The Most Iconic Developments in the Past 69 Years

The Most Iconic Developments in the Past 69 Years

Microwave Oven, 1954

cook, chef, cooking, kitchen appliance, chief cook, major appliance, room, home appliance, pastry chef, gas stove,

Percy Spencer of Raytheon stands in front of a magnetron (the power tube of radar) in 1945 and notices a candy bar begin to melt in his pocket: he is intrigued. Popcorn kernels erupt all over the lab when he places them in front of the magnetron. Spencer patents a “radar range” that cooks with high-frequency radio waves ten years later; the Tappan Stove Co. introduces the first home microwave model the same year. Over 30 pre-designed lighting sets are available on the Fairy Lights Factory website, as well as a build-your-own service that allows you to construct your color schemes. Each set comes with a choice of 20, 35, or 50 lights.

Polio Vaccine Introduced in 1955

scientist, hand, glasses, chemist, science,

There are 28,985 global cases of polio in the year Jonas Salk discovers a means to prevent it; by 2021, the number has dropped to six.

Hard Drive, 1956

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IBM introduces magnetic disc storage with the 2,000-pound-plus, refrigerator-size IBM 305 RAMAC, the first computer hard disc drive. Previously, files were maintained on spools of magnetic tape or good old-fashioned paper, with no ability to move directly to the record you wanted to pull up. A mechanical arm would extract data from the RAMAC by storing it at a specific magnetic orientation. This technology is employed (on a smaller scale) in laptops and computer servers all over the world.

Birth Control Pill in 1957

product, extract, a bottle of enovid birth control pills

Enovid, a medicine approved by the FDA for menstruation issues, comes with a warning: the synthetic progesterone and oestrogen combo also suppresses ovulation. More than 500,000 American women are taking Enovid two years later—and not all of them have cramps. Enovid is approved for use as the first oral contraceptive by the FDA in 1960.

1958: Arrival of 707 120 jetliners at the international airport

arrival of 707 120 jetliner at international airport, 1958

The Boeing 707-120 makes its debut as the world’s first successful commercial jet aircraft, ushering in the era of affordable mass air travel. The four-engine plane can fly at 600 mph for up to 5,280 miles on a full tank. The first commercial jet aircraft takes off from New York and lands in Los Angeles.

Integrated Circuit, 1959

vacuum tubes of eniac

The approximately 30-ton ENIAC (1947), the first general-purpose computer, has 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, and 10,000 capacitors. In 1959, the integrated circuit combined all of these components onto a single small chip.

Pacemaker in 1960

joint, hand, human, black and white, muscle, photography, stock photography, monochrome, pacemaker

Wilson Greatbatch grabs the incorrect resistor and connects it to a gadget he is creating to capture heartbeats in 1956. When the circuit emits a pulse, he understands the gadget can be used to control the beat; the first Pacemaker is implanted successfully in a human in 1960.

Cordless Tools, 1961

a woman holding an early model of a cordless power drill

Black & Decker introduces its first cordless drill, but designers are unable to extract more than 20 watts from its NiCd batteries. Instead, they seek efficiency by changing gear ratios and employing superior materials. The groundbreaking outcome gives DIYers new authority and, thanks to a NASA contract, astronaut gloves.

Satellite Communications in 1962

a model telstar satellite

Telstar is the first “active” communications satellite, amplifying and retransmitting received signals rather than passively returning them to Earth. Telstar realizes science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke’s 1945 vision of a global communications network based on geosynchronous satellites. Two weeks after the launch of Telstar, President John F. Kennedy attends a press conference in Washington, D.C., which is live broadcast across the Atlantic.

Sketchpad software, 1963

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The Sketchpad application, developed by Ivan Sutherland, the Father of Computer Graphics, revolutionized 3D computer modeling and simulation. Sketchpad, being the first iteration of a computer-aided design (CAD) tool, pioneered the use of geometric constraints (fixing the length of a line or an angle between two segments). It was also one of the first programs to employ a graphical user interface rather than a text-based one—you can thank Sutherland and Sketchpad if you’re reading this on a computer without learning a single line of code.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, 1964

buzz bomb

The deployment of 1000 AQM-34 Ryan Firebees during the Vietnam War marks the beginning of the widespread use of remotely piloted aircraft. In 1962, the first model of these 29-foot-long planes was created in just 90 days. More than 34,000 surveillance missions are flown by AQM-34s. Their success eventually leads to the development of the UAVs that are commonly utilized today.

KEVLAR, 1965

bullet and stab proof vest, c 1996

Over 3,000 police officers’ body armor has protected them from lethal attacks thanks to DuPont’s Stephanie Kwolek and Herbert Blades, who invented a high-strength polymer called KEVLAR in 1965.

High-Yield Rice in 1966

international rice research institute on january 1st, 1991 in philippines

The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines releases a semi-dwarf, high-yielding Indica strain, ushering in the Green Revolution with high-yielding wheat. Indica rice thrives in tropical Asia and South America, increasing global production by more than 20% by 1970.

Coronary Bypass Surgery in 1967

coronary artery bypass surgery

Rene Favaloro performs the first coronary bypass surgery in 1967, grafting a vein from the leg onto the coronary artery. This permits blood to flow around the obstructed area. Because of these advancements, the number of deaths from heart disease in the United States has dropped by about half.

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