Science, Technology and Innovation
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein, 1954.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers”, Voltaire.
“Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret”, Horace. You can expel nature with a pitchfork, but she will keep returning.
“Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Scientific laws and principles
Textiles and clothing
Computing and Mathematics – see Appendix 2 below
Chemistry and the elements (Discovery of) – see Appendix 4 below
Environment & Conservation – see Appendix 5 below (see International for global population, and demography maps)
Technological innovations in TV broadcasting given here.
14/3/2018, The world famous astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, died of motor neurone disease, aged 76 (born 8/1/1942). He was famous for his work on Black Holes, and his book A Brief History of Time.
2013, Scientists cloned a cell from a human baby with a rare genetic disorder. This created a source of embryonic stem cells that cpuld be used in treatment.
14/10/2010, French-American mathematician who developed fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot, died aged 85.
20/5/2010, Craig Venter announced the creation of the world’s first synthetic organism.
29/6/2007, Apple launched the iPhone,
31/12/2004, The world’s tallest skyscraper, Taipei 101, 508 metres or 1.676 feet tall, was opened.
11/8/2004, The first licences for the cloning of human embryos were granted in Britain.
28/5/2003, The first horse cloned by Italian scientists, Prometea, was born
14/4/2003, The Human Genome Project, to completely map the human genome, was completed.
15/2/2001, An initial version of the Human Genome Sequence was released.
26/10/2000, Lord Phillips issued his report into BSE and variant-CJD; he was critical of UK government policy.
20/5/1999, Bluetooth was announced.
23/7/1998, A team of scientists at the University of Hawaii, led by Ryuzo Yanagimachi, announced they had produced three generations of cloned mice.
24/2/1997. The cloned sheep, Dolly, was presented to the public. She had been cloned from a single cell of her mother at the Royal Institute in Edinburgh. There was moral panic about the possibility of cloning humans, but some saw it as a useful way to create organs for transplant. Lamb 6LL3 was named after Dolly Parton. The animal died prematurely in February 2003.
5/6/1995, Bose-Einstein condensate was created.
19/10/1993, The UK Post Office began selling self-adhesive stamps that didn’t need licking.
7/11/1991, The first report on carbon nanotubes was reported in Nature.
28/9/1990, At the first ever Robot Olympics, held in Glasgow, an 8-legged machine called Penelope built at Edinburgh University won the flat race for robots without wheels, achieving 0.13 metres per second.
22/8/1989, British Telecom launched the first ‘pocket phones’ which worked within 100 metres of a base station.
21/4/1989, Nintendo began selling Game Boys in Japan.
23/2/1989, Stanley Pins and Martin Flieschmann announced Cold Fusion at the University of Utah.
1/9/1988, Luis Walter Alvarez, researcher into subatomic particles, born 13/6/1911 in San Francisco, California, died in Berkeley, California.
1987, Two calves, called Fusion and Copy, were successfully cloned from embryonic cells.
2/9/1987, Philips introduced the CD-video.
5/1/1987, Genetic fingerprinting was first used to catch a murderer, Colin Pitchfork. Police asked all men in Narborough, Leicestershire, to take DNA tests after two 15 year old girls were killed.
30/12/1986, The use of canaries in UK coal mines was discontinued.
1/1/1985, The first mobile phone call in the UK was made, by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.
1984, An egg cell emptied of its nucleus was fused with a cell from a lamb embryo, resulting in the birth of three live cloned lambs.
23/10/1984. The end was announced for the old ‘H’ shaped TV aerials, used for the old 405-line service. The 43 transmitters broadcasting on this frequency were to be closed to make way for the growing number of mobile and car phones.
8/4/1984, Pyotr Kapitza, Soviet low-temperature physicist, died aged 89.
1983, The first Compact Discs were marketed, in Britain.
14/4/1983, The first cordless telephone was introduced in Britain.
29/7/1982, Vladimir Zworykin, Russian-born US pioneer of TV technology, died aged 92.
22/11/1981, Hans Krebs, British biochemist, died aged 81.
9/4/1981, Nature magazine published a paper with the longest-ever scientific word, with 207,000 letters.
1980, In the USA, the United States Synthetic Fuel Corporation was created, to attempt to ensure energy security.
6/4/1980. Art Fry invented the ‘Post-It’ note.
1979, The Japanese technology company Matsushita took out a patent for the first flat screen pocket television, using a liquid crystal display for the screen.
30/10/1979, The aeronautical engineer and inventor Sir Barnes Wallis died aged 92. He invented the bouncing bombs for the Dambusters raid.
24/9/1979. A remote control cordless telephone, imported from the USA to UK stores, was declared illegal in Britain as it had not been allocated a radio frequency. It was on sale for £260.
9/2/1979, Dennis Gabor, physicist who invented holography, died aged 78.
31/5/1976, J L Monod, French biochemist, died aged 66.
17/5/1978. Compact Discs created by Philips.
11/2/1978, James B Conant, Us research chemist, died aged 84.
24/4/1976, Henrik Dam, Danish biochemist, died aged 81.
1975, The technique of cellular transfer of nuclear material was used to succesfuly transfer material in mammalian cell.
7/6/1975, Sony introduced the Betamax home videotape recorder.
8/4/1975, Pagers were launched in Britain.
13/7/1974, Peter Blackett, British physicist, died aged 76.
26/6/1974, The first use of barcodes in a supermarket. A pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit was scanned at a March’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
3/4/1973, The world’s first ever mobile phone call was made, in New York.
17/6/1970. Edwin Land patented the first Polaroid camera.
12/11/1968. One thousand people attended the first public meeting of the Greater London Council. Ideas discussed included a monorail down Oxford Street by 1972 and an ‘end to the architecture of totalitarianism’. The Milton Keynes Development Corporation announced that the first blueprint for the new city would be available by February 1969.
19/9/1968, Death of Chester Carlson, US inventor of the Xerox photocopier.
17/5/1968. The director of the Transport studies centre predicted that in the future people would be ‘piped’ in high speed pneumatic trains like oil and gas.
15/10/1967. In Tokyo the Nippon Electric Co was offering the world’s first commercial television telephone.
14/6/1967. At a telecommunications conference in London, the Postmaster General discussed the imminent arrival of household robots.
1965, Holography was first discovered by D Gabor.
8/10/1965, The UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the first telephone call as the £2 million, 620 foot tall, Post Office Tower in London’s Tottenham Court Road opened.
18/11/1963. The push button phone was introduced.
21/1/1962 The Met Office started using Centigrade as well as Fahrenheit, and ring pull cans came into use.
7/12/1961, The London County Council approved the building of 300-foot high blocks of flats at Hammersmith, the tallest in Britain.
1960, Transistors made it feasible to construct very small TVs. Sony now pioneered an 8-inch ttransistorised TV set.
1960, The laser was discovered by Thoedore Maiman.
1960, Hitchin Council in the UK became the first to use black plastic polythene bin bags for refuse collection. Previously, rubbish was put loose straight into bins, causing smells and being scattered in the road when the bin was emptied.
20/8/1960, Plastic carrier bags were used for the first time, by a Swedish shoe retailer.
1/4/1960. The US launched the world’s first meteorological satellite, Tiros I. Launched from Cape Canaveral, it only orbited earth for 78 days, but proved that satellites could be useful for surveying global weather conditions. The satellite was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high, weighed 270 pounds, and had 9,200 solar cells to power it. It had two television cameras and could store pictures taken whilst out of range of the ground radar station. In total, Tiros I took 22,500 pictures of weather conditions.
1959, Xerox introduced the first reliable commercial photocopier. It weighed 300kg.
9/10/1959, Henry Tizard, English inventor, died aged 74.
3/10/1959, The postcode system for sorting mail was first used in Britain, in Norwich.
28/7/1959. Postcodes were introduced to Britain by the Postmaster General, along with new postal sorting machines. They were used first in the Norwich area on 3/10/1959.
5/12/1958. The first STD telephone exchange in the UK opened. It was in Bristol, and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II calling up the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.
1957, The first twin-tub washing machine was produced.
14/4/1956, The first videotape was demonstrated in Chicago.
1955, The first electronic musical synthesisiser was built. Operating on punched tape, it took up a whole room.
1955, The contraceptive pill was first manufavtured. Artificial diamonds were first made.
12/12/1955, Christopher Cockerell patented hit prototype of the hovercraft.
18/4/1955. Albert Einstein, born 14/3/1879, died in Princeton, New Jersey, of a stroke. He was born to a middle class German family of Jewish ancestry. Einstein graduated in 1900 from the Federal institute of technology in Zurich; he worked hard in the laboratory but skipped lectures. He completed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and received the Nobel Prize in 1922. He became an American citizen in 1940.
31/1/1955, RCA introduced the first musical synthesiser.
1954, The robotic arm was designed by George Devol.
1952, A tadpole was cloned using the new technique of transfer of cellular nuclearnaterial to a new cell.
11/11/1952. John Mulin and Wayne Johnson at the Bing Crosby Enterprises Laboratory in Beverly Hills, California demonstrated the first video recorder.
31/8/1951. Long playing 33 rpm records went on sale in West Germany.
5/1/1951, Sir Ernest Swinton, British soldier and inventor of the military tank, died.
9/11/1950, ICI announced its to build a factory at Redcar to manufacture a new fabric, Terylene.
29/9/1950, The first automatic telephone answering machine was tested by the US Bell Telephone |Company.
26/12/1949. Einstein's Theory of Relativity was announced.
25/8/1949. The UK began experiments with colour TV transmission.
10/1/1949 33.3 and 45 rpm vinyl records went on sale in the USA.
1948, The transistor was discovered.
28/11/1948. The first Polaroid cameras went on sale, in Boston, USA. The price was US$ 89.75 – the equivalent of US$ 900, or UK£595 in 2015. All 37 had sold by the end of the day.
26/6/1948, Columbia officially released its new 33.3 rpm long playing records.
22/6/1948. Dr Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records unveiled the first successfully produced micro-groove, or long playing, record.
9/10/1947. The first radio-telephone call was made, from a car to a plane, above Wimington, Delaware, USA. However radio contact between a person in a car and a person on the ground had been made in 1922. This was at Brooklands motor circuit where a Morse message was transmitted from a racing car at 80mph. The aerial was on large poles propped up on the car.
4/10/1947, The German physicist, Max Planck, died at his home in Gottingen, aged 89. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1918 for his work on quantum physics and black-body radiation.
21/11/1946, The first commercial aerosol sprays were marketed in the US by Airosol Inc of Kansas. The US army had discovered the usefulness of aerosol insect sprays whilst fighting the Japanese in the rainforests of south east Asia.
14/6/1946. Death of John Logie Baird, at Bexhill on Sea, Sussex, aged 58. He was born on 13/8/1888 at Helensburgh, Scotland. In 1926 he demonstrated the first true television before the Royal Institution of Great Britain, following developments on the first prototype in his laboratory in Hastings in 1924. In 1939 Baird demonstrated colour television, and had reportedly developed stereoscopic television by April 1946.
17/4/1946, George Kohler, German biologist, was born (died 1995).
4/12/1945, T H Morgan, US biologist, died aged 79.
30/4/1944, Pre-fabricated houses went on show in London. 500,000 of them were planned as temporary housing for those who had lost their homes to Luftwaffe bombs.
23/2/1944, Leo Hendrik Baekeland, Belgian-born American chemist, inventor of a plastic called Bakelite, died.
10/6/1943. The ball point pen was patented by its inventor, a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro. He had devised a prototype pen that would not blot in 1938, but fled to Paris and then Argentina in 1940, to escape the Nazis. In 1944 the RAF began using the pens as they were not affected by low air pressure in aircraft.
1942, Soft toilet paper first appeared in Britain. It was made at the St Andrews paper mill, Walthamstow, London.
22/12/1942, Franz Boas, anthropologist, born 9/7/1858 in Minden, Germany, died in New York.
3/10/1941. The aerosol was patented by L D Goodhue and W N Sullivan.
See Fashions – Clothing for the new fashions and cosmetics that the newly invented plastics and other artificial materials made possible.
23/1/1941, Nylon was first produced in Britain, at Coventry.
22/8/1940, Sir Oliver Lodge, pioneer of wireless telegraphy, died.
20/4/1940. The electron microscope was first demonstrated in America.
20/2/1939. The first washing machine went on show in London at the British Industries Fair.
22/10/1938, Chester F Carlson made the first photocopy image.
7/3/1938, David Baltimore, US biologist, was born.
24/2/1938, Manufacture began of the first commercially produced nylon product, toothbrush bristles, by DuPont in their Arlington, New Jersey, plant.
