Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, September 14, 1998

As we communicate, it changes


When you think of it, the 20th century is the communications century.

However, some mileposts came about in the 19th century. The telegraph came about in 1837, thanks to Samuel Morse. The Pony Express of 1860 lasted only 18 months. It ended when the telegraph line went through to California.

In 1866, the Trans-Atlantic cable was born. By 1900, there were 15 cables across the Atlantic. The typewriter was invented in 1867 . . . the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 . . . the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877 . . . the linotype was patented in 1884 . . . and the wireless telegraph developed by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895. This led to radio.

These are very impressive inventions developed in the 19th century, but the 20th century was really impressive with what was developed.

Starting with 1906 ­ voices on the air, radio! The next year, 1907, vacuum tubes were used to control electric signals in radio, TV and the first computer.

In 1925, radar was developed and really expanded during World War II.

It's hard to believe, but the first practical TV was developed in 1929 by Vladimir Zworkin. Seven years later, TV broadcasting was started by the BBC in England.

Tape recording was invented in the 1930s. It was the Germans who invented a way of recording on plastic tape that later replaced many records. Later, of course, the compact disc (CD) replaced almost all records, but tape is still in use.

The list of communication development up to the '30s is impressive, but wait until the rest of the century for some really big inventions.

Because of World War II, technology got a big jump start. We'll take a look at what transpired in this column next week.

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