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This Week in Tech History: Introduction of the Microwave and First Practical Light Bulb

On this episode of "This Week in Tech History," Chris tells us of the introduction of a cooking appliance that is in most American homes today. Many of us take it for granted, but there was a time it cost about as much as the family car. But first, he takes us back to before the turn of the century, and the first practical light bulb.

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Thomas Edison in his Laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ

This week in 1879 – Thomas Edison invented a workable electric light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. During his test, the bulb lasted 13 and a half hours. This would be the invention of the first commercially practical incandescent light. Popular belief is that he invented the first light bulb, which he did not. The first electric light was actually created in 1802 by English scientist Humphry Davy.

1954 – Texas Instruments announced the first Transistor radio. They quickly became the most popular electronic communication device in history, with billions manufactured during the 60s and 70s.

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The first microwave oven for home use had a hefty price tag.

1955 – The microwave oven was introduced in Mansfield, Ohio at the corporate headquarters of the Tappan Company. The new cooking device had a price tag of about $1,300, which would translate to over $11,000 today. No wonder they only manufactured 34 units that first year.

1985 – Intel introduced the 32-bit 80386 microcomputer chip. It was the first Intel *86 chip to handle 32-bit data sets. It ran at speeds of up to 33 MHz — blazingly fast in 1985.

microsoft-antitrust-320And this week in 1998 – Microsoft and prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice and twenty states met in federal court. It was the beginning of the antitrust case against the Microsoft Corporation.

Written by Chris Graveline

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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