17/2/1938, John Logie Baird demonstrated a prototype colour television.
20/7/1937, Guglielmo Marconi, Italian scientist who pioneered the use of radio communications, died in Rome, aged 63.
29/4/1937, American chemist Wallace Hume Carothers committed suicide just two months after he patented nylon.
16/2/1937. Nylon was patented by the American chemical company E.I.Du Pont, having been developed under the direction of Dr Carothers. The material was first produced in Britain in Coventry on 23/1/1941. It was used for military needs only, mainly for parachute fabric; nylon stockings were made from December 1946.
19/7/1936, Herbert Boyer, biotechnologist, was born.
27/2/1936, Death of Ivan Pavlov (born 14/9/1849 in Ryazan, Russia). He is famous for his work on conditioned reflexes in dogs.
4/12/1935. The game of monopoly was born, invented by unemployed engineer Charles Darrow. It is the world’s most successful box game, having sold over 500 million sets.
26/2/1935. Radar (Radio Detection And Ranging) was tested at Daventry. Engineers had reported that passing aircraft distorted radio transmissions. The BBC transmitter at Daventry was used this day by Robert Watson Watt to detect a bomber 8 miles away at 10,000 feet. See 20/3/1934.
4/7/1934. The French physicist, Marie Curie, died. She was born in Poland, and pioneered the medical uses of radioactivity.
20/3/1934, Radar was first demonstrated in Kiel Harbour, Germany. See 26/2/1935.
1933, In Germany, Ernst Ruska built the first electron microscope that was more powerful than a light microscope, magnification x 12,000.
1933, In Britain, ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) made the first commercially-produced synthetic detergent.
19/5/1933, Edward de Bono, who developed the concept of lateral thinking, was born.
14/2/1933, The world’s first speaking clock became available to telephone users in the Paris area.
1932, In Germany the biochemist Hans Krebs described the citric acid cycle in cells, where sugars, fats and proteins are converted intio carboin dioxide, water and energy,
10/7/1932, Richard Threlfall, English chemist and engineer, died aged 70.
26/12/1931, Melvil Dewey, inventor of a classification system for library books, died.
1/5/1931. The Empire State Building was opened by President Hoover in New York. 102 storeys and 1,245 feet high, it had a 220 foot TV antenna added in 1950. This total height of 1,472 feet was reduced to 1,454 feet when the antenna was replaced in 1985. In 2001 the world’s tallest building was the twin Petronas Towers in Malaysia, 1,483 feet high.
11/2/1931, Sir Charles Pearsons, inventor of the first practical steam turbine, died in Kingston, Surrey.
8/9/1930, The first roll of Scotch Tape (Sellotape) was made. Although introducing a new product to US consumers during the recession was risky, in fact the mood of thriftiness at the time ensured the success of the product as it was used for mending and fixing things. The UK version, called Sellotape, was introduced in 1937.
3/8/1929, Emile Berliner, US inventor of the flat phonographic record, died.
30/10/1928, Static pictures were first transmitted by radio. Receivers required a special device called a Fultograph, attached to the radio set. This utilised a revolving drum upon which a stylus marked half-tone lines on special paper. The result was about as good as a mediocre picture in an underfunded local newspaper, and the device never became popular.
1927, The first petrol driven chainsaw was demonstrated in the forests of Thuringia, Germany. This greatly speeded up wood harvesting and forest clearance.
31/12/1927, The use of the lance was abandoned by the British Army, except for ceremonial purposes.
16/10/1927, The first remnant of Peking Man, a tooth, was found by paleontologist Anders Birger Bohlin at Chou K'ou Tien (Zhoukoudian), under sponsorship of Davidson Black, who gave it the scientific name Sinanthropus pekinensis. More remains would be discovered over the next ten years, and reclassified as Homo erectus pekinensis, estimated to be more than 300,000 years old.
12/11/1927. The first automatic telephone exchange opened, in Holborn, London.
29/1/1927. In London the Park Lane Hotel opened, the first with en-suite bathrooms.
6/8/1926, The first LP record discs, at 33.3 rpm, went on sale.
27/1/1926. Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, aged 38, demonstrated the principle of transmitting moving images by radio. The demonstration was to members of the Royal Institution, at his workshop in Soho, London. He called this ‘television’.
30/10/1925. In his workshop in London, John Logie Baird achieved the first TV pictures using a dummy’s head. He then persuaded a 15 year old office boy, William Taynton, to sit in front of the camera to become the first live person captured on TV.
1924, Kleenex, the first face tissues sold in Western countries, was introduced (the Japanese had been using them for centuries).
12/2/1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first US President to deliver a speech on radio.
30/11/1924, Radio photographs were first transmitted from Britain to the USA.
1/4/1924. The first gramophone to automatically change records went on sale, produced by HMV.
1920, The word ‘robot’ (worker) was coined by Czech playwright Karel Capek.
27/3/1923, Sir James Dewar, Scottish scientist, inventor of the vacuum flask, died aged 80.
23/2/1893, The diesel engine was patented by Rudolf Deisel.
2/8/1922. Death of Alexander Graham Bell, aged 75, at his home near Baddock, Nova Scotia. He was born on 3/3/1847 and patented the telephone on 7/3/1876. Many others had been working on the idea of sending speech by wire but Bell was the first to succeed. With his assistant Thomas Walsop, Bell began making improvements to the telegraph system, and formed the Bell Telephone Company in 1872. Bell also invented the photophone transmission of sound, precursor of fibre-optics, as well as techniques of teaching speech to the deaf.
14/2/1922. Marconi began first regular radio broadcasts from England (Writle, Essex). This invention had been patented by Marconi on 22/6/1896. See 14/11/1922.
1921, The first polygraph (lie detector) was built, by John Larson of the Berkely Police Department, California.
28/8/1919, Sir Godfrey Hounsfield, who invented the EMI scanner and winner of the Nobel prize for psychology in 1979, was born.
14/4/1917, Dr Zamenof, Polish linguist and inventor of Esperanto, died.
24/11/1916, Sir Hiram Maxim, English-born US inventor of the machine gun in 1883, died in London.
15/9/1916. Tanks went into battle for the first time, for the British Army at the battle of Flers on the Somme. They were invented by Sir Ernest Swinton, weighed 30 tons, and travelled at 4mph. It was hoped they would break the stalemate of trench warfare. Some German soldiers fled, thinking the Devil had come. The tank forces achieved their objective but infantry reserves could not arrive in time to consolidate the successes.
19/2/1916, Ernst Mach, Austrian scientist after whom the speed of sound in air is named, died the day after his 78th birthday.
6/9/1915. The first military tank, the No.1 Lincoln, modified and renamed Little Willie, had its first run.
21/3/1915, Frederick Winslow Taylor, the inventor of modern scientific time-management, died.
29/7/1914, The first test call was made on the new transcontinental telephone line between New York and San Francisco.
1913, 1) Formica was first produced, initially as a substitute ‘for-mica’. Mica being used for electrical insulation. Formica is made by compressing layers of paper impregnated with phenolic acid. Formica initially was always black or brown, but in the 1920s coloured versions became available, and were used for ‘modern’ furniture coveriings. It was easy to clean and water=resistant.
(2) The Brillo pad was patented and first sold. It was produced in response to complaints about how difficult it was to clean the aluminium pans which were becoming popular at that time.
(3) Richard Willstatter discovered the composition of chlorophyll. In the US, E McCollum isolated vitamin A.
20/8/1913. Harry Brearley of Sheffield cast the first stainless steel.
29/4/1913, The improved version of the zip fastener, as we have it today, was patented by a Swedish engineer, Gideon Sundback, from New Jersey.
17/6/1912. Discovery of the production of synthetic rubber on a commercial scale.
1911, Advances in telegraphic technology meant that a message could be sent from New York to London in 30 seconds, at a cost just 0.5% of the 1866 level.
31/12/1911. Marie Curie received her second Nobel prize, unprecedented in the history of the award.
27/8/1910. Thomas Edison, in New Jersey, demonstrated talking movie pictures for the first time in his New Jersey laboratory. He used a device that was part phonograph, part camera, to record sounds and pictures simultaneously. He predicted that moving pictures with sound in colour would soon be possible.
12/5/1910, Dorothy Hodgkin, British chemist, was born (died 1994).
9/2/1910, J L Monod, French biochemist, was born (died 1976).
7/5/1909, Edwin Land, American inventor of the Polaroid lens and the instant camera, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
28/2/1909, Professor Linus Pauling, American chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize winner, was born.
29/2/1908, Onnes, a Dutch scientist in Leyden, announced he had liquefied helium.
1907, 1) The first electric washing machine was produced; the Thor, designed by Alva J Fisher of the USA.
2) The first clothes washing powder was launched in Dusseldorf, Germany. It was called Persil, from two of its active ingredients, perborate and silicate.
17/12/1907, Lord Kelvin, physicist and inventor, died.
6/6/1907. Persil washing powder went on sale for the first time, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
1/12/1906. The world’s first purpose-built picture palace, the Cinema Omnia Pathe, opened in Paris.
17/10/1906. First transmission of a picture by telegraph.
8/2/1906, Birth of Chester Carlson, who invented the photocopier.
1/7/1905, Albert Einstein propounded the Theory of Relativity.
14/1/1905, Ernst Abbe, German physicist (born 1840) died in Jena.
31/10/1904. The radio valve was invented by John Fleming at London University.
4/8/1904. The first Atlantic weather forecast was received by radio telegraph.
14/4/1904. The first attempt to produce ‘talking pictures’ was made at the Fulham Theatre, London, using cinematography and a phonograph.
26/2/1903. Richard Gatling, US inventor of the rapid-fire gun, died aged 84.
1902, The first automatic tea maker was produced, set by an alarm clock for morning tea.
1902, A salamander became the first vertebrate to be ‘cloned’ using the technique of splitting a two-celled embryo.
31/10/1902, The Pacific Cable was completed at Suva.
30/9/1902. Rayon, or artificial silk, was patented by Samuel Slocum.
28/7/1902, Karl Popper, scientist, was born (died 1994)
23/6/1902. Albert Einstein began work in the Swiss Patent Office.
12/12/1901. The first transatlantic wireless message (the letter ‘S’, three dots in Morse, was continually transmitted) was sent from a164 foot aerial at Poldhu, Cornwall to Signal Hill, St John’s, Newfoundland, a distance of 1,800 miles, where it was received by Marconi on an aerial suspended from a kite. Three previous transmission attempts, in which the aerial had been raised by balloon, were unsuccessful, thwarted by bad weather.
10/12/1901. Nobel prize first awarded. Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel had invented a powerful new explosive, called dynamite. He thought that, if two armies could annihilate each other in an instant, war would become impractical, an idea similar to the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) concept that kept the peace during the Cold War of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Nobel made a fortune from his new explosive and when he died in 1896 he left most of that fortune to a Foundation to award prizes annually to those who in the preceding year have most benefitted mankind. The first Nobel Prize was worth US$ 30,000. They are awarded in Stockholm and Oslo, in the categories of literature, chemistry, physics, medicine and peace. The first ever Nobel Prize was shared between Jean Henri Dunant (founder of the Red Cross) and Frederic Passy (founder of the French Society for the Friends of Peace).
1/12/1901. King Camp Gillette patented his first safety razor..
15/11/1901. The first hearing aid, the Acousticon, was patented by Miller Reese Hutchinson of New York.
30/8/1901. Scotsman Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.
8/8/1901, Ernest Lawrence, US physicist who invented the first subatomic particle accelerator and the first colour TV tube, and won the Nobel Physics prize in 1939, was born.
28/2/1901, Dr Linus Pauling, American biochemist and twice winner of the Nobel Prize, was born in Portland, Oregon.
6/2/1901. Paris installed the first public telephones at railway stations.
1900, The revolver was invented by JM Browning.
1900, The paper clip was patented by Johann Vaaler, a Norwegian working in Germany.
10/12/1900. The first Nobel prizes were awarded.
16/4/1900. The world’s first book of stamps was issued, in the USA.
16/8/1899. Death of the German chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, inventor of the Bunsen burner.
12/1/1899, Paul Muller, the Swiss chemist who formulated DDT, was born.
15/3/1898, Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of a process for converting cast iron into steel in 1856, died aged 85.
1897, CTR Wilson invented the Cloud Chamber, for the study of radioactive decay.
12/6/1897, Carl Elsener took out a patent for the Swiss Army Knife.
12/1/1897, Sir Isaac Pitman, who invented phonetic shorthand in 1837, died in Somerset aged 84.
12/12/1896, Guigliemo Marconi gave his first public demonstration of radio, at Tonybee Hall, east London.
