Everyday Technologies

10 Earliest Versions of Everyday Technologies

In today’s world, we have several emerging technologies that impact our lives in several ways. The continuous enhancement and advancement in these technologies make us wonder about their reach. But one thing which is common in all the technologies is that they have evolved from continuous addition, replacement and substitution of ideas and technologies over a large period of time since their first inception.

So, here are some of the widely used daily life technologies and their earliest forms.


10. Microwave

The first commercially available microwave oven named “Radarange” developed by Raytheon came into the market in 1947. It heated food using microwave energy from a magnetron. It was 1.8 meters tall, weighed 340 kg and cost about $5000 at that time. Raytheon licensed its technology to the Tappan Stove company of Ohio in 1952. In 1964, Raytheon acquired Amana and introduced the first popular home model, the countertop Radarange, at a market price of $495.

9. Refrigerator

The first commercially viable electric refrigerator was invented by Fred W. Wolf in 1913. He mounted the air-cooled refrigeration unit – DOMELRE on the top of an icebox. In 1915, Alfred Mellowes designed a different kind of refrigeration unit which was self-contained; the compressor was at the bottom of the cabinet. The initial domestic refrigerators mainly used sulfur dioxide as refrigerant while some of them also used methyl chloride and methylene chloride. But these refrigerants were replaced by Freon-12 in 1930s.

8. Microphone

There is ongoing debate regarding the invention of the microphone, a federal court credits Thomas Edison for its invention but it is also said that it was Emile Berliner who filed the patent for carbon transmitter or carbon button microphone. Also, it is assumed that Berliner’s design was so more robust than it competitor that Alexander Graham Bel bought his patent for amount around $1,000,000 to use in his early phone design.

7. Plasma Display (mostly used in TV Screens)

The invention of modern plasma display roads back to 1960s under some physics professors led by Don Bitzer. This first version of plasma used three thin layers of glass with middle layer perforated with tiny holes filled with gas, whereas, the outermost layer was very thin and lined with metallic wires, when electrified they used to excite the gas. It overcame the flickering effect by eliminating the need to refresh the image.

6. Air Conditioner

The credit for the invention of the first modern electrical air conditioning unit goes to Willis Carrier. After graduating from Cornell University, he began experimenting with air conditioning and designed the first working model on 17th July, 1902 in Buffalo. His invention controlled not only temperature but also the humidity. He sent the air through cold foils instead of hot coils which helped in controlling the humidity of the room. This new addition made this very model very popular and it was the result of this invention that the residential sales expanded dramatically in the 1950s.

5. Touch Screen

The popularity of any smartphone, tablet etc. highly depends on the quality of the touch screen they are using. And the first practical implementation of the touch screen technology dates back to early 1970s where two engineers from CERN developed a transparent capacitance touchscreen. The basic idea behind their design was to dissolve a set of electric capacitors into a copper film joined to the glass screen and a touch over that would send a signal to the computer. The first version of a resistive touchscreen was developed by G. Samuel in 1982.

4. Smart Phone

The first-ever smartphone with the PDA feature was made available to the consumers by BellSouth in 1994 under the name Simon Personal Communicator. With the ability of basic calling functionalities, it was able to send faxes and e-mails using its touch screen display. At that time, it was available at the price of $1000 and around 50,000 units were sold. All the future smartphones with ore advanced technologies were also developed on the line of the technology used in Simon.

3. Wireless Transmission Tower

The wireless transmission has become the prior choice over the wired transmission for the exchange of information, details and all other stuffs. We have towers built and dedicated for this purpose. The world’s first wireless transmission tower named Wardenclyffe Tower was built in 1901. It stood 60 meters high and 36 meters underground. The plan was to build a global network of these kind of towers for the global communication and exchange of the information. Although this tower was demolished in 1917 due to financial problems but this laid out the blueprint of today’s existing wireless network.

2. Personal Computer

If one thing that completely revolutionized the life of human being is to be named, then that would be the personal computer undoubtedly. The earliest version of it was named “Programma 101” produced by the Italian company Olivetti. It was launched in 1964 at New York World’s Fair and the production started in 1965 with the market price of $3200. It gained a rapid popularity and the result was that NASA bought at least 10 of them and used them in calculations for their different projects. After this several schools, hospitals, military, television channels etc. also used it for their functioning and several other tasks.

1. Internet

The earliest version of today’s internet dates back to 1960s where the US Department of Defence (DoD) successfully developed the first network to use the Internet Protocol named ARPANET – Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks. It was University Of California, LA and Stanford Research Institute between which the first message was sent over the ARPANET. At first, the reach was limited to the universities and other sectors of the USA only. But in 1981, its access was expanded when NSF (National Science Foundation) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). After this, it just kept on expanding!

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