of a foot-operated treadle. The sound was produced by touching the rims of the bowls with moistened fingers. Rims were painted different colors according to the pitch of the note.[21]

Independence and the Federalist Era (1776–1801)

1776 Swivel chair

  • A swivel or revolving chair is a chair with a single central leg that allows the seat to spin around. Swivel chairs can have wheels on the base allowing the user to move the chair around their work area without getting up. This type is common in modern offices and are often also referred to as office chairs. Using an English-style Windsor chair of which was possibly made and purchased from Francis Trumble or Philadelphia cabinet-maker Benjamin Randolph, Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair in 1776. Jefferson heavily modified the Windsor chair and incorporated top and bottom parts connected by a central iron spindle, enabling the top half known as the seat, to swivel on casters of the type used in rope-hung windows. When the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, Jefferson's swivel chair is purported to be where he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence. Jefferson later had the swivel chair sent to his Virginia plantation, Monticello, where he later built a "writing paddle" onto its side in 1791.[22]

1782 Flatboat

  • A flatboat is a rectangular boat with a flat bottom and square ends generally used for freight and passengers on inland waterways. After serving through the American War of Independence in the Pennsylvania line, Jacob Yoder built a large boat at Fort Red Stone, on the Monongahela River, which he freighted with flour and carried to New Orleans in May, 1782. This was the first attempt to navigate the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for commercial purposes.[23]

1784 Bifocals

  • Bifocals are eyeglasses whose corrective lenses contain regions with two distinct optical powers. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the creation of the first pair of bifocals in the early 1760s, though the first indication of his double spectacles comes from a political cartoon printed in 1764. Many publications from that period refer to Dr. Franklin's double spectacles, including his first reference to them in a letter dated August 21, 1784.[24]

1785 Artificial diffraction grating

  • In optics, a diffraction grating is an optical component with a regular pattern, which diffracts light into several beams. The first man-made diffraction grating was invented around 1785 in Philadelphia by David Rittenhouse who strung 50 hairs between two finely threaded screws with an approximate spacing of about 100 lines per inch.[25]

1786 Ocean current mapping

Benjamin Franklin's map of the Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream, and the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico, exiting through the Strait of Florida, and following the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In 1786, Benjamin Franklin studied and measured ocean depths and wind speed in order to come up with the first, accurate concept drawings of the phenomenon of navigating ocean currents which is still used today in shipping lanes and routes.[26]

1787 Automatic flour mill

Classical mill designs were generally powered by water or air. In water-powered mills, a sluice gate opens a channel, starts the water flowing, and a water wheel turning. In 1787, American inventor Oliver Evans revolutionized this labor-intensive process by building the first fully automatic mill using bucket elevators, screw conveyors, and the hopper boy to spread, cool, and dry the meal between grinding and bolting. This was the first time that anyone had conceived and executed a system of continuous, fully automatic production.[27]

1792 Cracker

A cracker is a type of biscuit that developed from military hardtack and nautical ship biscuits. Crackers are now usually eaten with soup, or topped with cheese, caviar, or other delicacies. The holes in crackers are called "docking" holes as a means to stop air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking. Crackers trace their origin to the year 1792 when John Pearson of Newburyport, Massachusetts invented a cracker-like bread product from just flour and water that he called "pilot bread." An immediate success with sailors because of its shelf life, it also became distinctly known as a hardtack or sea biscuit for long voyages away from home while at sea.[28]

1793 Cotton gin

  • The cotton gin is a machine that separates cotton fibers from seedpods and sometimes sticky seeds, a job previously done by hand. These seeds are either used again to grow more cotton or, if badly damaged, disposed. The cotton gin uses a combination of a wire screen and small wire hooks to pull the cotton through the screen, while brushes continuously remove the loose cotton lint to prevent jams. In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and later received a patent on March 14, 1794.[29] Whitney's cotton gin could have possibly ignited a revolution in the cotton industry and the rise of "King Cotton" as the main cash crop in the South. However, it never made him rich. Instead of buying his machine, farmers built inferior versions of their own which led to the increasing need for African-American slave labor.[30]

1795 Wheel cypher

Jefferson's disk

The Jefferson disk, or wheel cypher, is a cipher system for encrypting messages and used as a deterrent for codebreaking. Using 26 wheels, each with the letters of the alphabet arranged randomly around them, Thomas Jefferson invented the wheel cypher in 1795. Falling in and out of use and obscurity, the wheel cypher was "re-invented" twice: first by a French government official around 1890, and then just prior to World War I by an officer in the United States Army. Designated as M-94, the latter version was used by the United States Army and other military services from 1922 to the beginning of World War II.[31]

1796 Rumford fireplace

The Rumford fireplace created a sensation in 1796 when Benjamin Thompson Rumford introduced the idea of restricting the chimney opening to increase the updraught. Rumford fireplaces were common from 1796, when Benjamin Rumford first wrote about them, until about 1850. Thomas Jefferson had them built at Monticello, and Henry David Thoreau listed them among the modern conveniences that everyone took for granted. Rumford and his workers changed fireplaces by inserting bricks into the hearth to make the side walls angled and added a choke to the chimney to increase the speed of air going up the flue. It produced a streamlined air flow, reducing turbulence so the smoke would go up into the chimney rather than choking the residents. Rumford fireplaces are appreciated for their tall classic elegance and heating efficiency. This simple alteration in the design of fireplaces were copied everywhere in an age when fires were the principal source of heat. The Rumford fireplace is still used in the 21st century.[32]

1801 Modern suspension bridge

The world's first modern suspension bridge ever built, Jacob's Creek Bridge located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck, the load-bearing portion, is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders that carry the weight of the deck below, upon which traffic crosses. Primitive in their earliest form, the ancestor to what is now considered a suspension bridge was developed sometime around 2000 B.C. in China and India, relying upon ropes thrown across a narrow gorge or river, from which people could hang as they crawled across. With the extreme dangers of swinging back and forth, these ancient forms of suspension bridges were deemed impractical as horses as well as carriages later found it difficult to maneuver across their wooden planks.[33] The world's first modern suspension bridge, the Jacob's Creek Bridge at approximately 70 feet in length, was invented by James Finley of Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1801[34], who designed vertical towers to elevate the curved iron cables and to stiffen trusses in order to make the deck of bridges architecturally sound for passing travelers. Nowadays, suspension bridges use steel cables. However, the suspension bridge and its basic, fundamental design of which Finley is duly accredited to inventing, is still evident today in suspension bridges found throughout the world.[35]

Manifest Destiny (1802-1860)

1804 Burr Truss

  • The Burr Arch Truss, Burr Truss, or the Burr Arch, is a combination of an arch and a multiple kingpost truss design typically implemented in the construction of covered bridges. The design principle behind the Burr arch truss was that the arch should be capable of holding the entire load on the bridge while the truss was used to keep the bridge rigid. In 1804, American architect Theodore Burr, a cousin of then Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, designed and built the first Burr Truss on a bridge over the Hudson River in Watertown, New York.[36]

1805 Self-propelled amphibious vehicle

The Oruktor Amphibolos

An amphibious vehicle is one which can be used on land or water. The self-propelled variant was invented by Oliver Evans who named it the "Orukter Amphibolos". Its steam-powered engine drove either wooden wheels or a paddle wheel used as a means of transport, on land and in water. Evans demonstrated his machine in Philadelphia's Center Square in 1805, built on commission from the Philadelphia Board of Health.[37] Evans' steam engine differed fundamentally from later models, operating at a high pressure, 25 or 30 pounds. Many years later, Evans' invention would be sold off for parts. On July 16, 2005, Philadelphia celebrated the 200th anniversary of Oliver Evans’s Orukter Amphibolos. Many historians describe Oliver Evans' invention as the United States' first land and water transporter.[38]

1805 Refrigeration

Schematic of Gorrie's 1841 ice machine

Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from an enclosed space, or from a substance, and moving it to a place where it is unobjectionable. The primary purpose of refrigeration is lowering the temperature of the enclosed space or substance and then maintaining that lower temperature. The American inventor Oliver Evans, acclaimed as the "father of refrigeration," designed the vaporized refrigeration machine in 1805.[39] However, Jacob Perkins modified Evans' original design, building the world's first refrigerator in 1834 and filing the first legal patent for refrigeration using vapor compression.[40] John Gorrie, an American doctor from Florida, invented the first mechanical refrigeration unit in 1841, based on Evans' original invention to make ice in order to cool the air for yellow fever patients. Gorrie's mechanical refrigeration unit was issued a patent in 1855.[41] In 1913, refrigerators for home and domestic use were invented by Fred W. Wolf of Fort Wayne, Indiana with models consisting of a unit that was mounted on top of an ice box.[42] A self-contained refrigerator, with a compressor on the bottom of the cabinet was invented by Alfred Mellowes in 1916. Mellowes produced this refrigerator commercially but was bought out by William C. Durant in 1918, who started the Frigidaire Company in order to begin the first mass-production of refrigerators.[43]

1806 Coffee percolator

A coffee percolator is a type of pot used to brew coffee. In the case of coffee-brewing the solvent is water, the permeable substance is the coffee grounds, and the soluble constituents are the chemical compounds that give coffee its color, taste, and aroma. In 1806, Benjamin Thompson Rumford invented the percolating coffee pot with a metal sieve to strain away the grounds.[44]

1813 Circular saw

The circular saw is a metal disc or blade with saw teeth on the edge as well as the machine that causes the disk to spin. It may cut wood or other materials and may be hand-held or table-mounted. Tabitha Babbitt is credited with inventing the first circular saw used in a saw mill in 1813.[45]

1815 Dental floss

  • Dental floss is either a bundle of thin nylon filaments or a plastic ribbon used to remove food and dental plaque from teeth. Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans, is credited with inventing the first form of dental floss. He had been recommending that people should clean their teeth with silk floss since 1815.[46]

1818 Profile lathe

  • A lathe is an adjustable horizontal metal rail and a tool rest, between the material and the operator which accommodates the positioning of shaping tools. With wood, it is common practice to press and slide sandpaper against the still-spinning object after shaping it to smooth the surface. As the first of its kind, Thomas Blanchard of Middlebury, Connecticut, invented the profile lathe in 1818, intended for the mass duplication of woodworking.[47]

1818 Milling machine

  • A milling machine is a machine tool used for the shaping of metal and other solid materials. In contrast to drilling, where the drill is moved exclusively along its axis, the milling operation uses movement of the rotating cutter sideways as well as 'in and out'. Simeon North is credited with the invention of the milling machine, the first entirely new type of machine invented in the United States and the machine that, by replacing filing, made interchangeable parts practical.[48]

1827 Detachable collar

  • A detachable collar is a collar separate from the shirt, fastened to the shirt by studs. Hannah Lord Montague invented the detachable collar in Troy, New York in 1827, after she snipped the collar off one of her husband's shirts to wash it, and then sewed it back on.[49]

1830 Platform scale

  • Also known as the Fairbanks Scale, the platform scale is a benched scale for measuring the counter-balance weight of loaded objects at ground level, thus eliminating the use of a hoist. After a series of trial and error in his designs, Thaddeus Fairbanks patented his invention in 1830. E & T Fairbanks & Company, a business partnership between Thaddeus and his brother, Erastus Fairbanks, exported their famous scales around the world to exotic locations such as England, China, Cuba, Russia, and India due to the high demand.[50]

1831 Electric doorbell

  • A doorbell is a signaling device commonly found near a door. It commonly emits a ringing sound to alert the occupant of the building to a visitor's presence. The electric doorbell was invented by Joseph Henry in 1831.[51]

1831 Reaping machine

  • A reaper is a machine that reaps crops when they are ripe. The invention developed by Cyrus McCormick which cut grain much faster than a man with a scythe, failed to catch on. After taking his operation to Chicago, McCormick prospered. By 1871 his company was selling 10,000 reapers per year.[52]

1832 Morse code

A typical "straight key" model used for transmitting and transcribing Morse code

Morse code is a type of character encoding that transmits telegraphic information using rhythm. Morse code uses a standardized sequence of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation, and special characters of a given message. After many years of development, an electrical telegraph came to exclusively refer to a signaling telegram, as an operator makes and breaks an electrical contact with a telegraph key, resulting in an audible signal at the other end produced by a telegraph sounder which is interpreted and transcribed by an operator. The short and long elements are formed by sounds, marks, or pulses, in on off keying and are commonly known as "dots" and "dashes" or "dits" and "dahs". In 1832, Alfred Vail in collaboration with Samuel Morse, began the process of co-inventing the Morse code signalling alphabet.[53] After a few minor changes, including the development of International Morse code which is distinct from the original encoding system, American Morse code, Morse code was standardized in 1865 by the International Telegraphy Congress in Paris, France and later made the norm by the International Telecommunication Union. After 160 years of continuous use, international regulations beginning on January 31, 1999, no longer required ships at sea to call for help in an emergency using Morse code or the famous SOS signal.[54]

1833 Lock-stitch sewing machine

Most modern sewing machines use the lockstitch technique of sewing invented by Walter Hunt, which consists of two threads, an upper and a lower. The upper thread runs from a spool kept on a spindle on top of or next to the machine, through a tension mechanism, a take-up arm, and finally through the hole in the needle. The lower thread is wound onto a bobbin, which is inserted into a case in the lower section of the machine. Walter Hunt invented the first lock-stitch sewing machine in 1833. Hunt lost interest and did not patent his invention.[55] In 1846, Elias Howe secured a patent on an original lock-stitch machine, and failed to manufacture and market it. Isaac Singer infringed on Howe's patent to make his own machine, making him wealthy. Elias Howe filed a lawsuit, alleging patent infringement. On July 1, 1854, a federal commission ruled in favor of Howe, ordering Isaac Singer as well as all sewing machine makers to pay Elias Howe royalties.[56]

1834 Threshing machine

  • In 1834, John Avery and Hiram Abial Pitts invented significant improvements to a machine that automatically threshes and separates grain from chaff, freeing farmers from a slow and laborious process. Avery and Pitts were granted a patent on December 29, 1837.[57]

1834 Combine harvester

A John Deere combine harvesting corn

The combine harvester, or combine, or thresher, is a machine that combines the tasks of harvesting, threshing, and cleaning grain crops. The objective is to complete these three processes, which used to be distinct, in one pass of the machine over a particular part of the field. The waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped or spread on the field, or baled for livestock feed. The first combine harvester was invented by Hiram Moore in 1834.[58]

1835 Steam shovel

A steam shovel is a large steam-powered excavating machine designed for lifting and moving material such as rock and soil, typically in the mining industry. The steam shovel is composed of a bucket, boom and 'dipper stick', boiler, water tank and coal bunker, a steam engine, and a winch. The steam shovel was invented in 1835 by William Otis, later receiving a patent for his invention on February 24, 1839.[59]

1835 Wrench

The wrench or spanner is a tool used to provide a mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn bolts, nuts or other items designed to interface with a wrench. The first wrench was invented and patented in 1835 by Solymon Merrick.[60]

1835 Relay

  • A relay is an electrical switch that opens and closes under the control of another electrical circuit. In the original form, the switch is operated by an electromagnet to open or close one or many sets of contacts. The relay was invented by the renowned American scientist, Joseph Henry in 1835.[61]

1836 Revolver

Revolver

A revolver is a repeating firearm with multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. As the user cocks the hammer, the cylinder revolves to align the next round with the barrel, which gives this type of firearm its name. In 1836, Samuel Colt invented the world's first practical revolving firearm. According to Samuel Colt, he came up with the idea for the revolver while at sea, inspired by the capstan winch, which had a ratchet and pawl mechanism on it, a version of which was used in his guns to rotate the cylinder.[62]

1837 Self-polishing cast steel plow

The plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture. In modern use, a plowed field is typically left to dry out, and is harrowed before planting. An American agricultural pioneer named John Deere modernized the plow by shaping steel from an old sawmill blade and joining it to a wrought iron moldboard. Deere polished both parts smooth so the damp soil would no longer stick. After patenting the device in 1837, it became an instant success and a necessity on American farms.[63]

1839 Sleeping car

  • The sleeping car or sleeper is a railroad passenger car that can accommodate passengers in beds, primarily to make nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured for coach seating during the day. The pioneer of this new mode of traveling transcontinental was the Cumberland Valley Railroad which introduced service of the first sleeping car in the spring of 1939. The sleeping car did not become commercially practical until 1857 when George Pullman invented the Pullman sleeping car.[64]

1842 Ether anesthesia

  • Crawford Long, of Jefferson, Georgia, performed the first operation using his development of ether-based anesthesia, when he removed a tumor from the neck of Mr. James Venable. Long did not reveal the practicality of using ether anesthesia until 1849.[65]

1842 Grain elevator

  • Grain elevators are buildings or complexes of buildings for storage and shipment of grain. They were invented in 1842 in Buffalo, New York, by Joseph Dart, who first developed a steam-powered mechanism, called a marine leg, for scooping grain out of the hulls of ships directly into storage silos.[66]

1843 Multiple-effect evaporator

  • A multiple-effect evaporator, as defined in chemical engineering, is an apparatus for efficiently using the heat from steam to evaporate water. In 1843, Norbert Rillieux invented and patented the multiple-effect evaporator where its first installation and use was in a Louisiana sugar factory.[67]

1843 Rotary printing press

  • A rotary printing press is a printing press in which the images to be printed are curved around a cylinder. In 1843, Richard Hoe invented a revolution in printing by rolling a cylinder over stationary plates of inked type and using the cylinder to make an impression on paper. This eliminated the need for making impressions directly from the type plates themselves, which were heavy and difficult to maneuver.[68]

1844 Vulcanized rubber

  • Vulcanization refers to a specific curing process of rubber involving high heat and the addition of sulfur or other equivalent curatives. It is a chemical process in which polymer molecules are linked to other polymer molecules by atomic bridges composed of sulfur atoms or carbon to carbon bonds. A vast array of products are made with vulcanized rubber including ice hockey pucks, tires, shoe soles, horses and many more. Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1844.[69]

1845 Maynard tape primer

  • The Maynard tape primer is a system designed to allow for more rapid reloading of muskets which previously relied on small copped caps that were filled with mercury fulminate. Dr. Edward Maynard, a dentist with an interest in firearms, embedded tiny pellets of priming material in thin strips of paper, then glued a second strip of paper on top of the first, creating a "tape" of primer. The tape could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, since paper was much less expensive than copper. In 1845, Edward Maynard patented his new firearm invention which in later years, would be widely used in the American Civil War.[70]

1845 Baseball

A sketch of an early baseball game played at Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey

As the United States' national sport and pastime, baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. Some attribute baseball's beginnings to the English sports of Cricket and Rounders. However, the bat-and-ball sports played in the United States, Europe, or elsewhere in the world prior to 1845 did not resemble the standard of modern day rules as to which baseball has continuously used since the mid-19th century. In 1845, Alexander Cartwright wrote the official and codified set of regulated rules of baseball formally known as the Knickerbocker Rules.[71] On June 3, 1953, the United States Congress unanimously credited Cartwright with inventing the game of baseball which led to his appointment into the Baseball Hall of Fame.[72][73]

1846 Printing telegraph

The printing telegraph is a derivative of the electrical telegraph which links two 28-key piano-style keyboards by electrical wire representing a letter of the alphabet and when pressed causing the corresponding letter to print at the receiving end. The receiver would then receive the instantly readable text of the message on a paper strip. This is in contrast to the electrical telegraphs that used Morse Code 'dots' and 'dashes' which needed to be converted into readable text. After 1850, the printing telegraph was in common use, namely along the United States east coast and in France. The printing telegraph was invented in 1846 by Royal Earl House of Rockland, Vermont.[74]

1849 Safety pin

The safety pin is a fastening device, a variation of the regular pin which includes a simple spring mechanism and a clasp. The clasp serves two purposes, to form a closed loop thereby properly fastening the pin to whatever it is applied to, and to cover the end of the pin to protect the user from the sharp point. The safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt, and patented in April 1849. The rights to the invention were sold for $400.[75]

1849 Street sweeper

  • Street sweepers are equipped with water tanks and sprayers used to loosen particles and reduce dust on streets. The brooms gather debris into a main collection area from which it is vacuumed and pumped into a collection bin. The first mechanical street sweeper was invented by C.S. Bishop, patented on September 4, 1849.

1850 Inverted microscope

  • An inverted microscope is a microscope with its light source and condenser on the top, above the stage pointing down, while the objectives and turret are below the stage pointing up. The inverted microscope was invented in 1850 by J. Lawrence Smith, a faculty member of Tulane University and the Medical College of Louisiana.[76]

1852 Elevator brake

  • An elevator or lift is a vertical transport vehicle that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building. In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invented the first safety brake for elevators which prevents an elevator from spiralling into a free fall between numerous floors inside a building.[77]

1853 Potato chips

  • Potato chips are thin slices of potato that are deep fried or baked until crispy. Potato chips serve as an appetizer, side dish, or snack. The basic chips are cooked and salted, and additional varieties are manufactured using various flavorings and ingredients including seasonings, herbs, spices, cheeses, and artificial additives. The original potato chip recipe was invented by chef George Crum at Moon's Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 24, 1853.[78] Fed up with a customer who continued to send his fried potatoes back complaining that they were too thick and soggy, Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they couldn't be eaten with a fork. As they couldn't be fried normally in a pan, he decided to stir-fry the potato slices. Against Crum's expectation, the guest was ecstatic about the new chips and they soon became a regular item on the lodge's menu, and were known as "Saratoga chips."[79]

1853 Clothespin

  • A clothespin is a fastener with a lever action used to hang up clothes for drying, usually on a clothes line. Clothespins often come in many different designs. This design was invented by David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853.[80]

1854 Breast pump

  • A breast pump is a mechanical device that extracts milk from the breasts of a lactating woman. Breast pumps may be manual devices powered by hand or foot movements or electrical devices powered by mains electricity or batteries. The first breast pump was patented by O.H. Needham on June 20, 1854.[81]

1856 Condensed milk

  • Condensed milk is cow's milk from which water has been removed and to which sugar has been added, yielding a very thick, sweet product that can last for years without refrigeration if unopened. Gail Borden invented condensed milk in 1856 and was later used by soldiers during the American Civil War.[82]

1857 Rolled toilet paper

  • Joseph Gayetty invented the first packaged and rolled toilet paper in 1857 which was called "Gayetty's Medicated Paper".[83] Before Gayetty's invention, people tore pages out of mail order catalogs. And even before catalogs were common, leaves were used. Unfortunately, Gayetty's invention failed commercially. In 1867, Thomas, Edward, and Clarence Scott were successful at marketing toilet paper that consisted of a small roll of perforated paper. They sold their new toilet paper from a push cart in what would become known as the beginning of the Scott Paper Company.[84]

1857 Brown Truss

  • A Brown truss is a type of bridge truss, used in covered bridges. It is noted for its economical use of materials, taking the form of a box truss. There may be vertical or almost vertical tension members, but there are no vertical members in compression. In practice, when used in a covered bridge, the most common application, the truss is protected with outside sheathing. The Brown Truss was invented and patented by Josiah Brown Jr. in 1857.[85]

1858 Monkey wrench

  • The monkey wrench is an adjustable wrench that was popular in the nineteenth century but is rarely used today. Its use has generally been replaced by the adjustable-end wrench, which has a compact head and so is more easily used in confined places. The monkey wrench was invented by Charles Monky in 1858.[60]

1858 Mason jar

  • In home canning, food is packed into a jar, and the steel lid is placed on top of the jar with the integral rubber seal resting on the rim of the jar. The band is screwed loosely over the lid, which will allow air and steam to escape. By far, though, the most popular form of seal was the screw-on zinc cap, the precursor to today's screw-on lids. The earliest glass jars were called wax sealers, because they used sealing wax, which was poured into a channel around the lip that held on a tin lid. The earliest successful application of this was discovered by John Mason and patented on November 30, 1858, a date embossed on millions of jars for food preservation and pickling.[86]

1858 Burglar alarm

  • A burglar alarm contains sensors which are connected to a control unit via a low-voltage hardwire or narrowband RF signal which is used to interact with a response device. Edwin Holmes of Boston invented the electric burglar alarm in 1858. Later, his workshop was used by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 as the young Bell pursued a later prototype of Meucci's telephone. Holmes will be the first person to have a home telephone.[87]

1858 Can opener

  • The can opener is a device used to open metal cans. Ezra Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut was an American inventor, who invented and patented the design of the can opener in 1858. Crudely shaped bayonet and sickle combo, his design was widely accepted by the Union Army during the American Civil War.[88]

1859 Modern oil well

A Pumpjack located south of Midland, is a common sight in west Texas

An oil well is a general term for any boring through the Earth's surface designed to find and produce petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Drilling at Titusville, Pennsylvania, "Colonel" Edwin Drake struck oil at a depth of 69.5 feet (21.2 m). Prior to 1859, oil, which had been used mostly as a lubricant and lamp fuel, had been obtained only at places where it seeped from the ground. Using cast iron pipe and steam power, "Colonel" Edwin Drake used his new invention to perform the world's first oil drill on August 27, 1859.[89][90]

1860 Modern water tower

A water tower or elevated water tower is a large elevated water storage container constructed for the purpose of holding a water supply at a height sufficient to pressurize a water distribution system. The city of Louisville, Kentucky began using the first modern water tower, to equalize pressure and to provide safe and clean drinking water. Chlorine research by the Louisville Water Company helped to virtually wipe out cases of typhoid and cholera from the water. This new and innovative system of water treatment was the first major advancement since the fall of the Roman Empire.[91]

1860 Repeating rifle

A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. Benjamin Tyler Henry, chief designer for Oliver Fisher Winchester's arms company, adapted a breech-loading rifle invented by Walter Hunt and created a new lever action repeating rifle in 1860. First known as the Henry, the rifle became famously known as the Winchester.[92]

1860 Vacuum cleaner

  • A vacuum cleaner uses a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors. Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa, invented the first vacuum cleaner in 1860. Calling it a carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum cleaner, his machine did, in fact, have a rotating brush like a traditional vacuum cleaner which also possessed an elaborate bellows mechanism on top of the body to generate suction of dust and dirt. Hess received a patent for his invention of the first vacuum cleaner on July 10, 1860.[93]

Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861–1877)

1861 Postcard

  • A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of material, such as paper, leather or other materials, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. "Postal card" is the term used for a post card issued by a postal authority, generally with postage prepaid. The post card was invented by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia in 1861 for which he obtained the copyright later transferred to H.L. Lipman. The cards were adorned with a small border and labeled "Lipman's Postal Card, Patent Applied For." and later "COPY-RIGHT SECURED 1861." They were on the market until 1873 when the first United States issued postcards appeared.[94]

1861 Modern pin tumbler lock

  • The pin tumbler lock is a lock mechanism that uses pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. Pin tumblers are most commonly employed in cylinder locks, but may also be found in tubular or radial locks. The earliest pin-tumble locks were made over 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians. But due to their large, cumbersome size and since they were made of wood, the locks were not practical to use.[95] In 1861, Linus Yale, Jr. was inspired by the original 1840s cylindrical lock designed by his father, Linus Yale, Sr., thus inventing and patenting a smaller flat key with serrated edges as well as pins of varying lengths within the lock itself, the same design of the pin-tumbler lock which still remains in use today.[96]

1861 Machine gun (Revolving)

  • The machine gun is typically considered to be a fully automatic firearm, usually designed to fire rifle cartridges in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine. Although not an automatic machine gun, the Gatling gun, invented and patented in 1861 by Richard Gatling during the American Civil War, was the earliest precursor to a machine gun in the sense that it had all of the underlying features of reliable loading as well as the ability to fire sustained multiple bursts of rounds, the only drawback being, it had to be manually operated and hand-cranked unlike its 1884 successor, the Maxim gun, which was indisputably the world's first true machine gun that was fully automatic.[97][98]

1863 Ratchet wrench

  • A socket wrench, more commonly referred to as a ratchet, is a type of wrench, or tightening tool, that uses separate, removable sockets to fit many different sizes of fittings and fasteners, most commonly nuts and bolts. The ratchet wrench was invented by J.J. Richardson of Woodstock, Vermont, receiving a patent for the ratcher wrench from the Scientific American Patent Agency on June 18, 1863.[99]

1863 Breakfast cereal

  • Breakfast cereal is a packaged food product intended to be consumed as part of a breakfast. The first breakfast cereal, Granula was invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitorium in Dansville, New York. The cereal never became popular since it was inconvenient, as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.[100]

1863 Four-wheeled roller skates

  • Roller skates are devices worn on the feet to enable the wearer to roll on wheels. James Leonard Plimpton of Medford, Massachusetts, invented the first practical four-wheeled roller skates in 1863.[101]

1864 Spar torpedo

The Confederate torpedo boat CSS David showing the spar torpedo mounted to the bow.

