World History - Periodization

  • Period: 1200 to

    Early Modern

  • 1450

    Printing Press

    A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium, thereby transferring the ink. The earliest mention of a printing press is in a lawsuit in Strasbourg, France, in 1439 revealing construction of a press for Johannes Gutenberg and his associates.
  • Period: to


  • Photographs

    Centuries of advances in chemistry and optics, including the invention of the camera obscura, set the stage for the world’s first photograph.
  • First Computer

    Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Eventually, the project was dissolved with the decision of the British Government to cease funding. Nevertheless, his son, Henry Babbage, completed a simplified version of the analytical engine's computing unit (the mill) in 1888.
  • Telegraph

    Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication.
  • Silent Movie

    A silent film is a film with no accompanying, synchronized recorded spoken dialogue. The technology for silent films was invented around 1860, but remained a novelty until around 1880 - 1900, when films on a single reel became easily produced.
  • Telephone

    Alexander Graham Bell is often credited with being the inventor of the telephone since he was awarded the first successful patent. However, there were many other inventors such as Elisha Gray and Antonio Meucci who also developed a talking telegraph.
  • Tape Recorder

    An experimental non-magnetic tape recorder was patented in 1886 by Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory.
  • Radio

    Over several years starting in 1894 the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi built the first engineering complete, commercially successful wireless telegraphy system based on airborne Hertzian waves. Marconi demonstrated the application of radio in military and marine communications and started a company for the development and propagation of radio communication services and equipment.
  • Wireless Communication

    Marconi sent the first international wireless message from Dover, England to Wimereux, France.
  • Movies with Sound

    The Warner brothers—Harry, Al, Sam, and Jack—had opened their first movie theater in Pennsylvania in 1903, showing movies that other people had made. The brothers also began to make movies themselves but most of the movies they made weren't very successful. In 1925, they were looking for a way to make their movies more popular, and Sam suggested that they give sound a try.
  • Paperback Books

    The publication of the modern paperback began in 1935. Paperback books provided a source of good-quality writing and literature, but at a lesser cost than traditional hard-bound books.
  • Color Movies

    The first color cinematography was by additive color systems such as the one patented by Edward Raymond Turner in 1899 and tested in 1902. In 1935, Kodachrome was introduced, intended primarily for amateur home movies and "slides". These were the first films of the "integral tripack" type, coated with three layers of differently color-sensitive emulsion, which is usually what is meant by the words "color film" as commonly used.
  • Period: to


  • Transistor Radio

    During World War Two scientists and engineers at Bell Laboratories conducted research on many radar and radio devices. One goal was to find a replacement for fragile and energy-wasting vacuum tubes.
  • Cable TV

    Cable-television systems originated in the United States in the late 1940s and were designed to improve reception of commercial network broadcasts in remote and hilly areas.
  • Color TV

    By 1953, RCA devised the first complete electronic color TV system.
  • Artificial Intelligence

    Allen Newell (researcher), Herbert Simon (economist), and Cliff Shaw (programmer) co-authored Logic Theorist, the first artificial intelligence computer program.
  • VCR

    A videocassette recorder is an electromechanical device that records analog audio and analog video from broadcast television or other source on a removable, magnetic tape videocassette, and can play back the recording.
  • 1st Satellite

    The Soviet Union launched the earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I. The successful launch came as a shock to experts and citizens in the United States, who had hoped that the United States would accomplish this scientific advancement first.
  • Laser Printer

    Starkweather invented the laser printer in 1969 at the Xerox research lab in Webster, New York. He developed a prototype for the Xerox 9700, which came to market in 1978.
  • E-mail

    Ray Tomlinson is credited as the inventor of networked email; in 1971, he developed the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts across the ARPANET, using the @ sign to link the user name with a destination server. By the mid-1970s, this was the form recognized as email.
  • GPS

    The Global Positioning System (GPS), is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Space Force. The GPS project was started by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1973.
  • Cellular Phones

    The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973. In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) launched the world's first cellular network in Japan.
  • Apple II Computer

    The Apple II is an 8-bit home computer and one of the world's first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products.
  • Internet

    January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet. Prior to this, the various computer networks did not have a standard way to communicate with each other.
  • 3D Printing

    Stereolithography has traditionally been an expensive commercial technique, with machines costing in the five and even six figures, but recent years have seen the advent of desktop professional stereolithography printers costing a few thousand dollars, as well as consumer systems that start well under a grand.
  • Autonomous Vehicles

    The first self-sufficient and truly autonomous cars appeared in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon University's Navlab and ALV projects in 1984 and Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich's Eureka Prometheus Project in 1987.
  • DVD Player

    Some manufacturers originally announced that DVD players would be available as early as the middle of 1996. These predictions were too optimistic.
  • MP3 Player

    An MP3 player is an electronic device capable of playing audio files in MP3 format. This device usually small and compact which makes it a portable music player.
  • Youtube

    YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform owned by Google. It is the second most visited website, with more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day.
  • Iphone

    On January 9, 2007, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone—a touchscreen mobile phone with an iPod, camera and Web-browsing capabilities, among other features—at the Macworld convention in San Francisco.
  • IPad

    iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., which run the iOS and iPadOS mobile operating systems. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010.