10/12/1896. Alfred Bernhardt Nobel, Swedish chemist who invented dynamite, died in San Remo, Italy. See 14/7/1867.
2/6/1896, Marconi was granted patent no.12039 for his system of communication using radio waves. The maximum communications range was then about 12 miles.
22/12/1895, The physicist Wilhelm Roentgen made a radiograph (X-ray photograph) of his wife’s hand.
8/11/1895. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X rays, during an experiment at the University of Wurtzburg. He made the first radiograph, or X-ray, of his wife’s hand, on 22/12/1895.
22/3/1895, The first demonstration of celluloid cinema film was given in Paris by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.
15/4/1894, The Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac died (born 24/4/1817). He researched on atomic weights and isotopes, and explored the chemistry of the rare earths.
14/4/1894, Edison’s kinetoscope, or moving pictures, were shown to the public for the first time.
30/1/1894. Charles King of Detroit received a patent for the pneumatic hammer.
5/11/1892, John Haldane, pioneer in genetic research, was born.
15/3/1892. The world’s first ‘escalator’ was installed at Coney Island, New York. This had a continuous sloping surface. It was called the ‘Reno inclined elevator’. The American inventor Charles A Wheeler patented the first escalator with flat steps on 2/8/1892.
15/4/1891. Thomas Edison publicly demonstrated his ‘kinetoscope’, or moving picture machine, in New York.
15/3/1891, Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, engineer, died.
10/3/1891, US undertaker Almon Brown Strowger patented the Strowger Switch, enabling automated dialling. He was motivated by the fact that the wife of a rival undertaker worked at the local phone exchange, and was diverting calls for his business to her husband.
7/5/1890, James Nasmyth, inventor of the first steam hammer, died in London.
17/2/1890, Christopher Sholes, American inventor of the typewriter, died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
23/11/1889, The first jukebox was installed, in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco.
11/10/1889, James Joule, who established the First Law of Thermodynamics, died.
13/8/1889. The coin operated phone was patented in the USA by William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut.
31/3/1889. The 300 metre Eiffel Tower was completed, in time for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, and opened by Premier Tirard on 6/5/1889.. Many people said it was ugly.
7/11/1888, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born. In 1931 he won the Nobel Physics Prize for his discovery of the changing wavelengths of light when it passed through a transparent material.
30/10/1888, The first patent for a ball point pen was issued to the American, John H Loud.
4/9/1888, George Eastman, founder of the Kodak film company, patented the first camera film roll.
13/8/1888. Birth of television pioneer John Logie Baird in Helensburgh, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.
16/5/1888, Emile Berliner demonstrated the first gramophone, to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
6/10/1887, Le Corbusier, who promoted the idea of a house as a ‘machine for living’, was born in Switzerland.
26/9/1887, The first gramophone player, invented by Emile Berliner, a German immigrant living in Washington DC, was patented.
22/1/1887, Sir Joseph Whitworth, the engineer who standardised screw threads, died at Monte Carlo.
1885, Two-celled seas urchins were split into single cells, which developed into the first pair of genetically-identical ‘cloned’ organisms.
26/3/1885, The first cremation in modern times, of Mrs Pickersgill, took place at Woking.
13/10/1884. Greenwich was adopted as the universal time meridian from which world longitude is calculated.
13/3/1884, Standard time zones were established in the USA.
6/1/1884, Gregor Mendel, Augustine monk and botanist who pioneered the study of genetics, died in Brunn, Austria, aged 62.
17/2/1883, The vacant / engaged toilet sign was patented by Mr Ashwell of Herne Hill, London.
19/4/1882. Charles Darwin, who developed his theory of evolution, died aged 73 near Orpington, Kent. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
9/11/1881, Dr Herbert Thomas Kalmus, US inventor of Technicolor, was born.
30/8/1881. Clement Ader of Germany patented the first stereo system, for a telephonic broadcasting service.
15/1/1880. The first telephone directory in Britain was published by the London Telephone Company. It contained 255 entries.
4/11/1879. James R Ritty of Dayton, Ohio patented the first cash register. Pilfering by bartenders from Ritty’s saloon so undermined his health that he went on a sea voyage to Europe to recover. On board the ship, Ritty saw a machine that recorded the number of revolutions made by the ship’s propellers, which gave him the initial idea. In 1884 he formed the National Cash Register Company.
6/9/1879, The first British telephone exchange opened, in Lombard Street, London.
27/8/1879, Sir Rowland Hill, pioneer of the postal service, died. He devised the Penny Post in 1840.
14/3/1879. Albert Einstein, physicist and mathematician, was born in Ulm, Bavaria, to Jewish parents.
19/2/1878. Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.
14/1/1878. Queen Victoria was given a demonstration of Alexander Graham Bell’s new invention, the telephone, at Osborne House.
22/12/1877. Liquid oxygen was made for the first time, in Geneva.
11/12/1877, Englishman Eadward Muybridge, photographer of the American West, used a novel photographic technique to resolve a bet made by the Governor of California, rail magnate Leland Stanford. Stanford believed that all four legs of a racehorse left the ground simultaneously as it galloped. Muybridge proved Stanford right by stringing tripwires across a racecourse and galloping a horse down it, setting off camera shots to obtain a series of still shots. Muybridge then used the novel technique to study dancers and runners in action.
6/12/1877. Thomas Alva Edison made the first recording of a human voice. He spoke Mary had a little lamb into his phonograph. Edison was working to improve the efficiency of the telegraph transmitter, and noticed that the machine gave off sounds resembling the spoken word when played at high speed. He wondered if he could record a telephone message. He attached the diaphragm of a telephone receiver to a needle, using the needle to prick paper to record a message. He then progressed to using a cylinder wrapped in tinfoil instead of paper, which succeeded in playing back the nursery rhyme he had recorded.
17/9/1877, William Henry Fox Talbot, English pioneer of photography, died at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.
19/9/1876. Melville R Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan patented the Bissell carpet sweeper, the first practical way to sweep carpets of dust. He suffered from headaches caused by his allergy to straw dust which came from the straw packing he used in his china shop. He invented a sweeper with a sprung brush roller that responded to pressure on the handle.
17/5/1876, Nikolaus August Otto patented the world’s first four-stroke internal combustion engine. However the patent office uncovered earlier work done on the four stroke cycle by Frenchman Alphonse Beau de Rochas in 1862. Otto’s patent was deemed invalid and others were free to use his idea. Karl Benz refined the four stroke engine and made it run not on gas but liquid fuel, kerosene or gasoline, thereby making the engine mobile.
10/3/1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first telephone message to his assistant, from 5 Exeter Place, Boston, Massachusetts. The words were ‘Come here Watson, I want you’.
7/3/1876. The first telephone was patented by the American Alexander Graham Bell, who was born on 3/3/1847. Bell was just a few hours ahead of a similar patent by Elisha Gray.
18/2/1876. A direct telegraph link was set up between Britain and New Zealand.
19/10/1875, Sir Charles Wheatstone, English physicist who pioneered telegraphy, died in Paris.
23/7/1875, Isaac Singer, American inventor of the modern sewing machine, died in Torquay, Devon.
25/4/1874, Guglielmo Marconi, Italian scientist and radio pioneer, was born in Bologna.
26/8/1873, Birth of Lee de Forest, inventor of the Audion vacuum tube which made broadcasting possible.
2/8/1875, Britain’s first roller skating rink opened, in Belgravia, London.
1873, James Clerk-Maxwell published his book, Electricity and Magnetism, explaining the transmission theough space of electrical forces and radiation.
1873, The principle of photo-electric cells was discovered by Mr May who noticed that the resistance of selenium varied according to the illumination it was under. In 1888 Mr W Hallwachs found that zinc lost its charge when under ultra-voilet illumination.
14/12/1873, Louis Agassiz, who developed the theory of Ice Ages, died –see 28/5/1807, when born.
2/4/1872, Samuel Morse, American inventor of the Morse Code for telegraphy, died in New York City aged 80.
18/10/1871, Charles Babbage, pioneer of computing, died.
23/11/1869, Valdemar Poulson, Danish inventor of the tape recorder, was born.
15/6/1869, A thermoplastic called celluloid, a technically-improved version of the plastic invented by the British chemist Alexander Parkes, was patented by American inventor John Wesley Hyatt of Albany, New York.
10/3/1869, The first scientifically-designed cremator was used, in Padua, Italy, by Dr L Brunetti to cremate the body of a 35-year-old woman
21/10/1868, Sir Ernest Swinton, one of the inventors of the military tank, was born in Bamgalore, India.
11/2/1868, Jean Foucault, French physicist who invented the gyroscope, died in Paris.
3/10/1867, Elias Howe, inventor of the first practical sewing machine in 1846, died. He made US$ 2 million from his invention.
16/7/1867, Joseph Monier of Paris patented reinforced concrete.
14/7/1867. Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel first demonstrated the use of dynamite in Merstham Quarry, Redhill, Surrey.
1/4/1867. In Paris, the World Fair opened. The first hydraulic lift was demonstrated by the engineer Edoux, and Japanese art was on show in the West for the first time.
27/7/1866, The Atlantic Telegraph Cable was completed.
7/11/1865, The Repeating Light Company of Springfield, Massachusetts manufactured the first pocket lighter.
24/10/1865, Nobel was granted a patent in the USA for his new invention of dynamite.
19/12/1863. Frederick Walton of London patented linoleum.
14/11/1863. Leo Baekeland, US chemist who invented Bakelite, an early plastic, was born in Ghent, Belgium.
4/11/1862. Richard Gatling, in Indiana, invented a gun that could fire hundreds of rounds a minute using rotating barrels. Mounted on wheels, it had 10 parallel barrels and fired 1200 shots a minute.
19/10/1862, Auguste Lumiere was born. With his brother Louis, he developed the motion picture projector.
10/1/1862, Samuel Colt, who invented the Colt revolver in 1835, died at Hartford, Connecticut.
1861, The principle of dialysis was demonstrated for the first time, by Glasgow-born chemist Thomas Graham (1805-69). This led to the invention of the first kidney dialysis machine in 1943.
17/5/1861. The first colour photograph was exhibited at the Royal Institution, London.
8/4/1861, Elisha Graves Otis, American inventor of the first safe elevator in 1852, died in Yonkers, New York.
1860, The floor covering, linoleum, was invented in England by Frederick Walton.
12/10/1860, Elmer Sperry, prolific inventor, notably of the gyroscopic compass, was born in Corland, New York State.
14/9/1860, Niagara Falls was illuminated for the first time.
1859, Glasgow opened its new water supply from Loch Katrine; this was a significant developemtn in the hygiene of the city.
24/11/1859. Charles Darwin, born 12/2/1809, published The Origin of the Species.
27/8/1859. The world’s first oil well was drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin Drake of Seneca Oil. Oil had been known in this area for 300 years. It used to seep from the ground and was used for curing many ailments from blindness to rheumatism, colds, coughs, sprains, and baldness. It was also skimmed from creeks and used for lighting, although it gave off a foul smell when burned. Chemists turned the oil into a better lighting fuel. Drake drilled down 69 feet and got a steady flow of 25 barrels a day from his well. By the end of the year the well once called ‘Drake’s Folly’ had produced 2,000 barrels, and other prospectors joined in the search for more oil.
23/8/1859, The first hotel elevator was installed in the 6 storey building of Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.
12/7/1859. (1) William Goodale patented the paper bag manufacturing machine.
(2) Robert Stephenson, engineer, died.
15/5/1859, Pierre Curie, French scientist, was born in Paris. He was the son of a physician.
28/7/1858. The first use of fingerprinting. William Herschel, a British civil servant in India, took the entire palm print of a Bengali hired to surface roads, to ensure that he did not back out of the contract.
1857, The first mass production of toilet paper began, in the USA, pioneered by Joseph Cayetty. Toilet paper had been in use at the Imperial Court of 14th century China, but most people in 19th century Europe and America simply used torn up newspaper. Cayett’s paper, at 50 cents for 500 sheets, was not cheap; it was impregnated with aloe as a supposed cure for piles. Gradually the cost fell and it became universally used. The term ‘toilet paper’ was first used by the New York Times in 1888.
1/7/1858. Charles Darwin first presented his theory of evolution, to the Linnean Society.
18/6/1858, Charles Darwin received a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, who had formulated a theory of evolution through survival of the fittest. This was close to Darwin’s ideas in his as yet unpublished Origin of the Species.
23/3/1857, The first passenger lift was installed by Elisha Otis in a department store, in the 5-storey building of E V Haughwout and Co on Broadway, New York. The elevator system cost US$ 300.
10/7/1856, Nikola Tesla was born. His father, the Reverend Milutin Tesla, was a Greek Orthodox priest, and his mother Duka Mandic was the daughter of a priest who made handcraft tools.
