This Day in Geek History: January 30
James Ritty and John Birch a U.S. patent for the first cash register.
Georges Rignoux of La Rochelle, France describes a primitive “television” system using a matrix of sixty-four photocells to producing a limited grey scale picture. Rignoux had developed the system over the course of several months, with several successful practical experiments, including the first demonstration of the instantaneous transmission of black and white still images in 1909.
The Lone Ranger premieres on the radio WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. The radio serial will run for thirteen consecutive years with a total of 2,956 episodes. The western adventures of the masked Texas Ranger will inspire the creation of a bevy of future super heroes, and the show’s success will pave the way for their popularization in mainstream media.
United States President Harry Truman orders the development of the hydrogen fusion bomb, otherwise known as the “H-bomb.” The codename “Super” will later be given to the project to reflected the superiority of thermonuclear devices over earlier fission bombs used at the end of World War II.
Two new Mersenne primes numbers (M521 and M607) are discovered by researchers using the Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC) to run a program written by Raphael Robinson for the first time. These are the first prime numbers ever discovered using computer software. The first of the two numbers, M521, will consist of 157 digits and the second, M607, will consist of 183 digits. Three more primes will be discovered on June 25 and one more will be discovered on both October 7 and October 9 using the same method.
The first television test transmissions in Norway are broadcast.
The first external artificial pacemaker with an internal heart electrode is put into use. In order to maintain a patient’s heartbeat rhythm, an electrode is sewn to the wall of the patient’s heart and connected through the chest to an external desktop pulse generator. The device turns out to be a poor solution, though. Not only is the equipment bulky, infections will frequently occur along the electrode wires, and the device requires uninterrupted electrical supply.
The U.S. Hard Lander, Ranger 6, is launched from Cape Canaveral.
Atari begins using “Innovative leisure” as the company slogan. Atari will later apply for to trademark the term in April 1976 and be granted a trademark in February 1977.
Atari introduces Superpong.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces two new processors, the IBM 4331 and IBM 4341, for intermediately sized computers.
Universal Pictures releases the science fiction comedy film The Incredible Shrinking Woman, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Lily Tomlin, Charles Grodin, Ned Beatty, John Glover, and Elizabeth Wilson, to 789 U.S. theaters. In it, a woman is exposed to chemicals that make her begin to physically shrink. It will gross US$4,279,264 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: PG) Running Time: 1 hr 28 mins