Technology

3-D Movies

3-D Movies

Stereoscopic films had been around since the 1920s, but the 1950s was unquestionably the golden age of 3-D, with excited teenagers flocking to the cinema to see such classic fare as The House Of Wax, Dial M For Murder and The French Line (or "Jane Russell in 3-D!" as it was marketed). The plot never actually mattered in a 3-D(...)

8-Track

8-Track

This was the first practical way to play recorded music in your car, and was invented by Bill Lear and developed in the 1960s by a diverse consortium including RCA Records and the Lear Jet Company. A 4-track cartridge first appeared in the early 1960s and soon found favour at radio stations as jingles and(...)

Agent Orange

The selective weed killer known as "Agent Orange" became notorious for its use in the 1960s during the Vietnam War by US forces to eliminate ground cover which could protect enemy forces. It was subsequently discovered to contain highly poisonous dioxin. Thousands of US troops who had handled it, along with many Vietnamese people who(...)

Apple Computers

The Lisa (pictured at right) was named after Steve Job's daughter and was first introduced in early 1983. It worked on a Motorola 68000 at 5 GHz. The Operating System was called LisaOS and paved the way to the first Macintosh computer. The Mac Plus landed in early 1986, two years after the original Macintosh 128k and(...)

Apple Macintosh

In 1977, 26-year-old Steve Wozniak and 29-year-old Steve Jobs marketed their new invention, the Apple II personal computer. In 1984, the revolutionary Apple Macintosh was released, and launched in the most expensive television commercial ever made - The ad was based on George Orwell's novel 1984 and cost $600,000 (£360,000) to make, and a further $1,000,000 (£600,000)(...)

Arcade Games

Early 1950s fore-runners of arcade games included photo booths which became a national craze and shuffle games which moved beyond bowling with Deluxe Shuffle Targette. Meanwhile, Auto Test let practicing drivers learn the rules of the road, and Two-Player Basketball put a new one-on-one spin on the old Basketball Champ formula. And for the smallest(...)

Asteroids

In the years after Star Wars (1977), anything involving outer space, zippy interstellar craft and dangerous battles was golden. Into this arena of sci-fi fantasy came Atari’s Asteroids, one of the most enduring hits in video game history. Atari’s recipe for addiction consisted of the following: one screen, five buttons, one ship, a few UFO’s, and(...)

Atari

Atari

Californian Nolan Bushnell created a game called Pong in 1971. The following year -  with $250 of his own money and a matching investment from partner Ted Dabney -  Bushnell created Pong's parent company. He called it Atari, a term used in the Japanese strategy game GO to politely warn an opponent that he is about to(...)

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s)

Before Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) were everywhere you had to withdraw your cash from a large building with human tellers and queues. OK, so we still have the queues but at least they're outside . . . It was called "A Bank" and was only open during business hours. People went there on payday, waited(...)

Betamax

 

Boombox/Ghetto Blaster

A boombox (or Ghetto Blaster) - basically a large but portable cassette player with two or more loudspeakers - was first developed by Philips who released their 'Radiorecorder' in 1969. Soon every Japanese electronics manufacturer had one in their product range and flooded the European boombox market, continuing to innovate with size, form factor and(...)

Café Bar

In the days before Starbucks and Café Latté on tap from every corner coffee shop, the height of sophistication and convenience for the serious java-loving office worker in the 1970s was to have one of these beauties in your place of work . . . The Café Bar.

Calculators

When they first appeared they were bulky and expensive. Three years after Texas Instruments invented the silicon chip, four function calculators (add, subtract, multiply and divide) were introduced as $US100 mass-market items. They got smaller and smaller and cheaper and cheaper and many new designs were introduced. Casio led the way and became the real(...)

Cassettes

Reel-to-reel tape had never been a convenient medium: Apart from the awkwardness of handling several hundred feet of closely-wound tape, the thing had to be threaded, re-wound onto its original spool before you could replay it. For most people, tape was just too messy (and expensive) to bother with. The big breakthrough came in 1963(...)

CB Radio

Citizens Band Radio had been around for years, but few people knew about them. 23 channels of two-way communication, frequented by curious techno-geeks, lost hikers and truckers. The trucker was his own boss. The trucker was King of the Road - or so the myth went. The only way these men stood a chance of(...)

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