20/3/1856, Frederick Winslow Taylor, the inventor of modern scientific time-management, was born.
17/10/1855, Henry Bessemer patented a steel-making process.
11/4/1855, London’s first six ‘pillar boxes’ were installed, and were painted green.
5/1/1855, King Camp Gillette, American inventor of the safety razor, was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
27/9/1854, The Lady Isabella waterwheel at Laxey, Isle of Man was completed. It was the largest in the UK, at 72 foot 6 inches in diameter, and was once used for draining a lead mine.
12/7/1854. George Eastman, USA photographic pioneer who founded Kodak, was born in Waterville, New York State. (see 7/5/1888).
13/6/1854, Sir Charles Parsons, engineer who invented the steam turbine, was born in London.
20/9/1853, Elisha Graves Otis opened a factory in New York State for the production of the first modern lifts.
17/3/1853, Death of Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who coined the term Doppler effect to explain the apparent change of frequency of a wave when the source is moving relative to the observer.
23/11/1852. Britain’s first pillar box was erected, in St Helier on Jersey.
15/10/1852, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, founder of the gymnastic movement (Turnverein) in Germany, died at Freybug aged 74.
2/10/1852, Lord Ramsay, who discovered the inert gases, was born in Glasgow.
11/2/1852. The first flushing public toilet for women opened in Fleet Street, London. The cost was 2d. See 2/2/1852.
2/2/1852, The first public convenience for men opened in Fleet Street, London. See 11/2/1852.
6/1/1852, Louis Braille, who invented the raised-dot system of writing used by the blind, died.
10/12/1851, Melvil Dewey, US librarian who devised a system of library cataloguing, was born in Adams Centre, New York State.
12/7/1851, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, French pioneer in photography, died.
6/5/1851, Linus Yale patented the Yale lock.
10/4/1849. Walter Hunt of New York patented the safety pin. He made it in only three hours, then sold the rights for $400 to pay off debts.
17/3/1849. Elastic bands patented, by Stephen Perry’s London rubber company.
1848, William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, established absolute zero as -273 C.
3/3/1847, The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was born in Edinburgh. He was the son of a teacher of elocution.
10/9/1846, Elias Howe received the patent for his sewing machine. It could sew at 250 stitches per minute, five times faster than any human could.
27/3/1845, Wilhelm von Roentgen, German scientist and discoverer of X-Rays, was born in Lennep, Prussia.
27/7/1844, John Dalton, chemist and physicist, died. He developed modern atomic theory and also made advances in meteorology.
24/5/1844. The inventor Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message, from his home in Washington to a friend in Baltimore, 40 miles away. The message was “What hath God wrought”.
1843, The typewriter was invented by Thurber.
25/7/1843, Charles MacIntosh, the chemist who patented waterproof fabric in 1823, died in Glasgow.
25/3/1843. The first tunnel under the Thames, the 1300 foot Wapping Tunnel, linking Wapping and Rotherhithe, opened. Work had begun on 2/3/1825.
1842, Sir William Herschel, astronomer, patented the blueprinting process, or cyanotyping. A sheet of paper was coated in chemical, dired to a bronze colour, then left in contact with the drawing to be copied under glasss in the sunlight. The paper turned blue with a white image of the drawing lines. The process was cheap, the prints lomg-lasting, and could be done by anybody.
1842, Engineer John A Roebling invented wire rope. This proved insidpensable for constructions such as New York’s Brooklyn Bridge.
12/11/1842, The physicist and Nobel Prize winner Lord Rayleigh was born at Witham, near Maldon, Essex.
18/10/1842. The first telegraph cable was laid by Samuel Morse. It ran from Governor’s Island to The Battery across New York Harbour, and lasted only 24 hours; 200 feet of it was wrecked when a ship weighed anchor.
20/9/1842. Sir James Dewar, Scottish physician and chemist, and inventor of the vacuum flask, was born at Kincardine on Forth, in Fife.
27/5/1842, The first public library was opened, in Frederick Street, Salford, Manchester.
30/9/1841. The stapler was patented by Samuel Slocum.
5/2/1840, Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor of the first fully automatic machine gun, was born in
23/1/1840, Ernst Abbe, German physicist, was born in Jena (died 1905).
20/8/1839, In Paris, LJM Daguerre demonstrated a way of capturing images on a metallic plate; the birth of photography.
2/1/1839, Frenchman Louis Daguerre took the first photograph of the Moon.
1/7/1838. Charles Darwin presented a paper on his evolutionary theory.
12/3/1838, Sir Henry Perkin, British chemist who synthesised the first artificial dye (aniline purple) was born.
18/2/1838, Ernst Mach, Austrian scientist, was born in Moravia.
6/1/1838. Samuel Morse first publicly demonstrated the telegraph.
1837, The significance of chlorophyll to plant photosytnthesis was realised by the French scientist Rene Joachim Henri Dutrochet, 61.
28/11/1837, John Wesley Hyatt, inventor of celluloid, was born in Starkey, New York State.
15/11/1837. Isaac Pitman’s stenographic shorthand, the first shorthand system, was published, price 4d.
25/8/1837. Henry William Crawford of London patented a process for galvanising iron.
25/2/1836, Samuel Colt was granted a patent for his new revolver firearm.
23/12/1834. The English architect Joseph Hansom patented his safety cab, known as the Hansom Cab.
18/4/1834. The world’s first launderette opened in Fort Worth, Texas.
5/7/1833, Nicorie Nie, pioneer in photography and creator of the first negative on paper,died.
1/1/1833, The first fire brigade to have full time permanent staff was established in London.
15/12/1832, Gustave Eiffel, French engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower, built for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, was born in Dijon.
27/12/1831. The Admiralty survey ship The Beagle left Plymouth with Charles Darwin on board on a scientific voyage around the world. This led to Darwin’s controversial book, The Origin of the Species. Darwin was inspired by Professor Henslow (1796-1861), a renowned mineralogist at Cambridge, 13 years older than Darwin, who was elected unopposed to the Chair of Botany at Cambridge when that position fell vacant. Henslow supported ‘evolutionary’ theories, although retaining a strong religious faith.
16/5/1831, David Hughes, English-American inventor of the teleprinter and microphone, was born in London.
12/2/1831, J W Goodrich of Boston, USA, invented the rubber galosh.
3/12/1830, Frederick, Baron Leighton, President of the Royal Society, was born.
18/5/1830. Edwin Budding of Stroud signed an agreement for the manufacture of his invention, the lawnmower. The first customer was Regents Park Zoo. See 27/4/1828.
18/12/1829, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet Lamarck, French scientist, died aged 75. He believed that extra usage of some feature of an animal strengthened it, and this enhancement could be passed down the generations.
29/5/1829. Sir Humphrey Davy, born 17/12/1778, inventor of the safety lamp (see 9/1/1816) died in Geneva.
1827, Brownian Motion, the rapid vibration of tiny particles suspended in water, was first noted by the botanist Robert Brown.
17/7/1827, Sir Frederick Augustus, English chemist, was born.
26/6/1827, Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule in 1779, died in Bolton.
7/4/1827, Friction matches, the invention of Stockton on Tees chemist John Walker, went on sale. In 1826 Walker was mixing antimony and chlorate of potash with a stick; when he rubbed the stick to clean it, it caught fire. Such matchsticks would catch fire if rubbed on any rough surface, even each other, and in 1855 the first safety match was by the Swedish firm of Johan Edvard Lundstrom. In Britain, Bryant and May bought the rights to these matches where they went on sale in August 1855.
1826, First recorded usage of the word ‘steam’ as a metaphor for power, energy, progress.
1826. First directly fixed image with a camera onto a pewter plate was produced – see the year 1813.
3/11/1825, The Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded.
8/1/1825, Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin, which made separating of fibre and seed easier, died in New Haven, Connecticut.
1824, English physician Peter Mark Roger discovered that the human eye can retain an image for a fraction of a second after it has seen it. This became the basis for converting a rapid series of still images into an apparently animated film which the brain sees as continuous motion.
21/10/1824, Portland Cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin of Wakefield, Yorkshire.
26/6/1824, The physicist and mathematician Lord Kelvin was born in Belfast as William Thomson.
24/7/1824, The result of the first public opinion poll was published in the Harrisburg Pennsylvanian. The poll was conducted at Wilmington to determine voters’ intentions in the 1824 Presidential election.
30/10/1823, Edmund Cartwright, inventor of the power loom in 1785, died at Hastings, Sussex, aged 80.
17/6/1823, Charles Macintosh patented a waterproof material for clothes.
1822, Arago determined the velocity of sound.
22/7/1822, Gregor Mendel, Austrian monk and botanist who discovered the principles of modern genetics, was born at Heinzendorf near Odrau, in Austrian Silesia.
16/2/1822. Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, founder of a new science called eugenics, was born in Birmingham, England. Among his ideas was the systematic creation of a superior race of human beings, an idea later adopted by Hitler.
1821, Fraunhofer invented the diffraction grating.
23/9/1819, Death of Armand Hippolyte, French physicist who was the first to measure the speed of light. Methods to find this speed include, 1) timing the eclipses of Jupiter’s satellites when at closest and furthest point from Earth, 2) Adjusting the speed of a rotating cog wheel so it turns just one tooth-breadth whilst light travels to a distant mirror and back, and 3) Send a light beam from a source to a rotating mirror and thence to a distant mirror and back, by which time the first mirror has rotated a little, and see how the beam direction has changed.
18/9/1819, Jean Foucault, French scientist, was born in Paris.
9/7/1819, Elias Howe, inventor of the first practical sewing machine, was born in Spencer, Massachusetts.
28/3/1819, The engineer Sir Joseph William Bazalgette was born.
14/2/1819. American inventor Christopher Latham Stokes, who invented an early typewriter, was born near Mooresburg, Pennsylvania.
24/12/1818, The physicist James Joule was born at Salford, Manchester.
12/9/1818, Richard Gatling, US inventor of the revolving battery gun, was born in Winton, North Carolina.
17/2/1818, Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun patented the Draisine , forerunner of the bicycle.
9/1/1816. Sir Humphrey Davy’s safety lamp used in a coal mine for the first time.
31/10/1815, Sir Humphrey Davy patented the miner’s safety lamp.
5/3/1815, Friedrich Mesmer, Germen doctor who developed the theory of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, for curing diseases, died aged 80.
9/12/1814, Death of Joseph Bramah, English inventor of the beer pump.
25/8/1814, Benjamin Thompson, scientist who researched heat (born in North Woburn, Massachusetts, on 26/3/1753), died near Paris, France.
19/7/1814, Samuel Colt, the inventor of the Colt revolver (patented 1835), was born.
1/10/1813, Following the explosion at Brandling Main colliery (15/5/1812) the Sunderland Society was formed, to promote mine safety.
19/1/1813. Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of the blast furnace for converting cast iron to steel, was born at Charlton, Hertfordshire.
4/1/1813, Isaac Pitman, who invented phonetic shorthand, was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
1813 Lithography (early photography) became fashionable in France. J N Niepce (born 7/3/1765) conducted experiments to produce light-dependent images, which he called Heliography. In 1826 he produced the first directly fixed image with a camera onto a pewter plate.
15/5/1812, Mine explosion at Brandling Main (Felling) colliery, Sunderland. See 1/10/1813.
1811, Amedeo Avogadro proposed what ios now known as Avogadro’s Law – that equal volumes of gas at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules.
27/11/1811, Isaac Singer, US inventor and sewing machine manufacturer, was born in Pittsdown, New York State.
3/8/1811, Elisha Graves Otis, US inventor, was born in Halifax, Vermont.
11/3/1811, The Luddite Riots began as textile workers protested against new technology replacing jobs.
24/2/1810, Henry Cavendish, English scientist who discovered the properties of hydrogen and other gases, died.
18/8/1809, Matthew Boulton, partner of James Watt, British engineer, died in Soho, London.
12/2/1809, Charles Darwin was born. His father, Robert Darwin, was a doctor and financier, and his mother, Susannah Darwin, was the daughter of pottery magnate Josiah Wedgewood.
4/1/1809, Louis Braille, French benefactor of the blind, was born in Coupvray, near Paris.
19/8/1808, James Nasymth, Scottish engineer who invented the first steam hammer, was born in Edinburgh.
28/5/1807, Louis Agassiz, who developed the theory of Ice Ages, was born in Motier en |Vully, Switzerland. His father, a Christian minister, wanted his son to become a medical doctor, although as a boy he showed a strong interest in zoology. Later, during his travels through the Alps, in 1836, he developed the theory that much of the Earth had once been underneath great ice sheets. He died on 14/12/1873.
