American Technological Advances 1867 - 1947

By Reapper
  • BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 3

    BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 3
  • BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 1

    BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 1
    On June 25th 1867 the first patent for barb wire was filed by Lucien B. Smith, awarding him the title of inventor of barb wire. There are many reasons why this was and still is a great invention. Most notably is the fact that animals did not like coming in contact with it. This helped to keep farm animals contained in certain areas. Since it was easier to install then traditional fencing, it was more practical when constructing large fenced areas.
  • BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 2

    BARB WIRE - Lucien B. Smith - Part 2
    Barb wire also helped by keeping wild game out and aided in marking property lines between farmers and ranchers. Barb wire has also been strung over top of walls in order to deter people from entering or exiting facilities. One of the major improvements to barb wire is the invention of razor wire. Barb wire may seem like a simple idea but it has been extremely helpful throughout history and is an invention that is still in use to this day and is employed around the world.
  • TYPEWRITER - Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 3

    TYPEWRITER -  Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 3
  • TYPEWRITER - Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 1

    TYPEWRITER -  Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 1
    In 1873 Sholes’ typewriter became commercially practical. His patent was filed on June 23, 1868. However, it was not until 1873 that he signed a contract with E. Remington and Sons, gunsmiths of Ilion, N.Y., to manufacture the device. Not until 1874 was his typewriter actually placed on the market. While crude in original design, people were able to type faster than writing and with less mess. Many improvements were made over the years.
  • TYPEWRITER - Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 2

    TYPEWRITER -  Christopher Latham Sholes - Part 2
    For example, the shift key to be able to “shift” between upper and lower case letters. We see in our computers everyday how the invention of the typewriter has allowed the written word to be transferred into a standard, in which everyone is able to clearly read.
  • TELEPHONE - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 3

    TELEPHONE - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 3
  • TELEPHONE - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 1

    TELEPHONE - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 1
    On March 10th, 1876, the first words from Bell’s new invention were spoken. While the patent for the telephone was filed just a couple days earlier on March 7th, there is some dispute over who the actual inventor of the telephone is. Elisha Gray is sometimes credited with inventing the telephone as well. On March 7th, 1876 Bell beat Gray to the patent office by a few hours and also in the wording of their patents.
  • Telephone - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 2

    Telephone - Alexander Graham Bell - Part 2
    Bell claimed to have already “invented” the telephone while Gray simply stated he “was inventing”. As the patent office of the time awarded patents for inventions that had actually been invented, the patent for the telephone was given to Bell. The telephone has changed our world. It has allowed us to transfer information over great distances in microseconds. The telephone has brought the world closer while allowing us to live apart. Nearly everyone today has access to a telephone.
  • PHONOGRAPH - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 1

    PHONOGRAPH - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 1
    Thomas Edison
    In 1877, Thomas Alva Edison invented one of his lesser known devices, the phonograph, a modern descendant of the record player. The phonograph allowed people to playback recorded sound. This may seem like a simple idea, but in 1877, if you wanted to listen to music, you had to go to a place that had a live band.
  • PHONOGRAPH - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 2

    PHONOGRAPH - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 2
    The improvement of speaker technology, records, eight track tapes, cassette tapes, compact discs, MP3 players and any other device you can conceive that plays back recorded sound can link its origins back to the phonograph.
  • INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 3

    INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 3
  • INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 1

    INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 1
    “LET THERE BE LIGHT”. In 1879, Edison invented the incandescent light bulb. While no direct quote can be found, it has been mentioned that Edison stated that he didn’t invent the light bulb, but found a 1000 ways not to. The impact of the light bulb can still be felt today. For most, this is a standard object that we get frustrated with when it burns out. In 1879 the ability to light an area without a flame made a huge impact, mostly in the manufacturing industry.
  • INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 2