The spar torpedo consists of a bomb placed at the end of a long pole, or spar]], and attached to a boat. The weapon is used by running the end of the spar into the enemy ship. Spar torpedoes were often equipped with a barbed spear at the end, so it would stick to wooden hulls. A fuse could then be used to detonate it. The spar torpedo was invented in 1864 during the American Civil War by E. C. Singer, a private engineer who worked on secret projects for the benefit of the Confederate States of America.[102]

1865 Cowboy hat

The cowboy hat is a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat best known as the defining piece of attire for the North American cowboy. Today it is worn by many people, and is particularly associated with ranch workers in the western and southern United States, western Canada and northern Mexico, with country-western singers, and for participants in the North American rodeo circuit. It is recognized around the world as part of Old West cowboy lore. The shape of a cowboy hat's crown and brim are often modified by the wearer for fashion and to protect against weather. The cowboy hat was invented in 1865 by John Batterson Stetson during a hunting trip, showing his companions how he could make fabric out of fur without weaving. Using the fur collected during the trip, his bare hands, and boiling water, Stetson made a piece of felt and then shaping it into a hat with a large brim which could protect he and his hunting party from weather elements such as rain, wind, and snow.[103]

1865 Web rotary printing press

  • In 1865, William Bullock invented a printing press that could feed paper on a continuous roll and print both sides of the paper at once. Used first by the Philadelphia Ledger, the machine would become an American standard. It would also kill its inventor, who died when he accidentally fell into one of his presses.[104]

1866 Urinal

  • The urinal is a specialized toilet for urinating only, generally by men and boys. It has the form of a container or simply a wall, with drainage and automatic or manual flushing. The urinal was invented by Andrew Rankin on March 27, 1866.

1866 Chuckwagon

  • The chuckwagon is a wagon that carries food and cooking equipment on the prairies of the United States and Canada. They were part of a wagon train of settlers to feed nomadic workers like cowboys or loggers. While mobile kitchens had existed for generations, the invention of the chuckwagon is attributed to Texan rancher Charles Goodnight who introduced the concept in 1866.[105]

1867 Motorcycle

The motorcycle

The motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle powered by an engine. The earliest motorcycle was a coal-powered, two-cylinder, steam-driven motorcycle invented in 1867 by Sylvester Howard Roper.[106]

1867 Paper clip

The paper clip attaches sheets of paper together, allowing them to be detached as necessary. The first patent for a bent wire paper clip was awarded to its inventor, Samuel B. Fay, in 1867.[107]

1867 Barbed wire

Barbed wire is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strands. A farmer named Henry Rose invented the fencing that closed down the open cattle ranges by sectioning in cattle into individual plots of privately owned land. I.L. Ellwood and Company's Glidden Steel Barb Wire dominated the market for barbed wire for much of the later 19th century as the open range became a distant memory.[108]

1867 Ticker tape

  • Ticker tape is a means of transmitting stock price information over telegraph lines. It consists of a paper strip which ran through a machine called a stock ticker, which printed abbreviated company symbols followed by price and volume information. In 1867, Edward A. Calahan of the American Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing instrument.[109]

1867 Water-tube boiler

  • A water-tube boiler is a type of boiler in which water circulates in tubes heated externally by the fire. Water-tube boilers are used for high-pressure boilers. Fuel is burned inside the furnace, creating hot gas which heats up water in the steam-generating tubes. The water-tube boiler was co-invented and co-patented by George Herman Babcock and Stephen Wilcox in 1867.[110]

1868 Tape measure

  • A tape measure or measuring tape is a flexible form of ruler. It consists of a ribbon of cloth, plastic, fiber glass, or metal strip with linear-measurement markings. The design on which most modern spring tape measures are built was invented and patented by a New Haven, Connecticut resident named Alvin J. Fellows on July 14, 1868.[111]

1868 Paper bag

  • A bag is a non-rigid or semi-rigid container usually made of paper which is used to hold items or packages. In 1868, Margaret E. Knight while living in Springfield, Massachusetts invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the brown paper bags familiar to what shoppers know and use today.[112]

1869 Vibrator

  • A vibrator is a device intended to vibrate against the body and stimulate the nerves for a relaxing and pleasurable feeling. Some vibrators are designed as sex toys and are inserted inside the vagina or anus for erotic stimulation. The first vibrator was a steam-powered massager, which was invented by American physician George Taylor in 1869.[113] Dr. Taylor recommended his vibrators for treatment of an illness known at the time as "female hysteria." Hysteria, from the Greek for "suffering uterus," involved anxiety, irritability, sexual fantasies, pelvic heaviness, and excessive vaginal lubrication-- in other words, sexual arousal.[114]

1869 American football

A quarterback preparing to throw a pass

American football, known in the United States simply as football, is a spectator sport known for combining strategy with competitive physical play. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it (a running play) or by throwing it to a teammate (a passing play). Points can be scored in a variety of ways, including carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line, catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the ball through the goal posts at the opponent's end zone, or tackling an opposing ball carrier within his end zone. The winner is the team with the most points when the time expires. The very first game of American football, a collegiate one, was held on November 6, 1869 between Rutgers University and Princeton University with a final score of Rutgers 6 Princeton 4.[115] The first professional game of American football was held on November 12, 1892 between the Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club ending in a 6-6 tie.[116] As a descendant of rugby, the modern sport now known as American football is generally credited to its inventor, Walter Camp, who beginning in the 1880s, devised the play from scrimmage, the numerical assessment of goals and tries, the restriction of play to eleven men per side, set plays, sequences, and strategy features which led to the gradual evolution of the regulated game. Camp also was the leader of the American Football Rules Committee which devised the set of codified and regulated rules as to which American football continuously uses.[117]

1869 Clothes hanger

  • A clothes hanger, or coat hanger, is a device in the shape of human shoulders designed to facilitate the hanging of a coat, jacket, sweater, shirt, blouse, or dress in a manner that prevents wrinkles, with a lower bar for the hanging of trousers or skirts. The shoulder-shaped wire hanger, was inspired by a coat hook invented in 1869 by O. A. North of New Britain, Connecticut.[118]

1869 Fire hydrant

  • A fire hydrant is an active fire protection measure, and a source of water provided in most urban, suburban and rural areas with municipal water service to enable firefighters to tap into the municipal water supply to assist in extinguishing a fire. Numerous wooden cased fire hydrant designs existed prior to the development of the familiar cast iron hydrant. Although the development of the first above ground hydrant traces back to Philadelphia in 1803, Birdsill Holly's invention in 1869 was commercially decisive and patented.[119]

1870 Sandblasting

  • Sandblasting or bead blasting is a generic term for the process of smoothing, shaping, and cleaning a hard surface by forcing solid particles across that surface at high speeds. Sandblasting equipment typically consists of a chamber in which sand and air are mixed. The mixture travels through a hand-held nozzle to direct the particles toward the surface or workpiece. Nozzles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Boron carbide is a popular material for nozzles because it resists abrasive wear well. In 1870, the sandblasting process was invented and patented by Benjamin Chew Tilghman.[120]

1870 Chewing gum

  • Chewing gum is a type of confection traditionally made of chicle, a natural latex product, or synthetic rubber known as polyisobutylene, which is a non-vulcanizable form of the butyl rubber (isoprene-isobutylene) used for inner tubes or to line tubeless tires. Chewing gum was invented in 1870 by Thomas Adams, receiving a patent on February 14, 1871.[121]

1870 Pipe wrench

  • The pipe wrench, or Stillson wrench is an adjustable wrench used for turning soft iron pipes and fittings with a rounded surface. The design of the adjustable jaw allows it to rock in the frame, such that any forward pressure on the handle tends to pull the jaws tighter together. Teeth angled in the direction of turn dig into the soft pipe. The pipe wrench was invented by Daniel C. Stillson, receiving a patent for the pipe wrench on September 13, 1870.[119]

1870 Hand mixer

  • A hand mixer is a hand-cranked mixing device for whipping, beating, and folding food ingredients. It typically consists of a handle mounted over a piston, which drives one or two beaters. The beaters are immersed in the food to be mixed. In 1870, Walter Scott of Providence, Rhode Island, invented the first hand-cranked egg beater.[122]

1872 Cream cheese

  • Cream cheese is a sweet, soft, mild-tasting, white cheese which is not naturally matured and is meant to be consumed fresh. In 1872, cream cheese was invented by American dairyman William Lawrence of Chester, New York, selling it in foiled wrapping. From the 1880s and onwards, Lawrence's cream cheese was distributed under his company's name, Philadelphia cream cheese.[123]

1872 Diner

  • A diner is a restaurant characterized by a wide range of foods, a casual and often nostalgic atmosphere, a counter, and late operating hours. The precursor to the fast food eatery began in 1872 when Walter Scott, a myopic pressman for the Providence Journal, became serious about selling food and refreshments in the streets. Scott had a plan. Instead of wearing out the soles of his shoes and roaming the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, he decided to buy a horse-drawn delivery van. Rolling on four wagon wheels, he would take his food to the people.[124]

1872 Railway air brake

Control handle and valve for a Westinghouse air brake

A railway air brake is a conveyance braking system which applies the means of compressed air which modern locomotives use to this day. George Westinghouse, a pioneer of the electrical industry, invented the railroad air brake in 1872.[125]

1873 Jeans

Jeans are trousers generally made from denim. Jeans became popular among teenagers starting in the 1950s which remains as a distinct icon of American fashion. In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis co-invented and co-patented the idea of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. After one of Davis' customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they both go into business together. Early Levis, called "waist overalls," came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. His business became extremely successful, revolutionizing the apparel industry.[126]

1873 Earmuffs

Earmuffs cover a person's ears for thermal protection. Earmuffs consist of a thermoplastic or metal head-band, that fits over the top of the head, and a pad at each end, to cover the external ears. Earmuffs were invented by Chester Greenwood in 1873.[127]

1874 Fire sprinkler

  • A fire sprinkler is the part of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a pre-determined temperature has been reached. Henry S. Parmelee of New Haven, Connecticut invented and installed the first closed head fire sprinkler in 1874.[128]

1874 QWERTY

  • QWERTY is the most used modern-day keyboard layout on English-language computer and typewriter keyboards. It takes its name from the first six characters seen in the far left of the keyboard's top row of letters. The QWERTY design was invented and patented by Christopher Sholes in 1874.[129]

1875 Electric dental drill

  • A dental drill is a small, high-speed drill used in dentistry to remove decayed tooth material prior to the insertion of a dental filling. George F. Green of Kalamazoo, Michigan invented the electric powered device to drill teeth in 1875.[130]

1875 Mimeograph

  • The stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine is a low-cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. Once prepared, the stencil is wrapped around the ink-filled drum of the rotary machine. When a blank sheet of paper is drawn between the rotating drum and a pressure roller, ink is forced through the holes on the stencil onto the paper. Thomas Alva Edison invented the mimeograph in 1875.[131]

1876 Synthesizer

  • The first electric synthesizer was invented in 1876 by Elisha Gray who accidentally discovered that he could control sound from a self vibrating electromagnetic circuit and in doing so, invented a basic single note oscillator. This musical telegraph used steel reeds whose oscillations were created and transmitted, over a telephone line, by electromagnets. Gray also built a simple loudspeaker device in later models consisting of a vibrating diaphragm in a magnetic field to make the oscillator audible.[132]

1876 Airbrush

  • An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media including ink and dye, but most often paint by a process of nebulization. Spray guns developed from the airbrush and are still considered a type of airbrush. The first airbrush was invented in 1876 by Francis Edgar Stanley of Newton, Massachusetts.[133]

1876 Tattoo machine

  • A tattoo machine is a hand-held device generally used to create a tattoo, a permanent marking of the skin with ink. The basic machine, which was called Stencil-Pens, was invented by Thomas Alva Edison and patented in the United States in 1876. It was originally intended to be used as an engraving device, but in 1891, Sean Casey discovered that Edison's machine could be modified and used to introduce ink into the skin, and later patented it as a tube and needle system serving as an ink reservoir.[134]

1877 Phonograph

Thomas Edison's talking machine

The talking machine is generally known as a record player, phonograph, or gramophone. Arguably, any device used to record sound or reproduce recorded sound could be called a type of "phonograph", but in common practice it has come to mean historic technologies of sound recording. Thomas Alva Edison conceived the principle of recording and reproducing sound between May and July 1877 as a byproduct of his efforts to "play back" recorded telegraph messages and to automate speech sounds for transmission by telephone. Edison announced his invention of the first record player on November 21, 1877, and he demonstrated the device for the first time on November 29, 1877.[135]

1877 Modern district heating

District heating distributes heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements. The heat is often obtained from a cogeneration plant burning fossil fuels but increasingly biomass, although heat-only boiler stations, geothermal heating and central solar heating are also used, as well as nuclear power. The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland began steam district heating service in 1853. However, the first commercially successful district heating system was launched in Lockport, New York, in 1877 by American hydraulic engineer Birdsill Holly, considered the founder of modern district heating.[136]

Gilded Age (1878–1889)

1878 Carbon microphone

  • The carbon microphone is a sound-to-electrical signal transducer consisting of two metal plates separated by granules of carbon. When sound waves strike this plate, the pressure on the granules changes, which in turn changes the electrical resistance between the plates. A direct current is passed from one plate to the other, and the changing resistance results in a changing current, which can be passed through a telephone system, or used in other ways in electronics systems to change the sound into an electrical signal. After a lengthy court battle over patent rights filed in 1877, a United States federal court as well as a British court in 1878 ruled in favor of Thomas Alva Edison over a claim held by Emile Berliner since Edison indisputably preceded Berliner in inventing the transmission of speech as well as the use of carbon in a transmitter.[137]

1878 Free jet water turbine

  • A free jet water turbine or impulse water turbine, also commonly known as a Pelton's wheel, is a wheel that uses cups, or buckets, that are split down the middle by a metal divider, so that in effect two cups are mounted side-by-side at each "spoke" in the wheel. A high-pressure water jet aimed at the center of each bucket is split by the divider to hit each of cup, one on the left, the other on the right. The design of this water turbine takes advantage of a mechanics principle known as impulse, a force defined as the product of the force and the time during which it acts. In 1878, Lester Pelton invented his prototype known as the Pelton's wheel, first demonstrating it to miners in the Sierra Nevada. In 1880, Lester Pelton received a patent for his invention.[138]

1878 Bolometer

  • A bolometer measures the energy of incident electromagnetic radiation. It was invented in 1878 by American astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley.[139]

1878 Refrigerator car

  • A refrigerator car or "reefer" is a refrigerated boxcar, designed to carry perishable freight at specific temperatures. Refrigerator cars differ from simple insulated boxcars and ventilated boxcars, neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus. They can be ice-cooled, or use one of a variety of mechanical refrigeration systems, or utilize carbon dioxide as a cooling agent. In the 1860s, slaughtered cattle from the Great Plains were preserved in barrels of salt. Regular box cars were loaded with ice in another effort to preserve fresh meat that had limited success. In 1878, Gustavus Swift hired Andrew Chase to design the first practical ventillated rail box car that was well insulated to permit a special ice compartment at the top to push cold air down and send warm air out. The refrigerator car revolutionized the meat packing industry which enabled a large scale and an efficient industry to evolve.[140]

1879 Cash register

A vintage cash register

The cash register is a device for calculating and recording sales transactions. When a transaction was completed, the first cash registers used a bell that rang and the amount was noted on a large dial on the front of the machine. During each sale, a paper tape was punched with holes so that the merchant could keep track of sales. Known as the "Incorruptible Cashier," the mechanical cash register was invented and patented in 1879 by James Ritty of Dayton, Ohio. John H. Patterson bought Ritty's patent and his cash register company in 1884.[141]

1880 Trolley pole

A trolley pole is a tapered cylindrical pole of wood or metal placed in contact with an overhead wire to provide electricity to the trolley car. The trolley pole sits atop a sprung base on the roof of the trolley vehicle, the springs maintaining the tension to keep the trolley wheel or shoe in contact with the wire. The trolley pole was invented in 1880 by Frank J. Sprague who used overhead wire in a seamless system of electric current collection.[142]

1880 Oil burner

  • An oil burner is a heating device which burns fuel oil. The oil is directed under pressure through a nozzle to produce a fine spray, which is usually ignited by an electric spark with the air being forced through by an electric fan. In 1880, Amanda Jones invented the oil burner in the oil fields of northern Pennsylvania where Jones completed her trial and error efforts of heating furnaces.[143]

1881 Electric chair

  • Execution by electrocution is an execution method which the person being put to death is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body. In 1881, Alfred Southwick witnessed an intoxicated man touch a live electric generator. After the man died quickly, Dr. Southwick concluded that electricity could be used as an alternative to hanging for executions. Southwick was a dentist who was accustomed to performing procedures on subjects in chairs, and so he designed an "electric chair." The first electric chair based on Southwick's design was made by Harold P. Brown and the first person to be executed via the electric chair was William Kemmler in New York's Auburn Prison on August 6, 1890.[144]

1881 Metal detector

  • Metal detectors use electromagnetic induction to detect metal. In 1881, the Scots-American named Alexander Graham Bell invented the first metal detector as President James Garfield lay dying from a fatal gunshot wound. Despite an effort to locate the lodged bullet, Bell's invention proved to be unsuccessful as the metal detector was confused by the metal-framed bed which the assassinated president laid on.[145]

1882 Electric Christmas lights

  • The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, an associate of inventor Thomas Alva Edison. While he was vice-president of the Edison Electric Light Company, a predecessor of today's Consolidated Edison electric utility, Johnson devised incandescent light bulbs the size of walnuts strung on a continuous electrical wire. Johnson displayed his Christmas tree on December 22, 1882 at his home on Fifth Avenue in New York City.[146]

1882 Electric fan

  • A mechanical fan produces an airflow for the purpose of creating comfort (particularly in the heat), ventilation, or exhaust. Schuyler Skaats Wheeler invented the electric fan in 1892.[147]

1882 Electric iron

  • An iron is a small appliance used to remove wrinkles from fabric. The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry Seely White. His iron weighed almost 15 pounds and took a long time to warm up. Seeley White patented his "electric flatiron" on June 6, 1882.[148]

1883 Solar cell

  • A solar cell is any device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics. Although French physicist Antoine-César Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect much earlier in 1839, the first solar cell, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, was invented by Charles Fritts in 1883, who used junctions formed by coating selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold. In 1941, the silicon solar cell was invented by another American named Russell Ohl. Drawing upon Ohl's work, three American researchers named Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin essentially introduced the first practical use of solar panels through their improvement of the silicone solar cell in 1954, which by placing them in direct sunlight, free electrons are turned into electrical current enabling a six percent energy conversion efficiency.[149]

1883 Thermostat

  • A thermostat is a device for regulating the temperature of a system so that the system's temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint temperature. The thermostat does this by switching heating or cooling devices on or off, or regulating the flow of a heat transfer fluid as needed, to maintain the correct temperature. The thermostat was invented in 1883 by Warren S. Johnson.[150]

1884 Dissolvable pill

  • A dissolvable pill is any pharmaceutical in tablet form that is ingested orally, which are crushable and able to dissolve in the stomach unlike tablets with hard coatings. The dissolvable pill was invented in 1884 by William E. Upjohn.[151]

1884 Machine gun (Automatic)

Maxim’s machine gun in operation with the British Royal Navy

The machine gun is defined as a fully automatic firearm, usually designed to fire rifle cartridges in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine. Thus, the world's first true machine gun, the Maxim gun, was invented in 1884 by the American inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, who devised a recoil power of the previously fired bullet to reload rather than the crude method of a manually operated, hand-cranked firearm.[98][152] With the ability to fire 750 rounds per minute, Maxim's other great innovation was the use of water cooling to reduce overheating. Maxim's gun was widely adopted and derivative designs manufactured by Vickers were used on all sides during World War I.[153]

1884 Fountain pen

A fountain pen is a pen that contains a reservoir of water-based liquid ink. From the reservoir or the ink cartridge, the ink is drawn through a feed to the nib and then to the paper using a combination of gravity and capillary action, so most fountain pens require no pressure to write. Lewis Waterman invented and patented the first practical fountain pen with complete capillary action in 1884.[154]

1885 Fuel dispenser

A vintage service pump located in Mount Olive, Illinois

A fuel dispenser is used to pump gasoline, diesel, or other types of fuel into vehicles or containers. As the automobile was not invented yet, the gas pump was used for kerosene lamps and stoves. Sylvanus F. Bowser of Fort Wayne, Indiana invented the gasoline/petrol pump on September 5, 1885.[155] Coincidentally, the term "bowser" is still often used in countries such as New Zealand and Australia as a reference to the fuel dispenser.[156]

1885 Photographic film

Photographic film is a sheet of material coated with a photosensitive emulsion. When the emulsion is sufficiently exposed to light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays and is developed it forms an image. George Eastman and his company, Eastman Kodak, invented the first flexible photographic film as well as the invention of roll film in 1885. This original "film" used a paper carrier. The first transparent plastic film was produced in 1889. Before this, glass photographic plates were used, which were far more expensive and cumbersome, although of better quality due to their size. Early film was made from flammable nitrocellulose with camphor as a plasticizer.[157]

1885 Skyscraper

The Woolworth Building under construction

A skyscraper is a tall building, frequently using a steel-frame construction. After the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago had become a magnet for daring experiments in architecture as one of those was the birth of the skyscraper. William Le Baron Jenney completed the 10-story Home Insurance Company Building in 1885, the first to use a steel-frame construction.[158]

1886 Dishwasher

The dishwasher cleans dishes, glassware, and eating utensils. In 1886, Josephine Cochrane successfully invented the first mechanical device with the use of soap to wash cups, saucers, and dishes within built compartments.[159]

