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Some Dates in the History
of Cultural Technologies
Ideographic or syllabic writing
c. 33rd century B.C. Sumerians invent writing from commercial inscriptions.
c. 31st century B.C. Egyptian hieroglyphics developed from Sumerian models.
c. 25th century B.C. Harappan culture of Indus Valley has ideographic script.
c. 19th century B.C. Babylonian cuneiform adapted from Sumerian script.
c. 19th century B.C. Chinese develop writing, perhaps independently.
c. 17th century B.C. Minoan "Linear-A" script adapted from hieroglyphics.
c. 15th century B.C. Hittite cuneiform adapted from Babylonian writing.
c. 12th century B.C. Assyrian cuneiform is adapted from Babylonian writing.
c. 9th century B.C. Chinese ìta chuanî script is compiled.
c. 6th century B.C. Early Persian cuneiform influenced by neo-Babylonian script.
c. 5th century B.C. Cuneiform dies out as Babylonian speech falls into disuse.
3rd century B.C. "Li shu" Chinese script developed by the emperor's minister.
c. 3rd century A.D. Mayans of Central America have an ideographic script.
c. 4th century A.D. Japanese develop script from Korean and Chinese models.
c. 16th century B.C. First alphabetic script, North Semitic, appears in Palestine.
c. 13th century B.C. Phoenician alphabet derived from North Semitic prototype.
c. 11th century B.C. Early Hebrew script derived from North Semitic prototype.
c. 11th century B.C. Greek alphabet derived from Phoenician script.
c. 10th century B.C. Aramaic alphabet derived from North Semitic script.
c. 8th century B.C. South Semitic script introduced to Yemen.
c. 8th century B.C. Etruscan alphabet derived from Greek.
c. 7th century B.C. Latin alphabet derived from Etruscan and Greek sources.
c. 6th century B.C. Brahmi script, derived from Aramaic, introduced in India.
c. 3rd century B.C. Later Hebrew script derived from Aramaic.
c. 2nd century B.C. Nabataean alphabet derived from Aramaic script.
c. 2nd century A.D. Coptic script of Egypt derived from Greek.
c. 3rd century A.D. Runic script of Northern Europe derived from Etruscan.
c. 4th century A.D. Gothic script of Bulgaria derived from Greek and Latin.
c. 4th century A.D. Gupta script of India derived from Brahmi.
c. 5th century A.D. Arabic script is derived from Nabataean.
c. 5th century A.D. Grantha script of India derived from Gupta.
c. 8th century A.D. Kavi script of Java is derived from Grantha.
c. 8th century A.D. Frankish Carolingian script derived from Latin.
c. 9th century A.D. Glagolitic script, based on Greek, introduced in Bulgaria.
9th century A.D. Cyrillic script in Bulgaria
is derived from Greek uncial.
Printing, typewriting, photocopying
105 A.D. Chinese imperial court announces the invention of paper.
6th century A.D. Chinese engravers master art of wood-block printing.
850 A.D. Chinese make books with hard covers and printed pages.
11th century A.D. Pi Sheng, Chinese alchemist, prints with movable type.
1157 A.D. First paper mills built in Spain.
15th century A.D. Korean king undertakes massive printing project.