    INCANDESENT LIGHT BULB - Thomas Alva Edison - Part 2
    The incandescent light bulb allowed manufacturing plants to operate for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By enabling companies to produce goods all day, every day, it allowed them to meet and exceed demand of the consumer. For inventors and designers it allowed them to continue their work late into the night and to get up early in the morning to continue their endeavors. Some might say that the invention of the light bulb has aided in the acceleration of the technological era.
  • STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 3

    STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 3
  • STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 1

    STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 1
    At noon on November 18th 1883, the North American railroad switched to Standard Railway Time. This was done so that the railroad system could operate more efficiently. Before this, many towns on the rail line had their own way of telling time. While most were based on the position of the sun, it still did not provide an efficient method over long distances.
  • STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 2

    STANDARD RAILROAD TIME - Part 2
    Shortly after the railroad created the Standard Railway Time many towns adopted the time method the rail system employed thus creating “time zones”. It was in 1884, at the International Meridian Conference, that the rest of the world created and agreed upon the terms for the standard “Greenwich Mean Time” that we use today. Having these time zones has aided in coordinating operation of businesses around the world.
  • FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 3

    FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 3
  • FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 1

    FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 1
    “The pen is mightier than the sword” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839) While the invent ion of the fountain pen, by Lewis E. Waterman, didn’t happen until the 12th of February 1884 it still holds true that the pen can be used to prevent war and violence. Before a practical fountain pen was invented, the written word was done with a messy quill being dipped in an inkwell.
  • FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 2

    FOUNTAIN PEN - Lewis E. Waterman - Part 2
    With the fountain pen one could keep the ink in a refillable reservoir on the pen and as they write, it would be released by capillary action. Thus being sure the writer does not get more ink then they had intended. While the fountain pen has been nearly replaced by the ball-point pen for everyday use, the fountain pen is still in use today. The fountain pen of today is viewed as a status symbol or is used for important documents as a symbol of the importance of the document.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 3

    PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 3
  • PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 1

    PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 1
    In 1888, Kodak was born. George Eastman is known today as the inventor of the snapshot photography we all use today. While capturing an image was not a new thing in 1888, it was at this time when the ability for the average consumer to purchase a camera to take pictures was realized. George Eastman developed a camera that was portable and easy to use for everybody. This helped launch the Kodak Company in the film industry and later technologies gave birth to the motion picture industry.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 2

    PHOTOGRAPHY - Kodak by George Eastman - Part 2
    While today, most of us take pictures on our smart phones or digital cameras, it is still possible to find and use standard film cameras. The advent of the digital age has hurt the Kodak Company, but they are not out of the photography industry as they have been able to adapt to include new technologies that we use today.
  • GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 3

    GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 3
  • GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 1

    GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 1
    1892 John Froelich of a tiny village in northeast Iowa invented the first gas powered tractor. The use of machines in farming was not new in Froelich’s time but the steam powered engines were big, bulky and inefficient for farm work. Froelich retrofitted the gas engine in place of a steam engine on one of his tractors. While this first design did not sell well, only two, it was a very important step towards changing the way farming was accomplished.
  • GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 2

    GAS POWERED TRACTOR - John Froelich - Part 2
    While John and The Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company worked out the shortcomings of the original design the company sold stationary engines. The Waterloo Company was successful in creating a marketable tractor and in 1918 purchased by John Deere. John Froelich’s home town proudly honors him with naming the town after him, Froelich, Iowa, and is also knows as “Tractor Town USA”.
  • ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 3

    ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 3
  • ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 1

    ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 1
    “ZIPPPPPPP” The naming of this device is from the sound it makes when it is operated. On August 29th 1893, Whitcomb L. Judson won the patent for the “Clasp Locker” which we know today as the zipper. This device may not seem to be all that important as an invention, but look around, and see what you have in your house that has a zipper. We find zippers in products we use or wear every day.
  • ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 2

    ZIPPER - Whitcomb L. Judson - Part 2
    At the time the zipper was invented, it was not a huge success and Judson never saw the impact his invention would make. Sadly, Judson died in 1909. The zipper was not refined and popularized until 1913 by BF Goodrich, who made several changes to the principal design.
  • SAFETY RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 3