1886 Horizontal filing cabinet

A filing cabinet is a piece of office furniture used to store paper documents in file folders. It is an enclosure for drawers in which items are stored. On November 2, 1886, Henry Brown patented his invention of a "receptacle for storing and preserving papers." This was a fire and accident safe container made of forged metal, which could be sealed with a lock and key. It was special in that it kept the papers separated.[160]

1886 Telephone directory

  • A telephone directory is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory. R. H. Donnelley created the first official telephone directory which was referred to as the Yellow Pages in 1886.[161]

1887 Slot machine

  • A slot machine is a casino gambling machine. Due to the vast number of possible wins with the original poker card based game, it proved practically impossible to come up with a way to make a machine capable of making an automatic pay-out for all possible winning combinations. The first "one-armed bandit" was invented in 1887 by Charles Fey of San Francisco, California who devised a simple automatic mechanism with three spinning reels containing a total of five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell, which also gave the machine its name.[162]

1887 Softball

  • As a bat-and-ball team sport, softball is a variant of baseball. The difference between the two sports is that softball uses larger balls and requires a smaller playing field. Beginning as an indoor game in Chicago, softball was invented in 1887 by George Hancock.[163]

1887 Disc record

  • Thomas Edison's tube recording system produces distorted sound because of gravity's pressure on the playing stylus. In response, Emile Berliner invented a process for recording sound in 1887 on a horizontal disc, eventually known as the "platter."[164]

1887 Comptometer

  • A comptometer is a mechanical or electro-mechanical adding machine. The comptometer was the first adding device to be driven solely by the action of pressing keys, which are arranged in an array of vertical and horizontal columns. Although the comptometer was designed primarily for adding, it could also do division, multiplication, and subtraction. Special comptometers with varying key arrays were produced for a variety of purposes, including calculating currencies, time and Imperial measures of weight. The original design was invented and patented in 1887 by Dorr Felt.[165]

1888 AC motor

Nikola Tesla's AC induction motor

In 1883, Nikola Tesla identified the rotating magnetic induction field principle and pioneered the use of this rotating and inducting electromagnetic field force to generate torque in rotating machines. Thus, Tesla further exploited this principle in his invention of a poly-phase induction motor using alternating current in 1888.[166] Introduction of Tesla's AC motor from 1888 onwards initiated what is sometimes referred to as the "Second Industrial Revolution," making possible both the efficient generation and long distance distribution of electrical energy using his alternating current system. The rights to Tesla's epoch-making invention were bought by George Westinghouse, who demonstrated the system for the first time at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Two years later, Tesla's alternating-current motors were installed at the Niagara Falls power project.[167]

1888 Kinetoscope

The Kinetoscope was an early motion picture exhibition device. It was designed for films to be viewed individually through the window of a cabinet housing its components. The Kinetoscope introduced the basic approach that would become the standard for all cinematic projection before the advent of video, creating the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high-speed shutter. First described in conceptual terms by Thomas Alva Edison in 1888, his idea was largely developed by one of his students between 1889 and 1892.[168]

1888 Telautograph

The telautograph, an analog precursor to the modern fax machine, transmits electrical impulses recorded by potentiometers at the sending station to stepping motors attached to a pen at the receiving station, thus reproducing at the receiving station a drawing or signature made by sender. It was the first such device to transmit drawings to a stationary sheet of paper. The telautograph's invention is attributed to Elisha Gray, who patented it in 1888.[169]

1888 Drinking straw

  • The drinking straw is a tube used for transferring a liquid to the mouth, usually a drink from one location to another. The first crude forms of drinking straws were made of dry, hollow, rye grass. Marvin Stone was the inventor of the drinking straw. Stone, who worked in a factory that made paper cigarette holders, did not like this design because it made beverages taste like grass. As an alternative, on January 3, 1888, he got a piece of paper from his factory. He wrapped it around a pencil. He coated it with wax so it would not leak or get waterlogged.[170]

1888 Revolving door

  • A revolving door has three or four doors that hang on a center shaft and rotate around a vertical axis within a round enclosure. In high-rise buildings, regular doors are hard to open because of air pressure differentials. In order to address this problem, the revolving door was invented in 1888 by Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Van Kannel patented the revolving door on August 7, 1888.[171]

1889 Paper towel

  • A paper towel has the same purposes as conventional towels, to blot wet surfaces and dry them. In 1889, a school teacher in Ashland, Ohio, named Kurt Klier, gave students individual paper squares, so that the single towel in the bathroom would not be infected with germs. When Arthur Scott, head of the Scott Paper Company heard about it, he decided to try and sell a load of paper that had been made too thick to use as toilet paper.[172]

Progressive Era (1890-1919)

1890 Stop sign

The stop sign design currently used in English-speaking countries, as well as in most European countries

A stop sign is a traffic sign, usually erected at road junctions such as a four-way intersection, that instructs drivers to stop and then to proceed only if the way ahead is clear. The idea of placing stop signs at road junctions was first conceived in 1890 when William Phelps Eno of Saugatuck, Connecticut proposed and devised the first set of traffic laws in an article published in Rider and Driver. However, the first use of stop signs did not appear until 1915 when officials in Detroit, Michigan installed a stop sign with black letters on a white background. Throughout the years and with many alterations made to the stop sign, the current version with white block-lettering on a red background that is used in the United States as well as emulated in many other countries around the world today, did not come into use until the Joint Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices adopted the design in 1954.[173]

1890 Tabulating machine

The tabulating machine is an electrical device designed to assist in summarizing information and, later, accounting. The results of a tabulation are electrically coupled with a sorter while displayed on clock-like dials. The concept of automated data processing had been born. In 1890, Herman Hollerith invented the mechanical tabulating machine, a design used during the 1890 Census which stored and processed demographic and statistical information on punched cards.[174][175]

1890 Babcock test

The Babcock test was the first inexpensive and practical test which were used to determine the fat content of milk. Invented by Stephen Moulton Babcock in 1890, the test was developed to prevent dishonest farmers who could, until the 1890s, water down their milk or remove some cream before selling it to the factories because milk was paid by volume.[176]

1891 Escalator

  • An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individual, linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal. In 1891, Jesse Reno invented a novelty ride at Coney Island in the form of a moving stairway, elevating passengers on a conveyor belt and at an angle of 25 degrees. The device, as shown at the Paris Exposition of 1900, became known as the escalator. The escalator over the years gradually evolved from being a thrill ride into one of practical use and as means to transport large masses of people between multiple levels and floors of buildings.[177]

1891 Ferris wheel

  • The Ferris wheel is a non-building structure, consisting of an upright wheel with passenger gondolas attached to the rim. Opened on June 21, 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair, the Ferris wheel was invented two years earlier by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bridge-builder George Washington Gale Ferris in 1891.[178]

1891 Radio

Timeline of Tesla/Marconi dispute

Radio uses electromagnetic waves to send signals. The frequencies are below those of visible light. Information is carried by systematically changing some property of the radiated waves such as amplitude, frequency, or phase. Nikola Tesla is regarded by most, as well as the United States Supreme Court who in 1943 (with Justices Rutledge and Frankfurter dissenting) overturned Guglielmo Marconi's infringement on Tesla's #645,576 patent,[179][180] to be the original inventor of effective radio transmissions and many of the patents concerning radio such as reliable radio frequencies, Tesla's system of four circuits in resonance which showed the aerial connection with the ground as the essential element of wireless telegraphy, and effective transmission of long-distance signals. The supreme court's decision considered Marconi's claim that he had no knowledge of Tesla's work to be false since Tesla himself had already published his invention of a wireless radio device in 1893, two years before Marconi was awarded a British patent in 1895 for the same findings Tesla described earlier.[6] In addition, the United States Supreme Court invalidated Marconi's patent for radio on the basis that he used prior art. Thus, the fundamental radio circuit had been earlier anticipated as well as publicly demonstrated by Tesla beforehand in St. Louis in 1893; that is, two tuned circuits each at the transmitter and receiver, all four tuned to the same frequency, of which forms the modern definition of radio transmission today.[181]

1891 Crown cork

  • The crown cork, the first form of a bottle cap, was invented by William Painter in Baltimore, Maryland in 1891.[182]

1891 Dow process

  • The Dow process is the electrolytic method of bromine extraction from brine, and was Herbert Henry Dow's second revolutionary process for generating bromine commercially in 1891.[183]

1891 Gas-operated reloading

  • Gas-operation is a system of operation used to provide energy to operate autoloading firearms. In gas-operation, a portion of high pressure gas from the cartridge being fired is used to power a mechanism to extract the spent case and chamber a new cartridge. Energy from the gas is harnessed through either a port in the barrel or trap at the muzzle. This high-pressure gas impinges on a surface such as a piston head to provide motion for unlocking of the action, extraction of the spent case, ejection, cocking of the hammer or striker, chambering of a fresh cartridge, and locking of the action. John Moses Browning, a well known designer of lever action firearms, filed his first patent for an automatic firearm that harnessed expanding propellant gas to operate the mechanism in 1891.[184]

1891 Tesla coil

  • A Tesla coil is a type of resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891. Nikola Tesla used these coils to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, x-ray generation, high frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires for point-to-point telecommunications, broadcasting, and the transmission of electrical power.[185]

1891 Traveler's check

  • A traveler's check is a preprinted, fixed-amount check designed to allow the person signing it to make an unconditional payment to someone else as a result of having paid the issuer for that privilege. Traveler's checks were invented by Marcellus F. Berry at American Express in 1891.[186]

1891 Zipper

  • The zipper is a popular device for temporarily joining two edges of fabric. Whitcomb L. Judson was an American engineer from Chicago, Illinois, who invented the metal zipper device with locking teeth in 1891.[187]

1892 Dimmer

  • Dimmers are devices used to vary the brightness of a light. By decreasing or increasing the RMS voltage and hence the mean power to the lamp it is possible to vary the intensity of the light output. Although variable-voltage devices are used for various purposes, the term dimmer is generally reserved for those intended to control lighting. Dimmers are popularly used in venues such as movie theatres, stages, dining rooms, restaurants, and auditoriums where the need or absence of light during activities requires constant change. The dimmer was invented in 1892 by Granville Woods.[188]

1892 Tractor

An Oliver 60 Row Crop, circa 1944

A tractor is a vehicle specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer or machinery used in agriculture or construction. The term is used to describe the distinctive farm vehicle. Agricultural implements may be towed behind or mounted on the tractor, and the tractor may also provide a source of power if the implement is mechanized. In 1892, John Froelich invented and built the first gasoline-powered tractor in Clayton County, Iowa.[189][190]

1893 Silicon carbide

Silicon carbide, or carborundum, is a compound of silicon and carbon bonded together to form ceramics, but it also occurs in nature as the extremely rare mineral moissanite. The material was manufactured by Edward Goodrich Acheson around 1893.[191]

1893 Spectroheliograph

The spectroheliograph is an instrument used in astronomy that captures a photographic image of the Sun at a single wavelength of light, a monochromatic image. The spectroheliograph was invented in 1893 by George Ellery Hale and independently later by Henri Alexandre Deslandres in 1894.[192]

1894 Pneumatic hammer

  • A pneumatic hammer or jackhammer is a portable percussive drill powered by compressed air. It is used to drill rock and break up pavement, among other applications. It jabs with its bit, not rotating it. In 1894, Charles Brady King of Detroit, Michigan invented and patented the pneumatic hammer.[193]

1894 Mousetrap

  • A mousetrap is a specialized type of animal trap designed primarily to catch mice. However, it may also trap other small animals. Mousetraps are usually set in an indoor location where there is a suspected infestation of rodents. The first mouse trap was invented by William C. Hooker of Abingdon, Illinois, exactly three years before James Henry Atkinson developed a prototype called the "Little Nipper", who Atkinson himself probably saw the Hooker trap in shops or in advertisements, thus copying it as the basis for his own model.[194] Hooker received US patent #528671 for his invention, the mousetrap, in 1894.[195][196]

1895 Volleyball

Three volleyball players performing a block

Volleyball is an Olympic sport in which two teams of 6 active players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points against one another by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. William G. Morgan invented the sport first known as "Mintonnette" in 1895 while studying at a YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was later re-named volleyball by Alfred S. Halstead.[197]

1896 Comic book

A comic book is a magazine or book of narrative artwork and, virtually always, dialog and descriptive prose with humorous or action-oriented content. The first known proto-comic-book magazine was "The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats", published by the G. W. Dillingham Company in 1896. Cartoonist Richard F. Outcault created the first illustrations.[198]

1897 Cotton candy

Cotton candy is a soft confection made from sugar that is heated and spun into slim threads that look like a mass of cotton. It was invented in 1897 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, candy-makers from Nashville, Tennessee.[199]

1897 Charcoal briquette

  • A charcoal briquette, or briquet is a block of flammable charcoal matter which is used as fuel to start and maintain a fire, mainly used for food preparation over an open fire or a barbecue. Charcoal briquettes are made by using a process which consists of compressing charcoal, typically made from sawdust and other wood by-products, with a binder and other additives. The binder is usually starch. Some charcoal briquettes may also include brown coal, mineral carbon, borax, sodium nitrate, limestone, raw sawdust, and other additives like paraffin or petroleum solvents to aid in ignition. The design of the charcoal briquette was invented and patented by Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer in 1897.[200]

1898 Remote control

  • A remote control is an electronic device used to operate any machine, such as a television, remotely. Many of these remotes communicate to their respective devices through infrared signals and radio control. In Madison Square Garden, at the Electrical Exhibition, Nikola Tesla gave the first demonstration of a boat propelling in water, controlled by his remote control which he designed using radio signals. Tesla received a patent for his invention in 1898.[201]

1898 Semi-automatic shot gun

  • A semi-automatic, or self-loading shot gun is a firearm that requires only a trigger pull for each round that is fired, unlike a single-action revolver, a pump-action firearm, a bolt-action firearm, or a lever-action firearm, which all require the shooter to chamber each successive round manually. In 1898, John Moses Browning invented the first semi-sutomatic shot gun, later patenting it in 1900. Naming it the Auto-5, Browning's semi-automatic relied on long recoil operation. This design remained the dominant form in semi-automatic shotguns for approximately 50 years, being widely used and the preferred weapon of choice among soldiers fighting in World War One. Production of the Auto-5 ceased in 1999.[202]

1898 Flashlight

  • A flashlight is a portable electric spotlight which emits light from a small incandescent lightbulb, or from one or more light-emitting diodes. The flashlight was invented in 1898 by Joshua Lionel Cowen in New York City.[203]

1898 Synthetic bristled hairbrush

  • A hairbrush is a small brush with rigid bristles used in hair care for brushing, styling, and detangling human hair, or for brushing a domestic animal's fur. Although not the first to invent a hairbrush, Lyda Newman was granted a patent in 1898 for the first hairbrush incorporating synthetic bristles as prior hairbrushes were made with boar’s hair.[204]

1898 Vertical filing cabinet

  • A filing cabinet is a piece of office furniture usually used to store paper documents in file folders. In the most simple sense, it is an enclosure for drawers in which items are stored. A vertical file cabinet has drawers that extend from the short side (typically 15 inches) of the cabinet. The vertical filing cabinet was invented by Edwin G. Seibels in 1898, thus revolutionizing efficient record-keeping and archiving by creating space for offices, schools, and businesses.[205]

1898 Sousaphone

  • The sousaphone, sometimes referred to as a marching tuba, is a wearable tuba descended from the hélicon. It was designed such that it fits around the body of the wearer and so it can be easily played while being worn. The sousaphone is named after John Philip Sousa but was invented by C. G. Conn in 1898.[206]

1900 Duckpin bowling

  • Duckpin bowling is a variation of bowling that uses balls which are significantly smaller than those used in ten-pin bowling, weighing 1-2 kilograms (2-4 pounds) each, which are devoid of finger holes. The pins are correspondingly shorter and lighter than their ten-pin equivalents. Hence, when the pins are knocked down, they resemble a "flock of flying ducks". While the rules remained almost identical to those of the Ten-pin game, one rule change was made: A bowler is allowed to use three bowls on each turn. Strikes would still be strikes and spares still spares, but when all pins were knocked down on the third ball, it counts as a score of ten. During the summer of 1900, some bowlers at Diamond Alleys in Baltimore, Maryland thought it might be interesting to resize the pins to match the 6-inch ball. Thus, the inventor of duckpin bowling, John Van Sant, used a wood turner to do exactly that.[207]

1900 Merrill-Crowe process

  • The Merrill-Crowe process is a separation technique for removing gold from a cyanide solution. The basic process was conceptualized and patented by Charles Washington Merrill around 1900, then later refined by Thomas B. Crowe, working for the Merrill Company.[208]

1900 Carbide lamp

  • Carbide lamps, also known as acetylene gas lamps, are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene which is created by the reaction of calcium carbide with water. The first carbide lamp was invented and patented in New York City on August 28, 1900 by Frederick Baldwin.[209]

1900 Thumbtack

  • A thumbtack is a short nail or pin with a large, slightly rounded head made of metal which is used to fasten documents to a background for public display and which can easily be inserted or removed by hand. The thumbtack was invented by Edwin Moore around 1900, the year in which he founded the Moore Push-Pin Company.[210]

1901 Key punch

  • A keypunch is a device for manually entering data into punched cards by precisely punching holes at locations designated by the keys struck by the operator. Early keypunches were manual devices. Later keypunches were mechanized, often resembling a small desk, with a keyboard similar to a typewriter, and with hoppers for blank cards and stackers for punched cards. In 1901, Herman Hollerith invented and patented the mechanical key punch that was operated by keys, like a typewriter, and that advanced the card automatically to the next column after each punch. Later models would be motor driven with rudimentary programming features.[211]

1901 Mercury-vapor lamp

  • A mercury-vapor lamp is a gas discharge lamp which uses mercury in an excited state to produce light. The arc discharge is generally confined to a small fused quartz arc tube mounted within a larger borosilicate glass bulb. The outer bulb may be clear or coated with a phosphor. In either case, the outer bulb provides thermal insulation, protection from ultraviolet radiation, and a convenient mounting for the fused quartz arc tube. In 1901, Peter Cooper Hewitt invented and patented the mercury-vapor lamp.[212]

1901 Assembly line production

1913 Ford Model T assembly line production.

Used globally around the world, an assembly line is a manufacturing process in which interchangeable parts are added to a product in a sequential manner in order to create a finished product more quickly than with older methods. This type of manufacturing greatly reduces the amount of time taken to assemble a product,thus reducing production, material, and labor costs so that an affordable product cost can be passed onto consumers. Primitive assembly line production was used in 1901 by Ransom Eli Olds, an early car-maker.[7] Henry Ford used the first conveyor belt-based assembly-line in his car factory in 1913–1914 in the Highland Park, Michigan plant.[213]

1901 Disposable safety razor

A safety razor protects the skin from all but the edge of the blade while shaving skin. King Camp Gillette, former traveling hardware salesman of Fond du Lac, invented the double-edged safety razor. His innovation of safety razors with disposable blades beat the competition. Gillette's thin blade was covered by the razor housing, thus protecting the skin against deep cuts. This enabled the majority of people to shave themselves safely for the first time.[214]

1902 Hearing aid

A hearing aid is an electroacoustic body-worn apparatus which typically fits in or behind the wearer's ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sounds for the wearer. Although hearing aids in some form or fashion such as the ear trumpet were developed in previous years, the first electric hearing aid was invented by Miller Reese Hutchison in 1902.[215]

1902 Postage meter

  • A postage meter is a mechanical device used to create and apply physical evidence of postage, or franking, to mailed matter. Postage meters are regulated by a country's postal authority; for example, in the United States, the United States Postal Service specifies the rules for the creation, support, and use of postage meters. A postage meter imprints an amount of postage, functioning as a postage stamp, a cancellation and a dated postmark all in one. The postage meter was invented by Chicago inventor Arthur Pitney, receiving a patent for the invention on October 14, 1902.[216]

1902 Teddy bear

  • A teddy bear is a stuffed toy bear. They are usually stuffed with soft cotton and have smooth and soft fur. It is an enduring form of a stuffed animal that has become a collector's item. The first teddy bear was invented in 1902 by Morris Michtom, owner of a Brooklyn toy store, who was inspired by Clifford Berryman's political cartoon "Drawing the Line in Mississippi" that depicted President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt on a hunting trip in Mississippi who sparred the life of a Louisiana black bear cub. Michtom asked for and received President Roosevelt’s permission to use his name for the hand-sewn bears called "Teddy bears" that he invented and his wife helped construct.[217]

1902 Collapsible periscope

  • A periscope is an instrument for observation from a concealed position, known for use in submarines. In a simple form, it is a tube in each end of which are mirrors set parallel to each other and at an angle of 45 with a line between them. Periscopes allow a submarine, submerged at a shallow depth, to search for targets and threats in the surrounding sea and air. When not in use, the periscope is retracted into the hull. A sub commander in tactical conditions must exercise discretion when using his periscope, since it creates an observable wake and may be detectable to radar, giving away the sub's position. The invention of the collapsible periscope for use in submarine warfare is credited to Simon Lake in 1902, who called his device the omniscope or skalomniscope.[218]

1902 Mercury arc valve

  • A mercury arc valve is a type of electrical rectifier which converts alternating current into direct current. Rectifiers of this type were used in electric motor power supplies for industry, in electric railways, streetcars, and diesel-electric locomotives. They also found use in static inverter stations and as rectifiers for high-voltage direct current power transmission. Mercury arc rectifiers were invented by Peter Cooper Hewitt in 1902.[219]

1902 Air conditioning

Air conditioning units outside a classroom building

Air conditioning is the cooling and de-humidification of indoor air for thermal comfort. Willis Carrier invented and manufactured the world's first mechanical air conditioning unit in 1902. By increasing industrial production in the summer months, air conditioning revolutionized American life. The introduction of residential air conditioning in the 1920s helped start the great migration to the Sunbelt. However, air conditioning would not catch on until after World War Two.[8]

1903 Tea bag

A tea bag is a small, porous paper, silk or nylon sealed bag containing tea leaves for brewing tea. Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan around 1903. The first tea bags were made from silk. Sullivan was a tea and coffee merchant in New York who began packaging tea samples in tiny silk bags, but many customers brewed the tea in them.[220]

1903 Offset printing press

Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique where the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. Ira Washington Rubel invented the first offset printing press in 1903.[221]

1903 Crayons

  • A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other materials used for writing and drawing. Crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and Harold Smith, who owned a paint company in New York City. As inexpensive art supplies, Binney and Smith invented the modern-day crayon by combining paraffin wax with pigments. After great success of marketing them to consumers, they became known by the brand name of Crayola.[222]

1903 Airplane

The Wright Flyer II flying almost four circles over Huffman Prairie, about 2 and 3/4 miles in 5 minutes and 4 seconds on November 9, 1904.

