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A Selective

Timeline of 20th Century Events

(Text-Only Version)

"... the most important invention of the 20th century..."

  1898     Thomson discovers the electron
  1899     Wireless telephone invented, aspirin first marketed
  1900     Max Planck describes quantum effect, First offshore oil well drilled
  1901     Marconi transmits radio signal across the Atlantic, Vacuum cleaner invented
  1902     February 10 - Walter Brattain born, Carrier invents air conditioning
  1903     Wright Brothers flight
  1904     Panama Canal construction begins
  1905     Einstein described his special theory of relativity, Sperry invents gyrocompass
  1906     De Forest invents radio amplifier, Voice & music radio broadcast in US, Kellogg's sells cornflakes for the first time
  1907     Bakelite invented
  1908     May 23 - John Bardeen born
  1909     AT&T announces coast to coast phone system plan, GE markets electric toaster, plastic invented
1910     February 13 - William Shockley born
1911     Amundsen reaches South Pole, Standard Oil loses anti-trust suit
1912     De Forest invents telephone amplifier, The Titanic sinks
1913     Ford assembly line produces Model T
1914     Panama Canal opens
1915     Coast to coast phone system operational, Military tank invented
1916     Condenser microphone, stainless steel invented
1917     Electric razor invented, Communists win Russian Revolution
1918     Mass spectroscope invented, World War I ends
1919     Proton discovered, Arc welder invented
1920     19th Amendment gives women the right to vote, Isaac Asimov born, Ghandi leads non-violent reform in India
1921     Albert Einstein wins Nobel prize
1922     Lincoln Memorial opened, Vitamin D, King Tut's tomb discovered
1923     De Forest shows first sound-on-film motion picture
1924     Frosted light bulb, frozen food marketed
1925     Hitler's Mein Kampf is published in Germany, Scopes evolution trial


1926     Goddard demonstrates liquid fuel rocket, AA Milne writes Winnie the Pooh
1927     Lindbergh makes first solo transatlantic flight
1928     Flemming discovers Penicillin, Duncan sells yo-yos
1929     Stock market crashes, Silent films are completely replaced by "talkies."
1930     Quantum Mechanics meets Semiconductors, Sliced bread introduced
1931     Empire State Bldg. opened, Edison dies
1932     Quantum theory of solids developed
1933     FDR proposes "new deal", first drive-in movie theater
1934     Launderette introduced
1935     President Roosevelt signs Social Security Act
  1936     King Edward VIII abdicates throne, Boulder Dam completed, Gone With The Wind published
  1937     Auto & Steel unions win first big contracts, Disney's Snow White released
  1938     Orson Wells' War of the Worlds broadcast, Nylon invented
1939     Electron microscope invented, Grapes of Wrath published, Television debuts at NY World's Fair
1940     Russell Ohl discovers P-N junction
1941     Regular TV broadcasting begins
1942     First atomic chain reaction triggered
1943     "Casablanca" released, synthetic rubber developed
1944     D Day invasion of France


