This Day in Geek History: November 28
The Times newspaper in London is printed on automatic, steam-powered presses for the first time, marking the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience for the first time in history. The presses were built by the German inventors Andreas Friedrich Bauer and Friedrich Koenig.
Thomas Edison of Boston, Massachusetts applies for his first patent. The patent is for an “electrographic vote recorder,” which will enable a legislators to register a vote either for or against an issue by turning a switch to the right or left. Before his death in 1931, Edison will come to be known as one of the most prolific inventors in history, with a record 1,093 U.S. patents.
Future movie producer Louis B. Mayer opens his first movie theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Radio amateur Léon Deloy (call sign 8 AB) of Nice, France connects on a 109 meter wavelength with F.H. Schnell (call sign 1 MO) in Hartford, Connecticut in the first two-way trans-Atlantic radio transmission. Deloy announced his intention to make contact with an American earlier in the year at the ARRL convention in Chicago. As a result, many Americans were listening for the signal.
The first instant camera, Polaroid Land Camera, first goes on sale at a Boston department store. The camera, invented by Dr. Edwin Land, produces a sepia-colored photograph in approximately one minute. Price: US$89.75
The COMDEX trade show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the event, Radio Shack unveils the Tandy TRS-80 Model 2000 computer, featuring an 8 MHz Intel 80186 processor, 128KB RAM, two 720KB disk drives, and the MS-DOS 2.0 operating system. Base Price: US$2,750 Optional 12-inch monochrome monitor: US$250 Optional 10MB hard drive Optional color graphics card: US$750 Optional color monitor: US$800 Optional Extra 128KB RAM: US$300 Optional monochrome graphics card: US$450 Visit the event’s official website.
EXEC-PC, which will eventually grow into one of the largest bulletin board systems (BBS) in North America, takes its first call at 2am on its only phone line. At its height, in the mid-nineties, the system will include over two hundred fifty lines and over 300GB of file storage.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Where Silence Has Lease” first airs. (No. 202) In it, the Enterprise is ensnared in a mysterious “hole” in space, controlled by a malevolently curious space-faring life form. When the alien becomes intrigued by the concept of death, he informs Captain Picard that he intends to kill half of the crew to test the different ways to die. Memory Alpha entry
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