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This Week in Tech History: Boeing 747 Rolls Out

CBS’s color TVs went on sale – for a short time, NASA begins operation and the age of the jumbo jet takes off… It all happened This Week in Tech History.


This week in 1951 – CBS made the first color televisions available for sale to the general public, but discontinued the product less than a month later at the request of the National Production Authority, which did not want color TVs shipped for the duration of the Korean War. Only 200 sets had been shipped and only 100 sold when CBS discontinued its color television system. CBS bought back all of the color sets it could to avoid customer lawsuits.

1956 – The world’s first transatlantic telephone cable (TAT 1) was put into service. The cable initially connected Newfoundland with Scotland. Two cables were laid with one cable for each direction. The cable was able to carry 35 simultaneous telephone calls. A 36th channel was used to carry up to 22 telegraph lines. The project was a joint venture between the General Post Office of the UK, the American Telephone and Telegraph company (AT&T), and the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation.


1958 – The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics is replaced by NASA – or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, that was formed earlier that year. When NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA, it had 8,000 employees and an annual budget of $100 million. These days NASA’s headcount is over 17,000 employees and operates with a budget of more than $22.6 Billion.


And this week in 1968 – The Boeing 747 jumbo jet was rolled out and shown off to the public. Over 1500 of these iconic jets have been made since then. Boeing has confirmed that the final 747 would be delivered in 2022, ending more than a half century of production.

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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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