  Shockley & Morgan assemble solid state research teams, atomic bomb tested and deployed
  1946   ENIAC, the pioneering electronic digital computer, uses 18,000 vacuum tubes
  1947   December 16, invention of point-contact transistor, Jackie Robinson breaks the baseball color barrier
  1948   January, Shockley invents junction transistor , The military is informed about transistors
Orwell's "1984" published, Frisbee, Velcro invented, Berlin Airlift
  1949     People's Republic of China established by Chairman Mao, Cake mix invented, First Germanium transistors sold
  1950     Transistors developed at Bell Labs, first charge card (Diner's Club), Korean War begins, President Truman sends first military advisory group to Vietnam
  1951     Junction transistor developed,
J Bardeen leaves Bell Labs, DNA discovered
  1952     Bell shares the technology, Albert Schweitzer wins Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Potato Head is born
1953     First product to use transistor sold: hearing aids, Polio vaccine developed, Mt Everest climbed, Radial tires invented, Korean War ends
1954     First transistor radio, First fully transistorized computer, Texas Instruments makes silicon transistor, TV dinner first marketed, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings published
  1955     Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, McDonalds opens, Albert Einstein dies
  1956     Shockley leaves Bell Labs; Nobel Prize Awarded to Shockley, Brattain & Bardeen
  1957     "Traitorous Eight" establish Fairchild Semiconductor Co.,
Sputnik I and Sputnik II launched, Superconductivity theory described by Bardeen et al
  1958     J Kilby invents integrated circuit, Explorer I- first US earth satellite goes into orbit (discovers Van Allen radiation belt)
  1959     R Noyce invents better integrated circuit, Alaska and Hawaii admitted as states, Barbie doll introduced
  1960     First "Mini" Computer, First weather satellite launched, Hitchcock's "Psycho" released, Astroturf debuts
  1961     Fairchild & Texas Instruments sell integrated circuits, Yuri Gagarin first manned space flight, Berlin wall built
  1962     John Glenn is first American to orbit the earth, LavaLite, Cuban missile crisis
  1963     President Kennedy assassinated, ML King Jr. gives "I Have A Dream" speech
  1964     Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan Show, Congress passes Civil Rights Act
  1965     "Moore's Law" predicts the rate of growth of IC components, Winston Churchill dies
  1966     Surveyor probe lands on the Moon, US planes bomb Hanoi
  1967     First hand held calculators, Surveyor 3 scoops and tests Lunar soil, First human heart transplant performed
  1968     G Moore & R Noyce leave Fairchild to form Intel Corp, ML King Jr. and RF Kennedy assassinated
  1969     Neil Armstrong is the first man to walk on moon, Apollo 13
  1970     ARPA develops computer network, First Earth Day, 747's fly transatlantic routes
  1971     T Hoff invents the microprocessor (with 2300 transistors), US to Europe direct dialing
  1972     J Bardeen wins 2nd Nobel Prize for work in Superconductivity, Pong video game debuts
  1973     CAT scan developed, Roe v. Wade decision legalizes abortion, Watergate
  1974     President Nixon resigns, Rubik's Cube is the rage
  1975     W. Gates and P. Allen start Microsoft Corp, N. Vietnamese take Saigon
  1976     Viking I & II land on Mars, VHS videotape developed
  1977     Space Shuttle "Enterprise" test flight, Voyager launch, Apple II personal computer, "Star Wars" released
  1978     First test-tube baby born
  1979     The Shah leaves Iran, Margaret Thatcher becomes British Prime Minister
  1980     CNN debuts, John Lennon killed
  1981     IBM PC, First Space Shuttle launch, AIDS disease identified
  1982     AT&T split up, first permanent artificial heart implanted
  1983     Aspartame (Nutrasweet), Sally Ride is first American woman in space, the Nintendo Entertainment System is introduced in the US
  1984     First "space walk"
  1985     "New" Coke, "Glasnost" begun by Soviet Premiere Gorbachev
  1986     Halley's Comet returns, Space shuttle Challenger explodes on take-off, Cabbage Patch Kids mass-marketed, base unit of Mir launched
  1987     First trillion-dollar US budget
  1988     Prozac
  1989     World Wide Web, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Berlin wall torn down
  1990     Hubble Space Telescope, Human Genome Project
  1991     USSR dissolved, Persian Gulf War
  1992     EuroDisney opens
  1993     Apartheid ends in South Africa, Beanie Babies introduced
  1994     Nelson Mandela elected president of S. Africa, Jackie Onassis Kennedy dies, World Series cancelled due to labor dispute
  1995     O.J. Simpson trial, Yitzhak Rabin assassinated
  1996     Comet Hale-Bopp
  1997     Intel Pentium microprocessor produced with 7.5 million transistors, sheep successfully cloned, Pathfinder lands on Mars, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana die
  1998     President Clinton impeached
  1999     Broadcast of Transistorized! documentary and web site




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