Electronics Time Line

Brooke Clarke 2001 - 2007

1600 - Willam Gilbert concluded that the Earth itself is a giant magnet

1745 - Ewald Georg von Kleist invents condenser
1746 - Pieter van Musschenbroek independently invented a very similar capacitor called the Leyden jar (Wiki) (a 1 jar capacitance is about 1nF)

1800 - Volta makes a battery to prove that electricity exists.

1820 - Hans Christian Oersted - discovered that a compass needle moved when electricity flowed through a nearby wire

1820 to 1827 - Andre Marie Ampere -  produced a definition of the unit of measurement of current flow, now known as the ampere.

1825 William Sturgeon exhibited electromagnet in England.  He varnished the iron core and used bare wire. (i.e. no wire insulation)

1827 - Georg Simon Ohm discovers the mathematical law of electric-current called "Ohm's Law".  He used thermopiles as his voltage source to get a very low resistance.

1831 - Michael Faraday generates electricity using a magnet and coil of wire 

1828 - Joseph Henry invents  electromagnet and publishes papers 1831- He sought no patents on any of his inventions, believing personal profit to be incompatible with  the dignity of  science.  Henry used wire that he insulated by winding silk or cotton tightly coiled on an iron core, much more efficient than Sturgeon's loose wire electromagnet. 

part of an email from Roger Sherman with the Smithsonian Institution:

Schweigger in fact used silver wire coated with wax or silk.

Oersted made a more elaborate variant of Schweigger's multiplier which
was described by the American Jacob Green in a book that Henry cited.
Green describes Oersted's wire as "wrapped or wound around throughout
its whole length, in silk thread." (Jacob Green, "Electro-Magnetism:
Being an Arrangement of the Principal Facts Hitherto Discovered in that
Science," Philadelphia, 1827, as cited in Albert E. Moyer, "Joseph
Henry. The Rise of an American Scientist," Smithsonian Institution
Press, 1997, p. 62)

"Bell Wire" existed long before doorbells. It was used mechanically to ring a bell for summoning servants in mansions, hotels and passenger ships. In 1828 Henry used "Bell Wire" to make a demonstration of how an electromagnet that was hundreds of feet away from the sending power source react, an early telegraph capability, but not used that way.

1832 William Sturgeon invents commutator for DC electric motor

1837 to 1870 - Telegraph system uses electromechanical relays (Is this the first appearance of the relay?)

1839 - June 27 us patent 1200 "Clock", N. Jerome - uses brass plates to make clock instead of wood.  Allows making low cost clocks that are exported world wide and develops U.S. brass and metal working ability.

1865    Interchangeable parts started after the Civil War  (1861 - 1865)

1873 - James Clerk Maxwell publishes his "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism" (Maxwell's equations)
           There were more than 150,000 miles of telegraph lines in the U.S. alone operated by Western Union who had bought up most of the smaller companies.

1876  174465 Telegraphy, A. G. Bell --THE telephone patent

1877 - Edison records voice on tinfoil cylinder phonograph

1878 - Edison opens first DC power utility company.

1887 - Almon Strowger, a Kansas City (7 railroads) mortician, invents the automatic dialing phone system to keep the local operators from directing calls to his competitors.

1888 - Nikola Tesla invented the AC motor and AC power system, the DC system used by Edison required the generator to be within a few miles of the load. 

Tesla's AC system allowed transformers to step up the voltage for long haul transmission and step back down near the load.  Although A.G. Bell's patent for the telephone is often reffered to as "the most valuable" patent, I'm not sure if Tesla's AC motor patent is as valuable or more so?  WIthout the AC motor the AC electrical system was only good for lighting, like done by George Westinghouse.  Factories need motors and without an AC motor DC electricity or steam power were the main options, hydro in some locations.

I heard that he did not invent the center tap on the last transformer (pole pig).  A grounded center tapped secondary feeds the final user.  This is a critical safety feature.  If there was a primary to secondary short in the transformer, the full high voltage (typically many kilovolts) would show up in your house causing great damage, fire, destruction, etc.

Tesla patents 390721 "Dynamo Electric Machine" which includes an AC generator, step-up and step-down transformers and the use of AC motors and electric lights.

N. Tesla AC motor patent is granted Dec 3, 1889 # 416194  Electric Motor class 310/166 - there are a few patents prior to Tesla's in the 310/166 class that were attempts at an AC motor using the bobbin coil structure that was popular for DC motors.