1428 A.D. Laurens Janzoon, prints prayer book with wooden fonts.
1454 A.D. Johann Gutenberg of Mainz prints Mazarin Bible.
1498 A.D. Aldus Manutius publishes set of Aristotle's writings.
1501 A.D. First hymn book is printed in Prague.
1516 A.D. Johannes Froben prints Erasmus' translation of New Testament.
1583 A.D. Elzevir family of Holland publishes its first book.
1609 A.D. First newspaper is printed in Germany.
1617 A.D. Rapburne and Burgess patent printed maps.
1642 A.D. Mezzotint invents way of printing artists drawings from metal plates.
1657 A.D. Classified advertisements appear in the Publick Adviser.
1702 A.D. Daily Courant becomes England's first daily newspaper.
1728 A.D. Benjamin Franklin founds Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper.
1755 A.D. Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes an English dictionary.
1803 A.D. Fourdriner papermaking machine installed in London.
1810 A.D. Friedrich Koenig applies steam power to printing press.
1814 A.D. The Times (newspaper) produced on steam rotary printing press.
1821 A.D. Saturday Evening Post begins publication.
1847 A.D. Richard March Hoe (USA) designs rotary press.
1868 A.D. Christopher Latham Sholes receives U.S. patent for typewriter.
1874 A.D. Remington typewriter put on the market.
1886 A.D. Mergenthaler's linotype machine installed at New York Tribune.
1887 A.D. Montgomery Ward mails 540-page catalog throughout North America.
1904 A.D. Sears Roebuck mails one-million copies of its merchandise catalog.
1922 A.D. Reader's Digest and Time magazines begin publication.
1935 A.D. Electric typewriter comes on the market.
1938 A.D. Carlson develops a photocopying machine. (Xerox)
1974 A.D. Laser printer developed by 3M company.
1985 A.D. Canon
markets a color photocopying machine.
1553 Giovanni Battista della Porta describes camera obscura in book.
1727 Johann Schulze discovers that light darkens silver-nitrate solution.
1802 Davy and Wedgewood make silhouettes on silver-nitrate coated paper.
1816 Joseph Nicephore Niepce makes film negative on coated paper.
1826 Niepce produces first photograph on metal plate.
1839 Louis Daguerre perfects daguerreotype photography.
1861 Matthew Brady begins photographing scenes from U.S. Civil War.
1869 First color photograph is displayed.
1888 George Eastman develops roll film.
1914 Barnack exhibits small, hand-held camera. (the Leica)
1935 Kodachrome color transparency film is developed.
1938 Harold Edgerton perfects electronic flash tube.
1947 Polaroid markets quick-developing film.
1832 Samuel F.B. Morse learns of Ampere's idea for electric communication.
1837 Morse invents the telegraph and morse code.
1844 Morse sends telegraphed message between Baltimore and Washington.
1851 Telegraph cables laid under the English Channel.
1866 Telegraph cable crossing Atlantic Ocean is laid.
1872 J.B. Stearns invents method of duplex telegraphy.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents and demonstrates telephone.
1877 Thomas Edison and others develop carbon telephone transmitter.
1892 Automatic telephone exchange using Strowgers selector allows direct dialing.
1915 First coast-to-coast telephone conversation in the United States.
1977 Fiber-optic telephone cables are installed.
1983 MCI places order for 90,000 miles of fiber optic cable.
1984 Court ruling ends A T & T monopoly of telephone service.
Camera phone is invented.
Phonograph, Tape Recorder
1877 Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.
1888 Emile Berliner invents gramophone disks.
1898 Valdemar Poulsen discovers that sound changes magnetic pattern in wires.
1900 Poulsen invents telegraphone.
1904 Double-sided gramophone discs made in Germany.
1920 Recorded blues and jazz music launches the Jazz Age.
1925 Maxfield perfects electrical recording using a microphone.
1930s German firms develop magnetic tape for sound recordings.
1940s Tape recorder sold in the United States.
1948 Long-playing records introduced.
1950 RCA Victor introduces unbreakable vinyl records.
1952 Mullin and Johnson demonstrate experimental video-tape recorder.
1963 Phillips develops audiotape cassettes.
1980 Laser-read compact disks used for sound recordings.
1981 Sony brings out Walkman portable cassette player.
1824 Peter Mark Roget proposes theory of persistent vision.
1872 Eadweard Maybridge does photographic studies of animals in motion.
1888 William Dickson, Edison's assistant, invents the kinetoscope.
1894 First kinetoscope parlour opened in Ottawa.
1895 Lumiere Brothers of Paris develop film projector.
1900 Georges Melies creates film with a story line.
1903 Bronco Billy Anderson stars in "The Great Train Robbery".
1906 J. Stuart Blockton creates first animated film.
1908 Film wildcatters move to southern California.
1914 D.W. Griffith releases "Birth of a Nation".
1927 Al Jolson stars in "The Jazz Singer", first motion picture with sound.
1928 Disney's Mickey Mouse stars in "Steamboat Willie".
1929 First Oscar Awards from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
1932 Technicolor used for the first time in motion pictures.
1951 Prototype of videotape recorder built by Armour Research Foundation.
1953 Ampex introduces commercial video recorders.
1965 Dolby noise-reduction equipment becomes available.
1970 Videocassette produced for the mass market.
1973 Phillips N-1500 video recorder introduced for use in the home.
1975 Sony introduces Betamax videocassette recorder.
1976 Disney and MCA sue Sony for copyright infringement.
1982 The camcorder becomes commercially available.
1983 U.S. Supreme Court allows videotaping of televised films.
Video rental business begins.
