This Day in Geek History: November 30
In Padua, Italy, Galileo Galilei begins observing the Moon through his telescope (“perspicullum”), and, noting the irregularities of its crescent face, draws watercolor sketches of his discoveries.
George Westinghouse opens the first commercially successful alternating current power plant in the U.S. in Buffalo, New York to compete against Edison’s direct current ventures. Alternating current power can be transmitted much further than direct current power by using transformers at the source for a higher voltage, which decreases the loss of energy.
Aluminium is first used commercially in the U.S. as an electrical transmission conductor for the Hartford Electric Light Company of Hartford, Connecticut.
Frank Hornby is granted a patent for Meccano, an “Improvements in toy or educational devices for children and young people.” Known at first as “Mechanics Made Easy,” the invention will become a global success. In addition to be an early Geek toy, Meccano is the forerunner of other great Geek toys such as Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Legos, the Erector Set, etc. Read more about “Frank Hornby, the Boy Who Made $1,000,000 With A Toy“.
The first photograph facsimile is transmitted by radio across the Atlantic Ocean as a public demonstration were received in New York, where they will published next day in the New York Herald Tribune. The photos include pictures of British government officials, the Oxford team winning in a relay race in Cambridge, a steamship aground on the banks of the Thames, and the proverb, “one picture is worth a thousand words” written out.
The first coaxial cable is installed between New York and Philadelphia for multi-channel telephone tests. The coaxial cable is demonstrated by Frank B. Jewett, the president of Bell Telephone Laboratories, with an inaugural call to the FCC in Washington, D.C.
In Sylacauga, Alabama, Ann Hodges, age 32, is bruised on the arm and hip by a meteorite that falls through the roof of her house into her living room and bounces off her wooden radio to strike her as she is sleeping on her couch. The meteorite fragment weighs 8.5 pounds (4kg) and measure about six inches (15 cm) in diameter and seven inches in length. Scientists believe that the fragment is a piece of a larger chondrite which witnesses report exploded over central Alabama at about 2pm with a bright flash. Mrs. Hodges isn’t permanently injured, but she is severely bruised along her hip and leg. This is the first modern report of a Meteorite striking a human. In 1956, Hodges will donate the fragment to the Alabama Museum of Natural History, where it will be dubbed the Hodges Meteorite.
The CBS program Douglas Edwards and the News becomes the first live broadcast to ever be video recorded. It is recorded in New York on an Ampex machine and played back three hours later on the west coast. The program is recorded by two Ampex machines, as well as by 35mm and 16mm film machines to assure success.
The first two IBM 7090 mainframe computers are delivered. The popular transistorized mainframe was designed for large-scale scientific research and technological applications. One of the units will be used for the Mercury and Gemini space missions. Units sells for US$2.9 million or rented for US$63,500 a month, half the price of its, predecessor, the IBM 709, which operates at one-sixth the speed of the 7090.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces the IBM 1800 data acquisition and control system, which can monitor an assembly line, control a steel-making process, or analyze the status of a missile in flight.
At the COMDEX trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, 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.
The one hundredth .com domain, NYNEXST.COM, is registered.
In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the World of Commodore trade show is held, over five days.
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