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This Week in Tech History: TRS-80 is Unveiled

The first traffic light in the US goes up, a telephone pioneer goes down, and one of the first mass-produced PCs is unveiled… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

1914 – The American Traffic Signal Company installed the first electric traffic light to be used in the United States. Installed on the corner of E. 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, it featured just two colors, red and green, with the words “stop” and “move.” Bells on each pole rang when the traffic is to proceed: two long rings for Euclid Ave traffic and one long ring for E. 105th St.

1922 – Telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell died. Two days later, every telephone in the U.S. and Canada went silent as the Bell System shut down every one of its switchboards and switching stations for one minute in memory of Bell. During this time, none of the 13 million telephones in operation could be used.

1977 – Tandy Corporation’s TRS-80, one of the world’s first mass-produced personal computers, was unveiled at New York’s Warwick Hotel. Sold through Radio Shack – which was owned by Tandy at the time – the $600 system featured a black-and-white-monitor, cassette tape storage, 4Kb of RAM and a 1.78MHz processor. Until 1982, the TRS-80 was the best-selling PC line, outselling the Apple II series five to one.

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web two years earlier while working at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research. The decision was made, thankfully, to release the World Wide Web into public domain, rather than profiting from it. As a result, the World Wide Web is now a part of our everyday life.

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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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