1950's Technology Timeline

  • Texas Instruments invented the transistor radio.

    Texas Instruments invented the transistor radio.
    The Regency TR-1 was the first commercial compact transistor radio sold. Sales were expected to be near two million; however, due to poor performance, only 150,000 were sold. A transistor in radio takes recorded sounds that have been translated to electrical signals and amplifies them. When the signal reaches the speaker, it is thereon louder. The portable radio is an invention that helped forge our current speaker devices, the phone or Bluetooth speakers.
  • RCA invented the first musical synthesizer.

    RCA invented the first musical synthesizer.
    Engineers Harry Olson and Hebert Belar were assigned to configure a machine that could effectively synthesize music to reduce expenses and inconsistencies. The project primarily focused on being able to analyze a plethora of recordings, and assuming a song is a ‘hit,’ the instrument would formulate what is input to create its music. The device took up an entire room and was a giant analog computer. The synthesizer helped shape what we define as music today.
  • The first computer hard disk was used.

    The first computer hard disk was used.
    In 1956 IBM developed the first Hard Disk Drive (Model 350) as a part of the IBM 305 RAMAC. The Model 350 had 50 24-inch diameter disks that spun at 1200 rpm and had an equivalent storage capacity of 3.75 Megabytes. Today's standard, a simple flash drive can hold anywhere from 6 Gigabytes to 1 Terabyte. A Megabyte is one million, a Gigabyte is one billion, and a Terabyte is one trillion.
  • Gordon Gould invented the laser.

    In 1957, Gordon Gould hypothesized how to build a device that discharged a narrow, intense light beam. Laser is an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." Mr. Gould envisioned lasers for "welding, cutting, or heating." They would do for optics, he said, what transistors had done for electronics.
  • Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce both invent the microchip.

    The circuit board is one of the most important inventions and we owe all our current tech to two men who created the first microchip. In 1950 Jack Kilby a Texas Instruments employee patented the mini electronic circuits and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor patented the silicon-based circuit. Without the creation of the microchip, tech would still be massive machines rather than portable devices.
  • The computer modem was invented.

    Strategic military locations were where you would find most modems in the 50s. In 1959 Bell Laboratories, a division of AT&T created the first modem for commercial use. The Bell 101 modem is a device that translates data from one computer and transmits the decoded data to a second device.