1889- Herman Hollerith uses punched cards to tabulate the U.S. census in 6 weeks, the prior census took many years to count by hand.
Jan 10, 1899 patent 617592 Electric Device is granted for the first Flash Light.  Conrad Hubert signed as witness and his employee David Misell is the inventor

1896 - Nikola Tesla invented radio
          - Tesla's AC system is selected for the Niagara Falls electrical system and is very successful.  This foreshadows the end of Edison's DC system.
           - Tesla patents some capacitors 567818.
           - in his Colorado Notebook the units used for both Capacitance and Inductance are "meters".

1898-1900--- Danish Inventor Valdemar Poulsen invents and patents his "Telegraphone," a  wire recorder

1904 - John Fleming devises the first practical electron tube known as the "Fleming Valve" on schematic diagrams tubes are denoted as V1, V2, etc. (Not really)

1922 - Philo T. Farnsworth, at age 13, invents television to work like the furrows in the field that he plowed.   He also invents the Fusor which was further developed by Bussard to supply hot fusion in a reactor that's not radio active when it's turned off and has no radioactive waste.

1928 - Dr. Fritz Pfleumer patent in Germany for what was to becaome tape recording

1932  The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) is started to get A.C. electrical power to rural areas.    Most cities now had AC power.  But DC was still there and dynamos were common to convert from AC to DC which was still used for things like elevators where DC provided much better control.

1936 - Alan Turing writes about the Turing machine: "On Computable Numbers.."

1937 - George Stibitz used telephone type electromechanical relays for digital logic

1959 - Farichild Semiconductor, Charleston Rd, Mtn. View,  makes the first practical planar integrated circuit

1941 - Pearl Harbor attacked bringing the U.S. into WW II

1943 - Work to crack Germany's secret military codes begins at the UK government's Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park

1944- The first experimental V2 rocket is launched from Peenemunde in Germany

1945 - Arthur C. Clarke writes his seminal piece 'Extra-Terrestrial Relays' which is published in Wireless World the following October. This discusses the idea of establishing a system of geostationary satellites that can provide global communications.

1946 - ENIAC is revealed to the US public for the first time.  A panel of lights is added, to give news reporters some idea of how fast the machine is working. Thus a Hollywood stereotype is created and the giant brain becomes a feature of 1950s science fiction.

1947 - transistor invented by Bardeen, Shockley and Brattain

1948 - Peter Goldmark, while an employee of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), invents the 33-1/3-rpm record, to overcome the need to constantly change or turnover the existing 78rpm discs.  He earns no royalties for his invention but, in lieu, receives free copies of every LP produced by Columbia.

1957 Oct 4 Sputnik in orbit. (Wiki) - the Doppler shift could be used to determine it's orbital elements.  That means that if it broadcast it's orbital elements then you could determine where you are, i.e. Transit (Wiki) satellites.

1960 to 1965 - my college electronics classes cover both tube and transistor technology and some products use both

1960 April 13 Transit 1B is launched (1A failed to orbit).

1961 - Leonard Kleinrock at MIT publishes first paper on packet switching (precursor to the internet)

1962 - J.C.R. Licklider, head of the computer research program at DARPA, talked about his "Galactic Network" concept

1974 - Sony develops the Betamax VCR

1966 - Lawrence G. Roberts put together his plan for the "ARPANET"

1966 - P T Farnsworth (see 1922) patent 3258402 Electronic Discharge Device for Producing Interactions between Nuclei - Invents the Fusor

1974 - Bob Kahn & Vint Cerf publish "A protocol for packet network interconnection" the TCP/IP description (basis of the modern internet)

1976 - JVC develops the VHS VCR

1978 - Feb 22 the first GPS satellite launched.

1982 - first digital audio 5-inch CD

1987 - Digital Audio Tape (DAT) players introduced

1992 - Bussard patent 5174945 Controlled thermonuclear fusion power apparatus and method Dec 29, 1992 based on the Fusor

1996 - DVD players started selling in Japan, and began in 1997 selling in the U.S.

2000 - MP3 ( MPEG Layer III) compressed digital audio recording introduced (works well with the internet) MP3 dramatically reduces file size with only a
                   small loss of quality.


On the Electricity excited by the mere Contact of conducting Substances of different Kinds by Alessandro Volta 9/1800
A brief history of electricity -
The Telegraph Office -
The Telegrapher Web Page -
Almon Strowger: Dialing for Dollars -
Farnsworth Chronicles -
Recording Technology History -
Wire Recorder: A Brief History -
Brief History of the Internet - @Internet Society
A guide to Magnetism throughout the ages -
James Clerk Maxwell -
History of MP3 -
Alan Turing Home Page -
Arthur C Clarke - Communications time line 1793 to 2000 Excellent quality
W1FJI Amateur Radio Timeline -
Radio Pioneers -
Super Scientists, A Gallery of Energy Pioneers -
Ampere, Andre Marie  -

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