A fixed-wing aircraft, or airplane, is a heavier-than-air craft whose lift is generated by air pressure differential between the upper and lower wing surfaces. The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, made the first powered and sustained airplane flights under control of the pilot in the Wright Flyer I on December 17, 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.[223] In the two years afterward, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft. By October 1905, the Wright Flyer III was capable and proven to circle in the air 30 times in 39 minutes for a total distance of 24.5 miles.[224] The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of "three-axis control," which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This required method has become standard on all fixed-wing aircraft. From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on unlocking the secrets of control to conquer "the flying problem," rather than on developing more powerful engines as some other experimenters did. Charles Edward Taylor built the first aircraft engine and was a vital contributor of mechanical aspects in the building and maintaining of early Wright engines and airplanes.[225] Although there were many earlier attempts at heavier-than-air powered flight, some of which achieved successful short hops,[226] and disputed earlier claims of sustained flight,[227] the Wright brothers are officially credited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the international record-setting body for aeronautics and astronautics, as achieving "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight".[228] In addition, U.S. patent number #821393 for the airplane, was filed by Orville Wright on March 23, 1903 and was issued in May 1906.[229]

1903 Windshield wipers

A windshield wiper with motorized arm

The windshield wiper is a bladed device used to wipe rain and dirt from a windshield. The windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson in 1903 to help streetcars operate safely in the rain. In 1905, Anderson patented her invention, which allowed the car operator to control the external, swinging arm wipers from within the car. [230]

1903 Wood's glass

Wood's glass is a light filter used in communications during World War I. An "invisible radiation" technique which worked both in infrared daylight communication and ultraviolet night communications, it does not transmit visible light, leaving the 'invisible radiation' as a signal beam. Wood's glass was invented by Robert Williams Wood in 1903.[231]

1903 Wood's lamp

A Wood's lamp is a diagnostic tool used in dermatology which shines ultraviolet light onto the skin of the patient; a technician then observes any subsequent fluorescence. Though the technique for producing a source of ultraviolet light was devised by Robert Williams Wood in 1903 using "Wood's glass", not until 1925 was the technique used in dermatology by Margarot and Deveze for the detection of fungal infection of hair.[232]

1904 Automatic transmission

An automatic transmission is an automobile gearbox that changes gear ratios automatically as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually. Modern automatic transmissions trace their origins to an early "horseless carriage" gearbox that was developed in 1904 by the Sturtevant brothers of Boston, Massachusetts.[233]

1904 AC power plugs and sockets

  • An electric plug is a male electrical connector with contact prongs to connect mechanically and electrically to slots in the matching female socket. Wall sockets, are female electrical connectors that have slots or holes which accept and deliver current to the prongs of inserted plugs. Sockets are designed to accept only matching plugs and reject all others. The original two blade electrical plug and socket were invented by Harvey Hubbell and patented in 1904.[234] The three-prong plug was invented by Philip F. Labre in 1928.[235]

1904 Dragline excavator

  • Dragline excavation systems are heavy equipment used in civil engineering and surface mining. In civil engineering the smaller types are used for road and port construction. The larger types are used in strip-mining operations to move overburden above coal, and for tar-sand mining. A dragline bucket system consists of a large bucket which is suspended from a boom, a large truss-like structure, with wire ropes. The bucket is manoeuvred by means of a number of ropes and chains. The hoist rope, powered by large diesel or electric motors, supports the bucket and hoist-coupler assembly from the boom. The dragrope is used to draw the bucket assembly horizontally. By skillful manoeuvre of the hoist and the dragropes the bucket is controlled for various operations. The dragline excavator was invented in 1904 by John W. Page.[236]

1905 Architectural acoustics

  • Architectural acoustics is the science of controlling sound within buildings. The first application of architectural acoustics was in the design of opera houses and then concert halls. It was developed by Wallace Clement Sabine from 1895 to 1905.[237]

1905 Fly swatter

  • A flyswatter is a hand-held device for swatting flies and other insects. Samuel Crumbine, a member of the Kansas board of health, wanted to raise public awareness of the threat of flies. He was inspired by a chant at a Topeka softball game: "swat the ball". In a health bulletin published soon afterwards, he exhorted Kansans to "swat the fly". In response, a schoolteacher named Frank H. Rose created the "fly bat", a device consisting of a yardstick attached to a piece of screen. Crumbine invented the device now commonly known as the fly swatter.[238]

1905 Ice pop

  • An ice pop, also commercially known as a popsicle, is a frozen water-based dessert on a stick. It is made by freezing a colored, flavored liquid around a stick. Once the liquid freezes solid, the stick can be used as a handle to hold the ice pop. The ice pop was invented by 11-year-old Frank Epperson in 1905. Living in San Francisco, California, Epperson had left a fruit drink out overnight, with a stirrer in it, thus making it freeze. In 1923, Epperson got a patent on his "frozen ice on a stick". Epperson also invented the twin ice pop, with two sticks so it could be shared by two children. The most famous brand name associated with the ice pop is Popsicle.[239]

1906 Audion tube

  • The Audion is an electronic amplifier device and was the forerunner of the triode, in which the current from the filament to the plate was controlled by a third element, the grid. A small amount of power applied to the grid could control a larger current from the filament to the plate, allowing the Audion to both detect radio signals and to provide amplification. The Audion tube was invented by Lee De Forest in 1906.[240]

1907 Electrostatic precipitator

  • An electrostatic precipitator (ESP), or electrostatic air cleaner is a particulate collection device that removes particles from a flowing gas (such as air) using the force of an induced electrostatic charge. Electrostatic precipitators are highly efficient filtration devices that minimally impede the flow of gases through the device, and can easily remove fine particulate matter such as dust and smoke from the air stream. In 1907, the California physicist Frederick G. Cottrell invented and received a patent for the electrostatic precipitator.[241]

1908 Electric washing machine

  • A washing machine, or washer, is a machine designed to clean laundry, such as clothing, towels and sheets. The Thor was the first electric-powered washing machine. Introduced in 1908, the electric washing machine was invented by Alva J. Fisher. A patent was issued on August 9, 1910.[242]

1908 Electric mixer

  • An electric mixer is a kitchen appliance used for whipping, beating, and folding food ingredients. It typically consists of a handle mounted over a large enclosure containing the motor, which drives one or two beaters. The beaters are immersed in the food to be mixed. The first electric mixer was invented by Herbert Johnston in 1908 and sold by the KitchenAid division of the Hobart Manufacturing Company.[122]

1909 Skee ball

  • Skee ball is a common game found in arcades and one of the first redemption games. Skee ball is similar to bowling except it is played on an inclined lane and the player aims to get the ball to fall into a hole rather than knock down pins. The object of the game is to collect as many points as possible by rolling balls up an incline and into the designated point value holes. Skee ball was invented and patented in 1909 by J.D. Estes of Philadelphia.[243]

1909 Paper shredder

  • Paper shredders are used to cut paper into chad, typically either strips or fine particles. Government organizations, businesses, and private individuals use shredders to destroy private, confidential, or otherwise sensitive documents. The first paper shredder is credited to prolific inventor Abbot Augustus Low of Horseshoe, New York. His patent for a “waste paper receptacle” to offer an improved method of disposing of waste paper received a U.S. patent on August 31, 1909.[244]

1909 Suppressor

  • A suppressor or silencer is a device either attached to or part of the barrel of a firearm to reduce the amount of noise and flash generated by firing the weapon. It generally takes the form of a cylindrically-shaped metal tube with various internal mechanisms to reduce the sound of firing by slowing the escaping propellant gas, and sometimes by reducing the velocity of the bullet. Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of famous machine gun inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, is credited with inventing the suppressor in 1909.[245]

1909 Muffler

  • A muffler is a device for reducing the amount of noise emitted by a machine. On internal combustion engines, the engine exhaust blows out through the muffler. The internal combustion engine muffler was invented in parallel with the firearm suppressor by Hiram Percy Maxim in 1909.[246]

1909 Gin rummy

  • Gin rummy, or Gin for short, is a simple and popular two-player card game with a standard 52-card pack. The objective of Gin Rummy is to score more points than your opponent improving one's hand by forming melds and eliminating deadwood. Gin rummy was invented by Elwood T. Baker and his son, C. Graham Baker in 1909.[247]

1910 Headset

  • A headset is a headphone combined with a microphone. Headsets provide the equivalent functionality of a telephone handset with hands-free operation. They are used in call centers and by people in telephone-intensive jobs. The first-ever headset was invented in 1910, by a Stanford University student named Nathaniel Baldwin.[248]

1911 Automobile self starter

  • An automobile self-starter is an electric motor that initiates rotational motion in an internal combustion engine before it can power itself, therefore eliminating the hand crank used to start engines. Charles F. Kettering, who invented the self-starter while working at National Cash Register, sold his electric automobile starters to the Cadillac company.[249]

1911 Road surface marking

Dead Man's Curve along the Marquette–Negaunee Road in Michigan shown in 1917 with the first hand-painted centerline

A road surface marking is any kind of device or material that is used on a road surface in order to convey official information for drivers and pedestrians. Edward N. Hines originated the concept of painting a line down the center of a road to separate traffic in opposing directions. They were first used in Wayne County, Michigan in 1911.[250]

1911 Flying boat

A flying boat is a specialized form of aircraft that is designed to take off from and land on water, using its fuselage as a floating hull. Such aircraft are sometimes stabilized on water by underwing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage. It is the use of the fuselage to provide the main buoyancy of the aircraft which distinguishes flying boats from floatplanes, which use one or more floats attached below the fuselage or the wings to keep the fuselage clear of the water. In 1911, American aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss invented the two-seat "Flying Fish", a large craft that became classified as a flying boat because the hull sat in the water.[251]

1912 Autopilot

An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. Most people understand an autopilot to refer specifically to aircraft, but self-steering gear for ships, boats, space craft and missiles is sometimes also called by this term. The first aircraft autopilot was invented by Lawrence Sperry in 1912. Sperry demonstrated it in 1914, and proved the credibility of the invention by flying the aircraft with his hands away from the controls and visible to onlookers.[252]

1912 Fast food restaurant

  • A fast food restaurant, sometimes known as a quick service restaurant or QSR, is a specific type of restaurant characterized both by its fast food cuisine and by minimal table service. Food served in fast food restaurants typically caters to a "meat-sweet diet" and is offered from a limited menu. Cooked in bulk and kept hot, it is finished and packaged to order, usually available ready to take away, though seating may be provided. The history of fast food can be traced to New York City on July 7, 1912 with the opening of a fast food restaurant by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart called the Automat.[253]

1912 Electric blanket

  • An electric blanket is a blanket with an integrated electrical heating device usually placed above the top bed sheet. The first electric blanket was invented in 1912 by American physician Sidney I. Russell.[254]

1912 Electric traffic light

Traffic lights in Spain

The traffic light, also known as traffic signal, is a signaling device positioned at a road intersection, pedestrian crossing, or other location. Its purpose is to indicate, using a series of colors, the correct moment to stop, drive, ride or walk, using a universal color code. The color of the traffic lights representing stop and go are likely derived from those used to identify port (red) and starboard (green) in maritime rules governing right of way, where the vessel on the left must stop for the one crossing on the right. In Salt Lake City, Utah, policeman Lester Wire invented the first red-green electric traffic lights.[255]

1914 Regenerative circuit

The regenerative circuit allows an electronic signal to be amplified many times by the same vacuum tube or other active component such as a field effect transistor. A regenerative circuit is often an AM detector, converting the RF signal on the antenna to an audio waveform. Their use of positive feedback greatly increases both the selectivity and sensitivity of a simple receiver. Positive feedback builds up the input signal to very high levels. Edwin Armstrong, invented and patented the regenerative circuit while he was a junior in college, in 1914.[256]

1914 Traffic cone

  • Traffic cones, also called toddlers, road cones, safety cones, construction cones, pylons, or Witches' Hats, are usually cone-shaped markers that are placed on roads or sidewalks to temporarily redirect traffic in a safe manner. Traffic cones were invented in 1914 by Charles P. Rudabaker.[257]

1914 Fortune cookie

  • A fortune cookie is a crisp cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy. In the United States, it is usually served with Chinese food in Chinese restaurants as a dessert. The message inside may also include a list of lucky numbers and a Chinese phrase with translation. Contrary to belief, the fortune cookie associated as a Chinese invention is a fallacy. In 1914, the Japanese-American named Makoto Hagiwara of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California introduced the fortune cookie and is thus recognized as its inventor.[258]

1915 Skeet shooting

  • Skeet shooting is an Olympic sport where participants attempt to break clay disks flung into the air at high speed from a variety of angles. The firearm of choice for this task is usually a high quality, double-barreled over and under shotgun with 28/30 inch barrels and open chokes. The event is in part meant to simulate the action of bird hunting. The shooter shoots from eight positions on a semicircle with a radius of 21 yards (19 m), and an 8th position halfway between stations 1 and 7. There are two houses that hold devices known as "traps" that launch the targets, one at each corner of the semicircle. Skeet shooting began in Andover, Massachusetts in 1915, when grouse hunter Charles Davis invented a game he called "shooting around the clock" to improve his wingshooting.[259]

1915 Single-sideband modulation

  • Single-sideband modulation (SSB) is a refinement of amplitude modulation that more efficiently uses electrical power and bandwidth. Single-sideband modulation produces a modulated output signal that has twice the bandwidth of the original baseband signal. Although John Renshaw Carson invented SBB in 1915, his patent was not granted until March 27, 1923.[260]

1915 Gas mask

  • A gas mask is a mask worn over the face to protect the wearer from inhaling "airborne pollutants" and toxic gasses. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and mouth, but may also cover the eyes and other vulnerable soft tissues of the face. In 1915, American chemist and inventor James Bert Garner discovered that charcoal filtered poisonous gases from the air. When news broke that the Germans were resorting to using gas on the battlefields in World War I, Garner used his findings in order to invent and construct the first gas mask in 1915. After proven effectively, Garner’s gas mask was mass-produced and it was the first to be used by all Allied armies on the Western Front.[261]

1916 Supermarket

The interior of a supermarket in Toronto, Canada

A supermarket is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments. It is larger in size and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store. The concept of a "self-service" grocery store was invented by American entrepreneur Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly stores. Beforehand, customers would shop at a general store where a clerk behind a counter would fetch inventory in limited quantity for customers to purchase. With Saunders' new innovation of self-service, customers would be able to choose a wider selection of goods at competitive prices. Saunders' first store opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916.[262]

1916 Cloverleaf interchange

A cloverleaf interchange is a two-level interchange in which left turns, in countries that drive on the right, are handled by loop roads. To go left, in right-hand traffic, vehicles first pass either over or under the other road, then turn right onto a one-way three-fourths loop ramp (270°) and merge onto the intersecting road. The cloverleaf was first patented in the United States by Arthur Hale, a civil engineer in Maryland, on February 29, 1916.[263]

1916 Tow truck

A tow truck is a vehicle used to transport motor vehicles to another location, generally a repair garage, or to recover vehicles which are no longer on a drivable surface. Vehicles are often towed in the case of breakdowns or collisions, or may be impounded for legal reasons. The tow truck was invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes, Sr., of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was a garage worker who was inspired to create the invention after he was forced to pull a car out of a creek using blocks, ropes, and six men. An improved design led him to manufacture wreckers.[264]

1918 Superheterodyne receiver

  • In electronics, a superheterodyne receiver uses frequency mixing or heterodyning to convert a received signal to a fixed intermediate frequency, which can be more conveniently processed than the original radio carrier frequency. Virtually all modern radio and television receivers use the superheterodyne principle. The superheterodyne receiver was invented in 1918 by Edwin Armstrong. It was introduced to the market place in the late 1920s.[265]

1919 Pneumoencephalography

  • Pneumoencephalography is a medical procedure in which cerebrospinal fluid is drained to a small amount from around the brain and replaced with a gas to allow the structure of the brain to show up more clearly on an X-ray picture. It was invented in 1919 by the American neurosurgeon Walter Dandy.[266]

1919 Silica gel

  • Silica gel is a granular, porous form of silica made from sodium silicate. Silica gel is a solid. The synthetic route for silica gel was invented and patented by chemistry professor Walter A. Patrick at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1919.[267]

1919 Pop-up toaster

  • The toaster is typically a small electric kitchen appliance designed to toast multiple types of bread products such as sliced bread, bagels, and English muffins. Although not the first to invent the toaster, the pop-up toaster was invented by Charles Strite in 1919, consisting of a variable timer and springs in order to prevent burnt toast. Strite received a patent for his invention on May 29, 1919.[268]

Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age (1920–1928)

1920 Jungle gym

  • The jungle gym, also known as monkey bars or climbing frame, is a piece of playground equipment made of many pieces of thin material, such as metal pipe or, in more current playgrounds, rope, on which children can climb, hang, or sit. The monkey bar designation was for the resemblance that playing children had to the rambunctious, climbing play of monkeys, though the term nowadays often refers specifically to a single row of overhead bars designed to be swung across. The jungle gym was invented and patented by Sebastian Hinton of Chicago in 1920.[269]

1920 Polygraph

  • A polygraph, or lie detector, is an instrument that measures and records several physiological responses such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration breathing rhythms body temperature and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions, on the theory that false answers will produce distinctive measurements. This device recording both blood-pressure and galvanic skin response was invented in 1920 by Dr. John A. Larson of the University of California and first applied in law enforcement work by the Berkeley Police Department. In 1935, further work on this device was done by Leonarde Keeler.[270]

1920 Dendrochronology

  • Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating is the method of scientific dating based on the analysis of tree-ring growth patterns. This technique was invented in 1920 by the astronomer A. E. Douglass.[271]

1921 Crystal oscillator

  • A crystal oscillator is an electronic circuit that uses the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material to create an electrical signal with a very precise frequency. This frequency is commonly used to keep track of time as used in quartz wristwatches, to provide a stable clock signal for digital integrated circuits, and to stabilize frequencies for radio transmitters and receivers. The crystal oscillator was invented in 1921 by Dr. Walter Guyton Cady at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.[272]

1921 Wirephoto

  • Wirephoto or telephotography is the sending of pictures by telegraph or telephone. The first electronically-transmitted photograph was sent by Western Union.

1921 Flowchart

  • A flowchart is common type of chart, representing an algorithm or process, showing the steps as boxes of various kinds, and their order by connecting these with arrows. Flowcharts are used in analyzing, designing, documenting or managing a process or program in various fields. The second structured method for documenting process flow, the "flow process chart", was invented by Frank Gilbreth to members of ASME in 1921 as the presentation “Process Charts—First Steps in Finding the One Best Way”.[273]

1921 Adhesive bandage

  • Popularly known by the brand name Band-Aid, an adhesive bandage is a self-sticking taped and small dressing used for injuries not serious enough to require a full-size bandage. This easy-to-use dressing with adhesive tape was invented by Earle Dickson in 1921.[274]

1922 Radial arm saw

  • A radial arm saw has a circular saw mounted on a sliding horizontal arm. In addition to making length cuts a radial arm saw may be configured with a dado blade to create cuts for dado, rabbet or half lap joints. Some radial arm saws allow the blade to be turned parallel to the back fence allowing a rip cut to be performed. In 1922, Raymond De Walt of Bridgeton, New Jersey invented the radial arm saw. A patent was applied for in 1923 and awarded to De Walt in 1925.[275]

1922 Water skiing

  • Water skiing is a sport where one or more persons is pulled behind a motor boat or a cable ski installation on a body of water wearing one or more skis. Water skiing began in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson used two boards as skis and a clothesline as a tow rope on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota. The sport remained a little-known activity for several years. Samuelson took stunts on the road, performing shows from Michigan to Florida. In 1966 the American Water Ski Association formally acknowledged Samuelson as the first on record. Samuelson was also the first ski racer, first to go over a jump ramp, first to slalom ski, and the first to put on a water ski show.[276]

1922 Audiometer

  • An audiometer is a machine used for evaluating hearing loss. Audiometers are standard equipment at ENT clinics and in audiology centers. They usually consist of an embedded hardware unit connected to a pair of headphones and a feedback button, sometimes controlled by a standard PC. The invention of this machine is generally credited to Dr. Harvey Fletcher of Brigham Young University who invented the first audiometer in 1922.[277]

1923 Bulldozer

The Caterpillar bulldozer

A bulldozer is a crawler or a continuous tracked tractor, equipped with a substantial metal plate or blade, used to push large quantities of soil, sand, or rubble during construction work. In 1923, a farmer named James Cummings and a draftsman named J. Earl McLeod co-invented and created the first designs. A replica is on display at the city park in Morrowville, Kansas where the two built the first bulldozer.[278][279]

1923 Masking tape

Masking tape is a pressure sensitive tape made with an easy-to-tear thin paper, and fly back and a removable pressure sensitive adhesive. In 1923, Richard G. Drew's, an employee of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M), invented the first tape as a masking tape made for painters. This early masking tape was a wide paper tape with adhesive on only the edges of the tape and not in the middle.[280]

1923 Cotton swab

Cotton swabs consist of a small wad of cotton wrapped around either one or both ends of a small rod. They are commonly used in a variety of applications including first aid, cosmetics application, for cleaning, and arts & crafts. The cotton swab was invented by Leo Gerstenzang in 1923, who invented the product after attaching wads of cotton to a toothpick. His product, which he named "Baby Gays", went on to become the most widely-sold brand name, "Q-tip".[281]

1924 Gas chamber execution

  • A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a toxic gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used. In an effort to make capital punishment more humane, the State of Nevada introduced death by gas chamber. Convicted murderer John Gee took 6 minutes to die.[282]

1924 Radio altimeter

  • A radio altimeter measures altitude above the terrain presently beneath an aircraft or spacecraft. This type of altimeter provides the distance between the plane and the ground directly below it, as opposed to a barometric altimeter which provides the distance above a pre-determined datum, usually sea level. In 1924, American engineer Lloyd Espenschied invented the radio altimeter. However, it took 14 years before Bell Labs was able to put Espenschied's device in a form that was adaptable for aircraft use.[283]

1924 Langmuir probe

  • A Langmuir probe is a device named after Nobel Prize-winning physicist Irving Langmuir, used to determine the electron temperature, electron density, and electric potential of a plasma.[284]

1926 Power steering

  • Power steering is a system for reducing the steering effort on vehicles by using an external power source to assist in turning the roadwheels. In 1926, Francis W. Davis of Waltham, Massachusetts invented power steering.[285]

1926 Drive through

  • A drive-through, or drive-thru, allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. In 1926, City Center Bank, which became UMB Financial Corporation under R. Crosby Kemper opened what is considered the first drive-up window.[286] In-n-Out Burger claims to have built the first drive-through restaurant in 1948. Harry and Esther Snyder, the chain's founders, built their first restaurant in Baldwin Park, California, with a two-way speaker to enable patrons to order directly from their cars without the intermediation of a carhop.[287]

1926 Liquid-fuel rocket

Schematic of a pumped bi-propellant rocket

The liquid-fuel rocket is a rocket with an engine that uses propellants in liquid form. On March 16, 1926 in Auburn, Massachusetts, Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the "father of modern rocketry," launched the first liquid fueled rocket in history, which used liquid oxygen and gasoline as propellants.[288]

1927 Bread slicer

Sliced bread is a loaf of bread which has been pre-sliced and packaged for commercial convenience. The automatic commercial bread slicer was invented in 1927 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. His machine both sliced and wrapped a loaf of bread. In 1928, the bread slicer was improved by Gustav Papendick, a baker from St. Louis, Missouri.[289]

1927 Jukebox

A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that can play specially selected songs from self-contained media. The traditional jukebox is rather large with a rounded top and has colored lighting on the front of the machine on its vertical sides. The classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when combined, are used to indicate a specific song from a particular record. The Automatic Music Instrument Company built and introduced the first electric automated musical instrument which later became known as the jukebox during the 1930s.[290]

1927 Garbage disposal

  • A garbage disposal is a device, usually electrically-powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink's drain and the trap which shreds food waste into pieces small enough to pass through plumbing. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes. After eleven years of development, his InSinkErator company put his disposer on the market in 1968.[291]

1927 Negative feedback amplifier

  • A negative feedback amplifier, or more commonly simply a feedback amplifier, is an amplifier which uses negative feedback to improve performance and reduce sensitivity to parameter variations due to manufacturing or environmental uncertainties. It was invented by Harold Stephen Black in 1927.[292]

1928 Recliner

  • A recliner is a reclining armchair. It has a backrest that can be tilted back, causing a footrest to extend from the front. Edward Knabusch and Edwin Shoemaker invented the first recliner in Monroe, Michigan in 1928 when they modified a wooden porch chair so that the seat moved forward as the back reclined. A padded model was later developed.[293]

1928 Ice cube tray

  • An ice cube tray is a tray divided into compartments. It is designed to be filled with water, then placed in a freezer until the water freezes to ice, producing ice cubes. The first flexible ice cube tray was invented by Lloyd Groff Copeman in 1928.[294]

1928 Bubble gum

  • Bubblegum is a type of chewing gum especially designed for blowing bubbles. Bubblegum was invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906, but was not successful; the formulation of Fleer's "Blibber-Blubber," was too sticky. In 1928, Walter E. Diemer invented a superior formulation for bubble gum, which he called " Double Bubble."[295]

1928 Electric razor

  • The electric razor has a rotating, vibrating or oscillating blade to remove unwanted hair. The electric razor does not require the use of shaving cream, soap, or water. The razor is powered by a small DC motor, and usually has rechargeable batteries, though early ones were powered directly by house current. The electric razor was invented in 1928 by Col. Jacob Schick.[296]

1928 Iron lung

  • An iron lung is a large machine that enables a person to breathe when normal muscle control has been lost or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability. It is a form of a medical ventilator. Philip Drinker invented the iron lung while working at Harvard University in 1928.[297]

Great Depression and World War II (1929–1945)

1929 Air traffic control

  • Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other support for pilots when able. Archie League, who controlled aircraft using colored flags at what is today Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, is often considered the first air traffic controller.[298]

1929 Freon

  • Freon is an odorless, colorless, nonflammable, and noncorrosive chlorofluorocarbon and hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant, which is used in air conditioning, refrigeration and some automatic fire-fighting systems. Refrigerators from the late 1800s until 1929 used toxic gases, ammonia, methyl chloride, and sulfur dioxide as refrigerants. This new "miracle compound" was co-invented in 1929 by Charles Midgley Jr. and Charles Kettering.[299]

1929 Applicator tampon

  • A tampon is a mass of absorbent material into a body cavity or wound to absorb bodily fluid. The most common type in daily use is disposable and designed to be inserted into the vagina during menstruation to absorb the flow of blood. The applicator tampon with removal cord was invented in 1929 and submitted for patent in 1931 by Dr. Earle Haas, an American from Denver, Colorado. Dr. Hass later sold the patent of the applicator tampon to Gertrude Tendrich, who founded the Tampax Company for the mass production of the length ways expanding tampon.[300]

1929 Flight simulator

  • A flight simulator is a system that simulates the experience of flying an aircraft. The different types of flight simulator range from video games up to full-size cockpit replicas mounted on hydraulic or electromechanical actuators, controlled by state of the art computer technology. In 1929, Edwin Link invented the flight simulator, calling it the "Blue Box" or Link Trainer, which started the now multi-billion dollar flight simulation industry. Prior to his death in 1981, he had accumulated more than 27 patents for aeronautics, navigation and oceanographic equipment.[301]

1929 Sunglasses

A pair of sunglasses for women

Sunglasses or sun glasses are a visual aid which feature lenses that are coloured, polarized or darkened to prevent strong light from reaching the eyes. In 1929, Sam Foster invented and mass-produced the first tinted eyewear pieces solely intended to block out sunlight.[302]

1929 Frozen food

Frozen food is food preserved by the process of freezing. Freezing food is a common method of food preservation which slows both food decay and, by turning water to ice, makes it unavailable for most bacterial growth and slows down most chemical reactions. Clarence Birdseye offered his quick-frozen foods to the public. Birdseye got the idea during fur-trapping expeditions to Labrador in 1912 and 1916, where he saw the natives use freezing to preserve foods.[303]

1929 Particle accelerator

A particle accelerator is a device that uses electric fields to propel electrically-charged particles to high speeds and to contain them. The earliest particle accelerators were cyclotrons, invented in 1929 by Ernest Lawrence at the University of California, Berkeley.[304]

1930 Car audio

  • Car audio/video (car AV) is a term used to describe the sound or video system fitted in an automobile. In 1930, the Galvin Corporation introduced the first commercial car radio, the Motorola model 5T71, which sold for between $110 and $130 and could be installed in most popular automobiles. Inventors Paul Galvin and Joe Galvin came up with the name Motorola when their company started manufacturing car radios.[305]

1930 Pressure sensitive tape

  • Pressure sensitive tape, PSA tape, adhesive tape, self-stick tape, or sticky tape consists of a pressure sensitive adhesive coated onto a backing material such as paper, plastic film, cloth, or metal foil. Richard G. Drew's invention in 1930 was a clear cellulose, all-purpose adhesive tape called Scotch (TM) Brand Cellulose Tape.[306]

1930 Runway lighting

  • Runway lighting is used at airports which allow night landings. Seen from the air, runway lights form an outline of the runway. The first runway lighting appeared in 1930 at Cleveland Municipal Airport, now known as Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio.

