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This Week in Tech History: Apple’s First Computer

Thomas Edison shoots Annie Oakley for the first peep show, the first successful VCR is released and Apple’s first computer goes on sale… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1894 – Thomas Edison showed off his new invention, the Kinetoscope, when the first kinetoscope parlor opened in New York City. Five machines were placed in a row, and a customer could view the films in each for a total of 25 cents. These were often referred to as peep shows, since one peeped through a personal viewer to see the film. These first films were shot by Edison of Annie Oakley performing some of her celebrated feats of marksmanship. Kinetoscope parlors soon opened around the United States.

1947 – Zoomar arrived. No, this is not about some comic book superhero or space alien. Zoomar is a lens demonstrated by NBC-TV in New York City. Eventually, the lens would be scaled down for use by regular photographers, not just for television. There are many different kinds of camera lenses today, including the zoom lens named after the original Zoomar.

1956 – Ampex Corporation demonstrated their VRX-1000. This was the first commercially successful video tape recorder. These $50,000 VCRs were hand-built and too large to fit through a standard doorway. CBS was the first on-air user of the machine, to tape-delay the evening CBS News broadcast with Douglas Edwards.

1970 – Apollo 13, the seventh manned Apollo mission and the third intended to land on the moon was launched from Kennedy Space Center. The now infamous accident during that mission gave rise to the just as infamous line “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

And this week in 1976 – The Apple I personal computer was released. The computer went on sale for $666.66 because developer Steve Wozniak liked repeating numbers.

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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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