This Day in Geek History: March 4
Alexander S. Wolcott and John Johnson open the world’s first commercial photography studio in New York City. Wolcott will patent a camera using a mirror reflector May 8, 1840.
The New York Daily Graphic, the United State’s first illustrated daily newspaper, is first published.
The first reproduction of a photograph with a half-tone graphic is printed in the New York Daily Graphic newspaper. The graphic is entitled “A Scene in Shantytown.”
William Randolph Hearst, age 23, buys the San Francisco Examiner, which will become the first building block in the later vast Hearst newspaper empire.
Calvin Coolidge becomes the first President of the United States to broadcast his inaugural speech over the radio. His address is broadcast over twenty-one U.S. radio stations, the largest “network” arrangement to date.
In Germany, the airship Hindenburg makes its maiden flight. It is the largest aircraft in history, and at the time of its first flight, it is thought that the airship represented the future of all air travel. However, in 1937, the globally publicized Hindenburg disaster brought the expectation that the airship would become a popular method of transport to an end.
RCA begins shipping the first NTSC color standard compatible television camera to be mass produced (or commercially available), the model RCA TK-40A, and associated studio equipment from its plant in Camden, New Jersey. The camera and its predecessor, the TK-40, which received a limited release in 1953, are the first television cameras able to broadcast live color images. On April 8, 1954, WKY-TV in Oklahoma City will become the first television station not owned and operated by RCA to receive the equipment.
The first radio facsimile transmission is sent across the United States.
An Wang sells International Business Machines (IBM) his patent on ferrite core memory for half a million dollars. Wang’s memory will be used almost universally in digital computers in the fifties through the seventies. Visit the official IBM website.
The Atomic Energy Commission announces that the first Antarctic atomic power plant, the PM-3A Naval Nuclear Power Unit at McMurdo Sound, has been activated. The prefabricated plant was assembled between January and March by a team of contractors and military technicians as a power source that will be able to operate for years without new fuel. The reactor will be decommissioned in 1972, to be replaced with a diesel-fueled electric generator.
Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 5 launched from Cape Canaveral. It carries twenty-five experiments.
Atari introduces Quadra PongPong, to arcades in North America. Kee Games releases the game simultaneously as “Elimination.” The games are the first widely distributed to be housed in cocktail cabinets, sometimes referred to as table cabinets. However, all future cocktail cabinets feature a flat rather than a curved top.
Pan Am becomes the first airline to be charged with criminal negligence as the result of a plane crash.