28/1/1807. London’s Pall Mall became the first street in the world to be lit by gaslight. This was an initiative to publicise the new method of illumination by German migrant FA Winzer (later Anglicised to Winsor), and his company, the Gas Light and Coke Company, floated in 1812. In 1814 street gas lighting began in Westminister and by the end of 1816 London had 26 miles of gas mains. This rose to 122 miles by 1823 and 600 miles by 1834. By 1823 52 English towns had gas lighting and by 1859 Britain had nearly 1,000 gas works. The gas industry produced many useful by-products such as ammonia, naphtha and crude tar.
7/10/1806. Ralph Wedgewood of London patented carbon paper. In the 1820s Wedgwood had a successful business selling his invention at 4 Rathbone Place, near Oxford Street, London.
20/12/1805, Thomas Graham, chemist whose 1829 paper on gaseous diffusion introduced Graham’s Law, was born in Glasgow.
30/4/1804, The British used shrapnel in warfare for the first time, against the Dutch in Suriname.
21/12/1803, Sir Joseph Whitworth, engineer, was born.
6/2/1802, Sir Charles Wheatstone, physicist and pioneer of telegraphy, was born in Gloucester.
1801, Ultra-violet radiation was discovered in 1801 when the German physicist Johann Wilhelm Ritter observed that invisible rays just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum darkened silver chloride-soaked paper more quickly than violet light itself. He called them ‘oxidizing rays’ to emphasize chemical reactivity and to distinguish them from ‘heat rays’, discovered the previous year at the other end of the visible spectrum.
1799, The Rosetta Stone wad discovered in Egypt.
4/12/1798. Luigi Galvani, Italian scientist who researched animal electricity, died.
3/12/1795. Sir Rowland Hill, who pioneered the postal service, was born in Kidderminster.
20/7/1793, Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin, a machine for separating cotton fibre from seeds.
3/8/1792, Sir Richard Arkwright, English inventor who developed a mechanical cotton spinning process, died.
21/6/1791, The Ordnance Survey, Britain’s mapping service, was created. On this day a payment of £373, 14 shillings was made to Jesse Ramsden for the construction of a ‘great theodolite’, 3 feet in diameter and weighing 200 pounds (90 kilogrammes) for the purpose of making precise military maps of Britain. The need for this had been foreseen in 1763 by William Roy, amidst fears of invasion from France and a lack of reliable maps for the military. By 1784 UK-France relations had improved and cross-Channel efforts were being made to establish the longitude and latitude of Greenwich and Paris. In 1800 the first cartographical unit of the British Army, the Corps of Royal Military Draughtsmen, was formed, based at the Tower of London.
27/4/1791, Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse Code, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
2/3/1791. The worlds first optical telegraph, or semaphore machine, was unveiled in Paris.
17/7/1790, The sewing machine patented by Thomas Saint, cabinet maker of Greenhill Rents, St Sepulchre parish, London.
18/11/1789, Louis Daguerre, French artist and pioneer of photography, was born near Paris.
1785, Watt devised the ‘horsepower’ as a unit of work.
23/5/1785, Benjamin Franklin announced his invention of bifocals.
9/5/1785. Joseph Bramah patented the beer pump handle.
1784, The Inverse Square Law of Magnetism was announced by Coulomb.
17/3/1782, The Swiss physicist Edward Bernoulli died.
9/10/1779. The first Luddite riots began in Manchester against the introduction of machinery for spinning cotton.
17/12/1778, Sir Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, was born in Penzance (died 1829). He was the son of a woodcarver. He also discovered the elements sodium, calcium, barium, magnesium, potassium and strontium by passing electricity through molten metal compounds.
6/12/1778, Joseph Gay-Lussac, French scientist, was born in St Leonard.
22/4/1778, James Hargreaves, inventor of the ‘spinning jenny’ in 1764, died in Nottingham.
10/1/1778, Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who devised the modern system of naming and classifying plants, died in Uppsala.
30/4/1777, Carl Friedrich Gauss, scientist, was born. His father, Gerhard Gauss, was a labourer and bricklayer, and his mother, Dorothea Gauss, was a maid.
24/3/1776, John Harrison, watchmaker and inventor of the chronometer, died in London.
1773, The achromatic lens was invented. It is made of glass of different refractive indeces, so refracts all colours of light equally.
27/1/1773, Death of Philippe Buache, cartographer who invented contour lines on maps.
30/4/1772, The first dial weighing machine was patented by John Clais in London.
17/8/1771. The Birmingham scientist Joseph Priestley discovered that oxygen is released from growing plants.
11/12/1769, In London, venetian blinds were patented by Edward Beran.
25/9/1769, The first recorded cremation in Britain. The body of Honoretta Pratt was burnt in her open grave at St Georges Burial Ground, London.
14/9/1769, Birth of Baron von Humboldt, German scientist who explored Central and South America, and founded the science of ecology.
26/5/1769. John Kay, Sir Richard Arkwright’s assistant, patented the Flying Shuttle to operate on Arkwright’s spinning frame. Arkwright was born at Preston, Lancashire, on 23/12/1732, the youngest of 13 children to a poor family. He became a barber in Bolton in around 1750. In 1767 he gave up this business to build a spinning frame. This was an improvement on Hargreave’s Spinning Jenny since it could spin threads of any degree of hardness or fineness, unlike the spinning jenny which could not spin any but fine thread. Now 20 or 30 threads could be spun with no more labour than was previously required to spin one thread.
29/12/1766, Charles Macintosh, inventor of waterproof fabrics, was born in Glasgow.
6/9/1766, John Dalton, English chemist was born in Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, Cumbria, the son of a Quaker weaver.
8/12/1765, Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin, which made cotton-growing much more profitable, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts.
15/5/1765, James Watt invented the condenser, effectively trebling the energy output of the existing Newcomen steam pumps. The earlier Newcomen engine pumped steam into a cylinder, forcing back a piston; the cylinder was then sprayed with cool water, condensing the steam and creating a vacuum that pulled the piston back. Alternately heating and cooling the cylinder was inefficient. Watt’s idea was to attach a separate chamber off the main cylinder into which the steam could be allowed to enter, and cooled there by water, again creating the vacuum that pulled the piston back again. The main cylinder could be kept hot, saving considerable energy. The energy content of Britain’s coal reserves was effectively trebled.
7/3/1765, Joseph Niepce, French doctor who produced the first photograph from nature using a camera obscura, pewter plates, and an 8 hour exposure, was born.
31/3/1763, Abraham Darby (Junior), ironmaster, died.
1760, Black discovered latent heat of fusion and vapourisation, and specific heat.
22/4/1760. The first pair of roller skates were seen.
14/9/1759, The earliest dated English board game, A Journey Through Europe, or The Play of Geography, invented by John Jeffries, was sold by him at his London home.
21/8/1754, William Murdock, inventor of coal-gas lighting in 1792, was born at Auchinlek, Ayrshire.
3/12/1753, Samuel Crompton, inventor of the Spinning Mule which revolutionised the textiles industry, was born at Firwood, near Bolton. He was the son of a farmer.
3/9/1752. The date changed this day to 14/9/1752 with the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar. See 5/4/1753. See also 5/10/1582, start of Gregorian calendar. Crowds of people protested, believing their lives had been ‘shortened’ by 11 days (days 3-13 September 1752 inclusive did not exist). The old calendar had a leap year every 4th year, and therefore was 365.25 days long. However the calendar had now got out of step with the real year. The new calendar omitted leap years every century, unless the year was divisible by 400.
31/7/1752. The oldest zoo in the world opened, in Vienna.
1/1/1752, Officially the first ‘new year’ to fall on 1st January; previously the new year had begun on 25th March.
13/4/1748, Joseph Bramah, inventor, was born.
1/8/1744, The Chevalier de Lamarck, naturalist, was born.
25/4/1744, Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer who devised the Centigrade temperature scale in 1742, died.
14/2/1744, Joseph Hadley, optician who invented the reflecting octant, ancestor of the sextant, died in East Barnet in Hertfordshire.
24/4/1743. Edward Cartwright, inventor of the power loom in 1785, was born at Marnham, Nottinghamshire.
28/5/1742. The first indoor swimming pool in England opened in London. The entrance fee was one guinea.
28/5/1738, Dr Joseph Guillotin, inventor of the Guillotine, was born.
9/9/1737, Luigi Galvani, Italian scientist and anatomist, was born in Bologna.
1736, Linnaeus classified the plant species.
16/9/1736, The German scientist Gabriel Fahrenheit, who devised a scale of temperature, died.
23/5/1734, Franz Anton Mesmer, Austrian doctor and founder of Mesmerism, was born near Constance. He was the son of a gamekeeper.
4/9/1733, The first lioness to be kept in Britain died of old age.
23/12/1732. Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born at Preston, the last of 13 children.
20/6/1726, The first municipal fire brigade was established, at Beverley, Yorkshire.
1720, Fahrenheit invented the mercury thermometer.
15/5/1718, The machine gun was patented by a London lawyer, James Puckle.
20/3/1717, Abraham Derby (senior), first ironmaster to use coke to smelt iron, died at Worcester.
12/3/1711, Abraham Darby, iron worker, was born.
23/5/1707, Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist who established principles for classifying living organisms, was born as Carl Linne, the son of the parish clergyman of Rashult.
3/3/1703, The scientist Robert Hooke died.
27/11/1701, Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer who devised the Centigrade scale of temperature in 1742, was born in Uppsala.
1700, Fahrenheit invented the alcohol thermometer.
2/7/1698, Thomas Savery patented an early steam engine. See also railways, 1699. This engine could be used to pump water out of mines, an increasing problem as miners went ever deeper.
8/6/1695, Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch scientist who invented the pendulum clock, died.
30/12/1691, Robert Boyle, scientist, died. He formulated Boyle’s Laws on gases.
1687, Newton stated the Laws of Motion of bodies.
24/5/1686. Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, the German physicist who invented the mercury thermometer, was born in Danzig.
17/9/1683, The Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Royal Society to report his discovery of bacteria. See also Medical.
1682, Isaac Newton proposed the Law of Gravitation. See also astronomy.
1678, Huygens developed the wave theory of light.
12/1/1665, French mathematician Pierre de Fermat (born 1601) died.
1666, Newton investigated the spectrum of light.
1665, Isaac Newton worked out a system of ‘fluxions’ – precursor of modern calculus. He also began work on a theory of gravity.
1663, Pascal showed that the pressure of a liquid depended on its depth and density.
1662, Robert Boyle first proposed Boyles Law for gases; that the volume of a gas varies inversely to the pressure.
28/11/1660, The Royal Society was founded in England.
1660, The microscope was invented by Leeuwenhoek.
1657, The pendulum clock was invented by Huygens.
1648, Air pressure was shown to decrease as altitude increases.
25/10/1647, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian mathematician and scientist who devised the barometer or ‘Torricellian Tube’, died in Florence.
1643, From Galileo’s note that ‘water would not rise in a pump above 18 cubits’; his pupil, Torricelli deduced the existence of air pressure. In 1648 Pascal demonstrated that air pressure falls with increasing altitude. This led to the invention of the barometer.
1640, The term ‘gas’ first used, by van Helmont.
18/7/1635, Robert Hooke, English scientist, was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.
25/1/1627, Robert Boyle, Irish chemist and physicist, was born at Lismore Castle, Munster, Eire.
19/6/1623. Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, was born in Clermont. He invented the first calculating machine; other research of his led to the invention of the syringe and the hydraulic press; and so to Pascal’s law of pressure.
1/1/1622, In the Gregorian Calendar, January 1 was declared the first day of the year, instead of March 25.
15/10/1608, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian mathematician and scientist who invented the barometer in 1643, was born in Faenza.
5/12/1594, Gerard Mercator, Flemish geographer and cartographer, died in Duisberg, aged 82. He projected the world map onto a flat surface using lines of longitude and latitude.
1590, Galileo discovered that all bodies fall at the same rate, regardless of their mass.
1581. An earthquake in the Italian town of Pisa set the great chandeliers in the church swinging. A 17 year old student called Galileo noticed that, timed by his own pulse, the time of each swing was constant regardless of the range of the swing.
