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This Week in Tech History: First Phone Message and a Mannequin in Space

On this edition of "This Week in Tech History", Chris tells us of the first words spoken into the telephone, as well as an out of this world journey for a Russian mannequin.

AG_Bell_1This week in 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell sent the first clear telephone message — into a nearby room — to his assistant, Thomas Watson. “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” were the first words spoken into the invention that Bell had created.Ivan_ivanowich

In 1891 – Almon Strowger, an undertaker in Topeka, Kansas, patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.

1961 – Sputnik 9 successfully launched, carrying a mannequin named Ivan Ivanovich – along with a dog, various reptiles, and eighty mice and guinea pigs – demonstrating that the Soviet Union was ready to begin human spaceflight.

Sinclair-ZX811981 – The ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, was launched by Sinclair Research and would go on to sell over 1.5 million units around the world.

And this week in 2009 – The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, is launched.


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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