1873 James Clark Maxwell writes treatise on electromagnetic waves.
1888 Heinrich Hertz experiments with radio waves.
1895 Guglielmo Marconi broadcasts letter "S" in Morse code by radio.
1901 Marconi broadcasts letter "S" across Atlantic ocean.
1904 Reginald A. Fessender transmits speech by radio.
1904 John A. Fleming invents vacuum tube to detect radio waves.
1907 Lee DeForest invents audion tube to amplify radio signals.
1912 David Sarnoff receives radio message from the sinking Titanic.
1913 Edwin H. Armstrong patents way to amplify radio signals.
1918 Armstrong invents super heterodyne circuit.
1919 Radio Corporation of America is formed.
1920 First commercial radio station, KDKA, begins broadcasting.
1921 First paid radio commercial.
1925 Edwin Armstrong begins work on FM broadcasting system.
1926 First radio network, NBC, is formed.
1934 Robert Watson-Watt invents radar device.
1935 Nielsen company measures radio audiences in the United States.
1939 Two-way radio communication developed for military use.
1948 Transistor developed at Bell Laboratories.
communication satellite sends signals to earth.
1861 Joseph May notices that sunlight affects electrical resistance of selenium.
1884 Paul Nipkow develops mechanical television device.
1897 Karl Ferdinand Braun invents cold-cathode "Braun" tube.
1908 Campbell Swinton writes paper on possibility of "distant electric vision".
1923 John Logie Baird patents television system with Nipkow disk.
1923 Vladimir Zworykin invents iconoscope, a workable television camera.
1926 Baird and Jenkins demonstrate television with mechanical scanning device.
1927 Philo T. Farnsworth patents "image dissector", a more advanced camera.
1928 Zworykin patents television system with electronic scanning.
1933 In London, EMI applies for permission to begin television broadcasts.
1934 Farnsworth demonstrates electronic television system in Philadelphia.
1936 London Television Service begins regular broadcasts.
1938 First sports telecast takes place in London (a soccer match)
1939 RCA unveils U.S. television broadcasting at New York World Fair.
1949 John Cameron Swayze becomes anchor of Camel News Caravan.
1951 First sitcom, "I Love Lucy", aired on U.S. commercial television.
1953 F.C.C. approves system of broadcasting color television.
1960 Televised Presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon.
1980 Ted Turner starts Cable News Network (CNN).
1988 Pocket-sized television sets become available.
1991 The STAR network begins Asian broadcasts.
television will stop broadcasting in the United States.
Calculators and Computers
1617 John Napier shows how to multiply and divide using rods or bones.
1642 Blaise Pascal invents adding machine.
1671 G.W. von Leibniz invents adding machine with geared wheels.
1801 Joseph Jacquard uses card-controlled looms to weave designs into cloth.
1820 Charles X. Thomas introduces commercial calculating machine.
1835 Charles Babbage invents "Analytic Engine", foreshadowing computers.
1859 George Boole publishes treatise on binary algebra.
1867 Charles Sanders Peirce applies Boolean logic to electric circuits.
1872 Lord Kelvin develops analog computer to predict tides.
1886 Herman Hollerith conceives idea of using punched cards for calculations.
1890 Hollerith's ideas successfully applied to work of the U.S. Census.
1896 Hollerith forms Tabulating Machine Company.
1911 Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (later IBM) is incorporated after Hollerith sells his company.
1911 Monroe invents a comptometer calculator to multiply and divide.
1937 George Stibitz creates electrical circuit to apply Boolean algebra.
1939 IBM engineers and Howard Aiken of Harvard start on the Mark I computer.
1941 Konrad Zuse produces digital computer, the Z3, in Germany.
1943 Alan Turing's "Colossus" computer breaks the German Enigma code.
1946 Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) computer is built.
