Today is my Dad’s birthday. He was born in 1911 and lived to be 89 years old. When you think about it, it’s amazing what people born in that era experienced in their lifetime. There were more innovations and developments done during those decades (not to mention the usual interminable wars) than in previous centuries combined. Just a few of them include:
The very first electric car came out in 1912 – and full circle, we’re back at it again.
Stainless steel was invented in 1915.
- 1926 the Japanese developed an antenna that later morphed into a TV receiving antenna
- 1928 penicillin was found
- 1930 the electron microscope was invented
- 1938 saw the development of the first programmable computer and the discovery of nuclear fission
- The defibrillator was invented in 1939
- 1940 the high-power cavity magnetron was created and later powered both radar and microwave oven technologies
- 1942 the long-range ballistic missile was developed followed immediately by the Manhattan Project atomic bomb in 1945
- 1947 transistors arrived on the scene
- 1950 I was born, adopted, and changed his life forever
- 1953 the video tape recorder was invented – we didn’t have one
- 1956 the hard disk was invented
- 1957 laser and optical amplifiers were invented – the foundation of today’s internet
- Also in that year, the first (IBM) personal computer was invented, and the first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched
- 1960 was when lasers were invented
- 1961 first crewed space flight
- 1965 kevlar was invented
- 1970 every student’s dream – the pocket calculator
- The 1970s in general saw massive developments in the field of computer science and equipment including graphical user interface, touch screens and GPS for navigation, along with the first self-driving car
- 1980 saw flash memory arrive
- 1981 the space shuttle was built – the first reusable version
- 1982 CD ROM, the laptop computer and satellite TV came on the scene
- 1984-85 was when cell phones, lithium batteries and DNA profiling became available
- 1989 The World Wide Web is invented by computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee – something Dad never had the chance to really experience
- The 1990s ushered in several computer-related developments such as SSDs, smartphones, Bluetooth communications, DVDs, and the explosion of the internet as part of everyday life
He was a craftsman, a talented piano tuner whose work was lauded by many famous musicians. He did it all “by ear” with his phenomenal hearing, not electronic tuning devices. Despite total blindness, he could dismantle and rebuild pianos including intricate repairs. Many would never know he was also an accomplished pianist himself.
More importantly, he was my dad! Happy Birthday!