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This week in 1876 – Thomas Edison of Menlo Park, NJ patented the mimeograph machine. He described it as a method of preparing autographic stencils for printing. We don’t use mimeographs much these days, thanks to paper copiers and computers. The mimeograph worked by first creating a master which was placed on a large rotating drum. A purple ink would then print out on paper.
Just one year later in 1877 – Edison finished figuring out his first phonograph. He handed the model of his invention to John Kreusi with instructions on how to build it. Kreusi bet the inventor $2 and said that there was no way that the machine would ever work. He lost the bet.
1910 – Alva Fisher of Chicago, IL received a patent for an invention that moms, grandmas and single guys certainly came to appreciate: the electric washing machine. Previous to Fisher’s invention, washing machines were cranked by hand — or you used a washboard
1960 – Echo 1A, NASA’s first successful communications satellite, is launched. This large, metalized balloon was used to bounce microwave signals from one point on Earth to another.
1981 – IBM introduced the personal computer with their 5150 model. The IBM PC ran on the Intel 8088 microprocessor at 4.77 mHz. It had 16 kilobytes of memory, no built-in clock or video capability — it was available however, with an optional color monitor. Prices started at around $1,500. The IBM PC was a smashing success and IBM quickly became the #1 microcomputer company, dropping Apple to #2.
1984 – IBM released PC-DOS v3.0 for PC/AT. Remember those AT machines? A 286 processor, 20meg hard drive and 256kilobytes of RAM for somewhere between $6000 and $9000. Ah yes, those were the days.