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This Week in Tech History: Microphone is Patented

The microphone is patented – then fought over, a company that would become a tech behemoth is born, and Nintendo “switches” up the gaming industry… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1877 – Emile Berliner filed a patent for the microphone. Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone a year earlier, saw how this could help him, and bought the patent for $50,000 The problem, however, is that Thomas Edison – who was known to step on more than a few toes – also filed a patent for the microphone. This set off a 14-year legal battle, making it all the way to the Supreme Court, where they ruled that the microphone is, “beyond controversy, the invention of Edison.”

Original Logo for Samsung

1938 – Lee Byung-chul opened a small trading company in South Korea, dealing in dried-fish, locally-grown groceries and noodles. The company prospered and Lee moved its head office to Seoul in 1947. Over the next several years the company diversified into many different areas, moving into lines of business such as insurance, securities, and retail. In the late 1960s, the growing company entered the electronics industry and formed several electronics-related divisions. Its first electronics product was a black and white television set. Byung-Chul’s vision was for his company to become powerful and everlasting like stars in the sky. So he chose a name that reflected that vision. Translating in English to “Three Stars”, the company we know as Samsung grew from selling dried fish to some of the most popular electronics devices in the world.

1983 – After a few months of only being available in Japan, Compact discs and players are released for the first time in the United States and Europe. Initially, only about 75 stores nationwide sold CDs, and you’d have to have deep pockets if you wanted in on this new technology. Players from Sony and Magnavox sold for about $900, with disks ranging between $16 and $20.

And this week in 2017 – The Nintendo Switch console was released to the public in most regions by Nintendo and was a huge success. The concept of the Switch came about as Nintendo’s reaction to several quarters of financial losses, attributed to poor sales of its previous console, the Wii U.

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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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