This Day in Geek History: April 21
Bioscope Chronicle (Warwick Trading Co.) first uses an aeroplane for filming a news event. The plane captures footage of George V leaving on the Royal Yacht for a visit to Paris. The film is rushed back to Hendon for processing and is shown at the Coliseum at 5:20pm the same day.
The first Polaroid camera is sold.
Whirlwind, the first computer to operate in real-time is first activated. Whirlwind was built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a team lead by Jay Forrester for the U.S. Air Defense System. It’s the first computer to allow interactive computing and to feature a keyboard and a cathode-ray tube visual display. The Whirlwind design will later be developed into SAGE, a comprehensive system of real-time computers used to provide early warnings of air attacks.
American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham publishes Seduction of the Innocent, in which he vilifies the influence of comic books on children. The book will become infamous for its wildly over-exaggerate anecdotal evidence of ways in which comics perverted the minds of readers. Seduction of the Innocent, along with Wertham’s testimony at a subsequent Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency will lead to the formation of the Comics Code Authority and decades of censorship within the comic industry.
The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opens on a seventy-four acre site. It is the first World’s Fair held in the U.S. since World War II. Nearly ten million people attend the fair. Highlights include the unveiling of the Alweg monorail and the Space Needle. Take a cybertour of the exposition at HistoryLink.
At 7:15pm, BBC2 television officially launches the 625-line standard. The announcer holds a candle to symbolize the power outage that delayed the launch the previous evening. The first program aired on the system, Play School, was actually transmitted earlier, at 11:00am in the morning.
An attorney for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) denies allegations made by Microsoft, responding that MITS is up-to-date on royalty payments, and is not required to license 8080 BASIC to competitors. The conflict will ultimately lead to Microsoft withdrawing its exclusive license in November.