1930 Bathysphere

  • A bathysphere is a pressurized metal sphere that allows people to go deep in the ocean, to depths at which diving unaided is impossible. This hollow cast iron sphere with very thick walls is lowered and raised from a ship using a steel cable. The bathysphere was invented by William Beebe and Otis Barton in 1930. William Beebe, an American naturalist and undersea explorer, tested the bathysphere in 1930, going down to 1,426 feet (435 m) in a 4'9" (1.45 m) diameter bathysphere. Beebe and Otis Barton descended about 3,000 ft (914 m) feet in a larger bathysphere in 1934. They descended off the coast of Nonsuch Island, Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. During the dive, they communicated with the surface via telephone.[307]

1930 Chocolate chip cookie

  • A chocolate chip cookie is a drop cookie which features chocolate chips as its distinguishing ingredient. The traditional recipe combines a dough composed of butter and both brown and white sugar with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts invented chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies in 1930. Her new cookie invention was called the "Toll House Cookie" which used used broken-up bars of semi-sweet chocolate.[308]

1930 Thermistor

  • A thermistor is a type of resistor with electrical resistance inversely proportional to its temperature. The word is a portmanteau of thermal and resistor. The thermosistor was invented by Samuel Ruben in 1930.[309]

1931 Strobe light

  • The strobe light, commonly called a strobe, is a device used to produce regular flashes of light. Modern uses of strobe lights serve a purpose for safety warning, and motion detection. Strobes can be found atop most police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. The origin of strobe lighting dates to 1931, when Harold Eugene Edgerton invented a flashing lamp to make an improved stroboscope for the study of moving objects, eventually resulting in dramatic photographs of objects such as bullets in flight.[310]

1931 Electric Guitar

  • An electric guitar is a guitar using pickups to convert its metal string vibration into electricity. This is amplified with an instrument amplifier. The output is altered with guitar effects such as reverb or distortion. The earliest electric guitars were hollow bodied acoustic instruments with tungsten steel pickups invented by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker in 1931. The electric guitar was a key instrument in the development of musical styles that emerged since the late 1940s, such as Chicago blues, early rock and roll and rockabilly, and 1960s blues rock. It is used in almost every popular music genre.[311]

1931 Aerogel

  • Aerogel is a high-density solid-state material derived from gel in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with gas. The result is an extremely low-density solid with several remarkable properties, most notably its effectiveness as a thermal insulator. It was first invented by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid inside of a Fruit preserves jar with gas without causing shrinkage.[312]

1932 Radio telescope

Full-size replica of Jansky's directional radio antenna, serendipitously the first radio telescope

A radio telescope is a form of directional radio antenna used in radio astronomy. They differ from optical telescopes in that they operate in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where they can detect and collect data on radio sources. Radio telescopes are typically large parabolic or dish antenna used singularly or in an array. Karl Guthe Jansky started field of radio astronomy serendipitous in 1932 when his directional antenna found an radio static that he later identified as coming from the Milky Way[313].

1932 Staple remover

A staple remover allows for the quick removal of a staple from a material without causing damage. The form of destapler described was invented by William G. Pankonin of Chicago, Illinois. A patent application for the same was filed on December 12, 1932, granted on March 3, 1936, and published on April 3, 1936 as a patent.[314]

1932 Tape dispenser

A tape dispenser holds a roll of tape and has a mechanism on one end to easily shear the tape. Dispensers vary widely based on the tape they dispense. Clear tape dispensers are commonly made of plastic, and may be disposable. Other dispensers are stationary and may have sophisticated features to control tape usage and improve ergonomics. The first tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge was invented in 1932 by John A. Borden, another 3M employee.[315]

1932 Drive-in theatre

  • A drive-in theater consists of a large outdoor screen, a projection booth,a large parking area for automobiles, and usually a concession stand. Within this enclosed area, customers can view movies from the privacy and comfort of their cars. The drive-in theater was the invention of Camden, New Jersey, chemical company magnate Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. in 1932 who conducted outdoor theater tests in his driveway. After nailing a screen to trees in his backyard, Hollingshead set a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car and put a radio behind the screen, testing different sound levels with his car windows down and up. Blocks under vehicles in the driveway enabled him to determine the size and spacing of ramps so all automobiles could have a clear view of the screen.[316]

1933 Multiplane camera

  • The multiplane camera is a special motion picture camera used in the traditional animation process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another, creating a three-dimensional effect, although not stereoscopic. Various parts of the artwork layers are left transparent, to allow other layers to be seen behind them. The movements are calculated and photographed frame-by-frame, with the result being an illusion of depth by having several layers of artwork moving at different speeds. The further away from the camera, the slower the speed. The multiplane effect is sometimes referred to as a parallax process. As a former director and animator of Walt Disney Studios, Ub Iwerks in 1933 invented the multiplane camera using four layers of flat artwork before a horizontal camera.[317]

1933 Frequency modulation

  • In telecommunications, frequency modulation (FM) conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its frequency. While working in the basement laboratory of Columbia's Philosophy Hall, Edwin Armstrong invented wide-band frequency modulation radio in 1933. Rather than varying the amplitude of a radio wave to create sound, Armstrong's method varied the frequency of the wave instead. FM radio broadcasts delivered a much clearer sound, free of static, than the AM radio dominant at the time. Armstrong received a patent on wideband FM on December 26, 1933.[318]

1934 Modern trampoline

  • A trampoline is a gymnastic and recreational device consisting of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched over a steel frame using many coiled springs to provide a rebounding force which propels the jumper high into the air. In a trampoline, the fabric is not elastic itself; the elasticity is provided by the springs which connect it to the frame. While the trampoline is an old invention which relied on crude and flawed designs, the modern trampoline was invented by George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1934.[319]

1935 Richter magnitude scale

  • The Richter magnitude scale, or local magnitude ML scale, assigns a number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake. It is a base-10 logarithmic scale obtained by calculating the logarithm of the combined horizontal amplitude of the largest displacement from zero on a Wood–Anderson torsion seismometer output. Co-invented in 1935 by Charles Richter along with Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology, the Richter magnitude scale was firstly intended to be used only in a particular study area in California, and on seismograms recorded on a particular instrument, the Wood-Anderson torsion seismometer.[320]

1935 Franchising

  • Franchising refers to the methods of practicing and using another person's philosophy of business. In 1935, Howard Deering Johnson teamed up with Reginald Sprague to establish the first modern restaurant franchise and let independent operators use the same name, food, supplies, logo and even building design in exchange for a fee.[321]

1935 Black light

  • A Black light or UV Light is a lamp emitting electromagnetic radiation that is almost exclusively in the soft ultraviolet range, and emits little visible light. The black light was invented by William H. Byler, in 1935.[322]

1935 Parking meter

  • A parking meter is a device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park a vehicle in a particular place for a limited amount of time. The parking meter was invented by Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1935. Magee also holds the patent for a "coin controlled parking meter," filed on May 13, 1935 and issued on May 24, 1938.[323]

1935 Surfboard fin

  • The surfboard fin, or keel, is the part of the back of a surfboard that enters the water. Similar to a rudder on a boat the surfboard fin works to steer the board and provide stability. The surfboard fin prevents a surfer from uncontrollably spinning in circles while trying to ride a wave. The surfboard fin was invented by Tom Blake in 1935.[324]

1935 pH meter

  • A pH meter is an electronic instrument used to measure the pH (acidity or alkalinity) of a liquid. In 1935, Arnold Orville Beckman invented the pH meter.[325]

1936 Phillips-head screw

  • The Phillips-head screw is a crosshead screw design lying in its self-centering property, useful on automated production lines that use power screwdrivers. The Phillips-head screw was invented and patented by Henry F. Phillips in 1936.[326]

1936 EEG brain topography

  • EEG topography is a neuroimaging technique in which a large number of EEG electrodes are placed onto the head, following a geometrical array of even-spaced points. Special software in the apparatus' computer plots the activity on a color screen or printer, by coding the amount of activity in several tones of color. The spatial points lying between electrodes are calculated by mathematical techniques of interpolation, and thus a smooth gradation of colors is achieved. EEG brain topography was invented by William Grey Walter, who in 1936, proved that by using a larger number of electrodes pasted to the scalp, each one having a small size, and a triangulation algorithm, it was possible to identify abnormal electrical activity in the brain areas around a tumor, and diminished activity inside it.[327]

1936 Stock car racing

The world famous Daytona 500

Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing. Shorter ovals are called short tracks, unpaved short tracks are called dirt tracks, and longer ovals are known as superspeedways. On March 8, 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course, promoted by local racer Sig Haugdahl.[328] The race was 78 laps long (250 miles) for street-legal family sedans sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for cars built in 1935 and 1936. The city posted a $5000 purse with $1700 for the winner. In 1948, stock car racing became a regulated sport when Bill France, Sr. created NASCAR.[329]

1936 Programming languages

A programming language is a machine-readable artificial language. Programming languages can be used to create programs that specify the behavior of a machine, to express algorithms precisely, or as a mode of human communication. The first programming languages predate the modern computer. In mathematical logic and computer science, lambda calculus, also written as λ-calculus, is a formal system designed to investigate function definition, function application and recursion. It was invented by Alonzo Church and Stephen Cole Kleene in the 1930s as part of an investigation into the foundations of mathematics, but has now emerged as a useful tool in the investigation of problems in computability, recursion theory, and as a fundamental basis and a modern paradigm to computer programming and software languages.[330]

1936 Chair lift

  • A chair lift is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a continuously circulating steel cable loop strung between two end terminals and usually over intermediate towers, carrying a series of chairs. They are the primary onhill transport at most ski areas, but are also found at amusement parks, various tourist attractions, and increasingly, in urban transport. James Curran built the first chair lift for the Dollar Mountain resort in Sun Valley, Idaho. Dollar Mountain followed with an order for six more.[331]

1937 Photosensitive glass

  • Photosensitive glass is a clear glass in which microscopic metallic particles can be formed into a picture or image by exposure to short wave radiations such as ultraviolet light. Photosensitive glass was invented in November 1937 by S. Donald Stookey of Corning Glass Works.[332]

1937 Digital computer

  • A digital computer is a device capable of solving problems by processing information on discrete form. It operates on data, including magnitudes, letters, and symbols that are expressed in binary form. While working at Bell Labs in November 1937, George Stibitz, who is internationally recognized as the father of the modern digital computer, built the world's first relay-based computer which calculated binary addition.[333]

1937 Shopping cart

Nested shopping carts being returned from a parking lot to a Target store located in the United States

A shopping cart is a metal or plastic basket on wheels supplied by a shop, especially a supermarket, for use by customers inside the shop for transport of merchandise to the check-out counter during shopping. Often, customers are allowed to leave the carts in the parking lot, and store personnel return the carts to the shop. The first shopping cart was invented by Sylvan Goldman in 1937, owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma City.[334]

1937 Polarized sunglasses

Polarized subglasses are protective eyewear which incorporate oscillated lenses shifting the sun's rays in the opposite direction. Polarized sunglasses were invented in 1937 by Edwin Land.[335]

1937 Klystron

A klystron is a specialized linear-beam vacuum tube. Klystrons are used as amplifiers at microwave and radio frequencies to produce both low-power reference signals for superheterodyne radar receivers and to produce high-power carrier waves for communications and the driving force for modern particle accelerator. Russell and Sigurd Varian of Stanford University are generally considered to be the inventors. Their prototype was completed in August 1937.[336]

1937 Cyclamate

Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener 30–50 times sweeter than sugar, making it the least potent of the commercially used artificial sweeteners. It was invented in 1937 by graduate student Michael Sveda at the University of Illinois.[337]

1938 Beach ball

The beach ball

A beach ball is an inflatable ball for beach and water games. Their large size and light weight take little effort to propel; they travel very slowly and generally must be caught with two hands, making them ideal for lazy games and for children. Their lightness and size make them difficult to use in even moderate wind. The beach ball was invented in California by Jonathon DeLonge in 1938.[338]

1938 Fiberglass

The technique of heating and drawing glass into fine fibers has been used for millennia. The use of these fibers for textile applications is more recent. The first commercial production of fiberglass was in 1936. In 1938, fiberglass was invented by Russell Games Slayter of Owens-Corning.[339]

1938 Xerography

Xerography, which means "dry writing" in Greek, is a process of making copies. Xerography makes copies without using ink. In this process, static electricity charges a lighted plate; a plastic powder is applied to the areas of the page to remain white. The photocopier was invented in 1938 by Chester Floyd Carlson who marketed his revolutionary device to about 20 companies before he could interest any. The Haloid Company, later called the Xerox Corporation, marketed it, and xerography eventually became common and inexpensive.[340]

1938 Nylon

1938 Teflon

  • In chemistry, polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer which finds numerous applications. PTFE is most well known by the DuPont brand name Teflon. PTFE was accidentally invented by Roy Plunkett of Kinetic Chemicals in 1938.[342]

1938 Soft serve ice cream

Soft serve ice cream in strawberry flavor

Not to be confused with regular ice cream of the slow, churned type which was invented in China over two millennia ago[343], soft serve is a distinctive type of frozen dessert that is similar to, but much softer than, ice cream. In 1938, J.F. "Grandpa" McCullough and his son Alex co-invented soft serve ice cream, devising a new way to serve ice cream in its soft, creamy form that it takes before going into the deep freeze to make it scoopable. After Alex McCullough commissioned Harry Oltz in 1939 to design the first soft serve ice cream machine, similar to ones used for making frozen custard, the Dairy Queen franchise was founded when Sherb Noble opened the first store in 1940.[344]

1939 Yield sign

In road transport, a yield sign or give way sign indicates that a vehicle driver must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. However, there is no need to stop if his way is clear. A driver who stops has yielded his right of way to another. The yield sign, but not the yield traffic rule itself, was invented in 1939 by Tulsa police officer Clinton Riggs.[345]

1939 VU meter

A VU meter is often included in analog circuit, audio equipment to display a signal level in Volume Units. It is intentionally a "slow" measurement, averaging out peaks and troughs of short duration to reflect the perceived loudness of the material. It was originally invented in 1939 by the combined effort of Bell Labs and broadcasters CBS and NBC for measuring and standardizing the levels of telephone lines. The instrument used to measure VU is called the volume indicator (VI) instrument. Most users ignore this and call it a VU meter.

1940 Blood bank

A blood bank is a cache or bank for blood or blood components, gathered as a result of blood donations which are stored and preserved for future uses in blood transfusions. In late 1940, just after earning his doctoral thesis, Charles R. Drew was called upon by physician John Scudder to set up and administer an early prototype program for collecting, testing and distributing blood plasma in the United Kingdom known as "Blood for Britain", the first blood bank.[346]

1940 Fluxgate magnetometer

  • A fluxgate magnetometer measures the direction and magnitude of magnetic fields. Fluxgate magnetometer sensors are manufactured in several geometries and recently have made significant improvements in noise performance, crossfield tolerance and power utilization. The fluxgate magnetometer was invented by Victor Vacquier in 1940 while working for Gulf Research in Pittsburgh.[347]

1941 Deodorant

  • Deodorants are substances applied to the body to reduce body odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration. Jules Montenier holds a number of patents. Arguably, his January 28, 1941 patent for Astringent Preparation is his most famous which dealt with solving the problem of the excessive acidity of aluminum chloride, then and now the best working antiperspirant, by adding a soluble nitrile or a similar compound. This innovation found its way into "Stopette" deodorant spray, which Time Magazine called "the best-selling deodorant of the early 1950s".[348]

1941 Acrylic fiber

  • Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers made from a polymer Polyacrylonitrile with an average molecular weight of ~100,000, about 1900 monomer units. To be called acrylic in the United States, the polymer must contain at least 85% acrylonitrile monomer. Typical comonomers are vinyl acetate or methyl acrylate. The Dupont Corporation invented the first acrylic fibers in 1941 and trademarked them under the name "Orlon".[349]

1942 Corn dog

  • The corn dog, pogo, dagwood dog, pluto pup or corny dog is a hot dog coated in cornbread batter and deep fried in hot oil, although some are baked. Almost all corn dogs are served on wooden sticks, though some early versions were stickless. Although a contending topic as numerous claims of the origins of the corn dog have surfaced, the invention of the corn dog is widely, yet not universally accredited to Neil Fletcher who first sold them at the Texas State Fair in 1942.[350]

1942 Ames process

  • The Ames process is a process to purify uranium ore. It can be achieved by mixing any of the uranium halides with calcium powder or aluminium powder. The Ames process was invented and used on August 3, 1942 by a group of chemists led by Frank Spedding at the Ames Laboratory.[351]

1943 Napalm

  • Napalm is the name given to any of a number of flammable liquids used in warfare, often jellied gasoline. Napalm is actually the thickener in such liquids, which when mixed with gasoline makes a sticky incendiary gel. Invented in the United States during World War II by a team of Harvard chemists led by Louis Fieser, Napalm's name is a portmanteau of the names of its original ingredients, coprecipitated aluminium salts of naphthenic acid and palmitic acids. These were added to the flammable substance to cause it to gel.[352]

1943 Yerkes spectral classification

  • The Yerkes spectral classification, also called the MKK system from the authors' initials, is a system of stellar spectral classification invented in 1943 by William Wilson Morgan, Phillip C. Keenan and Edith Kellman from the Yerkes Observatory.[353]

1945 Cruise control

  • Cruise control automatically controls the rate of motion of a motor vehicle. The driver sets the speed and the system will take over the throttle of the car to maintain the same speed. Cruise control was invented in 1945 by a blind inventor and mechanical engineer named Ralph Teetor. His idea was born out of the frustration of riding in a car driven by his lawyer, who kept speeding up and slowing down as he talked. The first car with Teetor's system was the Chrysler Imperial in 1958. This system calculated ground speed based on driveshaft rotations and used a solenoid to vary throttle position as needed.[354]

1945 Microwave oven

  • A microwave oven cooks or heats food by dielectric heating. Cooking food with microwaves was discovered by Percy Spencer on October 8, 1945, while building magnetrons for radar sets at Raytheon. Spencer was working on an active radar set when he noticed a strange sensation, and saw that a peanut candy bar he had in his pocket started to melt. Although he was not the first to notice this phenomenon, as the holder of 120 patents, Spencer was no stranger to discovery and experiment, and realized what was happening. The radar had melted his candy bar with microwaves. The first food to be deliberately cooked with microwaves was popcorn, and the second was an egg.[355] In 1947, Raytheon under Percy Spencer demonstrated the world's first microwave oven built at the company which was called the "Radarange".[356]

Cold War (1946-1989)

Post-war and the late Forties (1946–1949)

1946 Spoonplug

  • A spoonplug is a form of fishing lure. The spoonplug was invented by Elwood L. "Buck" Perry, then a physics and math teacher in Hickory, North Carolina. Elwood Perry combined science with a logical approach to fishing to create a "total fishing system." He is credited as being the father of structure fishing and was later inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.[357]

1946 Cancer chemotherapy

  • Cancer chemotherapy can be traced directly to the discovery of nitrogen mustard, a chemical warfare agent, as an effective treatment for cancer. Two pharmacologists, Louis S. Goodman and Alfred Gilman were recruited by the United States Department of Defense to investigate potential therapeutic applications of chemical warfare agents. Autopsy observations of people exposed to mustard gas had revealed profound lymphoid and myeloid suppression. Goodman and Gilman reasoned that this agent could be used to treat lymphoma, since lymphoma is a tumor of lymphoid cells. They set up an animal model and established lymphomas in mice and demonstrated they could treat them with mustard agents. In collaboration with a thoracic surgeon, Gustav Linskog, they injected a related agent, mustine into a patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They observed a dramatic reduction in the patient's tumor masses. Although this effect lasted only a few weeks, this was the first step to the realization that cancer could be treated by pharmacological agents.[358]

1946 DEET

  • N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, abbreviated DEET, is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. It is intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing, and is primarily used to repel mosquitos. DEET was invented by the United States Army in 1946 following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II.[359]

1946 Proton therapy

  • Proton therapy utilizes a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. The first suggestion that energetic protons could be an effective treatment method was made by Robert R. Wilson in a paper published in 1946 while he was involved in the design of the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory (HCL). The first treatments were performed at particle accelerators built for physics research, notably Berkeley Radiation Laboratory in 1954 and at Uppsala in Sweden in 1957.[360]

1946 Cloud seeding

  • Cloud seeding, a form of weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports. The method's use has ranged from increasing precipitation in areas experiencing drought to removing radioactive particles from clouds. Cloud seeding was invented by Vincent Schaefer in 1946.[361]

1947 Transistor

A replica of the first working transistor.

In electronics, a transistor is a semiconductor device commonly used to amplify or switch electronic signals. Because the controlled output power can be much larger than the controlling input power, the transistor provides amplification of a signal. The transistor is the fundamental building block of all modern electronic devices, and is used in radio, telephone, computer, and other electronic systems. From November 17, 1947 to December 23, 1947, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at AT&T Bell Labs, underwent experimentations and finally observed that when two gold point contacts were applied to a crystal of germanium, a signal was produced whereby the output power was larger than the input.[362] The American physicist and 1956 Nobel Prize winner, William Shockley, saw the potential in this and worked over the next few months greatly expanding the knowledge of semiconductors in order to construct the first point-contact transistor. Shockley is considered by many to be the "father" of the transistor.[10] Hence, in recognition of his work, the transistor is widely, yet not universally acknowledged as the most important invention of the entire 20th century since it forms today’s building blocks of processors found and used in almost every modern computing and electronics device.[363]

1947 Defibrillator

Defibrillation is the definitive treatment for the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Defibrillation consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected heart. Dr. Claude Beck invented the defibrillator in 1947.[364]

1947 Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. The first acrylic paint was invented by Leonard Bocour and Sam Golden in 1947 under the brand Magna paint.[365]

1947 Correction fluid

  • Correction fluid is an opaque, white fluid applied to paper to mask errors in text. It was very important when material was typed with a typewriter, but has become less so since the advent of the word processor. Correction fluid was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham in 1951 and originally called by the brand name Mistake Out.[366]

1947 Mobile phone

The advent of wireless telephone communications

A mobile phone, or cell phone, is a long-range, electronic device used for mobile voice or data communication over a network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. Early mobile FM radio telephones were in use for many years, but since the number of radio frequencies were very limited in any area, the number of phone calls were also very limited. To solve this problem, there could be many small areas called cells which share the same frequencies. When users moved from one area to another while calling, the call would have to be switched over automatically without losing the call. In this system, a small number of radio frequencies could accommodate a huge number of calls. The first mobile telephone call was made from a car in St. Louis, Missouri on June 17, 1946, but the system was impractical from what is considered a portable handset today. The equipment weighed 80 lbs, and the AT&T service, basically a massive party line, cost $30 per month plus 30 to 40 cents per local call.[367] The basic network of hexagonal cells were devised by Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young at AT&T Bell Labs in 1947. Known as the "father of the cell phone," Martin Cooper invented the first handheld cellular/mobile phone in 1973.[13]

1947 Instant camera

The instant camera is a type of camera with self-developing film. In 1947, Edwin H. Land invented a new camera that produced photographic images in 60 seconds. A colored photograph model would follow in the 1960s and eventually receive more than 500 patents for Land's innovations in light and plastic technologies.[368]

1947 Supersonic aircraft

The Bell X-1

In aerodynamics, the sound barrier usually refers to the point at which an aircraft moves from transonic to supersonic speed. On October 14, 1947, just under a month after the United States Air Force had been created as a separate service, tests culminated in the first manned supersonic flight where the sound barrier was broken, piloted by Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1.[369]

1948 Hair spray

Hair spray is a beauty aqueous solution that is used to keep hair stiff or in a certain style. Weaker than hair gel, hair wax, or glue, it is sprayed to hold styles for a long period. Using a pump or aerosol spray nozzle, it sprays evenly over the hair. Hair spray was first invented and manufactured in 1948 by Chase Products Company, based in Broadview, Illinois.

