This Day in Geek History: January 27
Thomas Edison receives a patent for “an electric lamp for giving light by incandescence” which he first invented on November 21, 1879. (US No. 223,898) Edison’s invention will have a tremendous impact on the electronics industry. In the course of developing the light bulb, one of Edison’s assistants discovered the flow of energy from one electrode to another in what will later come to be known as the “Edison effect,” which will later be fundamental principal of the electron tube, which will be, in turn, the foundation of electronics industry. To view a high resolution scan of the patent application, or to read a transcript of the patent application, visit US News online.
In Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Society is founded as a non-profit organization for the purpose of disseminating geographical knowledge.
The silent film Tarzan of the Apes, directed by Scott Sidney and starring Elmo Lincoln, premieres at the Broadway Theater. The film, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name, will spawn a series of films based on Burroughs’ novels. IMDB entry
This date is often incorrectly cited as the day John Logie Baird first publicly demonstrated the television. The date will be accidentally given to reporters during a series of talks in 1931 by Baird himself. The actual date is January 26, 1926.
The Wire Recording Corporation of America announces the commercial availability of the “Wireway,” the first magnetic wire recorder. It is a is lightweight, portable device with a built-in oscillator. Price: US$149.50
An article in the journal Science announces a new antibiotic named Terramyacin, which was manufactured by Charles Pfizer & Co. and isolated from soil in Indiana. Effective against dysentery, pneumonia, and other infections, Terramyacin is the first pharmaceutical discovered as the result of the company’s intensive quest to find new organisms to fight disease. Pfizer had collected 135,000 soil samples from around the globe, including the bottom of mine shafts and oceans, deserts, and mountains.
Nuclear testing begins at the Nevada Test Site when an Air Force B-50D from a base in New Mexico drops a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flat in Clark County, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Over the next forty years, 928 nuclear devices will be detonated at the site.
The “CBS Radio Workshop” premieres with Aldous Huxley reading his science fiction classic, “Brave New World“. The anthology series is a revival of the Columbia workshop. It will run until September 22, 1957 and feature some of the biggest names in science fiction. The success of series will make way for such ground-breaking television series as The Twilight Zone.
NASA selects 110 candidates for the first U.S. space flight.
Apollo 1 astronauts Roger Chaffee, Gus Grissom, and Edward White are killed when a fire is ignited in the crew cabin, which maintains a pure oxygen atmosphere, during a ground test of the spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center. They are the first U.S. astronauts to have died in a spacecraft. The ensuing investigation will ground all manned mission through the middle of the next year. Investigators will later determine that the the pressure within the crew cabin at the time of the fire had prevented the hatch, which swung inward, rather than outward, from being opened, but the exact cause of the fire will never be determined.
More than sixty nations sign the Outer Space Treaty, which effectively bans nuclear weapons outside of Earth’s atmosphere, prohibits military activity on the Moon, and forms the basis of all future international space law. The treaty goes into effect on October 10, 1967
Magnavox begins producing the Odyssey video game system, which will be released in May. The Odyssey is the world’s first commercial video game console. The system is fairly primitive. It doesn’t contain any processors; its logic is completely the result of discreet electrical components. Game cartridges are only jumpers that set the configuration of the electronic components of the system. It will be discontinued after only a year on the market, selling very few units.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division introduces the Interactive Instructional System, computer software for training employees or students via remote terminals.
The science fiction series Galactica 1980 premieres on the ABC television network with the episode “Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I“. (No. 1) In it, after thirty years of searching for the planet Earth, the crew of the Galactica find it, only to realize that its people are not advanced enough to help in the war against the Cylons. The series is the result of a massive write-in campaign in which fans protested the cancellation of the original series, but it will be canceled after only ten episodes. TV.com entry
According to Twin Galaxies, Chuck Coss scores a record-setting 4,163,250 points playing the Bally Midway arcade game Burger Time at the Aladdin’s Castle arcade in Steubenville, Ohio. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
Pages: 1 2