24/2/1525. The Battle of Pavia. Pavia, held by the French, had been under siege by Spanish forces since October 1524. Italy itself was a territory being fought over by the rival powers of France, Germany, Turkey and Spain. The French under King Charles VIII defended Pavia with cavalry and cannon, but the Spanish had adopted the arquebus or hackenbushe, an early version of the handgun; this weapon replaced the Spanish crossbow. The arquebus meant an unskilled infantryman could kill a skilled knight and Pavia was the start of the dominance of the handgun as a military weapon. By the 1740s the Prussians had imporved their military technology to achieve a fire rate of 5 rounds per minute per soldier. The proportion of cavalry in European armies declined sharply, falling to one third in 1650, one quarter in 1750 and one sixth in 1810. However armies still needed large numbers of horses, to pull guns and supplies. These horses need large quantities of fodder; along with limited agricultural productivity this limited the capability of an army to fight and sustain itself in the field by requisitioning food. Campaigns and conquests could often only be undertaken from April until October, when grass grew; the winter break enabled defeated armies to regroup. This restriction on European invaders was especially acute in areas like Spain; in more fertile areas such as central Europe the fighting season was longer. An aggressor backed by naval power could also be resupplied by ship, if the battlefields were near the sea or large rivers.
24/5/1519. Leonardo Da Vinci died, at the Chateaux Cloux near Amboise, aged 67.
5/3/1512, Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer, was born in Flanders, as Gerhard Kremer.
24/12/1508, London houses received piped water for the first time.
1/7/1507, The earliest records of coal-mining at Nailsea, near Bristol. Coal was being transported to Yatton for household fireplaces. By the late 19th century coal mining had died out south of Bristol as the industry migrated to the richer seams of south Wales.
21/4/1503, The Battle of Cerignola. The Spanish under Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba defeated the French under the Duc de Nemoura, who was killed. This was the first battle considered to have been won by gunpowder and small arms.
1500, The pistol was invented.
1495, John Tate set up England’s first paper mill, at Hertford. Spain and Italy had such mills from the 13th century.
17/12/1493, Paracelsus, scientist and occultist, was born. He died on 24/9/1541.
3/2/1468, Johann Gutenberg (born ca. 1395), German inventor of printing from moveable type, died.
30/9/1442, Johannes Gutenberg’s Bible became the first book to be printed using moveable metal type.
1337, William Merlee of Oxford attemoted the first scientifically-based weather foreasts.
1286, A monk in Pisa is reported as having made the first pair of eye glasses – mentioned in a sermon of 1306.
851, Crossbows began to be used in France.
462, Birth of Aryabhata, Indian mathematician who wrote on the powers and roots of numbers.
360, Scrolls began to be replaced by books.
285, Pappus of Alexandria described ‘five machines’ in use.These were the cogwheel, lever, pulley, screw and wedge.
271, The compass began to be used in China.
250, Diophantes of Alexandria wrote the first known book on algebra.
60 AD, Hero of Alexandria invented the aeolopile (http://modelengines.info/aeolipile/), a rotating ball full of water with tangential vents that would spin when heated as the steam escaped. It was effectively an early steam engine, but was not put to any practical use.
50 AD, Romans learnt the use of soap, from the Gauls.
159 BCE, The first water clock (clepsydra), in Rome.
212 BCE, Archimedes reputed to have used a concave mirror to use the Sun’s rays to set fire to the Roman fleet.
220 BCE,Archimedes discovered the force of buoyancy in liquids.
230 BCE, Oil lamps introduced in Greece.
250 BCE, Parchment was produced, at Pergamum.
260 BCE, Archimedes knew of the Law of Moments and the principle of the lever.
265 BCE, Archimedes invented the Archimedes Screw, a device for raising water.
323 BCE, Euclid published his work ‘Elements’, the standard text on geometry.
545 BCE, Death of Thales of Miletus. He derived the ‘Thales Proposition’; that triangles over the diameter of a circle are always right-angled.
876 BCE, First known use of a symbol for zero, in India.
1400 BCE, First alphabets in use, in the Middle East.
1700 BCE, The Babylonians began using windmills to power irrigation.
3100 BCE, Cunieform writing developed in Mesopotamia; temple records and accounts kept.
4350 BCE, The horse was domesticated in Europe, providing agricultural power and transportation.
Appendix 2 – Computing
12/5/2017, A massive cyber-attack, the biggest in the world to date, hit almost 100 countries across the world. Computers were hit by ransomware, which encrypted their files and users could not recover them without paying several hundred pounds in Bitcoin. In the UK the NHS was badly affected; a vulnerability factor was the continued use of outdated software. The attack combined features of ransomware with a worm that enabled it to spread within computer networks. The identity of the attacker remains unknown.
2016, Google’s AlphaGo programme defeated Lee Sedol, a world Go champion.
2012, Google’s driverless cars succeeded in navigating autonomously through road traffic.
2011, Apple launched Siri, a voice-operated personal assistant that could answer questions, make recommendations, and carry out simple instructions such as ‘call home’.
2007, Google launched Translate, a statistical machine translation service.
14/2/2005, The video sharing website YouTube was started by three workers at PayPal.
4/2/2004, Mark Zuckerberg and some Harvard roommates launched a social networking site called Facebook.
28/4/2003, The Apple company launched the iTunes music store.
31/12/2001, Microsoft ended support for Windows 1.0, Windows 2x, Windows 3x, and Windows 95.
25/10/2001, Microsoft released Windows XP.
23/10/2001, Apple Computers released the iPod.
15/1/2001, Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, was launched.
14/8/2000, Microsoft released Windows ME (Millennium Edition).
3/4/2000, Microsoft was found guilty by a US court of breaking US anti-trust laws by attempting to monopolise the Internet browser market.
14/1/2000, The height of the Dot-Com bubble; the Dow Jones Index reached an all-time high of 11,792.98.
1/6/1999, Napster was released, enabling users to share music files and changing forever the music industry.
5/5/1999, Microsoft released Windows 98 Second edition.
26/3/1999, The Melissa worm attacked the Internet.
18/9/1998, ICANN, the Internet naming company, was formed.
7/9/1998, Google was founded.
25/6/1998, Microsoft released Windows 98 (first edition).
8/5/1998, The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the Microsoft Corporation, claiming it had abused its monopoly power by tying its Web browser, Internet Explorer, to its operating system, Windows.
10/2/1996, The computer programme Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov at chess, the first victory by a computer over a human.
24/8/1995, Microsoft launched Windows 5.
1994, QR (Quick Response) codes were invented by the Denso Wave company, to facilitate high speed scanning ofvehicle components.
15/12/1994, The Web browser Netscape 1.0 was launched.
25/8/1991, Linus Torvalds introduced the first version of the Linux operating system.
4/3/1991, A primitive version of the world wide web began operating.
16/8/1988, IBM introduced software for artificial intelligence.
19/1/1986, The first computer virus, called Brain, began to spread.
20/11/1985, Microsoft released its first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
1984, Dell Computers was started by Michael Dell, a 19-year old student at the University of Texas.
24/1/1984, The first Apple Macintosh computer went on sale.
30/11/1983, Microsoft Word was first released.
29/3/1983. The first laptop computer went on sale, in the USA.
5/3/1981, Clive Sinclair launched the XZX81 computer in the UK, at a price of £69.95 fully assembled.
1979, Bubble memory was invented. Using tiny magnetised areas, it could store the equivalent of a 40-page book on 215 square millimetres.
5/6/1977, Apple 2 computers first went on sale.
1/1977, The first succesful mass-market personal computer, the Commodore PET, became available to order; deliveries commenced later in the year.
26/11/1976, An obscure company called Microsoft was officially registered in the US State of New Mexico.
1/4/1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the Apple computer company. It sold its first Apple-1 computer in July 1976 for US$666.66, with 8 kB RAM.
1975, The first digital camera was constructed.
23/9/1974. The world’s first Ceefax service began, operated by the BBC.
1971, A small company called Intel released a microprocessor called the 4004. At 12 square millimetres it contained 2,300 transistors, with the gap between them measuring about 10,000 nanometres (billionths of a metre), the size of a red blood cell. In 2015 Intel was producing the Skylake chip, with the transistors just 14 nonometres apart, some 100 atoms across, smaller than the wavelength of visible light. However the continuous improvement in chip processing performance, known as Moore’s Law, may now (2016) be coming to an end as problems of heat and of electronic cross-talk between the closely packed tiny transistors rises.
1971, The first pocked calculators came on sale.
11/1/1971, The first recorded use of the term ‘Silicon Valley’, in the weekly trade publication Electronic News. The term became widespread in the early 1980s as personal computers became more commonplace. The original name of the valley where the IT products are now made was ‘Valley of Heart’s Delight’, referring to the many orchards once present there.
17/11/1970. A US patent was granted to Doug Engelbart for his invention of the computer mouse – so called because of its long cable tail.
15/10/1967. The Guardian offered its readers ‘the first binary computer kit’ called Digi-Comp 1, for £3 10 shillings.
14/6/1967. At a telecommunications conference in London, the Postmaster General predicted shopping by picture television and news reports by computer before the end of the century.
1965, Gordon Moore proposed Moore’s Law – stating that the number of transistors on a chip of given size would double every 2 years.
1965, The silicon chip was introduced, in the USA.
1960, Transistors replaced valves in computers.
4/8/1959. Barclays Bank became the first to use computers for its branch accounts.
1956, First use of the term ‘artificial intelligence’ at a workshop at Dartmouth College.
1956, In the US, the first computer programming language, FORTRAN, was developed.
28/10/1955, Bill Gates was born. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and was the world’s richest man, 1995-2007.
24/2/1955, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was born.
7/6/1954, Alan Turing, mathematician who broke the Nazi codes during World War Two, died.
24/5/1954. IBM announced the development of an ‘electronic brain’ and planned to rent the 30 models out to offices for US$ 25,000 a month. The computer used valves.
1950, The first mass-produced computer, Univac-1 (Universal Automatic Computer) was manufactured by the Eckert & Mauchly Computer Company in Philadelphia, USA.
1948, The first computer using stored programmes was built at Manchester University, UK
1946, John van Neumann, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA, constructed the first binary computer.
1945, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator) was built at the University of Pennsylvania; the first completely electronic computer.
1943, IBM stated that ‘there is probably a world market for maybe five computers’.
12/1943, The first electronic computer was built secretly at Bletchley Park; it began operations in December 1943 to crack the German Enigma codes ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/topics/enigma ), also the far more complex Lorenz codes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_cipher also https://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/lorenz/fish.htm ) . It worked with punched tape and could scan and analyse 5,000 characters a second. In 1946 the US military developed the first all-purpose, i.e. programmable, electronic computer. Called ENIAC, it weighed 30 tons and contained some 18,000 vacuum tubes. It was used for calculating trajectories of artillery shells, accounting for variables like wind velocity, air temperature, and type of shell.
1942, The first electronic digital calculator was built, by Professor John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State University
23/6/1912, Alan Mathison Turing, British mathematician who invented the Turing Machine, was born. He was the son of Julius and Sara Turing.
8/1/1889. The first electric computer for data processing was patented by Dr Herman Hollerith in New York. The company Dr Hollerith formed to market his invention became the giant IBM. Charles Babbage had designed and partially built a mechanical ‘Analytical Engine’ between 1821 and 1871. The 1889 computer was designed to compute the results of the 1890 census, using punched cards. The inspiration for this machine came from a scheme on the US railways to enter the physical details of every passenger on their ticket by means of a punched hole card system – so that train robbers could be identified when they posed as ordinary travellers. The railway sceheme did not win wide acceptance.
1834, Charles Babbage, English mathematician, invented a programmable mechanical computer. However the technologiy for manufacturing the components to the required precision did not yet exist (see 1801).
1801, The Flemish weaver Joseph Jacquard developed a hole-punched card system for manufacturing elaborate patterns on fabrics. The holes allowed needles to pass through, or not, lifting corresponding threads of the warp. This systek inspired Charles Babbage (1834)
1642, Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, invented the first adding machine.
1622, English mathematician William Oughtred invented the slide rule.
1614, Logarithms were invented by the Scottish mathematician, John Napier (1550-1617), who in that year published a 97-page work entitled ‘Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonia Descriptio’. He copined the word ‘logarithm from two Greek words meaning ‘ratio’ and ‘number’.
628 CE, The Indian astronomer amd mathematician Brahmagupta first described the concept of ‘zero’ as a true number.
3400 BCE, In Sumeria, clay counting tokens and written mathematical symbols first used.
Appendix 4 – Chemistry and the Elements (Discovery of)
Halogens, Other Non-metals, Metalloids
Alkali metals, Alkali Earth metals
As of 2016, no element beyond number.118 has been synthesised.
12/2015, The synthesis of element 115, Ununpentium, was recognised as having been accomplished by the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR. The element has not yet been officially named.
2010, The synthesis of element 117, Ununseptium, was recognised as having been accomplished by the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR. The element has not yet been officially named.
2004, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 113, Nihonium, at RIKEN, Japan.
