This Day in Geek History: November 29
The first patent for a system of traffic lights is issued to Ernest E. Sirrine of Chicago. (US No. 976,939)
The first U.S. underground atom bomb test, designated “Uncle,” is detonated. The low-yield 1.2 kiloton bomb is detonated seventeen feet beneath the surface of Frenchman Flat, in Nevada as part of Operation Buster-Jangle. It leaves an eighteen hundred foot diameter crater one hundred feet deep.
The first U.S. satellite carrying an animal is launched by Mercury-Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral. The passenger, a five-year-old chimpanzee named Enos, orbits the Earth twice over the course of three hours and twenty minutes. During the mission, Enos carries out the lever-pulling performance and psychological tests that he had been conditioned for over the past sixteen months. Enos performs the tasks with a high degree of accuracy, receiving shocks for the minimal number of incorrect answers. Even when the controls malfunction and Enos begins receiving consecutive shocks for correct answers, the frustrated chimpanzee continues to the proper sequence through the end of the flight.
The first Australian satellite, (Wresat), is launched.
The first Australian satellite, the Weapons Research Establishment Satellite (Wresat), is launched on a mission to collect data on the upper atmosphere at 14:19cst from Woomera, South Australia.
Without any fanfare, Atari co-founders Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn wheel the first stand-alone Pong coin-operated arcade unit into Andy Cappa’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California. Instead of pursuing established manufacturers, Bushnell decided to manufacture the Pong units himself, and he begins to distribute Pong arcade units to locations along the pre-existing arcade routes he and Ted Dabney had worked for their previous employer. The move is controversial and fraught with financial risks, but it will ultimately prove to be enormously successful. He leased an old roller rink in Santa Clara and converted it into a production line. Each arcade machine will take in roughly US$200 of income a week, nearly four times what other pinball games and jukeboxes had earned on the same routes. Pong will go on to be the first commercially successful video game in history, and this day will widely be marked as the first nail in the coffin of the pinball era. Carl Sagan will write that, “As a result of Pong, a player can gain a deep intuitive understanding of the simplest Newtonian physics.” Read more about the history of Pong.
Atari files a copyright infringement suit against Imagic, claiming Demon Attack is a copy of Amstar’s Phoenix arcade game, which Atari has the exclusive right to produce for the home game market.
Pages: 1 2