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This Week in Tech History: A Chimp in Space

The first Jukebox is placed into service, The US sends a chimp into space and Atari releases the first successful video game… It all happened this week in tech history.

This week in 1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated his phonograph for the first time. . Originally intended to be used as a dictating machine, this invention proved very popular in the field of entertainment.

1889 – The first jukebox was placed in service in a saloon in San Francisco. Juke, at the time, was a slang word for a disorderly house, or house of ill repute. The unit, developed by Louis Glass, contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. The contraption took in $1,000 in six months!

1961 – The Mercury-Atlas 5 launches. Aboard the spacecraft was a chimpanzee names Enos. The spacecraft orbited the Earth twice and splashed down about 200 miles south of Bermuda. The chimp and spacecraft survived the flight, and The Mercury spacecraft and Atlas booster were now been qualified to carry a human into orbit.

And this week in 1972 – Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game. The game was first tested in a California bar. Shortly after installation, the machine began to malfunction. When they went to repair it, they found that the problem was the coin mechanism was overflowing. It was obviously a popular game.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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