The History of Music and Technology

  • The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing telegraph Company

    The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company is founded in Rochester, New York, which will become Western Union -- this major message service also offered delivery of Telegrams.
  • Telegraph Company competing companies

    The 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 Transcontinental telegraph line

    Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line providing fast, coast-to-coast communications during the U.S. Civil War.
  • First Pratical Typewritter

    Christopher Latham Sholes of Danville, PA and his colleagues, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soulé developed the first practical typewriter (and the QWERTY keyword.)
  • Remington-Rand

  • Audio Theatre

    Alexander Graham Bell issued a patent for the Telephone on March 7th. By the early 1800's many experimental uses were attempted for this invention including what was later called "Audio Theatre" -- plays and readings performed over the telephone.
  • Cylinder Phonograph

    Edison 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
  • Music and Motion Picture Program

    The Lumiere Brothers use (piano) music with a motion picture program (of short subjects) for the first time at a Dec. 28th -screening at the Grand Café in Paris
  • Orchestra and Motion Pictures

    An orchestra is used with (silent) motion pictures for the first time in April in London
  • Shellac Gramophone

    Shellac gramophone disks developed by Emile Berliner - speeds will vary on discs
  • The Electric Theater

    April 16 - "The Electric Theater" in Los Angeles is opened by Thomas L. Tally: the first Nickelodeon, a multimedia movie palace, that spawned imitators nationwide.
  • First Vacuum Tube

    British scientist John Ambrose Fleming develops the first vacuum tube called a "Valve."
  • The Audion

    Lee de Forest is granted a patent on January 15 for the first triode (three-element) vacuum tube which he calls the "Audion". It was similar to Flemings diode (two-element) vacuum tube called a "Valve". But de Forest's third element (called a "grid") allowed the Audion tube to amplify signals -- which made radio with voice and music practical.
  • The First doubled-sided Phonograph

    The 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.
  • FN and SJN

    Charles "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.
  • Mary Pickford

    Mary Pickford becomes the first American "Motion Picture Star" via her silent films.
  • Disk Recordings

    Disk recordings overtake cylinders in the popular market. Columbia drops cylinders..
  • The First Feature-length Film

    Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produce the first "feature-length" film called "The Squaw Man.
  • Teletypewritters

    Western Union introduces teletypewriters, joining branches and individual companies.
  • Electrical Records

    Electrical records replace acoustic discs, via a process developed by Western Electric.
  • Vitaphone

    Vitaphone introduces a sound system to synchronize music and sound effects with a motion picture
  • Synchorized Music Track

    Bell Laboratories develops a 33 1/3 rpm disk system to synchronize a music track for the Warner Brothers film "Don Juan
  • First Radio Network

    NBC -- the "National Broadcasting Company" begins as the first radio network.
  • Televisor

    Scotsman 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.
  • The Expanded NBC

    the first broadcast of the expanded NBC -- all the way to the West Coast, for a total of 47 stations in the chain (now called a "Network")
  • The First Person on Television

    In the United States, a young comedian named Milton Berle is the first person to be seen on television, on an experimental broadcast
  • First Music Chart

    Billboard magazine publishes its first music chart of performed songs.
  • Mechanical Television

    Scotsman John Logie Baird demonstrates his system of mechanical television, transmitting its signal from England to the United States over the Atlantic ocean.
  • The First TV Picture of a Living Person

    The Edison Co. ceases the manufacturing of sound recordings.
    1929 - Philo Farnsworth transmits the first TV picture of a living person - his wife - on Oct. 19, in his San Francisco laboratory; the picture is only about 3 1/2 inches square.
  • The Lone Ranger

    The first episode of "The Lone Ranger" radio series debuts on radio station
  • The First Singing Telegram

    Western Union introduces the first "singing telegram" service.
  • The First Drive-In Movie Theater

    Richard M. Hollingshead opened the first Drive-In Movie Theater in Camden, NJ on June 6
  • First Chart of Top-selling Records

    Billboard magazine publishes its first chart of top-selling records.
  • Electronic Television Demonstration

    Electronic television demonstrated at the Chicago Worlds Fair by RCA / NBC
  • The Lazy Boy

    Zenith introduces the "Lazy Boy" -- the first television remote control (it had a cable.)
  • Canned Laughter

    The NBC-TV series "Hank McCune Hall" used laugh tracks from other shows on its soundtrack since it was filmed without a studio audience, and the era of "canned laughter" began; later that year a CBS-TV engineer named Charlie Douglas made a device that could produce a "laugh track" using multiple tape loops, which could be played like a "laugh organ", and began a company to supply this service to producers.
  • The First Color TV Program

    CBS television broadcast the first color TV program to five cities on June 25th; the CBS color system was not compatible with black & white signals as was the RCA system developed for NBC, which eventually was approved for use throughout the U.S. in 1953.
  • I Love Lucy

    The first episode of "I Love Lucy" aired on Monday, October 15th on the CBS Television Network, filmed with three cameras simultaneously in front of a "live" audience on the General Service Studio soundstage.
  • The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape

    The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape (at 7 1/2 ips) is offered for sale.
  • The First Color TV

