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This Week in Tech History: Invention of the Microphone

On this edition of "This Week in Tech History", Chris reminds us of one of the world's most widely used inventions - the microphone.

This 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.

1877 – Emile Berliner, the man behind so many inventions, came up with a thing called the microphone. Good thing, too, because the Bell System — run by Alexander Graham Bell, of course — was in desperate need of something to save it from financial ruin and to help the progress of the telephone.

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

1958 – The United States launched the Vanguard 1 satellite. It was the first satellite to be solar powered. Although communication with it was lost in 1964, it remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit.

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.

in 1981 – 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 1985 – The first Internet domain name,, was registered for free. By 1995, domain names were no longer free to register and the company Network Solutions managed the registration process. Domain registration prices were $100 for two years of registration per domain name. By 2014, most .com domain name registration prices had dropped to about $10-$15 per year.

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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