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This Week in Tech History: Patent Filed for the Telephone

A patent is filed for the telephone, the first sci-fi television program airs and the age of the jumbo jet begins… It all happened This Week in Tech History.


This week in 1863 – The fire extinguisher was patented by Alanson Crane. Previously, fires were extinguished by tossing a fire grenade, a glass bulb filled with liquid chemicals, into the fire to smother the flames.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, the same day as Elisha Gray. Gray, Antonio Meucci and Thomas Edison all claim to have invented the telephone first. It is still the subject of controversy today.

1938 – BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a Polish play, that coined the term “robot”. The word “Robot” is a variation of the Czech word “Robota”, which means “forced labor.”


1969 – The Boeing 747 flew its first test flight this day. The milestone ushered in the age of the jumbo jet.

1997 – After a two-day chase, space shuttle Discovery’s astronauts hauled the Hubble Space Telescope aboard to begin a $350 million refurbishment to increase the performance of the telescope.



2004 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission began writing rules to enable users to access the Internet through electric power lines.

Written by Chris Graveline

Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for 14 years. He is a producer of Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline and 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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