1948 Windsurfing

Windsurfing in Maui

Windsurfing, or sailboarding, is a surface water sport using a windsurf board, also commonly called a sailboard, usually two to five meters long and powered by wind pushing a sail. In 1948, 20 year old Newman Darby first conceived of using a handheld sail and rig mounted on a universal joint, to control a small catamaran. Darby did not file for a patent for his design, however, he is regonized as the inventor of the first sailboard.[370] However, what is clear from the historical record is that windsurfing, as it is known today, owes much if not all to the promotion and marketing activities of Hoyle and Diana Schweitzer. In 1968, they founded the company Windsurfing International in Southern California to manufacture, promote and license a windsurfer design. Together with Jim Drake, an aerospace engineer at the RAND Corporation, they were the holders of the very first windsurfing patent ever, which was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1970, after being filed in 1968.[371]

1948 Cat litter

Cat litter is one of any of a number of materials used in litter boxes to absorb moisture from cat feces and urine, which reduces foul odors such as ammonia and renders them more tolerable within the home. The first commercially available cat litter was Kitty Litter, available in 1948 and invented by Ed Lowe.[372]

1948 Video game

  • The video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. The patent for a Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device was first filed on January 25, 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, and was issued on December 14, 1948. Eight vacuum tubes were used to simulate a missile firing at a target, and the device featured knobs to adjust the curve and speed of the missile.[373]

1948 Cable television

  • Cable television provides television to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through fixed optical fibers or coaxial cables as opposed to the over-the-air method used in traditional television broadcasting. First known as Community Antenna Television or CATV, cable television was born in the mountains of Pennsylvania in 1948 by John Walson and Margaret Walson.[374]

1948 Flying disc

  • Flying discs are disc-shaped objects thrown and caught for recreation, which are generally plastic and roughly 20 to 25 centimeters (8–10 inches) in diameter, with a lip. The shape of the disc, an airfoil in cross-section, allows it to fly by generating lift as it moves through the air while rotating. First known as the "Whirlo-Way", the flying disc was invented in 1949 by Walter Frederick Morrison who combined his fascination with invention and his interest in flight. Carved from a solid block of a plastic compound known as "Tenite," Morrison sold his flying disc invention to WHAM–O, which introduced it in 1957 as the "Pluto Platter." In 1958, WHAM–O modified the "Pluto Platter" and introduced the "FRISBIE" flying disc to the world. It became an instant sensation.[375]

1949 Radiocarbon dating

  • Radiocarbon dating is a dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to determine the age of carbonaceous materials up to about 60,000 years. In 1949, Willard F. Libby invented the procedure for carbon-14 dating.[376]

1949 Airsickness bag

  • An airsickness bag, also known as a barf bag, airsick bag, sick bag, or motion sickness bag, is a small bag commonly provided to passengers onboard airplanes and boats to collect and contain vomit in the event of motion sickness. The airsickness bag was invented by Gilmore Schjeldahl in 1949 for Northwest Orient Airlines.[377]

1949 Ice resurfacer

  • An ice resurfacer is a truck-like vehicle used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice rink. Frank J. Zamboni of Paramount, California invented the first ice resurfacer, which he called a Zamboni, in 1949.[378]

1949 Modacrylic

  • A modacrylic is a synthetic copolymer. They are soft, strong, resilient, and dimensionally stable. Commercial production of modacrylic fiber began in 1949 by Union Carbide Corporation in the United States.[379]

1949 Holter monitor

  • A Holter monitor is a portable device for continuously monitoring the electrical activity of the heart for 24 hours or more. The holter monitor was invented by Norman Holter in 1949.[380]

1949 Atomic clock

  • An atomic clock uses an atomic resonance frequency standard as its timekeeping element. The first atomic clock was an ammonia maser device built in 1949 at the United States National Bureau of Standards.[381]

1949 Compiler

  • A compiler is a computer program or set of programs that transforms source code written in a computerized source language into another computer language often having a binary form known as an object code. The most common reason for wanting to transform source code is to create an executable program. The first compiler written for the A-0 programming language is attributed to its inventor, Grace Hopper in 1949.[382]

1949 Centrifugal clutch

  • A centrifugal clutch is a clutch that uses centrifugal force to connect two concentric shafts, with the driving shaft nested inside the driven shaft. The input of the clutch is connected to the engine crankshaft while the output may drive a shaft, chain, or belt. As engine RPM increases, weighted arms in the clutch swing outward and force the clutch to engage. The centrifugal clutch was invented in 1949 by Thomas Fogarty when he was 15 years old.[383]

The Fifties (1950-1959)

1950 Artificial snowmaking

A rear view of a snow cannon with its fan showing

Snowmaking is the artificial production of snow by forcing water and pressurized air through a "snow gun" or "snow cannon", on ski slopes. Snowmaking is mainly used at ski resorts to supplement natural snow. This allows ski resorts to improve the reliability of their snow cover and to extend their ski seasons. The costly production of snowmaking requires low temperatures. The threshold temperature for snowmaking decreases as humidity decreases. Machine-made snow was first co-invented by three engineers—Art Hunt, Dave Richey and Wayne Pierce of Milford, Connecticut on March 14, 1950. Their patented invention of the first "snow cannon" used a garden hose, a 10-horsepower compressor, and a spray-gun nozzle, which produced about 20 inches of snow.[384]

1950 Credit card

A credit card is part of a system of payments named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. The issuer of the card grants a line of credit to the consumer from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user. The concept of paying different merchants using the same card was invented in 1950 by Ralph Schneider and Frank X. McNamara, founders of Diners Club, to consolidate multiple cards.[385]

1950 Leaf blower

A leaf blower is a gardening tool that propels air out of a nozzle to move yard debris such as leaves. Leaf blowers are usually powered by two-stroke engine or an electric motor, but four-stroke engines were recently introduced to partially address air pollution concerns. Leaf blowers are typically self contained handheld units, or backpack mounted units with a handheld wand. The leaf blower was invented by Dom Quinto in 1950.[386]

1950 Disposable diaper

  • A diaper or nappy is an absorbent garment for incontinent people. The disposable diaper was invented in 1950 by Marion Donovan. Her first leak-proof diaper was a plastic-lined cloth diaper. Donovan then developed a disposable diaper. She was unsuccessful at selling her invention to established manufacturers, so she started her own company.[387]

1950 Sengstaken-Blakemore tube

  • A Sengstaken-Blakemore tube is an oro or nasogastric tube used occasionally in the management of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to bleeding from esophageal varices which are distended veins in the esophageal wall, usually as a result of cirrhosis. It consists of a gastric balloon, an esophageal balloon, and a gastric suction port. The Sengstaken-Blakemore tube was invented by Dr. Robert W. Sengstaken and Dr. Arthur H. Blakemore in 1950.[388]

1951 Cooler

  • A cool box, cooler, portable ice chest, chilly bin, or esky most commonly is an insulated box used to keep perishable food or beverages cool. Ice cubes, which are very cold, are most commonly placed in it to make the things inside stay cool. Ice packs are sometimes used, as they either contain the melting water inside, or have a gel sealed inside that also stays cold longer than plain water. The cooler was invented in 1951 by Richard C. laramy of Joliet, Illinois. Laramy filed a patent for the cooler on February 24, 1951 and was issued U.S. patent #2,663,157 on December 22, 1953.[389]

1951 Wetsuit

  • A wetsuit is a garment, usually made of foamed neoprene, which is worn by divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and others engaged in water sports, providing thermal insulation, abrasion resistance and buoyancy. The insulation properties depend on bubbles of gas enclosed within the material, which reduce its ability to conduct heat. The bubbles also give the wetsuit a low density, providing buoyancy in water. The wetsuit was invented in 1951 by the University of California at Berkeley physicist named Hugh Bradner.[390]

1951 Golf cart

  • A golf cart or golf buggy is a small vehicle designed originally to carry two golfers and their golf clubs around a golf course. The golf cart was invented by Merle Williams of Long Beach, California in 1951.[391]

1952 Polio vaccine

  • Vaccination works by priming the immune system with an 'immunogen'. Stimulating immune response, via use of an infectious agent, is known as immunization. The development of immunity to polio efficiently blocks person-to-person transmission of wild poliovirus, thereby protecting both individual vaccine recipients and the wider community. In 1952, Dr. Jonas Salk announced his trial vaccine for Polio, or poliomyelitis. Salk's vaccine was composed of "killed" polio virus, which retained the ability to immunize without the risk of infecting the patient. In 1954, Salk published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and nationwide testing was carried out. In 1955, Salk's polio vaccine was made public.[392]

1952 Barcode

A UPC-A barcode symbol

A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows certain data on certain products. Originally, barcodes represented data in the widths (lines) and the spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1 dimensional barcodes or symbologies. They also come in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns within images termed 2 dimensional matrix codes or symbologies. Norman Joseph Woodland is best known for inventing the barcode for which he received a patent in October 1952.[393]

1952 Artificial heart

An artificial heart is implanted into the body to replace the biological heart. On July 3, 1952, 41-year-old Henry Opitek suffering from shortness of breath made medical history at Harper University Hospital at Wayne State University in Michigan. The Dodrill-GMR heart machine, considered to be the first operational mechanical heart was successfully inserted by Dr. Forest Dewey Dodrill into Henry Opitek while performing heart surgery.[394] In 1981, Robert Jarvik implanted the world's first permanent artificial heart,[395] the Jarvik 7, into Dr. Barney Clark. The heart, powered by an external compressor, kept Clark alive for 112 days. The Jarvik heart was not banned for permanent use. Since 1982, more than 350 people have received the Jarvik heart as a bridge to transplantation.[396]

1953 Heart-lung machine

  • Dr. John Heysham Gibbon performed the first successful cardiopulmonary bypass surgery in which the blood was artificially circulated and oxygenated by using his invention, a pump known as the heart-lung machine. This new medical technology, which allowed the surgeon to operate on a dry and motionless heart by maintaining the circulation of blood and the oxygen content of the body, greatly increased surgical treatment options for heart defects and disease.[397]

1953 Marker pen

  • A marker pen, marking pen, felt-tip pen, or marker, is a pen which has its own colored ink-source, and usually a tip made of a porous material, such as felt or nylon. Sidney Rosenthal, from Richmond Hill, New York, is credited with inventing the marker in 1953.[398]

1953 Apgar scale

  • The Apgar scale is used to determine the physical status of an infant at birth. The Apgar scale is administered to a newborn at one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. It scores the baby's heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. This test quickly alerts medical personnel that the newborn needs assistance. This simple, easy-to-perform test was invented in 1953 by Dr. Virginia Apgar, a professor of anesthesia at the New York Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.[399]

1953 Wiffle ball

  • Wiffleball is a variation of the sport of baseball designed for indoor or outdoor play in confined areas. The game is played using a perforated, light-weight, rubbery plastic ball and a long, plastic and typically a yellow bat. The Wiffle ball was invented by David N. Mullany of Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953 when he designed a ball that curved easily for his 12-year old son. It was named when his son and his friends would refer to a strikeout as a "whiff".[400]

1953 MASER

  • A maser is produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification due to stimulated emission. Historically the term came from the acronym "Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation". Charles H. Townes, J. P. Gordon, and H. J. Zeiger built the first maser at Columbia University in 1953.[401]

1953 Carbonless copy paper

  • Carbonless copy paper is an alternative to carbon paper, used to make a copy of an original, handwritten document without the use of any electronics. Carbonless copy paper was invented by chemists Lowell Schleicher and Barry Green, working for the NCR Corporation, as a biodegradable, stain-free alternative to carbon paper.[402]

1953 Crossed-field amplifier

  • A crossed-field amplifier (CFA) is a specialized vacuum tube frequently used as a microwave amplifier in very-high-power transmitters. A CFA has lower gain and bandwidth than other microwave amplifier tubes, but it is more efficient and capable of much higher output power. William C. Brown is considered to have invented the first crossed-field amplifier in 1953 which he called an Amplitron.[403]

1954 TV dinner

  • A TV dinner is a prepackaged, frozen or chilled meal generally in an individual package. It requires little preparation, oven baked or microwaveable, and contains all the elements for a single-serving meal in a tray with compartments for the food. Carl A. Swanson of C.A. Swanson & Sons is generally credited for inventing the TV dinner. Retired Swanson executive Gerry Thomas said he conceived the idea after the company found itself with a huge surplus of frozen turkeys because of poor Thanksgiving sales.[404]

1954 Acoustic suspension loudspeaker

  • The acoustic suspension woofer is a type of loudspeaker that reduces bass distortion caused by non-linear, stiff mechanical suspensions in conventional loudspeakers. The acoustic suspension loudspeaker was invented in 1954 by Edgar Villchur, and brought to commercial production by Villchur and Henry Kloss with the founding of Acoustic Research in Cambridge Massachusetts.[405]

1954 Automatic sliding doors

  • Automatic doors are powered open and closed either by power, spring, or by a sensor. Automatic sliding doors are commonly found at entrance and exits of supermarkets, department stores, and airport terminals. In 1954, Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the automatic sliding door.[406]

1954 Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an important life saving first aid skill, practiced throughout the world. It is the only known effective method of keeping someone who has suffered cardiac arrest alive long enough for definitive treatment to be delivered. In 1954, James Elam was the first to demonstrate experimentally that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was a sound technique, and together with Dr. Peter Safar he demonstrated its superiority to previous methods.[407]

1954 Synthetic diamond

  • Synthetic diamonds are diamonds produced in a technological process as opposed to natural diamonds, which are created in geological processes. Synthetic diamonds are also widely known as HPHT diamonds or CVD diamonds, HPHT and CVD being the production methods, high-pressure high-temperature synthesis and chemical vapor deposition, respectively. Although the concept of producing highquality artificial diamonds is an old one, the reproductable synthesis of diamonds is not. In 1954, Howard Tracy Hall at the GE Research Laboratory invented a belt press in the shape of a doughnut, which confined the sample chamber and two curved, tapered pistons to apply pressure on the chamber in order to produce the first commercially successful and reproducible synthesis of a diamond.[408]

1954 Radar gun

  • A radar gun or speed gun is a small Doppler radar used to detect the speed of objects. It relies on the Doppler Effect applied to a radar beam to measure the speed of objects at which it is pointed. Radar guns may be hand-held or vehicle-mounted. Bryce K. Brown invented the radar gun in March 1954.[409]

1955 Crosby-Kugler capsule

  • A Crosby-Kugler capsule is a device used for obtaining biopsies of small bowel mucosa, necessary for the diagnosis of various small bowel diseases. It was invented by Dr. William Holmes Crosby, Jr. in 1955.[410]

1955 Nuclear submarine

  • The USS Nautilus (SNN 571), the first nuclear submarine, revolutionized naval warfare. Conventional submarines need two engines: a diesel engine to travel on the surface and an electric engine to travel submerged, where oxygen for a diesel engine is not available. The Nautilus traveled thousands of miles below the surface with a single fuel charge. Hyman Rickover can be credited for the design of the world's first nuclear submarine.[411]

1955 Hard disk drive

  • A hard disk drive, or hard drive, hard disk, or fixed disk drive, is a non-volatile storage device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces. The hard disk drive was invented by Reynold Johnson and commercially introduced in 1956 with the IBM 305 RAMAC computer.[412]

1956 Kart racing

Go-karts on a speedway

Kart racing or karting is a variant of an open-wheel motor sport with simple, small four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox karts depending on the design. Karts vary widely in speed and some can reach speeds exceeding 160 mph, while go-karts intended for the general public in amusement parks may be limited to speeds of no more than 15 mph. In the summer of 1956, hot rod veteran Art Ingels built the first go-kart out of old car frame tubing, welding beads, and a lawnmower motor, not realizing that he had invented a new sport and form of auto racing.[413]

1956 Bone marrow transplantation

Stem cell transplantation was pioneered using bone-marrow-derived stem cells by a team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center from the 1950s through the 1970s. The first successful bone marrow transplantation was for a cancer patient and was performed by E. Donnall Thomas in 1956.[414]

1956 Industrial robot

An industrial robot is an automatically controlled, re-programmable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. The first to invent an industrial robot was George Devol and Joseph F. Engelberger.[415]

1956 Fortran

  • Fortran is a general-purpose, procedural, and imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computational physics, and computational chemistry. It is one of the most popular languages in the area of High-performance computing and programs to benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers are written in Fortran. In 1956, John Backus and a team of researchers at IBM invented the Fortran programming language for the IBM 704 mainframe computer.[416]

1956 Videotape

  • Videotape is a means of recording images and sound onto magnetic tape as opposed to movie film. The first practical professional videotape machines were the Quadruplex machines introduced by Ampex on April 14, 1956. Invented by Charles Ginsburg and Ray Dolby, Quad employed a transverse four-head system on a two-inch (5.08 cm) tape, and linear heads for the soundtrack.[417]

1956 Particle storage ring

  • A storage ring is a type of circular particle accelerator in which a continuous or pulsed particle beam may be kept circulating for a long period of time, up to many hours. Gerard K. O'Neill invented the first particle storage ring in 1956.[418]

1957 Wireless microphone

  • A wireless microphone, also known as a lavalier microphone, is a small dynamic microphone used for television, theatre, and public speaking applications, in order to allow hands-free operation. They are most commonly provided with small clips for attaching to collars, ties, or other clothing. The cord may be hidden by clothes and either run to a radio frequency transmitter in a pocket or clipped to a belt for mobile work, or directly to the mixer for stationary applications. The wireless microphone was invented in 1957 and patented in 1964 by the American electronics engineer Raymond A. Litke.[419]

1957 Laser

An experiment with a laser

A laser is a device that emits electromagnetic radiation through a process called stimulated emission. Laser light is usually spatially coherent, which means that the light either is emitted in a narrow, low-divergence beam, or can be converted into one with the help of optical components such as lenses. In 1957, American physicist Gordon Gould first theorized the idea and use of laser technology. Despite a 35 year battle with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Gould is now widely, yet not universally known as the original inventor of laser.[420] However, Gould never developed or produced the first working laser. While working at Hughes Research Laboratories, physicist Theodore H. Maiman created the first laser in 1960. The core of his laser consisted of a man-made ruby, a material that had been judged unsuitable by other scientists who rejected crystal cores in favor of various gases.[421]

1957 Confocal microscopy

Confocal microscopy is an optical imaging technique used to increase micrograph contrast and to reconstruct three-dimensional images by using a spatial pinhole to eliminate out-of-focus light or flare in specimens that are thicker than the focal plane. This technique has gained popularity in the scientific and industrial communities. Typical applications include life sciences and semiconductor inspection. The principle of confocal imaging was invented and patented by Marvin Minsky in 1957.[422]

1957 Air-bubble packing

  • Better known by the brand name of Bubble Wrap, air-bubble packing is a pliable transparent plastic material commonly used for the cushioning of fragile, breakable items in order to absorb or minimize shock and vibration. Regularly spaced, the protruding air-filled hemispheres are known as "bubbles" which are 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) in diameter, to as large as an inch (26 millimeters) or more. Air-bubble packing was co-invented by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes in 1957.[423]

1957 Borazon

  • Borazon, a boron nitride allotrope, is the fourth hardest substance, after aggregated diamond nanorods, ultrahard fullerite, and diamond, and the third hardest artificial material. Borazon is a crystal created by heating equal quantities of boron and nitrogen at temperatures greater than 1800 °celsius, 3300 °Fahrenheit at 7 gigapascal 1 millionpound-force per square inch. Borazon was first invented in 1957 by Robert H. Wentorf, Jr., a physical chemist working for the General Electric Company. In 1969, General Electric adopted the name Borazon as its trademark for the crystal.[424]

1957 Gamma camera

  • A gamma camera is a device used to image gamma radiation emitting radioisotopes, a technique known as scintigraphy. The applications of scintigraphy include early drug development and nuclear medical imaging to view and analyse images of the human body of the distribution of medically injected, inhaled, or ingested radionuclides emitting gamma rays. The gamma camera was invented by Hal Anger in 1957.[425]

1957 Cryotron

  • The cryotron is a switch that operates using superconductivity. The cryotron works on the principle that magnetic fields destroy superconductivity. The cryotron was invented by Dudley Buck in 1957.[426]

1958 Lisp programming language

  • Lisp is a family of computer programming languages with a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized syntax. Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today where Fortran is the oldest. It was invented by John McCarthy in 1958.[427]

1958 Carbon fiber

  • Carbon fiber or is a material consisting of extremely thin fibers about 0.005–0.010 mm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. In 1958, Dr. Roger Bacon invented the first high-performance carbon fibers at the Union Carbide Parma Technical Center, located outside of Cleveland, Ohio.[428]

1958 Integrated circuit

The integrated circuit

An integrated circuit is a miniaturized electronic circuit that has been manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. Integrated circuits are used in almost all electronic equipment in use today and have revolutionized the world of electronics. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip was an enormous improvement over the manual assembly of circuits using discrete electronic components. On September 12, 1958, Jack Kilby developed a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached. While pressing a switch, the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked. A patent for a "Solid Circuit made of Germanium", the first integrated circuit, was filed by its inventor, Jack Kilby on February 6, 1959.[429]

1959 Fusor

The fusor is an apparatus invented by Philo T. Farnsworth in 1959 to create nuclear fusion. Unlike most controlled fusion systems, which slowly heat a magnetically confined plasma, the fusor injects "high temperature" ions directly into a reaction chamber, thereby avoiding a considerable amount of complexity. The approach is known as inertial electrostatic confinement.[430]

1959 Weather satellite

  • A weather satellite is a type of satellite that is primarily used to monitor the weather and climate of the Earth. The first weather satellite, Vanguard 2, was launched on February 17, 1959, although the first weather satellite to be considered a success was TIROS-1, launched by NASA on April 1, 1960.[431]

1959 Spandex

  • Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity that is typically worn as apparel for exercising and in gymnastics. Spandex is stronger and more durable than rubber, its major non-synthetic competitor. Spandex was invented in 1959 by DuPont chemist Joseph Shivers.[432]

The Sixties (1960–1969)

1960 Magnetic stripe card

  • A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. The magnetic stripe, sometimes called a magstripe, is read by physical contact and swiping past a reading head. Magnetic stripe cards are commonly used in credit cards, identity cards such as a driver's license, and transportation tickets. The magnetic stripe card was invented in 1960 by IBM engineer Forrest Parry, who conceived the idea of incorporating a piece of magnetic tape in order to store secured information and data to a plastic card base.[433]

1960 Global navigation satellite system

NASA's Transit seen orbiting the earth, was the first operational GNSS in the world

A global navigation satellite system (GNSS) provides autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. A GNSS allows small electronic receivers to determine their location such as longitude, latitude, and altitude to within a few meters using time signals transmitted along a line of sight by radio from satellites in outer space. Receivers on the ground with a fixed position can also be used to calculate the precise time as a reference for scientific experiments. The first such system was Transit, developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory under the leadership of Richard Kershner. Development of the system for the United States Navy began in 1958, and a prototype satellite,Transit 1A, was launched in September 1959. That satellite failed to reach orbit. A second satellite, Transit 1B, was successfully launched April 13, 1960 by a Thor-Ablestar rocket. The last Transit satellite launch was in August 1988.[433]

1960 Combined oral contraceptive pill

The combined oral contraceptive pill, or birth-control pill, or simply "the Pill", is a combination of an estrogen and a progestin taken orally to inhibit normal female fertility. On May 9, 1960, the FDA announced it would approve Enovid 10 mg for contraceptive use. By the time Enovid 10 mg had been in general use for three years, at least a half a million women had used it. Beginning his research and studies in the feasibility of women's fertility in 1950, Dr. Gregory Pincus invented the combined oral contraceptive pill in 1960.[434]

1960 Obsidian hydration dating

Obsidian hydration dating is a geochemical method of determining age in either absolute or relative terms of an artifact made of obsidian. Obsidian hydration dating was introduced in 1960 by Irving Friedman and Robert Smith of the United States Geological Survey.[435]

1960 Gas laser

A gas laser is a laser in which an electric current is discharged through a gas to produce light. The first gas laser, the Helium-neon, was invented by William R. Bennett, Don Herriott, and Ali Javan in 1960.[436]

1961 Wearable computer

  • Wearable computers are computers which can be worn on the body. Wearable computers are especially useful for applications that require computational support while the user's hands, voice, eyes or attention are actively engaged with the physical environment. The wearable computer was first conceived by American mathematician Edward O. Thorpe in 1955 and co-invented with American electronic engineer Claude Shannon.[437]

1961 Frozen carbonated beverage

  • A frozen carbonated beverage is a mixture of flavored sugar syrup, carbon dioxide, and water that is frozen by a custom machine creating a drink consisting of a fine slush of suspended ice crystals, with very little liquid. In 1961, Omar Knedlik of Coffeyville, Kansas invented the first frozen carbonated drink machine and is thus recognized as the inventor of the frozen carbonated beverage. In 1965, 7-Eleven licensed the machine, and began selling Knedlik's invention by the brand name popularly known as Slurpee.[438]

1961 Biofeedback

  • Biofeedback is a form of alternative medicine that involves measuring a subject's quantifiable bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, sweat gland activity, and muscle tension, conveying the information to the patient in real-time. This raises the patient's awareness and conscious control of his or her unconscious physiological activities. Neal Miller is generally considered the father of modern-day biofeedback. Miller theorized the basic principles of biofeedback by applying his theory that classical and operant conditioning were both the result of a common learning principle in 1961. Miller hypothesized that any measurable physiological behavior within the human body would respond in some way to voluntary control.[439]

1962 Communications satellite

  • A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purposes of telecommunications. Modern communications satellites use a variety of orbits. For fixed point-to-point services, communications satellites provide a microwave radio relay technology complementary to that of submarine communication cables. Invented in 1962 by the American aerospace engineer John Robinson Pierce, NASA launched Telstar, the world's first active communications satellite, and the first satellite designed to transmit telephone and high-speed data communications. Its name is still used to this day for a number of television broadcasting satellites.[440]

1962 Light-emitting diode

Blue, green, and red LEDs can be combined to produce most perceptible colors, including white.

