When thinking of the 1970s, the picture of Hippies and Disco chic comes to mind. It’s the era of bands like The Rolling Stones, The Bee Gees and The Jackson 5 topping charts, Woodstock and Saturday Night Fever. But there was more to the 70s than just the music and style. We take a trip back in time to look at the innovations of the era.
1970: Fiber Optics
Although the term was introduced around since 1956, scientists at Corning only produced the first fiber optics – fibers of ultrapure glass that transmits light well enough so that it could be used for telecommunications. Modern-day telephone lines were born.
1971: Floppy Disc
The great grandfather of modern-day data storage solutions was born in ’71. IBM’s floppy disc was at the forefront of electronic data storage in the new dawning age of the computer on the near horizon. The first mass-produced computer, the Apple II (1977) came with two floppy disc drives.
1972: Electronic Ignition
It’s the era of the electronic takeover, and Chrysler paved the way in the motoring industry with electron ignition. Cars’ ignition now had electronic control over ignition timing and fuel metering and this was only the beginning of more sophisticated systems to come. Today’s cars have more electronics than ever before.
1973: Cell phone
The little device that controls everything that we carry around in our pockets started out in the 70s! The first mobile telephone was invented by Motorola. To celebrate this new revolutionary milestone, the Motorola company phoned their rivals, telling them they are speaking on a mobile telephone! The prototype weighed over a kilogram, had 30 minutes of talk time and took 10 hours to charge. We really can’t complain about our phones’ battery life.
The idea of the barcode came to inventor Norman Joseph Woodland while sitting on a Miami beach. In 1952 he patented his idea. It wasn’t until decades later that his idea became a reality. The first supermarket to have the new scanners and computers installed was in Ohio. The first item to be scanned was a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum.
1975: Post-it note
We all know it and have used it sometime in our lives. This ingenious little office helper was invented by accident. 3M research scientist, Dr. Spencer Silver, developed a new adhesive that for the most part was useless. Six years later another researcher tried using it to adhere papers together after his bookmarks in his hymn book kept flying around. Voila! The idea of the post-it was born.
The first supercomputer was installed in the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It was the first supercomputer to successfully implement vector processors.
1977: Personal Computer
Office life would never be the same. It was the birth of the Apple II, Commodore Pet, and Radio Shack’s TRS-80. IBM released their PC four years later.
The first satellite in the modern Navistar Global Positioning System (GPS) was launched into orbit. It was used for military purposes only, until the year 2000 when nonmilitary users were allowed access.
1979: Sony Walkman
What was more fitting in the age of musical greats, than having your own personal portable music device! The chairman of Sony, Akio Morita said, “This is the product that will satisfy those young people who want to listen to music all day.” When released it was estimated that only 5 000 will sell, instead, Sony sold more than 50 000!
We hope you enjoyed this week’s facts about the 70s. Pop in next week for the decade that brought us the king and queen of pop, neon tights and hairspray galore!
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