This Day in Geek History: June 25
A lunar eclipse becomes the first astronomical event recorded in the United States.
Antonie Lavoisier announces to the French Academy of Sciences that water is the product of the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. However, this discovery was made earlier by the English chemist Henry Cavendish.
Alexander Graham Bell gives the first public demonstration of his speaking telephone at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event, the first World’s Fair to be held in the United States, commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It’s estimated that roughly ten million people will attend the exhibition, which also features the first public debut of Heinz Ketchup, Hires Root Beer, the Remington Typographic Machine (the first commercially successful typewriter), and the first automatic screw making machine.
Marie Curie announces the discovery of Radium.
Warner Bros. forms the Vitaphone Company in partnership with Western Electric to develop and exploit sound-on-disc technology for cinemas. Development work takes place at the Vitagraph Studio in Brooklyn, New York, under an eleven person team from Bell Telephone Labs under British-born Stanley S A Watkins.
At 4:35pm, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) televises the one-hour premiere of commercial color television with a program named “Premiere.” It is transmitted using the CBS Field Sequential System from New York to four other cities, including: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. The programs includes entertainment by such leading personalities as Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, Faye Emerson, Sam Levenson, Robert Alda, Isabel Bigley, and Garry Moore, as well as statements from CBS executives William S. Paley and Dr. Frank Stanton. The system uses a field-sequential system of 405 lines, 144 fields per second. Unfortunately, the system is incompatible with the NTSC black-and-white standard commercially available in stores, so the broadcast is received by televisions in black and white. Due to the Korean War, CBS will discontinue color broadcasting four months later on October 20, 1951. Read more about the history of CBS television.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directs AT&T to cut its rates for privately leased telephone circuits by about fifteen percent. The order marks another step in the long struggle between the telephone company and the U.S. government over anti-trust concerns. Visit the official AT&T website.
The first Soviet weather satellite, Kosmos 122, is launched.
The ART-B, Early Bird, and Lana Bird satellites broadcast the first global satellite television program, “Our World,” to an audience of 400 million people. “For the first time ever, linking five continents and bringing man face to face with mankind,” eulogizes the BBC press release, “in places as far apart as Canberra and Cape Kennedy, Moscow and Montreal, Samarkand and Söderfors, Takamatsu and Tunis.” However, the USSR will withdrew from the broadcast at the last moment. Performers in nineteen nations contribute a six minute segment showcasing their home nation. Most notably, England’s contribution will be a performance by the The Beatles of the song All You Need is Love.
Texas Instruments (TI) is awarded a patent for the first hand-held calculator, the TI-2500 DataMath microcalculator. (US No. 3,819,921) The miniature calculator features a large-scale integrated semiconductor array with processing power equivalent to thousands of discrete semiconductors. The inventors are recognized as James H. Van Tassel, Jerry D. Merryman, and Jack St. Clair Kilby.