Printing TelegraphThe New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company is founded
in Rochester, New York, which will become Western Union -- the first electronic
message service (also offering the service of delivered Telegrams.)
TelegraphThe New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company acquires several
competing companies and changes its name to Western Union; its service of delivering
Telegrams will continue until January 27, 2006 -- 150 years after the name change.
First CommunicationWestern Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line -- providing fast,
coast-to-coast communications during the U.S. Civil War.
PhonographEdison invents the cylinder "phonograph" used to record and playback sound. Originally
thought to be useful as a business machine for dictation (like the dictaphone which would
come later.) Other uses: recordings of plays pre-dating Radio Drama nearly 50 years
MicrophoneEmile Berliner invents the first microphone and sells the rights to Bell Telephone
Magnetic Sound RecordingDanish inventor Valdemar Poulson invents magnetic wire sound recording
First million dallor songThe first "million-seller" song hit (sold via sheet music) was "After The Ball"
by Charles K. Harris, who was both its composer and publisher
First OrchestraAn orchestra is used with (silent) motion pictures for the first time in April in London
Gramohone DisksShellac gramophone disks developed by Emile Berliner - speeds will vary on discs
issued by companies in different countries (80 rpm was used on some British recordings)
Wireless TelegraphyGuglielmo Marconi is granted his first British patent for wireless telegraphy.
First Nickelodeon movieApril 16 - "The Electric Theater" in Los Angeles is opened by Thomas L. Tally: the first Nickelodeon, a multimedia movie palace, that spawned imitators nationwide;
VictrolaRCA Victor's "Victrola" model record player is introduced. It has a variable turntable
speed control to accomodate the wide range of phonograph records produced at that
time; Victor's speeds ranged from 71 - 76 rpm. Columbia was producing discs as 80rpm.
Some British disks even rotated between 66rpm - 90rpm; Although U.S. phonograph
manufacturers agreed in 1928 to standardize on the rate of 78.26 rpm, it still took
decades for more stan
Double Sided RecordThe first double-sided phonograph records are introduced by Columbia. Soon its
competitors follow suit; Prior to this time, all records had sound only on one side;
the back side was a blank (un-grooved) side.
Wireless Voice BroadcastsCharles "Doc" Herrold and his assistant Ray Newby begin experimental "wireless"
voice and music broadcasts from San Jose, California using experimental radio station
call letters "FN" and "SJN". They transmit with a series of arcing street lamps under liquid
The Squaw ManCecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produce the first "feature-length" film called
"The Squaw Man"
First CallFirst transcontinental telephone call from New York to San Francisco on July 29th.
LoudspeakerAT&T engineer C. G. Hensley got the idea for the loudspeaker when he thought about
what would happen if he made a telephone receiver really big.
JazzThe Orig. Dixieland Jass <sic> Band (ODJB) makes the first "Jazz" recording.
RadioCommercial AM Radio broadcasting begins on KDKA, Philadelphia.
Electrical RecordsElectrical records replace acoustic discs, via a process developed by Western Electric.
Sound SystemsVitaphone introduces a sound system to synchronize music and sound effects with a
motion picture; It uses a 16-inch disc turntable that is connected by gears to the
projector mechanism. Operators have to continuously adjust the synchronization of
the grooves to the picture, which was not perfect. Later the speed and size of these
discs (16-inches running at approximately 33rpm) is utilized by some radio stations
stations and networks fo
Don JuanBell Laboratories develops a 33 1/3 rpm disk system to synchronize a music track for
the Warner Brothers film "Don Juan" containing music composed by William Axt. This
system is similar to the Vitaphone system introduced months earlier. Both competing
systems -- the "Vitaphone system" and the "Bell/Warner Bros. system", as well as the
use of transcription discs by radio stations/networks, inspire the introduction of
33rpm disks later --
National Broadcasting CompanyNBC -- the "National Broadcasting Company" begins as the first radio network.
The inauguration of the NBC Radio network was celebrated on November 15th with a
4 1/2 hour gala broadcast from the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, NY;
it was estimated half of the nation's 5 million radio sets were tuned in for the broadcast;
Quickly two networks ("chains" of stations) were distinguished -- one was called the
"NBC Red Network" and the
TelevisorScotsman John Logie Baird invents mechanical television which he calls a "Televisor",
a postcard-sized black and pink (not black and white) image with 30 scan lines running
at a flickering 12 1/2 frames per second.
Movie-Tone News"Movie-Tone News" talking theatrical newsreels debut May 25th in New York City.