Media Timeline- Hofstra

By harith
  • 3500 BCE


    Early pictographic writing first appeared on cave walls. The more formalized, Cuneiform, was created by the Sumerians around 3500 BCE using pictures to tell stories on clay tablets. Simultaneously, the Egyptians created Hieroglyphics to identify tombs, document religious myths and stories, share medical remedies and practices, and recount events, like battles or deaths.
  • 1500 BCE

    Phoenician Alphabet

    Phoenician Alphabet
    Following Hieroglyphics, Proto-Canaanite (or Proto-Sinaitic) was the first consonantal alphabet in 1450 BCE with 22 acrophonic “letters” or glyphs. This written form then matured into the Phoenician alphabet. This alphabet served as the foundation for many written languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, and Roman.
  • 1270 BCE


    The earliest documented encyclopedia was compiled by a Syrian scholar in 1270 BCE. Although most people were illiterate, scholars were able to study from texts instead of a series of tutors.
  • 900 BCE

    Postal Service

    Postal Service
    Founded in China around 900 BCE, the postal service was revolutionary to the spread of information. Prior to the establishment of a postal service, messages were only sent and received by human transport, i.e. word of mouth. Though its original purpose was to deliver messages between educated citizens and the upper class, the postal service allowed information to be passed along across greater distances in less time.
  • 530 BCE


    The first library appeared in Greece in 530 BCE. After the invention of the encyclopedia 740 years prior, information was compiled, however, there was not a single place where one could find several key texts together. The library made accessing information easier and more accessible to a larger population at one time.
  • 59 BCE

    Acta Diurna

    Acta Diurna
    Acta Diurna (or “Daily Acts”) were originally used in Rome to record daily occurrences for the senate, until Julius Caesar opened these daily gazettes to the public in 59 BCE. Acta Diurna are regarded as the "first newspapers."
  • 105


    Paper as we know it today was invented in 105 by a Chinese government official named Ts’ai Lun under the Han Dynasty. This early version of one of the most fundamental communication tools featured a mix of finely chopped mulberry bark, hemp rags, and water. It was then smushed flat and left to dry. Modern-day paper uses a similar mixture to that of Lun’s of pulpwood, water, and recycled paper products.
  • 600


    Books were originally invented in China in the year 600, however, many regard the Gutenberg Bible as the first book to be printed in 1450. Prior to books, information was compiled on tablets and scrolls. The introduction of bound books improved the way in which information was preserved and passed down.
  • 1451

    Printing Press

    Printing Press
    The concept of printing was discovered under the Tang Dynasty in China in 650 AD. The printing press gained popularity after the European invention of the device by Johannes Gutenberg in 1451 to print an old German poem. As the literate population increased and newspapers became more widespread, the printing press allowed for production in unprecedentedly large quantities.
  • Newspaper

    In 1609 the first regularly published newspaper appeared in Germany. Published by Johann Carolus, Relation, is recognized by the World Association of Newspapers as the mother of our modern newspaper. It also established the newspaper as a staple for the spread of daily information.
  • Advertising

    After the first printing of advertising in 1704, the concept of producing and placing content to attract buyers took off and the first advertising agency was born in 1841. Since the advent of technology, companies, brands, individuals, and governments have utilized different platforms for advertising.
  • Semaphore

    Semaphore lines were the first method of “long distance” communication. Also known as the optical telegraph, semaphore conveyed information via visual signals using towers with pivoting blades and sometimes flags.
  • Camera & Photography

    Camera & Photography
    In 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce captured the first image with an 8-hour exposure using heliography. It was not until Niepce’s son and Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre developed a method in 1839, called Daguerreotype, that the exposure time was reduced to less than 30 minutes and the image would not disappear, opening the door for modern photography. Since the development of photography, our society has become increasingly visual recipients of information.
  • Telegraph

    Samuel Morse brought European technology to the United States and introduced the electrical telegraph and Morse Code in 1838. In the U.S., the telegraph was mainly used to schedule railroad lines allowing conductors to know when a train departed, arrived, as well as, its expected ETA.Other German and Swedish inventors also completed telegraphs around the same time and soon the telegraph was used around the world.
  • Typewriter