A light-emitting-diode (LED) is a semiconductor diode that emits light when an electric current is applied in the forward direction of the device, as in the simple LED circuit. The effect is a form of electroluminescence where incoherent and narrow-spectrum light is emitted from the p-n junction in a solid state material. The first practical visible-spectrum LED was invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr.[441][442][443]

1962 Electret microphone

An electret microphone is a type of condenser microphone, which eliminates the need for a power supply by using a permanently-charged material. Electret materials have been known since the 1920s, and were proposed as condenser microphone elements several times, but were considered impractical until the foil electret type was invented at Bell Laboratories in 1962 by Jim West, using a thin metallized Teflon foil. This became the most common type, used in many applications from high-quality recording and lavalier use to built-in microphones in small sound recording devices and telephones.[444]

1962 Jet injector

A jet injector is a type of medical injecting syringe that uses a high-pressure narrow jet of the injection liquid instead of a hypodermic needle to penetrate the epidermis. The jet injector was invented by Aaron Ismach in 1962.[445]

1962 Laser diode

  • A laser diode is a laser where the active medium is a semiconductor similar to that found in a light-emitting diode. The most common and practical type of laser diode is formed from a p-n junction and powered by injected electric current. These devices are sometimes referred to as injection laser diodes to distinguish them from optically pumped laser diodes, which are more easily manufactured in the laboratory. The laser diode was invented in 1962 by Robert N. Hall.[446]

1962 Glucose meter

  • A glucose meter is a medical device for determining the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood. The first glucose meter was invented by Leland Clark and Ann Lyons at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital which was first known as a glucose enzyme electrode. The sensor worked by measuring the amount of oxygen consumed by the enzyme.[447]

1963 Computer mouse

The first computer mouse

In computing, a mouse is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. The mouse's motion typically translates into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a Graphical User Interface. Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963.[448]

1963 Lung transplantation

Lung transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a patient's diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced by lungs which come from a donor. Lung transplantation is the therapeutic measure of last resort for patients with end-stage lung disease who have exhausted all other available treatments without improvement. A variety of conditions may make such surgery necessary. Dr. James Hardy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center performed the first human lung transplant, the left lung, in 1963.[449]

1963 BASIC

In computer programming, BASIC is a family of high-level programming languages. The original BASIC was invented in 1963 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to provide computer access to non-science students. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to be able to do. The language and its variants became widespread on microcomputers in the late 1970s and 1980s.[450]

1963 Balloon catheter

  • A balloon catheter is a type of "soft" catheter with an inflatable "balloon" at its tip which is used during a catheterization procedure to enlarge a narrow opening or passage within the body. The deflated balloon catheter is positioned, then inflated to perform the necessary procedure, and deflated again in order to be removed. A common use includes angioplasty. In 1963, Dr. Thomas Fogarty invented and patented the balloon catheter.[451]

1963 Geosynchronous satellite

  • A geosynchronous satellite is a satellite whose orbital track on the Earth repeats regularly over points on the Earth over time. The world's first geosynchronous satellite, the Syncom II which was launched on a Delta rocket at NASA in 1963, was invented by Harold Rosen.[452]

1963 Neutron bomb

  • A neutron bomb, technically referred to as an enhanced radiation weapon, is a type of tactical nuclear weapon formerly built mainly by the United States specifically to release a large portion of its energy as energetic neutron radiation. Samuel Cohen is credited with the conception of the neutron bomb and its testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility.[453]

1964 Plasma display

  • A plasma display panel is a flat panel display common to large TV displays. Many tiny cells between two panels of glass hold an inert mixture of noble gases. The gas in the cells is electrically turned into a plasma which then excites phosphors to emit light. The monochrome plasma video display was co-invented in 1964 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Donald Bitzer, H. Gene Slottow, and graduate student Robert Willson for the PLATO Computer System.[454]

1964 8-track cartridge

  • Stereo 8, commonly known as the eight-track cartridge or eight-track, is a magnetic tape sound recording technology. In 1964, William Lear invented the eight-track, which went on to become the most popular musical medium from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s.[455]

1964 Permanent press

  • A permanent press is a characteristic of fabric that has been chemically processed to resist wrinkles and hold its shape. This treatment has a lasting effect on the fabric, namely in shirts, trousers, and slacks. Permanent press was invented in 1964 by Ruth Rogan Benerito, research leader of the Physical Chemistry Research Group of the Cotton Chemical Reactions Laboratory.[456][457]

1964 Heart transplantation

  • Heart transplantation or cardiac transplantation, is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. The most common procedure is to take a working heart from a recently deceased organ donor and implant it into the patient. The patient's own heart may either be removed or, less commonly, left in to support the donor heart. It is also possible to take a heart from another speciesor implant or a man-made artificial heart. The first heart transplanted into a human occurred in 1964 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi when a team led by Dr. James Hardy transplanted a chimpanzee heart into a dying patient.[449]

1964 Artificial turf

  • Artificial turf, or synthetic turf, is a man-made surface made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. David Chaney, who moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1960 and later served as dean of the North Carolina State University College of Textiles, headed the team of RTP researchers who created the famous artificial turf. Artificial turf was co-invented in 1964 by James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright,[458] employees of Monsanto Company. Widely known as Astroturf, it was invented in 1964 by James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright and patented in 1967, originally sold under the name "Chemgrass".

1964 Carbon dioxide laser

  • The carbon dioxide laser was one of the earliest gas lasers to be developed and is still one of the most useful. The carbon dioxide laser was invented by C. Kumar N. Patel of Bell Labs in 1964.[459]

1964 Liquid crystal display (Dynamic Scattering Mode)

  • A liquid crystal display (LCD) is an electronically-modulated optical device shaped into a thin, flat panel made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels filled with liquid crystals and arrayed in front of a light source or reflector. In 1964, George H. Heilmeier invented the dynamic scattering mode found in liquid crystal displays, wherein an electrical charge is applied which rearranges the molecules so that they scatter light.[460]

1964 SQUID

  • Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices are very sensitive magnetometers used to measure extremely small magnetic fields based on superconducting loops containing Josephson junctions. The DC SQUID was invented in 1964 by Arnold Silver, Robert Jaklevic, John Lambe, and James Mercereau of Ford Research Labs.[461]

1964 Argon laser

  • The argon laser is one of a family of ion lasers that use a noble gas as the active medium. The argon laser was invented by William Bridges in 1964.[462]

1965 Automatic adaptive equalizer

  • An automatic adaptive equalizer corrects distorted signals, greatly improving data performance and speed. All computer modems use equalizers. The automatic adaptive equalizer was invented in 1965 by Bell Laboratories electrical engineer Robert Lucky.[463]

1965 Snowboarding

Snowboarders at a ski resort

Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is either partially or fully covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set into a mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, surfing and skiing. The first snowboard, the Snurfer, was invented by Sherman Poppen in 1965. Snowboarding became an Winter Olympic Sport in 1998.[464]

1965 Kevlar

Kevlar is the registered trademark for a light, strong para-aramid synthetic fiber. Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components. Currently, Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to body armor because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. Invented at DuPont in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires.[465]

1965 Hypertext

Hypertext most often refers to text on a computer that will lead the user to other, related information on demand. It is a relatively recent innovation to user interfaces, which overcomes some of the limitations of written text. Rather than remaining static like traditional text, hypertext makes possible a dynamic organization of information through links and connections called hyperlinks. Ted Nelson coined the words "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1965 and invented the Hypertext Editing System in 1968 at Brown University.[466]

1965 Cordless telephone

  • A cordless telephone is a telephone with a wireless handset that communicates via radio waves with a base station connected to a fixed telephone line, usually within a limited range of its base station. The base station is on the subscriber premises, and attaches to the telephone network the same way a corded telephone does. In 1965, an American woman named Teri Pall invented the cordless telephone. Due to difficulties of marketing, Pall never patented her invention. George Sweigert of Euclid, Ohio had more success, thus receiving a patent for the cordless telephone in 1969.[467]

1965 Space pen

  • The Space Pen, also known as the Zero Gravity Pen, is a pen that uses pressurized ink cartridges and is claimed to write in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, over wet and greasy paper, at any angle, and in extreme temperature ranges. The ballpoint is made from tungsten carbide and is precisely fitted in order to avoid leaks. A sliding float separates the ink from the pressurized gas. The thixotropic ink in the hermetically sealed and pressurized reservoir is claimed to write for three times longer than a standard ballpoint pen. In 1965, the space pen was invented and patented by Paul C. Fisher. After two years of testing at NASA, the space pen was fist used during the Apollo 7 mission in 1968.[468]

1965 Minicomputer

  • A minicomputer is a class of multi-user computers that lies in the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems and the smallest single-user systems. Wesley A. Clark and Charles Molnar co-invented the PDP-8 in 1965, the world's first minicomputer, using integrated circuit technology. Because of its relatively small size and its $18,000 price tag, Digital Equipment only sold several hundred units.[469]

1965 Compact disc

The compact disc

The Compact Disc, or CD, is an optical disc used to store digital data, originally developed for storing digital audio. While working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, James Russell invented the compact disc,[470][471] later presenting and selling the rights to companies such as Sony and Philips who commercialized the compact disc beginning in 1980. Russell currently holds 22 legal patents relating to his inventions in optical recording and playback as well as the compact disc.[472]

1965 Chemical laser

A chemical laser is a laser that obtains its energy from a chemical reaction. Chemical lasers can achieve continuous wave output with power reaching to megawatt levels. They are used in industry for cutting and drilling, and in military as directed-energy weapons. The first chemical laser was co-invented by Jerome V. V. Kasper and George C. Pimentel in 1965.[473]

1966 Dynamic random access memory

Dynamic random access memory is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. Since real capacitors leak charge, the information eventually fades unless the capacitor charge is refreshed periodically. Because of this refresh requirement, it is a dynamic memory as opposed to static random access memory and other static memory. In 1966 DRAM was invented by Robert Dennard at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.[474]

1967 Food bank

  • A food bank is a non-profit organization which distributes non-perishable goods and perishable food items to non-profit agencies involved in local emergency food programs. The first food bank was St. Mary's Food Bank started in 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona.[475]

1967 Airbag

  • An airbag is a vehicle safety device. It is an occupant restraint consisting of a flexible envelope designed to inflate rapidly in an automobile collision, to prevent vehicle occupants from striking hard interior objects such as steering wheels. An American inventor, Dr. Allen S. Breed, invented and developed a key component for automotive use in 1967, the ball-in-tube inertial sensor for crash detection. Breed Corporation then marketed this innovation first in 1967 to Chrysler.[476]

1967 Hand-held calculator

  • Invented by Jack Kilby in 1967,[463][477] the hand-held calculator is a device for performing mathematical calculations, distinguished from a computer by having a limited problem solving ability and an interface optimized for interactive calculation rather than programming. Calculators can be hardware or software, and mechanical or electronic, and are often built into devices such as PDAs or mobile phones.

1968 Lunar Module

Apollo Lunar Module

The Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the Apollo program by Grumman in order to achieve the transit from cislunar orbit to the surface and back. The module was also known as the LM from the manufacturer designation. Tom Kelly as a project engineer at Grumman, successfully designed and built the first Lunar Module. NASA achieved the first test flight on January 22, 1968 using a Saturn V rocket. Six successful missions carried twelve astronauts, the first being Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the moon surface and safely back home to earth.[478]

1968 Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. Most current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on a computer screen or through special or stereoscopic displays, but some simulations include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, invented what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head mounted display (HMD) system.[479] It was primitive both in terms of user interface and realism, and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling, and the graphics comprising the virtual environment were simple wireframe model rooms. In 1989, Jaron Lanier, the founder of VPL Research popularized the concept of virtual reality with his "google n' gloves" system.[480]

1968 Racquetball

A typical racquetball racquet and ball

Racquetball is a racquet sport played with a hollow rubber ball in an indoor or outdoor court. Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the sport of racquetball in the Greenwich YMCA, though not with naming it. A professional tennis player and handball player, Sobek sought a fast-paced sport that was easy to learn and play. He designed the first strung paddle, devised a set of codified rules, and named his game "paddle rackets."[481]

1968 Crash test dummy

A crash test dummy is a full-scale anthropomorphic test device that simulates the dimensions, weight proportions and articulation of the human body, and is usually instrumented to record data about the dynamic behavior of the ATD in simulated vehicle impacts. The first crash test dummy was invented by Samuel W. Alderson in 1968.[482]

1968 Bone marrow transplantation (non-cancer patient)

The first physician to perform a successful human bone marrow transplantation for a non-cancer patient was Robert A. Good at the University of Minnesota in 1968.[483]

1969 Laser printer

  • A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. The laser printer was invented at Xerox in 1969 by researcher Gary Starkweather, who had an improved printer working by 1971 and incorporated into a fully functional networked printer system by about a year later.[484]

1969 Wide-body aircraft

Boeing 747: Queen of the Skies

A wide-body aircraft is a large airliner with two passenger aisles, also known as a twin-aisle aircraft. As the world's first wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 747, also referred to as a jumbo jet, revolutionized international travel around the globe by making non-stop and long distance travel accessible for all. Joe Sutter, the chief engineer of the jumbo jet program at The Boeing Company designed the world's first wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 747, with its first test flight on February 9, 1969.[485]

1969 Taser

A Taser is an electroshock weapon that uses Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) technology to cause neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI) and strong muscle contractions through the involuntary stimulation of both the sensory nerves and the motor nerves. The Taser is not dependent on pain compliance, making it highly effective on subjects with high pain tolerance. For this reason it is preferred by law enforcement over traditional stun guns and other electronic control weapons. Jack Cover, a NASA researcher, invented the Taser in 1969.[486]

1969 Smoke detector

  • A smoke detector is a device that detects smoke and issues a signal. Most smoke detectors work either by optical detection or by physical process, but some of them use both detection methods to increase sensitivity to smoke. Smoke detectors are usually powered by battery while some are connected directly to power mains, often having a battery as a power supply backup in case the mains power fails. In 1969, two Americans Kenneth House and Randolph Smith co-invented the first battery powered smoke detector for home use.[487]

1969 Bioactive glass

  • Bioactive glasses are a group of surface reactive glass-ceramics. The biocompatibility of these glasses has led them to be investigated extensively for use as implant materials in the human body to repair and replace diseased or damaged bone. Bioactive glass was invented in 1969 by Larry Hench and his colleagues at the University of Florida.[488]

1969 Mousepad

  • A mousepad is a hard surface, square-shaped and rubberized mat for enhancing the usability of a computer mouse. Jack Kelley invented the mousepad in 1969.[489]

The Seventies (1970–1979)

1970 Wireless local area network

  • A wireless local area network is the linking of two or more computers or devices using spread-spectrum or OFDM modulation technology based to enable communication between devices in a limited area. In 1970, the University of Hawaii, under the leadership of Norman Abramson, invented the world’s first computer communication network using low-cost ham-like radios, named ALOHAnet. The bidirectional star topology of the system included seven computers deployed over four islands to communicate with the central computer on the Oahu Island without using phone lines.[490]

1970 Optical fiber

  • An optical fiber is a glass or plastic fiber that carries light along its length. Optical fibers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, which permits transmission over longer distances and at higher data rates. Robert D. Maurer, Donald Keck, Peter C. Schultz, and Frank Zimar, researchers at Corning Glass, co-invented glass fiber so clear that it could transmit pulses of light. GTE and AT&T soon began experimenting in order to transmit sound and image data using fiber optics, which transformed the communications industry.[491]

1971 Personal computer

An early personal computer

The personal computer (PC) is any computer whose original sales price, size, and capabilities make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator. The Kenbak-1 is officially credited by the Computer History Museum to be the world's first personal computer which was invented in 1971 by John Blankenbaker. With a price tag of $750 and after selling only 40 machines, Kenbak Corporation closed its doors in 1973.[492]

1971 Liquid crystal display (TN Field Effect)

A liquid crystal display (LCD) is an electronically-modulated optical device shaped into a thin, flat panel made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels filled with liquid crystals and arrayed in front of a light source or reflector. James Fergason at the Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pittsburgh while working with Sardari Arora and Alfred Saupe at Kent State University co-invented the TN-effect of LCD technology. The Liquid Crystal Institute produced the first LCDs based on the TN-effect, which soon superseded the poor-quality DSM types due to improvements of lower operating voltages and lower power consumption. Twisted nematic displays contain liquid crystal elements which twist and untwist at varying degrees to allow light to pass through. When no voltage is applied to a TN liquid crystal cell, the light is polarized to pass through the cell.[493]

1971 Microprocessor

The microprocessor

The microprocessor incorporates most or all of the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit. The first microprocessor was the 4004, co-invented in 1971 by Ted Hoff, Stanley Mazor, and Federico Faggin for a calculator company named Busicom, and produced by Intel.[494]

1971 Floppy disk

A floppy disk is a data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin, flexible "floppy" magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic shell. In 1971 while working at IBM, David L. Noble invented the 8-inch floppy disk. Floppy disks in 8-inch, 5¼-inch, and 3½-inch formats enjoyed many years as a popular and ubiquitous form of data storage and exchange, from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.[495]

1971 Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a classification used for most Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms. The scale divides hurricanes into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. The scale was invented by Herbert Saffir and Bob Simpson in 1971.[496]

1971 Supercritical airfoil

  • A supercritical airfoil is an airfoil designed, primarily, to delay the onset of wave drag on aircraft in the transonic speed range. Supercritical airfoils are characterized by their flattened upper surface, highly cambered aft section, and greater leading edge radius as compared to traditional airfoil shapes. The supercritical airfoil was invented and designed by NASA aeronautical engineer Richard Whitcomb in the 1960s. Testing successfully commenced on a United States Navy Vought F-8U fighter through wind tunnel results in 1971.[497]

1971 String trimmer

  • A string trimmer is a powered handheld device that uses a flexible monofilament line instead of a blade for cutting grass and trimming other plants near objects. It consists of a cutting head at the end of a long shaft with a handle or handles and sometimes a shoulder strap. String trimmers powered by an internal combustion engine have the engine on the opposite end of the shaft from the cutting head while electric string trimmers typically have an electric motor in the cutting head. Used frequently in lawn and garden care, the strong trimmer is more popularly known by the brandnames Weedeater or Weedwhacker. The string trimmer was invented in 1971 by George Ballas of Houston, Texas.[498]

1971 E-mail

The interface of an e-mail client

Electronic mail, often abbreviated to e-mail, is any method of creating, transmitting, or storing primarily text-based human communications with digital communications systems. Ray Tomlinson as a programmer while working on the United States Department of Defense's ARPANET, invented electronic mail and sent the first message on a time-sharing computer in 1971. Tomlinson is also credited for inventing the "@" sign the mainstream of e-mail communications.[499]

1972 C programming language

C is a general-purpose computer programming language originally invented in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in order to implement the Unix operating system. Although C was designed for writing architecturally independent system software, it is also widely used for developing application software.[500]

1972 Video game console

A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or electronic device that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device such as a television to display a video game. A joystick or control pad is often used to simulate and play the video game. It was not until 1972 that Magnavox released the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, invented by Ralph H. Baer.[501]

1972 PET scanner

  • A PET scanner is a commonly used medical device which scans the whole human body for detecting diseases such cancer. The PET scanner was invented in 1972 by Edward J. Hoffman and fellow scientist Michael Phelps.[502]

1973 Personal watercraft

A derivative of a personal water craft

A personal watercraft (PWC) is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. Models have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering. Clayton Jacobson II is credited with inventing the personal watercraft, including both the sit-down and stand-up models in 1973.[503]

1973 E-paper

Electronic paper, also called e-paper, is a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Electronic paper reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later. Applications of e-paper technology include e-book readers capable of displaying digital versions of books, magazines and newspapers, electronic pricing labels in retail shops, time tables at bus stations, and electronic billboards. Electronic paper was invented in 1973 by Nick Sheridon at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. The first electronic paper, called Gyricon, consisted of polyethylene spheres between 75 and 106 micrometres across.[504]

1973 Recombinant DNA

  • Recombinant DNA is a form of synthetic DNA that is engineered through the combination or insertion of one or more DNA strands, thereby combining DNA sequences that would not normally occur together. The Recombinant DNA technique was engineered by Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer in 1973. They published their findings in a 1974 paper entitled "Construction of Biologically Functional Bacterial Plasmids in vitro", which described a technique to isolate and amplify genes or DNA segments and insert them into another cell with precision, creating a transgenic bacterium.[505]

1973 Catalytic converter

  • A catalytic converter provides an environment for a chemical reaction wherein toxic combustion by-products are converted to less-toxic substances. First used on cars in 1975 to lower emission standards, catalytic converters are also used on generator sets, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, trains, and other engine-equipped machines. The catalytic converter was co-invented by John J. Mooney and Carl D. Keith at the Engelhard Corporation, creating the first production catalytic converter in 1973.[506]

1974 Operating system

A layer structure showing where the operating system is located on generally used software systems

An operating system is the infrastructure software component of a computer system which is responsible for the management and coordination of activities and the sharing of the limited resources of the computer. The operating system acts as a host for applications that are run on the machine. The first operating system for personal computing, CP/M, was written in 1974 by an American computer scientist and microcomputer entrepreneur named Gary Kildall at Digital Research Inc.[507][508] At the suggestion of Bill Gates, CP/M in later years was licensed for use by IBM.[509]

1974 Heimlich maneuver

Performing abdominal thrusts, better known as the Heimlich Maneuver, involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using their hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm. This compresses the lungs and exerts pressure on any object lodged in the trachea, hopefully expelling it. This amounts to an artificial cough. Henry Heimlich, as the inventor of his abdominal thrust technique, first published his findings about the maneuver in a June 1974 informal article in Emergency Medicine entitled, "Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary". On June 19, 1974, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that retired restaurant-owner Isaac Piha used the procedure to rescue choking victim Irene Bogachus in Bellevue, Washington.[510]

1974 Post-it note

The Post-it note is a piece of stationery with a re-adherable strip of adhesive on the back, designed for temporarily attaching notes to documents and to other surfaces such as walls, desks and table-tops, computer displays, and so forth. Post-it notes were co-invented by 3M employees Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver in 1974.[511]

1974 Scanning acoustic microscope

A Scanning Acoustic Microscope (SAM) is a device which uses focused sound to investigate, measure, or image an object. It is commonly used in failure analysis and non-destructive evaluation. The first scanning acoustic microscope was co-invented in 1974 by C. F. Lemons and R. A. Quate at the Microwave Laboratory of Stanford University.[512]

1974 Quantum well laser

A quantum well laser is a laser diode in which the active region of the device is so narrow that quantum confinement occurs. The wavelength of the light emitted by a quantum well laser is determined by the width of the active region rather than just the bandgap of the material from which it is constructed. The quantum well laser was invented by Charles H. Henry, a physicist at Bell Labs, in 1974 and was granted a patent for it in 1976.[513]

1974 Universal Product Code

  • The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode symbology that scans 12-digits numbers along the bar in order to track trade items and to encode information such as pricing to a product on a store's shelf. The Universal Product Code, invented by George Laurer at IBM, was used on a marked item scanned at a retail checkout, Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio, at 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974.[514]

1975 Digital camera

A typical DSLR camera

The digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor. Steven Sasson as an engineer at Eastman Kodak invented and built the first digital camera using a CCD image sensor in 1975.[515]

1975 Ethernet

The ethernet is a family of frame-based computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs). The name comes from the physical concept of the ether. It defines a number of wiring and signaling standards for the Physical Layer of the OSI networking model, through means of network access at the Media Access Control (MAC)/Data Link Layer, and a common addressing format. Robert Metcalfe, while at Xerox invented the ethernet in 1975.[516]

1976 Compact fluorescent lamp

A standard compact fluorescent lamp

A compact fluorescent lamp is designed to produce the same amount of visible light found in incandescent light, yet CFLs generally use 70% less energy and have a longer rated life. In 1976, Ed Hammer invented the first compact fluorescent lamp, but due to the difficulty of the manufacturing process for coating the interior of the spiral glass tube, General Electric did not manufacture or sell the device. Other companies began manufacturing and selling the device in 1995.,[517]

1976 Hepatitis B virus vaccine

After Baruch Samuel Blumberg identified the Hepatitis B virus in 1964, he later developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the Hepatitis B virus in 1976.[518]