1946 Von Neumann, Goldstine, and Burks publish paper on computer concepts.
1948 Von Neumann develops computer memory system.
1949 ILLIAC I built at University of Illinois employing the Von Neumann design.
1949 Norbert Weiner publishes book, “Cybernetics”.
1951 UNIVAC I machine installed at U.S. Census Bureau.
1956 Computer beats human player in chess game.
1957 IBM unveils FORTRAN programming language.
1959 Jack St. Clair Kilby of Texas Instruments invents integrated circuits.
1960 Livermore Advanced Research Computer (LARC) built with transistors.
1962 J.C.R. Licklider of MIT presents concept of “galactic network” in memos.
1962 LINC computer, forerunner of PC, begins processing data in MIT lab..
1964 IBM introduces mainframe computer, IBM 360.
1964 Control Data introduces CDC 660 supercomputer developed by Seymour Cray.
1965 FORTRAN, user-friendly computer language, is created.
1965 Computer-controlled word-processing system replaces tape system.
1965 Lawrence Roberts links computers in California and Massachusetts to create first wide-area computer network.
1965 The PDP-8 by DEC is first minicomputer success.
1969 U.S. Department of Defense creates ARPANET computer network.
1971 Engineers at Intel invent the microprocessor.
1971 First email on the ARPAnet
1972 Nolan Bushnell introduces "Pong" video game.
1972 Ray Tomlinson sends first E-mail using @ in address.
1972 Several companies start making pocket calculators.
1972 Development of Infostrada, a national computer network in Poland
1973 Ethernet, a local area network, is developed at Xerox PARC.
1974 First personal computers introduced.
1974 First time that a bar code scanned supermarket groceries
1975 Popular Mechanics issue features the Altair 8800 computer kit.
1976 Cray Research sells first supercomputer.
1976 Video games now controlled by microprocessors.
1976 Steve Wozniak creates the Apple I computer.
1977 A glove device to facilitate computer interaction patented
1977 George Lucas' computer effects in Star Wars revolutionize filmmaking.
1977 Apple II personal computer is introduced by Jobs and Wozniak.
1977 Commodore PET Radio Shack's TRS-80 computer also introduced.
1977 ARCNET, local area network, is installed at Chase Manhattan bank.
1979 Pac-man video game first sold in Japan.
1979 Laser scanning begins to read bar-code data.
1980 Dan Bricklin and Dan Flystra write software for VisiCalc spreadsheet.
1981 IBM introduces personal computer, using Microsoft operating system.
1982 High-school student creates first computer virus.
1982 French postal and telegraph service hooks up nation on Minitel network.
1982 :-) is used for the first time.
1982 First laptop computer introduced.
1983 Internet emerges as ARPANET splits civilian from military networks.
1983 Compaq makes the first PC clone, compatible with IBM machines.
1984 Apple Computer introduces its Macintosh machine including a mouse.
1985 Microsoft introduces its first version of Windows.
1985 Microsoft and IBM introduce new operating system, OS/2.
1989 Microsoft introduces new product, Microsoft Office.
1990 Alan Entage creates the Archie, first tool for searching web files.
1990 Microsoft launches Windows 3.0.
1991 Mark McCahill at University of Minnesota creates Gopher to search files.
1991 World Wide Web begins.
1992 Michelangelo computer virus detected in United States.
1992 Computer servers introduced
1992 Webcrawler becomes first crawler-based search engine.
1995 America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy begin offering dial-up internet service.
1995 Microsoft introduces Windows95.
1995 Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com as online book seller.
1995 eBAY, online auction site, begins business.
1995 Craigslist, created by Craig Newmark becomes online service in San Francisco.
1998 Larry Page and Sergey Brin found Google while at Stanford.
1998 PayPal begins business.
1998 Apple’s iMAC computer is first in its line of iProducts.
1999 Peak of the dot.com financial bubble which burst two years later
2000 Computer glitch, Y2K, expected with new millennium.
2000 Google begins selling advertisements based on search words.
2001 Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is launched.
2003 MySpace is created by eUniverse employees; sold to News Corporation in 2005 for $580 million.
2005 Youtube is launched; sold to Google a year later for $1.65 billion.
2007 Apple’s iPHONE is introduced.