    Created by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1860, the typewriter allowed the recording of information to be more efficient and cost effective. By 1890, typewriters were in common use in offices. Journalists were now able to type their stories at a much faster rate than writing by hand, streamlining the documentation process.
  • Microphone

    The microphone was initially developed as a telephone voice transmitter in 1876 by Emile Berliner soon after the telephone was first exhibited at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in the same year. When the radio was invented, new broadcasting microphones were created and soon after the ribbon microphone was developed for radio broadcasting in 1942.
  • Telephone

    Alexander Graham Bell’s invention came about when the scientist accurately surmised that if he could make a current of electricity vary in intensity precisely as the air varies in density during the production of sound, he should be able to transmit speech telegraphically. The introduction of delivering messages over a distance through voice technology revolutionized communication and paved the way for modern landlines and mobile phones.
  • Phonograph

    Thomas Edison’s phonograph was the first device to record and playback sound. This revolutionized communication history, in that speeches, conversations, concerts, and other oral or audio presentations could now be documented and archived. The phonograph particularly impacted the music industry, allowing people to hear a symphony or band in the comfort of their own homes rather than attending the performance in person.
  • Radio

    Depending on whom one asks, the inventor of the radio was either Nikola Tesla or Guglielmo Marconi. Despite the controversy surrounding the rightful inventor, the radio was one of the first mass communication devices used across various professional sectors. Radio messaging was used to communicate with airplanes, broadcast important events and speeches, tell stories, and connect countries overseas.
  • Television

    Philo Farnsworth invented the television using a system that would break an image into horizontal lines and reassemble those lines into a picture on the screen. After the television was presented and marketed to the public at the World’s Fair in 1939, regular broadcasts were aired including sports coverage, variety shows, and feature films. Appearance and image were now at the forefront as much as the message. Body language became an important part of any public address, especially in politics.
  • Computer

    The first computer, ENIAC, was completed in 1946 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. Its primary purpose was to solve arithmetic equations electronically. It was not until Apple I was introduced in 1976 that the computer as we know it in the 21st century was born. The computer changed the way we processed data, sent and received information, conducted research, and entertained ourselves.
  • Fax Machine

    Fax Machine
    The fax machine was produced for general business use by Xerox in the mid 1960s. During the height of the device’s popularity in the 1980s, the fax machine became a staple communication tool, as businesses and individuals were able to send documents more efficiently through wire transfer rather than snail mail.
  • Floppy Disk

    Floppy Disk
    The floppy disk was an instant success when introduced by IBM in 1971. The memory device was considered revolutionary due to its portability that provided a new way to transport data between computers. The floppy disk laid the foundation for CDs, DVDs, flash drives, and the Cloud.
  • Video recording

    Video recording
    Charles Ginsberg of the Ampex Corporation introduced the videotape recorder in 1951, however, it was not until 1971 when Sony marketed the first VCR to the public that the entertainment industry was revolutionized. Videotape recording allowed for visual and audio documentation in public or private settings, such as conferences and interviews.
  • Cell phone

    Cell phone
    Cellphones were first invented in 1973, but the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x arrived on the market in 1983 as the first mobile phone small enough to carry around. The popularity of the mobile phone surged during the 80s and 90s due to its portability. For the first time, people were able to communicate without being at home, an establishment, or a pay phone. The creation of the cell phone laid the foundation for the popular iPhone and Android smart devices.
  • Language translator

    Language translator
    The invention of the language translator opened the lines of communication between cultures and established the feasibility of a global community. Entities such as the United Nations, NGOs, multinational corporations, and other international organizations rely on language translators to conduct business and build relationships across language barriers.
  • Internet

    Although the concept for the Internet came about with ARPANET in the 1960s, the Internet craze did not truly take form until 1990 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The Internet took on a significant role when the concept of “information sharing” was heightened and popularized by the advent of social media in 2002. While the Internet has allowed us to connect in new ways, it has also introduced a number of problems concerning privacy, copyrights, misinformation, and hacking.