2002, The The officially-recognised synthesis of element 118, Oganesson, at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
19/7/2000, The The officially-recognised synthesis of element 116, Livermorium, at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
12/1998, The The officially-recognised synthesis of element 114, Flerovium, at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
1996, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 112, Copernicium, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
1994, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 111, Roentgenium, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
1994, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 110, Darmstadtium, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
1984, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 108, Hassium at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
29/8/1982, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 109, Meitnerium at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
1981, The officially-recognised synthesis of element 107, Bohrium, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany.
6/1974, Element 106, now known as Seaborgium, was synthesised at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
105th 1969, The synthesis of Rutherfordium was confirmed at the University of Berkeley California.
1968, Dubnium was synthesised at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
1966, After several false starts, Nobelium was synthesised at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, USSR.
12/10/1965, Paul Muller, the Swiss chemist who formulated the insecticide DDT in 1939, died in Basle.
14/2/1961, The synthesis of element Lawrencium was confirmed at University of Berkeley California.
1955, Mendelevium was synthesised at the University of Berkeley California.
100th 12/1952, Einstinium was first identified by Albert Ghiorso and others at the University of Berkeley California.
1/11/1952, The new element Fermium was first discovered in the fall-out from a nuclear test of a Hydrogen Bomb..
17/3/1950, Californium was announced to have been made at the University of Berkeley California
12/1949, Berkellium was first synthesised at the University of Berkeley California by Glenn Seaborg, Albert Ghiorso, and Stanley Thompson.
1945, Promethium was first synthesised at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US, by Jacob Marinsky, Lawrence Geldenin and Charles Corvell, from the fission by-products of uuranium.
95th 1944, Americium and curium were first identified at the University of Berkeley California by Glenn Seaborg, Leon Morgan, Ralph James and Albert Ghiorso.
7/4/1943. The drug LSD (lysergic acid di-ethylamide) was first synthesised by Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman.
1940, The first confirmed discovery of the element Astatine.
14/12/1940, Plutonium was first produced by Dr Glenn Seaborg, Joseph Kennedy, Edwin McMillan and Arthur Wall at the University of California, Berkeley.
1939, Neptunium was produced as a fission product by Edwin McMillan at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, California.
90th 1939, Francium was discovered by Marguerite Peary at the Curie Institute, Paris.
6/4/1938. Teflon was accidentally invented by US lab assistant Jack Rebok. He opened a gas cylinder of freon (tetrafluorothylene) and no gas came out; however the cylinder was still heavy. Upon inspection, the gas had polymerised into a greasy white powder. During World War Two, Teflon, being extremely inert, was found to be the only material that would resist the corrosive effects of uranium hexafluoride, a key chemical in the construction of the atom bomb; hence Teflon became a military secret. In 1960 it began to be used on non-stick pans, although initial problems with the non-stick coating not adhering tp the pan had to be overcome. It now has uses in coating buildings to prevent corrosion, as electrical insulation, a flame retardant, and in artificial body joints.
12/1936,Technetium was confirmed as a new lement at the University of Palermo by Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segre.
20/8/1935, In the US, H McLean announced the isolation of Vitamin E.
1933, ICI chemist R.O.Gibson produced polyethylene, the polymer of ethylene gas. An easily-moulded white inert water-resistant solid insulator, it was marketed as ‘polythene’. It was used for electric cable insulation. In 1938 Tupperware was produced from this plastic.
4/4/1932. Vitamin C was isolated by Charles Glen King, professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
1/2/1928. In the USA, Dr Herbert Evans discovered vitamin E.
1925, Rhenium was discovered by Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke and Otto Berg in Germany.
1923, Hafnium was dscovered by Dirk Coster and Georg von Hevesy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1923, Lanthanum was first isolated in pure form.
10/5/1920, John Wesley Hyatt, American inventor who discovered celluloid, the first synthetic plastic, died.
30/6/1919, Lord Rayleigh, British scientist who discovered the inert gas argon in 1894 and won the Nobel prize, died in Witham, Essex, aged 76.
1916, British chemist G N Lewis developed a valency theory, which was later also stated independently by Kossel.
23/7/1916, Sir William Ramsey, chemist who discovered helium, and isolated neon, krypton, and xenon, died in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1904.
2/4/1910. Karl Hoffman, German scientist, made artificial rubber from butadiene.
1909, Bakelite was invented by Leo Baekeland.
1908, Fritz Haber invented a process for the manufacture of ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen, important for fertiliser.
1908, Cellophane was first produced when Swiss chemist Dr Jacques Brandenburger used regenerated celluloise to make a thin plastic sheet. Cellophane was first made commercially in Paris from 1912.
85th 1907, Lutetium was discovered independently by the French chemist Georges Urbain, the US chemist Charles James and the Asutrian mineralogist Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach.
1905, Tantalum was first isolated in pure form by Werner von Bolton. In 1902 an impure sample had been prepared by Moissan.
1900, Protactinium was isolated by William Crookes.
1900, Radon was discovered by Freidrich Ernst Dom.
1900, The idea for cellophane was born when Swiss textile engineer Jacques Brandenberger was sat in a restaurant and someone spilled wine on a tablecloth. Brandenberger decided to develop a clear flexible film that could be sprayed onto fabric to make it waterproof. His first attempt, a mix of cellulose and glycerol, simply peeled off the fabric in large clear sheets; by 1912 Brandenberger had found a use for his product as the eyepieces in gas masks. He called the transparent sheets ‘cellophane’. DuPont bought the rights to the product in 1923, and by 1926 had developed a waterproof version that could be used to wrap and preserve food.
1899, Actinium was discovered by the French chemist Andre-Louis Debierne.
80th 1898, Polonium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898, after samples of radium proved more radioactive than expected. They named the metal after their native Poland to highlight the lack of independence of that nation.
1898,The new element radium was first identified, as radium chloride, by Marie and Pierre Curie. Pure radium was first prepared by Marie Curie and Andre Louis Debierne in 1911.
1898, Xenon was discovered by William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They also discovered Neon and Krypton the same year.
75th 1895, Helium was discovered by two Swedish chemists, Per Teodor Cleve and Nils Abraham Langlet.
1890, Europium was discovered by French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbradan.
1894, Argon was first discovered by British chemists Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsey. It was the first Noble Gas found.
1886, Germanium was discovered by Dr Winkler.
1886, Elemental fluorine was first isolated by Henri Moissan.
70th 1886, French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbradan isolated the new elements dysprosium and gadolinium.
1885, Praseodymium and Neodymium were isolated by the Austrian chemist Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach.
1882, Elemental caesium metal was isolated by German chemist Carl Setterberg.
65th 1879, Samarium was discovered by the French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbradan.
1879, Scandium was discovered.
1879, Thulium was discovered by the Swedish chemist Per Teodor Cleve.
1878. Holmuim was discovered by Marc Delafontaine and Jacques Louis Soret.
1878, Ytterbium was discovered by the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac.
60th 1875, Gallium was discovered, by Mr Lecoq de Boisbaudran.
1869, Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian scientist (1834-1907), published the Periodic Table. By grouping the elements by properties, it was now possible to see where gaps existed and new elements awaited discovery.
1869, Celluloid was invented by John H Wyatt.
14/7/1868, Dynamite was first tested in Sweden; it was invented by Alfred Nobel.
1867, Vanadium was first isolated by Roscoe.
7/11/1867. Marie Curie, who discovered radium, was born in Warsaw, as Marie Sklodowska.
1864, Indium was first isolated in pure form by the German chemist Hieronymous Theodor Richter.
1864, Niobium was first isolated by De Marignac.
1862, Acetylene, C2H2, was discovered by Berthelot. From the 1880s, it was much used for generating light.
1861, Thallium was discovered by Mr Crookes.
55th 1861, Rubidium was discovered by German chemists Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff.
1844, Ruthenium was officially discovered by Karl Ernst Klaus, at Kazan University.
1843, Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander discovered erbium and terbium in 1843.
1841, Uranium was first isolated in pure form by Frenchy chemist Professsor Eugene Melchior Peligot.
1839, Ozone was discovered and named by German-Swiss chemist Christian F Schonbein (1799-1868)
1836, Edmund Davy discovered acetylene, C2H2, a gas that burns at a very high temperature and can also be used to make artificial rubber.
17/5/1836, Norman Lockyer, discoverer of helium, was born.
21/10/1833, Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist who invented dynamite in 1867, was born in Stockholm.
50th 1829, Thorium was discovered by Berzelius.
1828, Yttrium was first isolated by Friedrich Wohler.
1828, Beryllium was isolated independently by Freidrich Wohler and by Antoine Bussy.
1827, Aluminium was first isolated by Friedrich Wohler.
1826, Urea was first artificially synthesised by Wohler.
1825, Bromine was discovered by Carl Jacob Lowig in 1825.
45th 1824, Zirconium was first isolated by Berzelius.
1817, Silicon was first formally identified as a new element by the Scottish chemist Thomas Thomson. In 1811 some impure silicon was first isolated by Gay-Lussac and Thenard, but not actually identified as such.
1817, Lithium was recognised as a new element by Johan August Arfwedson.
1817, Cadmium, as an element, was discovered in Germany simultaneously by Freidrich Stromeyer and by Karl Samuel Leberecht Hermann.
1817, Selenium was discovered by Swedish chemists Jons Jakob Berzelius and Johan Gottlieb Gahn.
29/12/1813, Alexander Parkes, the chemist who invented celluloid, was born in Birmingham.
40th 1811, Iodine was discovered by French chemist Bernard Courtois in 1811.
31/3/1811, Robert Bunsen, German chemist, was born in Gottingen, Lower Saxony.
1808, Calcium was first isolated in pure form by Sir Humphrey Davy.
1808, Boron was first isolated and recognised as an element by Sir Humphrey Davy.
1808, Barium was first isolated as a new elememnt by Sir Humphrey Davy.
1808, Strontium was isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy
35th 1808, Magnesium metal was first isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy.
19/10/1807, Elemental sodium metal was first isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy.
6/10/1807, Sir Humphrey Davy discovered a new metal which he called potassium.
6/2/1804, Joseph Priestley, English clergyman and chemist who discovered oxygen, died in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.
1803, Cerium was discovered independently by both Martin Heinrich Klaproth of Germany and by Wilhelm Hisinger and Jins Jakob Berzelius of Sweden.
1803, Rhodium ws discovered by William Hyde Wollaston.
30th 1803, Osmium and iridium were discovered by Smithson Tennant and William Hyde Wollaston, in London, UK.
1802, Palladium was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston.
1799, Laws of Chemical Affinity announced by Bertholet.
1798, Chromium metal was isolated by Louis Nicolas Vauquelin.
1794, Ethylene was prepared by a group of Dutch chemists.
8/5/1794. The chemist Antoine Lavoisier, who discovered the composition of water, was executed in Paris.
1791, Titanium was discovered in Cornwall by the clergyman and amateur geologist William Gregor.
25th 1789, Antoine Lavoisier listed carbon as an element in his 1789 textbook. Carbon in the form of diamond was known in China as early as 2,500 BC. Carbon as soot or charcoal has been known to mankind since prehistoric times.
1789, Tellurium was isolated by a Hungarian scientist, Pal Kitaibel. However he gave the credit to Franz Joseph Muller von Reichtenstein, Austrian Inspector of Mines, who had worked for several years on some anomalous ore before determining the densityand other properties of the new element in 1785.
1783, Tungsten was first islotaed in oure form by the brothers Jose and Fausto Elhuyar.
25/6/1783, Lavoisier announced that water was the combustion product of oxygen and hydrogen.
1782, Prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide, HCN) prepared by Scheele.
1781, Molybednum was first isolated by Peter Jacob Hjelm.
1777, Antoine Lavoisier found that sulphur is an element. Sulphur has been known since prehistoric times, being easily available as surface deposits in volcanic areas.
1776, ‘Inflammable air’, or carbon monoxide, was prepared by Lassone.
20th 1774,Manganese was first isolated by Johan Gottleib Gahn.
1774, Chlorine was first recognised as an element by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm. He called it ‘dephlogisticated marine acid air’. In 1630 chlorine had been studied by the Flemish chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont but he did not recognise it as a new element.
1/8/1774, British chemist Sir Joseph Priestly announced he had discovered oxygen.
1772, The Scottish physicist Daniel Rutherford is credited with the discovery of nitrogen in 1772; he called it ‘noxious air’, although he did not at the time recognise ut as a separate element.
1/11/1772, The French chemist Lavoisier announced that sulphur and phosphorus, when biurned, gained weight because they had ‘absorbed air’; similarly metallic lead prepared from litharge lost weight because it had ‘lost air’. The nature of this ‘air’ was found to be oxygen in 1774 by Joseph Priestley.
