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This Week in Tech History: First Powered Flight

The first powered airplane flight took off, a new television system was patented, and nuclear power made its debut… It all happened this week in tech history.

1903 – The first successful powered airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. First Orville, then Wilbur Wright kept their invention flying … each flight lasted just under one minute. Although they were not the first to build experimental aircraft, the Wright Brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible, and are credited with giving birth to the aviation industry.

This week in 1938 – Vladimir Zworykin of Wilkinsburg, PA patented the iconoscope television system. This was the first fully electronic system to replace the older mechanical systems that used spinning disks to capture light from a single very bright spot.

In 1951 this week – EBR-I (Experimental Breeder Reactor-I) ushered in a new era in nuclear history when it became the first reactor to generate useable amounts of electricity from nuclear energy. It accomplished this feat by lighting four light bulbs at the National Reactor Testing Station in Arco, Idaho.

And this week in 2009 – Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, their most fuel-efficient airliner, made its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

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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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