Compact Disc

Japanese and Dutch scientists invented the Compact Disc (CD) in 1981. It was able to record sound as microscopic changes in the surface of a plastic disc, with the changes “read” by a laser in a CD player and changed back into sound electronically. This innovation was the result of advances in digital encoding techniques(…)


The first true computers were only built around the 1940s, and the progress of the computer since that time is undoubtedly one of the most important technological stories of the 20th century. The computer revolution was made possible by microchips – microscopically small components etched into strips of the element silicon. These microchips were invented(…)


The first supersonic airliner Concorde began transatlantic flights from London to New York on 24 May 1976. The new aircraft reduced the flight time to three and a half hours, having a maximum speed of 2.2 times the speed of sound, a cruising speed of 1,350 miles per hour (2,160 kilometres per hour), and a(…)

Cruise Missiles

Cruise Missiles

The Cruise Missile – descended from the German V1 of World War II – is a long-range guided missile that has a terrain-seeking radar system and flies at moderate speed and low altitude. Initial trials in the 1950s demonstrated the limitations of cruise missiles, which included high fuel consumption and relatively slow speeds when compared(…)


The Daleks were the arch-enemies of the Doctor in the hugely popular BBC television series Doctor Who. They were created by writer Terry Nation and designer Raymond Cusick and first appeared in the series in 1963. Introduced in the fifth episode, the Daleks turned Doctor Who into an overnight sensation – but they were very nearly(…)


The Dansette record player became an iconic artefact of the youth culture of the 1950s and 1960s, and the name became a generic term for many different makes of small record player. A small, portable record player became very popular during World War I. Its spring motor turntable an acoustic horn fitted into a suitcase.(…)

Digital Watches

The first models (circa 1972) were very expensive and featured a flat black screen. One needed to press a small button on the side to see the time light up inside. These were LED (Light Emitting Diode) watches. The pulsar, from HMW, was the first all-electronic wristwatch. The pulsar utilised LED that would light up(…)



Sony launched the digital audio revolution in 1983 with the first compact disc player. In 1984 they went one better, by introducing a miniaturised CD player that was so small and lightweight and sturdy that you could carry it with you. The new D-5 portable CD player weighed in at 1lb 5oz and was about 5″(…)

Drive-In Cinemas

On 7 June 1933, the world’s first drive-in movie theatre opened in Camden, USA. Within twelve years the number of Drive-In’s increased from 100 to 2,200 locations. Australia followed suit (the first one in Australia opening in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood), and Drive-In Cinemas appeared everywhere. People enjoyed being able to go out without(…)

Dynamite 8 Cartridge Player

Fallout Shelters

As the 1950s dawned, a Communist attack seemed imminent. The Russians had grabbed Berlin and in 1949 had successfully tested their own A-bomb. China had fallen to the Communists, South Korea teetered on the brink, and America believed the Red menace had infiltrated their very society. The House Un-American Activities Committee started its investigations in(…)

Floppy Disks

The US company IBM made a great breakthrough in the storage and retrieval of computer information in 1970. The IBM 3740 system could be used with a “floppy disk” – a thin, flexible plastic disc 8 inches across, covered with magnetic iron oxide. The “floppy” was designed to be inserted into a slot in the(…)

Game & Watch

Game Boy


The hovercraft was invented by Suffolk boat builder Christopher Cockerell in 1956. The theory behind one of the most successful inventions of the 20th century – named the Hovercraft – was originally tested in 1955 using an empty cat food tin inside a coffee tin, an industrial air blower and a pair of kitchen scales.(…)

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