20th Century Timeline 1900 - 1999

20th Century — the Technology, Science, and Inventions

Wright brothers airplane
In 1903, the Wright brothers invented the first gas motored and manned airplane. H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Technology, science, inventions and re-inventions have progressed at an accelerated rate during the hundred years of the 20th century, more so than any other century.

We began the 20th century with the infancy of airplanes, automobiles, and radio, when those inventions dazzled us with their novelty and wonder.

We end the 20th century with spaceships, computers, cell phones, and the wireless Internet all being technologies we can take for granted.

1900

1901

  • King Camp Gillette invents the double-edged safety razor.
  • The first radio receiver, successfully received a radio transmission.
  • Hubert Booth invents a compact and modern vacuum cleaner.

1902

1903

  • Edward Binney and Harold Smith co-invent crayons.
  • Bottle-making machinery invented by Michael J. Owens.
  • The Wright brothers invent the first gas motored and manned airplane.
  • Mary Anderson invents windshield wipers.
  • William Coolidge invents ductile tungsten used in lightbulbs.

1904

  • Teabags invented by Thomas Suillivan.
  • Benjamin Holt invents a tractor.
  • John A Fleming invents a vacuum diode or Fleming valve.

    1905

    • Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity and made famous the equation, E = mc2.
    • Mary Anderson receives a patent for windshield wipers.

    1906

    • William Kellogg invents Cornflakes.
    • Lewis Nixon invents the first sonar like device.
    • Lee Deforest invents electronic amplifying tube (triode).

    1907

    • Leo Baekeland invents the first synthetic plastic called Bakelite.
    • Color photography invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.
    • The very first piloted helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu.

    1908

    • The gyrocompass invented by Elmer A. Sperry.
    • Cellophane invented by Jacques E. Brandenberger.
    • Model T first sold.
    • J W Geiger and W Müller invent the geiger counter.
    • Fritz Haber invents the Haber Process for making artificial nitrates.[/liu]

    1909

    1910

    • Thomas Edison demonstrated the first talking motion picture.
    • Georges Claude displayed the first neon lamp to the public on December 11, 1910, in Paris.

    1911

    1912

    • Motorized movie cameras invented, replaced hand-cranked cameras.
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    • The first tank patented by Australian inventor De La Mole.
    • Clarence Crane created Life Savers candy in 1912.

      1913

      1914

      1915

      • Eugene Sullivan and William Taylor co-invented Pyrex in New York City.

      1916

      • Radio tuners invented, that received different stations.
      • Stainless steel invented by Henry Brearly.

      1917

      • Gideon Sundback patented the modern zipper (not the first zipper).

      1918

      • The superheterodyne radio circuit invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong. Today, every radio or television set uses this invention.
      • Charles Jung invented fortune cookies.

      1919

      • The pop-up toaster invented by Charles Strite.
      • Short-wave radio invented.
      • The flip-flop circuit invented.
      • The arc welder invented.

      1920

      • The tommy gun patented by John T Thompson.
      • The Band-Aid (pronounced 'ban-'dade) invented by Earle Dickson.

      1921

      • Artificial life begins -- the first robot built.
      • John Larson invented the lie detector.

      1922

      1923

      • John Harwood invented the self-winding watch.
      • Clarence Birdseye invents frozen food.

      1924

      • The dynamic loudspeaker invented by Rice and Kellogg.
      • Notebooks with spiral bindings invented.

      1925

      • The mechanical television a precursor to the modern television, invented by John Logie Baird.

      1926

      1927

      • Eduard Haas III invents PEZ candy.
      • JWA Morrison invents the first quartz crystal watch.
      • Philo Taylor Farnsworth invents a complete electronic TV system.
      • Technicolor invented, which allowed the widespread creation of color movies.
      • Erik Rotheim patents an aerosol can.
      • Warren Marrison developed the first quartz clock.
      • Philip Drinker invents the iron lung.

      1928

      1929

      • American, Paul Galvin invents the car radio.
      • Yo-Yo re-invented as an American fad.

        1930

        • Scotch tape patented by 3M engineer, Richard G. Drew.
        • The frozen food process patented by Clarence Birdseye.
        • Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents neoprene.
        • The "differential analyzer", or analog computer invented by Vannevar Bush at MIT in Boston.
        • Frank Whittle and Dr Hans von Ohain both invent a jet engine.

        1931

        • Harold Edgerton invented stop-action photography.
        • Germans Max Knott and Ernst Ruska co-invent the electron microscope.

          1932

          • Polaroid photography invented by Edwin Herbert Land.
          • The zoom lens and the light meter invented.
          • Carl C. Magee invents the first parking meter.
          • Karl Jansky invents the radio telescope.

          1933

          1934

          • Englishmen, Percy Shaw invents cat eyes or roads reflectors.
          • Charles Darrow claims he invented the game Monopoly.
          • Joseph Begun invents the first tape recorder for broadcasting - first magnetic recording.

          1935

          1936

          • Bell Labs invents the voice recognition machine.
          • Samuel Colt patents the Colt revolver.

          1937

          1938

          • Strobe lighting invented.
          • LSD was synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories.
          • Roy J. Plunkett invented tetrafluoroethylene polymers or Teflon.
          • Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee invented.
          • The first working turboprop engine.

          1939

          • Igor Sikorsky invents the first successful helicopter.

          1940

          1941

          • Konrad Zuse's Z3, the first computer controlled by software.
          • Aerosol spray cans invented by American inventors, Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan.
          • Enrico Fermi invents the neutronic reactor.

          1942

          1943

          • Synthetic rubber invented.
          • Richard James invents the slinky.
          • James Wright invent silly putty.
          • Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD.
          • Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau invent the aqualung.

          1944

          • The kidney dialysis machine invented by Willem Kolff.
          • Synthetic cortisone invented by Percy Lavon Julian.

          1945

          1946

          1947

          • British/Hungarian scientist, Dennis Gabor, developed the theory of holography.
          • Mobile phones first invented. Although cell phones were not sold commercially until 1983.
          • Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley invent the transistor.
          • Earl Silas Tupper patented the Tupperware seal.

          1948

          • The Frisbee ® invented by Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni.
          • Velcro ® invented by George de Mestral.
          • Robert Hope-Jones invented the Wurlitzer jukebox.

            1949

            • Cake mix invented.

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