    On March 25, the first color television sets rolled out of the RCA Victor factor in Bloomington, Indiana; (The model CT-100 had a 12-inch screen, and a suggested retail price of $1000. A total of 5,000 model CT-100 sets were made.)
  • Larger LPs

    Larger 12" LP's overtake 10" LP's as the preferred size for long-playing records.
  • MONITOR

    NBC debuts a weekend radio network format called MONITOR on Sunday, June 12th,a creation of Pat Weaver, who also created NBC's Today and Tonight Shows.
  • The First Videotape System

    Ampex Co. of Redwood City, CA demonstrates the first videotape system in February
  • The NBC Logo

    The "NBC Peacock" logo (symbol of compatible "Living Color") debuts in July, designed by Fred Knapp and the NBC graphics department under John J. Graham.
  • The First Solid-state TV Set

    Sony introduces the first "solid-state" TV set, using transistors instead of vacuum tubes.
  • The Start of Radio Broadcasting

    FM Stereo radio broadcasting begins and FM slowly starts to gain respect.
  • Multitrack Analog Tape Recordings

    Multitrack analog tape recording starts being used in recording studios.
  • Compact Casset Tapes

    Compact tape cassettes and players are developed by Phillips originally for dictation.
  • The First Computer Mouse

    Douglas C. Engelbart demonstrates the first computer mouse (made of wood.)
  • The First EMail Program

    he first ARPANET (later Internet) EMail program called "SNDMSG" -- short for "Send Message" -- was created by Ray Tomlinson working at BBN Technologies
  • First Disco Record

    First Disco Record
    Gloria Gaynor records "Never Can Say Goodbye" -- the first disco record on US radio
  • First Electronic Computer Arcade Game

    Atari of Santa Clara, CA develops "Pong" -- the first electronic computer arcade game.
  • The First Cellular Phone System

    Martin Cooper of Motorola conceived the first cellular phone system, and led the 10-year process of bringing it to market.
  • Solid-State Video Cameras

    The first all solid-state video cameras are introduced using Bell Labs "CCD"
    (charge-coupled device) instead of an Image Orthicon or Plumbicon camera tube
  • Record sells Declined

    The first year recording sales actually declined -- record industry blames online music swapping as the cause and tried to advance digital copy protection schemes
  • Consumer DVD recorders were Introduced

    Consumer DVD recorders were introduced at the Comdex Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas priced at $1000, but by the 2001 show came down to around $500; these video recorders can hold up to 4.7 gigabytes of video and multimedia content
  • Internet bubble Bursts

    the so-called "Internet Bubble" burst leading to a recession/shakeout of the inflated technology industry, as reality started to replace "irrational exuberance."
  • E-Books

    Digital electronic books (E-Books) become a small part of the publishing industry, and several competing companies attempt to introduce the standards for them
  • Gnutella

    Napster is forced to "filter out" content due to RIAA lawsuit; hints at fees to come other free peer-to-peer software including Gnutella are developed to take Napster's place
  • Crawls

    The TV screen gets more junked up by "crawls" -- banners at the bottom of the screen, and other distracting divisions of the screen in imitation of computer desktops
  • Music DVDs

    Music DVD's are introduced which can contain 7 - 10 times the amount of music, or multimedia content to augment the usual sound recordings
  • Processing Chips

    Intel announces a breakthrough in the speed of computer processing chips that will make computers several THOUSAND times faster; first systems expected to be sold in 2007
  • DVDs outsell VHS

    DVD video disk players outsell VHS video cassette recorder/players for the first time
  • DVD+RW

    Reminiscent of VHS/Betamax, an alternate standard for consumer DVD writable disks is introduced to thwart piracy called DVD+RW (as opposed to original DVD-RW); Microsoft is among the chief proponents of DVD+RW; Apple remains with DVD-RW
  • Apple Introduces the iPod

    Apple Computer introduces the iPod portable music player for playing mp3 files, and it is a big hit, helping re-establish Apple's innovative reputation and improve their bottom line
  • Digital Receivers

    The F.C.C. (U.S. Federal Communications Commision) requires all new U.S. television TV sets to include digital receivers in order to help the transition to digital transmission by February 17, 2009
  • iBiquity

    The F.C.C. approves a digital radio broadcast standard developed by iBiquity Digital Corp., a company backed by broadcasters including ABC and Viacom
  • iTunes

    Apple Computer introduces a downloadable music service via its iTunes music application, which proved that people would pay 99-cents-per-tune to download music legally in the wake of peer-to-peer free (but illegal) file swapping
  • No More VHS Tapes

    Retailers Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Circuit City announce they will stop selling VHS Video Cassette tapes since DVD's are now the medium of choice for most consumers
  • Digital TV transmissions

    the U.S. Congress agreed that Standard NTSC analog TV broadcasts will cease in favor of all digital TV transmission nation-wide on
  • No More Telegrams

    Western Union stopped delivering telegrams as of this date -- ending a service in the United States that it began in 1851; Their primary business is still money transfers
  • Apples One-Billionth song

    Apple Computer's online music store integrated into its iTunes software and iPod hardware, sold it's one-billionth song on this date, proving that digital music can be accepted by the public when distributed across a network in a virtual form, as opposed to inscribed only in discrete tangible media