1976 Gore Tex

Gore-Tex is a waterproof, breathable fabric and is made using an emulsion polymerization process with the fluorosurfactant perfluorooctanoic acid. Gore Tex was co-invented by Wilbert L. Gore, Rowena Taylor, and Gore's son, Robert W. Gore for use in space. Robert Gore was granted a patent on April 27, 1976, for a porous form of polytetrafluoroethylene with a micro-structure characterized by nodes interconnected by fibrils. Robert Gore, Rowena Taylor, and Samuel Allen were granted a patent on March 18, 1980 for a "waterproof laminate."[519]

1977 Human-powered aircraft

A human-powered aircraft (HPA) is an aircraft powered by direct human energy and the force of gravity. The thrust provided by the human may be the only source. However, a hang glider that is partially powered by pilot power is a human-powered aircraft where the flight path can be enhanced more than if the hang glider had not been assisted by human power. Invented by designer Paul MacCready and constructed of mylar, polystyrene, and carbon-fiber rods, the Gossamer Condor was the world's first practical and successful human-powered aircraft, staying in the air for 7.5 uninterrupted minutes. By 1979, a cyclist named Byron Allen used McCready's successive model known as the Gossamer Albatross, and won British industrialist Henry Kremer's prize of $214,000 for crossing the 22-mile English Channel.[520]

1977 Magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body. Although the development of magnetic resonance imaging was first conceived by Paul Lauterbur who later received a Nobel Prize in 2003 for his groundbreaking work,[521] Raymond Vahan Damadian invented and built the first full-body MRI machine and produced the first full magnetic resonance imaging ("MRI") scan of the human body, albeit using a "focused field" technique that differs considerably from modern imaging.[522]

1977 Chemical oxygen iodine laser

  • A chemical oxygen iodine laser is an infrared chemical laser. The chemical oxygen iodine laser was invented by the United States Air Force's Phillips Laboratory in 1977 for military purposes. Its properties make it useful for industrial processing as well; the beam is focusable and can be transferred by an optical fiber, as its wavelength is not absorbed much by fused silica but is very well absorbed by metals, making it suitable for laser cutting and drilling. COIL is the main weapon laser for the military airborne laser and advanced tactical laser programs.[523]

1978 Bulletin board system

  • A Bulletin Board System, or BBS, is a computer system running software that allows users to connect and log in to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users, either through electronic mail or in public message boards. Many BBSes also offer on-line games, in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other. CBBS, the first Bulletin Board System, was invented by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess in Chicago, becoming fully operational on February 16, 1978.[524]

1978 Spreadsheet

  • A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper worksheet. It displays multiple cells that together make up a grid consisting of rows and columns, each cell containing either alphanumeric text or numeric values. Dan Bricklin founded Software Arts, Inc., and began selling VisiCalc in 1978, the first spreadsheet program he invented and available for personal computers.[525]

1979 Winglets

  • Wingtip devices are usually intended to improve the efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft. Throughout the 1970’s, NASA aeronautical engineer Richard Whitcomb began investigating and studying the feasibility of winglets in order to improve overall aerodynamics of aircraft. Whitcomb’s invention finally culminated with the first successful test flight of his attached winglets on a KC-135 Stratotanker on July 24, 1979.[526]

1979 Inline skates

  • Inline skates are a type of roller skate. Inline skates have two, three, four, or five wheels arranged in a single line. Some inline skates, especially those used for recreation, have a "stop" or "brake" which is used to slow down while skating. In 1979, Scott Olson invented inline skates, later receiving a patent for his invention and establishing his company, Rollerblade Inc. in 1983.[527]

1979 Polar fleece

  • Polar fleece, or "fleece", is a soft napped insulating synthetic wool fabric made from polyethylene terephthalate or other synthetic fibers. Found in jackets, hoodies, and casual wear, fleece has some of wool's finest qualities but weighs a fraction of the lightest available woolens. The first form of polar fleece was invented in 1979 by Malden Mills, now Polartec LLC., which was a new, light, and strong pile fabric meant to mimic and in some ways surpass wool.[528]

1979 Voicemail

  • Voicemail is the managing of telephone messages from a centralized data storing system. Vociemail is stored on hard disk drives, media generally used by computers in order to store other forms of data. Messages are recorded in digitized natural human voice similar to how music is stored on a compact disc. To retrieve and to playback messages, a user calls the system from any phone, and his or her messages can be retrieved immediately. In 1979, Gordon Matthews invented what was then called "Voice Message Exchange," which is the pioneering digital telecommunications system for what is now considered to be voicemail.[529] Matthews filed a patent for voicemail on November 26, 1979 and it was later issued on February 1, 1983. Gordon Matthews holds over thirty-five patents relating to his invention of voicemail.[530][531]

The Eighties (1980–1989)

1981 Control-Alt-Delete

  • Control-Alt-Delete, often abbreviated as Ctrl-Alt-Del, is a computer keyboard command on PC compatible systems that can be used to reboot a computer, and summon the task manager or operating system. It is invoked by pressing the Delete key while holding the Control and Alt keys: Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Thus, it forces a soft reboot, brings up the task manager (on Windows and BeOS) or a jump to ROM monitor. Control-Alt-Delete was invented in 1981 by David Bradley while working at IBM.[532]

1981 Fetal surgery

  • Fetal surgical techniques using animal models were first developed at the University of California, San Francisco in 1980. In 1981, the first human open fetal surgery in the world was performed at University of California, San Francisco under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison.[533]

1981 Total internal reflection fluorescence microscope

  • A total internal reflection fluorescence microscope is a type of microscope with which a thin region of a specimen, usually less than 200 nm, can be observed. It can also be used to observe the fluorescence of a single molecule, making it an important tool of biophysics and quantitative biology. Daniel Axelrod invented the first total internal reflection fluorescence microscope in 1981.[534]

1981 Space shuttle

The Space Shuttle: World's most complex machine

The Space Shuttle, part of the Space Transportation System (STS), is a spacecraft operated by NASA for orbital human spaceflight missions. It carries payloads to low Earth orbit, provides crew rotation for the International Space Station (ISS), and performs servicing missions. The orbiter can also recover satellites and other payloads from orbit and return them to Earth. In 1981, NASA successfully launched its reusable spacecraft called the Space Shuttle. George Mueller, an American from St. Louis, Missouri is widely credited for jump starting, designing, and overseeing the Space Shuttle program after the demise of the Apollo program in 1972.[535]

1981 Paintball

Paintball is a game in which players eliminate opponents by hitting them with pellets containing paint usually shot from a carbon dioxide or compressed-gas, HPA or N20, in a powered paintball gun. The idea of the game was first conceived and co-invented in 1976 by Hayes Noel, Bob Gurnsey, and Charles Gaines. However, the game of paintball was not first played until June 27, 1981.[536]

1981 Graphic User Interface

Short for Graphic User Interface, the GUI uses windows, icons, and menus to carry out commands such as opening files, deleting files, moving files, etc. and although many GUI Operating Systems are operated by using a mouse, the keyboard can also be used by using keyboard shortcuts or arrow keys. The GUI was co-invented at Xerox PARC by Alan Kay and Douglas Engelbart in 1981.[537]

1983 Internet

A plaque commemorating the birth of the Internet at Stanford University

Not to be confused with a separate invention known as the World wide web which was invented much later in the early 1990s (see article on the English inventor Tim Berners-Lee), the Internet is the global system of overall interconnected computer networks that use the standardized Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private and public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope that are linked by copper wires, fiber-optic cables, wireless connections, and other technologies. The concept of packet switching of a network was first explored by Paul Baran in the early 1960s,[538] thus later invented by Leonard Kleinrock.[539] On October 29, 1969, the world's first electronic computer network, the ARPANET, was established between nodes at Leonard Kleinrock's lab at UCLA and Douglas Engelbart's lab at SRI. In addition, both Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf are known as the "fathers of the Internet" since they co-invented Internet Protocol and TCP in 1973 while working on ARPANET at the United States Department of Defense.[12] The first TCP/IP-wide area network was operational on January 1, 1983, when the United States' National Science Foundation (NSF) constructed a university network backbone that would later become the NSFNet. This date is held as the birth of the Internet. It was then followed by the opening of the network to commercial interests in 1988.[540]

1983 Blind signature

In cryptography, a blind signature, as invented by David Chaum in 1983, is a form of digital signature in which the content of a message is disguised before it is signed. The resulting blind signature can be publicly verified against the original, unblinded message in the manner of a regular digital signature. Blind signatures are typically employed in privacy-related protocols where the signer and message author are different parties. Examples include cryptographic election systems and digital cash schemes.[541]

1983 Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, also known as Pneumovax, is a vaccine used to prevent Streptococcus pneumoniae infections such as pneumonia and septicaemia. It was developed by American scientists at Merck & Co. in 1983.[542]

1984 Polymerase chain reaction

  • The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique widely used in molecular biology. It derives its name from one of its key components, a DNA polymerase used to amplify a piece of DNA by in vitro enzymatic DNA replication. As PCR progresses, the DNA generated is used as a template for replication. The polymerase chain reaction was invented in 1984 by Kary Mullis.[543]

1986 Stereolithography

  • Stereolithography is a common rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology for producing parts with high accuracy and good surface finish by utilizing a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer "resin" and a UV laser to build parts a layer at a time. Stereolithography was invented by Chuck Hull in 1986.[544]

1987 Digital Micromirror Device

  • The Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) is a silicon chip of up to 2 million hinged microscopic aluminum mirrors all under digital control that tilt thousands of times per second in order to create an image by directing digital pulses through a projection lens and onto a television or movie theatre screen. The Digital Micromirror Device was invented by Dr. Larry Hornbeck while working at Texas Instruments, also holding several patents relating to DMD technology.[545]

1987 Perl

  • Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language. It was originally invented by Larry Wall, a linguist working as a systems administrator for NASA, in 1987, as a general purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Perl is also used for text processing, system administration, web application development, bioinformatics, network programming, applications that require database access, graphics programming etc.[546]

1988 Fused deposition modeling

  • Fused deposition modeling, which is often referred to by its initials FDM, is a type of additive fabrication or technology commonly used within engineering design. FDM works on an "additive" principle by laying down material in layers. Fusion deposition modeling was invented by S. Scott Crump in 1988.[547]

1988 Tcl

  • Tcl, known as "Tool Command Language", is a scripting language most commonly used for rapid prototyping, scripted applications, GUIs and testing. Tcl is used extensively on embedded systems platforms, both in its full form and in several other small-footprinted versions. Tcl is also used for CGI scripting. Tcl was invented in the spring of 1988 by John Ousterhout while working at the University of California, Berkeley.[548]

1988 Ballistic electron emission microscopy

  • Ballistic electron emission microscopy or BEEM is a technique for studying ballistic electron transport through variety of materials and material interfaces. BEEM is a three terminal scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) technique that was co-invented in 1988 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California by L. Douglas Bell and William Kaiser.[549]

1988 Electron beam ion trap

  • The electron beam ion trap is used in physics to denote an electromagnetic bottle that produces and confines highly charged ions. The electron beam ion trap was co-invented by M. Levine and R. Marrs in 1988.[550]

1988 Nicotine patch

  • A nicotine patch is a transdermal patch that releases nicotine into the body through the skin. It is usually used as a method to quit smoking. The nicotine patch was invented in 1988 by Murray Jarvik, Jed Rose and Daniel Rose.[551]

1988 Firewall

  • A firewall is an integrated collection of security measures designed to prevent unauthorized electronic access to a networked computer system. At AT&T Bell Labs, Bill Cheswick and Steve Bellovin were continuing their research in packet filtering and co-invented a working model for their own company based upon their original first generation architecture of a firewall.[552]

1988 Resin identification code

  • The SPI resin identification coding system is a set of symbols placed on plastics to identify the polymer type. The resin identification code was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988.[553]

1989 ZIP file format

  • The ZIP file format is a data compression and file archiver. A ZIP file contains one or more files that have been compressed to reduce file size, or stored as-is. The zip file format was originally invented in 1989 by Phil Katz for PKZIP, and evolved from the previous ARC compression format by Thom Henderson.[554]

1989 Selective laser sintering

  • Selective laser sintering is an additive rapid manufacturing technique that uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a mass representing a desired 3-dimensional object. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3-D digital description of the part on the surface of a powder bed. Selective laser sintering was invented and patented by Dr. Carl Deckard at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989.[555]

1989 Magnetic lock

  • A magnetic lock is a simple locking device that consists of an electromagnet and armature plate. By attaching the electromagnet to the door frame and the armature plate to the door, a current passing through the electromagnet attracts the armature plate holding the door shut. Receiving a patent on May 2, 1989, the magnetic lock was co-invented by Arthur Geringer, Richard Geringer, and David Geringer.[556]

Contemporary Era (1990-present)

The Nineties (1990–1999)

1990 Optical space telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope

The space shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, the world's first optical space telescope[557][558][559], approximately 350 miles (560 km) above the Earth. Although initial flaws limited its capabilities, the Hubble Space Telescope has been responsible for numerous discoveries and advances in the understanding of outer space. From 1946 onward, Lyman Spitzer at NASA was the driving force behind the Hubble Space Telescope and overseeing its design and tying in critical research components. Finally, in 1975, NASA began work on the Hubble Space Telescope which was launched in 1990.[560]

1990 Sulfur lamp

The sulfur lamp is a highly efficient full-spectrumelectrodeless lighting system whose light is generated by sulfur plasma that has been excited by microwave radiation. The sulfur lamp consists of a golf ball-sized (30 mm) fused-quartz bulb containing several milligrams of sulfur powder and argon gas at the end of a thin glass spindle. The bulb is enclosed in a microwave-resonant wire-mesh cage. The technology was conceived by engineer Michael Ury, physicist Charles Wood and their colleagues in 1990. With support from the United States Department of Energy, it was further developed in 1994 by Fusion Lighting of Rockville, Maryland, a spinoff of the Fusion UV division of Fusion Systems Corporation.[561]

1993 Blogging

  • A blog is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. In 1993, Dr. Glen Barry invented the phenomenon known as blogging.[562]

1993 Global Positioning System

NAVSTAR GPS in orbit

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to worldwide users on a continuous basis in all weather, day and night, anywhere on or near the Earth. As the only fully functional Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in the world, the Global Positioning System was invented by Ivan Getting and Bradford Parkinson, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[563]

1994 DNA computing

DNA computing is a form of computing which uses DNA, biochemistry and molecular biology, instead of the traditional silicon-based computer technologies. DNA computing, or, more generally, molecular computing, is a fast developing interdisciplinary area. Research and development in this area concerns theory, experiments and applications of DNA computing. DNA computing is fundamentally similar to parallel computing in that it takes advantage of the many different molecules of DNA to try many different possibilities at once. This field was initially invented by Leonard Adleman of the University of Southern California in 1994. Adleman demonstrated a proof-of-concept use of DNA as a form of computation which solved the seven-point Hamiltonian path problem.[564]

1995 Bose–Einstein condensate

A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of bosons confined in an external potential and cooled to temperatures very near to absolute zero (0 K, −273.15 °C, or −459.67 °F). It was first conceptualized by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924-25 and was produced in 1995 by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado at Boulder National Institute of Standards and Technology Laboratory.[565]

1995 Screenless hammer mill

  • The screenless hammer mill, like regular hammer mills, is used to pound grain. However, rather than a screen, it uses air flow to separate small particles from larger ones. The screenless hammer mill uses air flow to separate small particles from larger ones, rather than a screen, and is thus more reliable which results in much more energy efficiency. The screenless hammer mill was invented in 1995 by MIT professor and engineer Amy B. Smith.[566]

1995 Xtracycle

  • An Xtracycle is a load-carrying bicycle. An Xtracycle may be constructed by modifying an existing bicycle with an extension called a Free Radical or by custom-building an extended-tail bicycle frame. While in the country of Nicaragua on a research grant, an American named Ross Evans began talking with workers, commuters, farmers, and engineers about their transportation needs and carrying large loads up to 200 pounds on their bicycles. Hence in 1995, Ross Evans conceived the idea and built the first Xtracycle. With his friend Kipchoge Spencer, Evans founded Xtracycle International. He graduated from Stanford University and has since introduced the Xtracycle in communities around the world in developing and poor nations such as Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa that rely on cheap and efficient modes of transportation.[567]

1995 Nanoimprint lithography

  • Nanoimprint lithography is a novel method of fabricating nanometer scale patterns. It is a simple nanolithography process with low cost, high throughput and high resolution. It creates patterns by mechanical deformation of imprint resist and subsequent processes. The imprint resist is typically a monomer or polymer formulation that is cured by heat or UV light during the imprinting. Adhesion between the resist and the template is controlled to allow proper release. It was invented in 1995 by Princeton University professor Stephen Chou.[568]

1995 Scroll wheel

  • A scroll wheel, or mouse wheel, is a hard plastic or rubbery disc on a computer mouse that is used for scrolling up or down on a web page. It is perpendicular to the mouse surface and is normally located between the left and right mouse buttons. The scroll wheel was invented by Eric Michelman in 1995.[569]

1995 JavaScript

  • JavaScript is a scripting language widely used for client-side web development. It was the originating dialect of the ECMAScript standard. It is a dynamic, weakly typed, prototype-based language with first-class functions. JavaScript was influenced by many languages and was designed to look like Java, but be easier for non-programmers to work with. In 1995, JavaScript was invented by Brendan Eich under the name Mocha, which was later renamed to LiveScript, and finally to JavaScript.[570]

1996 Flash programming

  • Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform created by Macromedia and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. The program Flash was invented in 1996 by Jonathan Gay while in college and extended it while working for Silicon Beach Software and its successors.[571]

1996 Low plasticity burnishing

  • Low plasticity burnishing (LPB) is a method of metal improvement that provides deep, stable surface compressive residual stresses with little cold work for improved damage tolerance and metal fatigue life extension. Improved fretting fatigue and stress corrosion performance has been documented, even at elevated temperatures where the compression from other metal improvement processes relaxes. The resulting deep layer of compressive residual stress has also been shown to improve high cycle fatigue (HCF) and low cycle fatigue (LCF) performance. LPB was developed and patented by Lambda Technologies, a small family-owned company from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1996.[572]

1996 Bait car

  • A bait car is a vehicle used by a law enforcement agency to capture car thieves. The vehicles are specially modified with features including GPS tracking & hidden cameras that record audio, video, time and date, which can all be remotely monitored by police. A remote-controlled immobilizer is installed in the vehicle that allows police to disable the engine and lock the doors. The concept and technology was invented by Jason Cecchettini in 1996.[573]

1997 Mars Rover

Artist's concept of a Mars Exploration Rover

A Mars rover is a spacecraft which propels itself across the surface of Mars after landing. The world's first successful Mars rover was the Sojourner which was designed by head project engineer Howard Eisen at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As part of the Mars Pathfinder mission, Sojourner was launched on December 4, 1996 on a Delta II rocket. On July 4, 1997, the Mars Pathfinder was the first rover to successfully land on the Martian surface and transmit date back to earth.[574] Spirit was the first of NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin Opportunity landed on the other side of the planet. The rover has continued to function effectively over nineteen times longer than NASA planners expected, allowing it to perform extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. On March 5, 2004, NASA announced that Spirit had found hints of water history on Mars in a rock dubbed "Humphrey". In addition, Spirit photographed the first high resolution colored image on the surface of another planet. Steven W. Squyres is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University who is credited as the brainchild for the development of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers.[575] Drawing upon the success of the Mars Exploration Rovers, NASA built and funded the Phoenix Mars Lander in 2007, a robotic spacecraft on a space exploration mission on Mars under the Mars Scout Program. Mission scientists used instruments aboard the Phoenix lander to search for environments suitable for microbial life on Mars, and to research the history of water there. The Phoenix Mars Lander was a partnership of universities, NASA centers, and the aerospace industry. The science instruments and operations were a University of Arizona responsibility. Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, as Principal Investigator, along with 24 Co-Investigators, were selected to lead the mission.[576] Following a successful landing, NASA announced on July 31, 2008 that the Phoenix Mars Lander confirmed the presence of water on Mars.[577]

1997 Digital video recorder

  • A digital video recorder (DVR) or personal video recorder (PVR) is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB keydrive, sd memory card or other memory medium within a device. The term includes stand-alone set-top boxes, portable media players (PMP) and recorders and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from disk. Intending to co-invent a home network device, Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay then evolved their original idea into recording digitized video on a hard disk. As the first to provide an electronic television programming schedule, Barton and Ramsay founded TiVo Inc. which was first incorporated on August 4, 1997 as "Teleworld, INC."[578]

1998 PageRank

  • PageRank is a link analysis algorithm used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. PageRank was invented at Stanford University by Larry Page as part of a research project about a new kind of search engine. The project started in 1995 and led to a functional prototype, named Google, in 1998. Shortly after, Larry Page founded Google Inc., the company behind the Google search engine.[579]

1998 Virtual globe

U.S.G.S. Ortho-Urban Imagery of Huntington Beach, California

A virtual globe is a 3D software model or representation of the Earth or another world. A virtual globe provides the user with the ability to freely move around in the virtual environment by changing the viewing angle and position. In 1998, Microsoft released a popular offline virtual globe in the form of Encarta Virtual Globe 98. The first widely publicized online virtual globe was Google Earth in 2006, a comprehensive maping of the earth by the superimposition of images obtained from NASA satellite imagery, the Global Positioning System, aerial photography, and the GIS 3D globe.[580]

1999 Torino scale

The Torino Scale, invented by Richard P. Binzel in 1999, is a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets. It was intended as a tool for astronomers and the public to assess the seriousness of collision predictions, by combining probability statistics and known kinetic damage potentials into a single threat value.[581]

1999 Phase-change incubator

The phase-change incubator is a low-cost, low-maintenance incubator to help test for microorganisms in water supplies. It uses small balls containing a chemical compound that, when heated and then kept insulated, will stay at 37°C (approx. 99°F) for 24 hours. The phase-change incubator was invented in 1999 by MIT professor and engineer Amy B. Smith.[582]

The Oughts (2000–2009)

2001 Microwave Anisotropy Probe

  • A microwave anisotropy probe, or Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, measures the temperature of the Big Bang's remnant radiant heat. Conceptualized by Professor Charles L. Bennett, the mission was a joint project between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Princeton University. The WMAP spacecraft was launched on June 30, 2001. On February 11, 2003 NASA's WMAP took the first detailed "baby picture" of the universe. The image revealed that the universe is 13.7 billion years old and provides evidence that supports the inflationary theory.[583]

2001 Self-balancing personal transporter

A top-down view of a Segway PT

The Segway PT, invented by Dean Kamen in 2001, was the world's first two-wheeled, self-balancing, electric vehicle used for "personal transport".[584] Segways have had success in niche markets such as transportation for police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses or industrial sites.

2001 Artificial liver

As the world's first artificial liver which serves as a "bridge" between a damaged liver and a donated liver permanently transplanted into a human being, the artificial liver is an external device which also enables damaged liver to heal or recuperate until a donor can be found and transplanted. The artificial liver, also known as the Bio-Artificial Liver, is a synthetic device designed and invented in 2001 by Dr. Kenneth Matsumura of the Alin Foundation in Berkeley, California.[585] In recognition of Dr. Matsumura's accomplishment, the artificial liver was proclaimed in 2001 as the "Invention of the Year" by Time Magazine.[586]

2002 SERF

A spin-exchange relaxation-free (SERF) magnetometer achieves very high magnetic field sensitivity by monitoring a high density vapor of alkali metal atoms precessing in a near-zero magnetic field. SERF magnetometers are among the most sensitive magnetic field sensors and in some cases exceed the performance of SQUID detectors of equivalent size. The SERF magnetometer was invented by Michael V. Romalis at Princeton University in 2002.[587]

2003 Fermionic condensate

  • A fermionic condensate is a superfluid phase formed by fermionic particles at low temperatures. The first atomic fermionic condensate was invented by Deborah S. Jin in 2003.[588]

2006 HPV vaccine

  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is a vaccine that prevents infection with certain species of human papillomavirus associated with the development of cervical cancer and genital warts. In work that was initiated in the mid 1980s, the vaccine was co-developed, in parallel, by Dr. Richard Reichman, Dr. William Bonnez, and Dr. Robert Rose at Georgetown University Medical Center, the University of Rochester, and the National Cancer Institute.[589]

2006 Three-dimensional model rendering

  • Photosynth is a software application which analyzes digital photographs and generates what is known as a three-dimensional model, a collection of photos and a point cloud of a photographed object. Pattern recognition components compare portions of images to create points, which are then used to convert the image into a model.[590]

2006 Shingles vaccine

  • Zostavax is a live vaccine developed by Merck & Co. in 2006, shown to reduce the incidence of herpes zoster by 51.3% in a pivotal phase III study of 38,000 adults aged 60 and older who received the vaccine.[591]

2009 Composite aircraft

  • Currently under development by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the world's first jet airliner to use composite materials for most of its fuselage as well as raked wingtips which improve fuel economy, climb performance, and shorten takeoff field length. On December 15, 2009, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner had its maiden voyage and its first test flight.[592] Tom Cogan, as chief engineer and designer, has largely overseen the entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner program from its inception.[593]

See also

Footnotes

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