The History of Computer Technology

From 1898-1921


1. The Remote Controlled Boat

2. The Invention of the Telegraphon

3. AT&T and Bell Systems

4. The First Powered Vacuum Cleaner

5. The Audion

6. The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company is Founded

7. Panasonic is Founded

8. Sound In Movies

9. Works Cited


In 1898, Nikola Tesla brought to the table a heavy, low lying, steel-craft boat that stretched four feet long. The boat was battery powered and could pick up radio signals from thirty miles away. This great invention eventually led to huge advances like the radio-guided torpedo.

The Invention of the Telegraphon

In 1898, Valdemar Poulsen patented his newfound invention, the Telegraphon. The purpose of this invention was to record sound and be able to play it back, similar to an answering machine.

AT&T and Bell Systems

In 1899, AT&T begins to take assets of American Bell, a company that created the first telephone exchange, and soon after is deemed as the parent company of Bell Systems

The First Powered Vacuum Cleaner

In 1901, the first powered vacuum cleaner is patented by Hubert C. Booth. This oil-powered machine actually captured debris as it sucked it up, unlike previous models that just redistributed the debris. He first tested this idea by placing a handkerchief to his mouth and sucking in dust while on a train.

The Audion

In 1906, Lee De Forest invented the Audion by placing a grid inside of a vacuum tube. The purpose of the Audion was to take a weak electrical signal and turn it into a much larger, more powerful one. The Audion contributed to the AT&T phone service going coast-to-coast, and also smaller things such as the first television and radio

The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company is Founded

In 1911, Charles Flint merged four companies together to create the CTR company. This company specialized in the production of the Tabulator, a machine that could calculate the number of people for the US census through hole-punched cards. This became popular due to the multiple uses of the machine such as counting the number of times a certain product sells or keeping track of a freight car on a rail line. This Company led by Flint and then by Thomas Watson helped pave the way for the formation of IBM.

Panasonic is Founded

On March 18, 1918, Panasonic is founded by Konosuke Matsushita. The company started with three workers in a two-story house and eventually evolved into one of the biggest technology companies known today. The first invention made by the company was the "two way socket and attachment plug".

Sound In Movies

In 1921, Lee De Forest figured out a way to incorporate sound into movies. He started a company named the De Forest Phonofilm Corporation. The company started off somewhat slow though because it was difficult for film companies to agree to put sound into movies. By the time most movie companies came around, another company had evolved the Corporation's idea, so this didn't get much use.