    SAFETY RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 3
  • SAFETY RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 1

    SAFETY RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 1
    In 1895 Gillette had the novel idea of creating a safer razor for the man, or woman, to shave with. His idea was to put a sharp edge on a thin piece of steel. A scientist at MIT told him it would be impossible. After six years of development, Gillette created a marketable disposable safety razor. In Gillette’s time most shaving was done with a straight blade and by a barber.
  • RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 2

    RAZOR - King C. Gillette - Part 2
    However, while traveling it was not always practical to or possible to go to a barber for a shave so Gillette would shave himself. This task was very dangerous on a rumbling train and it was this danger that got Gillette thinking of a better method. Today, most people shave themselves and while the designs vary greatly, the idea is always to shave safely.
  • FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 3

    FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 3
  • FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 1

    FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 1
    July 15, 1903 was the date that the first Ford Model A was sold. While Henry Ford was not the first inventor of an automobile, he helped to mobilize America and the world. The first Ford cars were simple designs; rubberized tires, suspension and various other designs were in initial stages of invention or had yet to be invented. Some of the innovations that Ford and his company are known for are streamlining the assembly line and interchangeability of parts.
  • FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 2

    FORD MODEL A - Henry Ford - Part 2
    By simplifying assembly tasks and moving the product while keeping the worker stationary made assembling automobiles quicker and cheaper. Improved machining techniques and tighter quality control made interchangeability of parts a reality. This interchangeability made manufacturing of parts and complete assemblies easier and quicker, plus cheaper. Along with improving manufacturing Henry Ford indirectly gave rise to the auto mechanic shop and even salvage “junk” yards.
  • AIRPLANE - Orville & Wilbur Wright - Part 1

    AIRPLANE - Orville & Wilbur Wright - Part 1
    First flight of an airplane was on December 17th 1903 by Orville and Wilbur Wright, also known as the Wright Brothers. The Wright Brothers were always fascinated with flight. They had performed various experiments before this historical date. Initial flights were short but as the Brothers learned how to handle the aircraft, they were able to sustain longer flights. A great many things have changed in aviation since the first flights by the brothers.
  • AIRPLANE - Orville & Wilbur Wright - Part 2

    AIRPLANE - Orville & Wilbur Wright - Part 2
    At one point in history, you could buy an airplane from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Today, we see airplanes nearly every day over every major city in the world. The airplane has given the world the ability to travel and connect with each other. Essentially, the airplane has made the world a smaller place. The airplane is yet another piece of technology that has improved the efficiency of the business world.
  • THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 3

    THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 3
  • THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 1

    THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 1
    Most would ask, what is the audion? In 1906 Lee De Forest was experimenting with wireless transmission of signals. The audion is a signal amplifier that made transmitting radio waves over great distances possible. Simply stated, the audion gave birth to the AM radio. Initially, his goal was to create the wireless telegraph. The AM Radio gave everyone the ability to listen to news as it was happening.
  • THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 2

    THE AUDION - Lee De Forest - Part 2
    This also gave rise to radio shows and entertainment to be streamed into the home. The costs of such shows were paid for by the sales of receivers and advertisements during radio shows. The music business also was enhanced by the birth of the AM radio as now people could listen to music on the radio.
  • REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 1

    REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 1
    Alfred Mellowes
    As with many things in history, invention comes as a matter of necessity. This is true for the refrigerator. Before the standard electric refrigerator we know today was invented, there was the icebox. As the name implies it was an insulated wooden box that had a space for ice. If you were unable to get ice then the food in the icebox would decay quickly.
  • REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 2

    REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 2
    In 1913 an adaption of the icebox was created as a refrigeration unit was retrofitted to the top of an icebox. It was two year later, in 1915, that Alfred Mellowes placed the unit on the bottom and marketed it as a complete refrigerator. His design was not an immediate success and wasn’t until the president of General Motors bought Mellowes company, Guardian Refrigerator Company, and renamed it Frigidaire, did the success of the refrigerator become a reality.
  • REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 3

    REFRIGERATOR - Alfred Mellowes - Part 3
    Today we use these technologies every day from the air conditioning units in our cars, homes, work and of course the refrigerators we store our food in.
  • ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 3

    ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 3
  • ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 1

    ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 1
    If the first flight of the airplane was an exciting first, then the first flight of a rocket engine must have been explosive. On March 16, 1926, Goddard put into practice all his research on liquid-propelled rockets with the first flight of his rocket. The impact of Goddard’s work has literally shaped our world today. Most notably, the space programs around the world would not be possible without liquid-propelled rockets. These are the types of rockets used to launch objects into space.
  • ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 2

    ROCKET ENGINE - Robert H. Goddard - Part 2
    Our entire satellite system in space was placed there by these types of rockets. These types of rockets have also been employed in a destructive manner in the form of missiles and other devices of war. The wonders of the universe are being discovered everyday due to Goddard’s rocket work.
  • FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 3

    FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 3
  • FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 1

    FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 1
    Armstrong was like many inventors in that he wanted to improve already existing technologies. His improvement came in the invention of the FM Radio. Before 1933, AM radio was what everyone listened to for news and entertainment. One of the main problems with AM radio was static. Armstrong’s goal was to eliminate the static from AM radio and improve the overall signal quality.
  • FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 2

    FM RADIO - Edwin Armstrong - Part 2
    Along with improved radio quality, his inventions boosted the transmitted signals while reducing the size of the amplifiers. In 1940 Armstrong started the first FM station in Alpine, New Jersey. For many years Armstrong battled large radio companies over patents and this battle eventually led to his suicide. His wife however continued the fight against the large companies and eventually won millions of dollars in damages. FM radio is still used today in homes & for earth to space communications
  • ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 3

    ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 3
  • ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 1

    ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 1
    July 16th 1945 is the day the first Atomic Bomb was detonated. While a great number of scientists worked on the Manhattan Project, which was the name for the project, Brig. Gen. Leslie R. Groves and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer started the project. Technologically, the building and designing of the atomic bomb advanced scientific research and development in many fields and at a very rapid rate.
  • ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 2

    ATOMIC BOMB - Groves and Oppenheimer - Part 2
    However, some good things came from the research into nuclear technologies. We harnessed these forces to generate electrical power, medicine and medical imagining devices. This is a shining example of how technology can be used to improve life or destroy it and which way it is used depends on the people who wield it.
  • ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 3

    ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 3
  • ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 1

    ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 1
    ENIAC which stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was publicly announced to exist on February 14th 1946. ENIAC was the first general use computer. Meaning you could give it an input of information and it would give you an output for most calculations that could be conceived at the time. ENAIC was a secret project for the military during WWII to accelerate the time needed for artillery calculations; however, it was not completed till after the war ended.
  • ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 2

    ENIAC - Mauchly and Eckert - Part 2
    What ENIAC did do was start a whole new technological revolution. ENIAC was a huge machine that required massive cooling and repair. Today we have the same basic principles of operation in our electronic devices we use every day.
  • TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 3

    TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 3
  • TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 1

    TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 1
    It is ironic that the transistor, which is a three lead device, was developed by three men working together. December 1947 John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley completed their task of designing the “point-contact transistor”. This device, while seemingly simple and small, was to replace the vacuum tubes that were currently used in electronic devices. As technologies have advanced the transistor has allowed devices to get smaller and faster as they are still being re-engineered.
  • TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 2

    TRANSISTOR - Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley - Part 2
    The reason this is possible is because the transistor allows an electronic signal to be both resisted and amplified. These functions have aided in the rapid increase in all technological fields and are responsible for the boom in the computer era that we currently live in.