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This Week in Tech History: America Heads to the Moon

The first air conditioning system is installed, an iconic toy goes on sale and America heads to the moon… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1902 – Dr. Willis Carrier installed a commercial air conditioning system at a Brooklyn, NY printing plant. The system was the first to provide man-made control over temperature, humidity, ventilation and air quality. For the first two decades of the 20th Century, Carrier’s invention was used primarily to cool machines, not people. The development of the centrifugal chiller by Carrier in the early 1920s led to comfort cooling for movie theaters and, before long, air conditioning came to department stores, office buildings and railroad cars.

1960 – A toy originally from France whose name translated to “The Magic Screen” first went on sale. It ended up becoming a huge hit with over 50 million units sold in the first 25 years. Years later, the device we came to know as the Etch a Sketch made it all the way to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

1965 – The “Mariner IV” spacecraft sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars. The first pictures ever captured of another planet in deep space. The images  largely changed the scientific community’s view of life on Mars.

1969 – The Crew of Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins) blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. Tune in next week to find out if they made it.

And this week in 1979 – Skylab, in orbit since 1973, made a spectacular return to Earth. The abandoned U.S. space station burned up in the atmosphere and showered debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.

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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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