1766, Henry Cavendish first recognised hydrogen as a separate substance, calling it ‘inflammable air’. He went on to discover that the ‘inflammable air’ produced water when burnt. Hydrogen was goven its name by Antoine Lavoisier, meaning ‘producer of water’, when he replicated Cavendish’s experiment og producing water by burning hydrogen.
1755, ‘Fixed air’ or carbon dioxide, was prepared from chalk by Black.
1754, Alkalis, metals, earths and bases were defined by Rouelle.
15th 1748, Platinum was recognised as an element by Charles Wood if the UK and Antonio de Ulloa of Spain. Hiowever for several centuries before that platinum had been recognised as a sometimes unwelcome adulterant of gold.
26/8/1743, Antoine Lavoisier, French founder of modern chemistry, was born in Paris.
1735, Cobalt, whose compounds have been used to colour glass blue for over 4,000 years (and feared by miners because it was always associated with arsenic, whose oxide was poisonous), was proved to be a separate element by Swedish chemist Georg Brandt.
13/3/1733, Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen in 1774, was born in Leeds, the son of a cloth merchant.
10/10/1731, Henry Cavendish, who discovered hydrogen, was born in Nice, France.
1704, Newton showed that diamonds will burn in air.
1702, Stahl burned sulphur in air to produce ‘vloatile sulphurous acid’, or sulphur dioxide.
1680, Boyle defined the term ‘salt’ in chemistry.
1670, The ‘Phlogiston’ theory of combustion was developed by Becher and Stahl.
1669, Phosphorus (the 13th element to be recognised as such) was discovered by the German alchemist Hennig Brand.
1661, Boyle concieved of the modern idea of a ‘chemical element’.
1649, ‘Muriatic Acid’, or ‘spirit of salt’, hydrochloric acid, first prepared by Glauber.
1546, Bismuth was mentioned by Agricola in De Natura Fossilium; however the metal has been knwn since well before 0 AD, albeit sometimes confused with tin and lead.
1540, A procedure for isolating antimony was written down in the book De la Pirotechnica, by Vannoccio Biringuccio. However antimony and its compounds have been used by mankind since before 3,000 BC.
10th 1374, Zinc, in use in brass items since as early as 1400 BC, was first named specifically in the Jasada, a medical dictionary ascribed to the Hindu King Madanapala.
1250, Arsenic, in use since at least 1,000 BC, was first isolated in pure form by Albertus Magnus.
1200, Geher described ‘oil of vitriol’, or sulphuric acid, and ‘aqua fortis’, or nitric acid.
600 BC, Pure tin began to be used. Tin as an alloy with copper, brinze, has been in use from 3,000 BC.
1,500 BC, Mercury artefacts found in Egyptian tombs dating from this time. Meanwhile nickel (white copper) was known in China from about this time. Mediaeval German miners encountered ore that looked like copper ore but gave no copper, andmnamed it after a mischievous sprite, ‘nickel’, analogous to the name ‘old Nick’ for the Devil’.
5th 3,500 BC Iron artefacts found originating from this time.
4,000 BC, Gold artefacts found dating from this time. Silver useage also dated back to this time.
7,000 BC Lead began to be used widely across the world. Lead and tin, both malleable and both reasonably abundant and easily mined, were used together and sometimes interchangeably.
9,000 BC, Copper in use by mankind.
Appendix 5 – Environment & Conservation (see International for global population, and demography maps)
Click here for image of industrial pollution, Sheffield, UK, 1930s.
Global warming sea level rise Extinctions Other ecological disasters Key environmental publications Conservation efforts
2017, The BBC broadcast Blue Planet II, galvanising the world to the dangers of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
3/1/2016, The United Kingdom designated Ascension Island and its surrounding waters in the Atlantic Ocean as a Marine protected area. The reserve was almost as big as the UK with just over half of the protected area completely closed to fishing.
2015, 400 million tons of plastic was produced this year, compared to 2 million tons in 1950. Of this, only 9% was recycled; 12% was incinerated, and 79% ended up in landfill or polluting the environment, 8 million tons of plastic was estimated to enter the oceans annually.
16/2/2005, The Kyoto Protocol came into force. The US had not signed up, for economic reasons.
26/7/2004, The Frozen Ark Project was launched, to preserve the DNA of endangered species.
2001, The Third Assessment Report of the IPCC warned that over the 21st century global sea levels could rise by between 9cm and 88cm, as global temperature rose by between 1.4C and 5.8C.
29/1/1998, Shell announced that Brent Spar would be disposed of on shore, and used as the foundations for a new ferry terminal.
18/10/1995, DNV presented the results of their audit on Brent Spar; it did not contain anything like 5,500 tons of crude oil.
5/9/1995, Greenpeace admitted their claim that Brent Spar contained 5,500 tonnes of crude oil was inaccurate and apologised to Shell.
12/7/1995, Shell commissioned an independent Norwegian consultancy, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), to conduct an audit of the materials contained in the Brent Spar, to check Greanpeace’s allegations.
7/7/1995, Norway granted permission to moor the Brent Spar in Erfjord whilt options for its disposal were considered.
30/6/1995, Eleven states called for a moratorium on sea disposal of decommissioned offshore installations; the motion was opposed by Britain and Norway.
20/6/1995, Shell Oil Company caved in to international pressure and agreed not to dump the Brent Spar oil platform in the Atlantic.
15/6/1995, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl protested to the British Prime Minister John Major at the G7 Summit about the planned sinking of the Brent Spar.
14/6/1995, A week of protests across Germany began against Shell petrol stations; protestors threatened to firebomb 200 Shell filling stations. 50 were actually damaged, two fire-bombed, and one raked with bullets.
11/6/1995, Shell began to tow the Brent Spar out to the disposal site.
9/5/1995, The German Ministry of the Environment protested about the plans to sink the Brent Spar.
5/5/1995, The UK Government granted a disposal licence ti Shell to sink the Brent Spar.
30/4/1995, Greenpeace asserted that Brent Spar still contained 5,500 tonnes of crude oil.
4/1995, Greenpeace occupied the Brent Spar oil platform to prevent it’s being sunk in the North Sea.
12/1994, The UK Government approved Shell’s plans to sink the Brent Spar.
1993, Shell decided to sink the Brent Spar oil platform in the North Sea, at the North Feni Ridge.
23/3/1993. The UN stated that record low levels of ozone had been registered over large areas of the Western Hemisphere.
1992, The United Nations Earth Summit was held. This led to the UN Framework Convention oin Climate Change, which came into force in 1994. This Framework called for developed countries to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990, and provided for technological assistance to developing countries. These measures were strengthened by the Kyoto Protocol, 1997.
15/12/1991. Wildlife investigators uncovered an illegal plot to sell 15,000 elephant tusks for £6 million, in defiance of the international ban on the ivory trade. The 83 tons of ivory had been bought from the Government of Burundi by 2 South African businessmen, to sell in the Far East. 80% of Africa’s elephants had been slaughtered for their tusks in the previous 10 years.
16/10/1989, At a committee of the Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species, at Lausanne, Switzerland, a ban on the international ivory trade was passed by 76 votes to 11.
9/1991. The Brent Spar oil platform ceased operations.
5/3/1989, As environmental awareness grew worldwide, the Ozone Layer Conference opened in London.
17/2/1989. Scientists warned of a threat to the ozone layer over the Arctic.
1987, The Brundtland Report was published.
16/9/1987, 70 countries signed an agreement in Montreal to save the ozone layer, to freeze CFC production (used as a refrigeration gas) at current levels and halve it within 12 years. The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica had been discovered in 1984.
17/6/1987, The Dusky Seaside Sparrow became extinct as the last individual died.
29/12/1985, Dian Fossey, US zoologist and conservationist, died.
8/3/1985, Every Chinese child was ordered to donate one Feng (then equivalent to 2p) to save the Giant Panda from extinction.
31/8/1983, Russell Doig of Surrey won a special prize for catching a salmon in the Thames, the first salmon caught there for 150 years. The fish weighed 6 lb.
1982, Dutch Elm Disease killed 20 million elm trees in Britain, 66% of the total population.
23/7/1982, The International Whaling Commission decided to end whaling by 1986.
12/8/1980, The first Giant Panda born in captivity was successfully delivered at a zoo in Mexico.
23/1/1978, Sweden became the first country to ban aerosol sprays, because of the damage they cause to the ozone layer.
11/5/1977. The USA said CFCs would be banned as propellants in aerosol cans within two years, after worries about ozone depletion.
1976, The Brent Spar oil platform entered service in the North Sea.
10/7/1976. After an explosion at a chemical plant at Seveso, Italy, a 7 km radius was contaminated with dioxin, a weed killer. Crops and 40,000 animals died, and the number of abnormal births rose dramatically.
1975, In Britain the Ecological Party was founded – known since 1985 as the Green Party
12/11/1974. A salmon was caught in the Thames, the first since around 1840. It was retrieved from the filters of West Thurrock power station.
30/8/1973, Kenya banned hunting elephants and trading in ivory.
1972, The Club of Rome published ‘The Limits to Growth’, highlighting the dangers of natural resource depletion.
1962, Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’.
29/4/1961, The World Wildlife Fund was founded in Switzerland.
1958, A plague of locusts in Somalia was so large it covered 1,000 square kilometres.
1951, Britain’s first smokeless zone was set up, in Coventry. In 1955 London was declared a smokeless zone. In 1956 Britain passed the Clean Air Act.
22/12/1938. The coelacanth, a fish though to have been extinct for 65 million years, was caught off the coast of South Africa.
1935, In the US, President Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act, nominating Hugh Hammond, 54, to head the new Soil Conservation Service. Hammond had estimated that in terms of diminished agricultural productivity alone, soil erosion was costing around US$ 400 million a year; dust storms were turning day into night and halting traffic.
3/4/1934, Jane Goodall, British zoologist who studied gorillas in Tanzania in the 1960s, was born.
18/1/1933, The botanist and conservationist David Bellamy was born.
16/12/1932, Dian Fossey, US zoologist and conservationist was born.
1929, In Britain, the National Smoke Abatement Society was set up.
1925, In Britain, the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) was set up.
1922, Australia began conservation measures to save the koala bear, after trappers had killed 8 million in 4 years and nearly driven the species to extinction.
1/9/1914, The last passenger pigeon, a bird which once dominated the skies of America, became extinct as the last individual died in Cincinnati Zoo.
1909, The USA set up a National Bison Refuge near Moise, Montana.
5/1909, The Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia (WPSA) was founded in Sydney, Australia to encourage the protection of, and to cultivate interest in, the Australian flora and fauna.
27/5/1907, Rachel Louise Carson, marine biologist and US author, author of Silent Spring, was born.
20/4/1906, An Australian wombat, the oldest known marsupial, died in London Zoo aged 26.
1903, President Theodore Roosevelt establsished the USA’s first national wildlife refuge, at Pelican Island, off the east coast of Florida, 87 square miles.
11/12/1903, The first wildlife preservation society was formed in Britain. It was called The Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire.
1899, In Britain, the Coal Smoke Abatement Society was formed.
1895, Arrhenius gave a paper to the Stockholm Physical Society propounding his theory of man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide.
12/8/1883, The last quagga died, at Amsterdam Zoo.
7/9/1880, In Britain, the Wild Birds’ Protection Act was passed.
1859, Arrhenius, Swedish scientist who first proposed that man’s industrial emissions could cause global warming, was born.
1858, A few dozen English rabbits were released on the Australian estate of landowner Thomas Austin, to provide shooting sport. Over the next six years, Austin shot 200,000 rabbits, but this was barely half the total population. Five of the fast-breeding animals could eat more grass than one sheep, so causing major problems for sheep farmers.
1856, In Britain, between 1853 and 1856, a series of Smoke Abatement Acts were passed in order to improve the quality of air in urban areas.
1840, Kew Botanical Gardens, London, opened.
1683, Wild boars became extinct in Britain.
1630, The last dodo was killed. Native to Mauritius, it was a flightless bird about the size of a turkey, prized by saillors for food. Meanwhile, pigs and monkeys introduced to Majuritius ate the dodo’s eggs.
1627, The last auroch (ancestor of domestic cattle) died in Poland.
26/6/1545. A botanical garden was established in Padua. This, or the garden in Pisa, is the oldest such garden in Europe.
1290, The last wolf in England was killed, by Peter Corbet, exterminator to King Edward I. This made it much safer to graze sheep. In turn this reinforced England’s leading position in the lucrative wool trade.
1281, King Edward I commissioned Peter Corbet, ‘The Mighty Hunter’, to clear all wolves from England’s forests.
1220, The first giraffes were exhibited in Europe.