Archive for the 'Technology' Category

A Roomba-Like Cleaner was Patented in 1957

Home robots are still an amazing concept, especially for people who grew up watching episodes of “The Jetsons” on television. Roombas were first introduced in 2002, and over 15 million units have been sold worldwide as of this writing. While many people are delighted by their autonomous robot vacuum, most people don’t know that a […]

Vibrators were Sold in the Sears & Roebuck Catalogue

While today many people feel like vibrators are as commonplace as they ever been, they actually used to be sold as a medical treatment device. Today you’ll sometimes see them online or in the Brookstone catalog marketed as neck and back massagers instead of their true intended purpose of providing sexual pleasure. But vibrators were […]

The USSR Landed Multiple Probes on Venus in the 1960s

When we think of the space race, we generally think of initial race to put a human in space and the moon landing which followed (the former glory went to the USSR, and the latter glory to the USA). But what’s often forgotten is that the USSR actually beat America in landing probes on the […]

The US Senate Once Tried to Ban Dial Telephones From Capitol Hill

Today for most people who own cell phones, manual dialing is largely a thing of the past: your contacts are stored in your phone and you rarely have to type in a new number. But that wasn’t the case in 1930: back then it was normal to pick up a phone and be connected with […]

The World Trade Center Towers Originally Lacked Lightswitches

When the World Trade Center in New York City was first opened in 1973, employees didn’t have to worry about turning off the lights when they left work. Why was that? Because their offices didn’t have switches. In the early 1970s, electricity was considered “too cheap to meter” so the building’s planners– in a show […]

Nixon Had a Speech Prepared In Case the Apollo 11 Astronauts Were Stranded in Space

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, they made history. But one thing that didn’t make history that day was the backup speech that President Nixon was slated to give in the event that something went wrong on the mission and the astronauts were stranded 238,900 […]

Kodak Invented the Technology That Later Forced Them Into Bankruptcy

US Patent number 4,131,919. Though it may not go down in history, it’s sure to be one of the most important inventions in our modern age. In 1975, Kodak employee Steven Sasson built the world’s first functional digital camera using then-new but now-ubiquitous CCD chips. Though it would take a few decades for the technology […]

Color Photography Technology Has Existed For About 150 Years

When people think history, they all too often think in black and white when events before, say, the 1970s are mentioned. But the world was “in color” back then too, and color photography technology goes all the way back to the 1860s, becoming widely commercially available in the 1930s. Color photographs are a lot older […]

The White House Sported Solar Panels Until Reagan Removed Them in 1986

Believe it or not, there was a time when the White House was partially-powered by solar panels! But that didn’t last, as they were taken down only a few years after they were installed (despite being in perfect working order). During the energy crisis of the late 1970s, then-president Jimmy Carter called on Americans to […]