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This Week in Tech History: Twitter is Born

A magical toy goes on sale, a space station crashes to Earth and one of the most popular social media platforms launches… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1900 – One of the most famous trademarks in the world, ‘His Master’s Voice’, was registered with the U.S. Patent Office. The logo of the Victor Talking Machine Company, and later, RCA Victor, shows the dog, Nipper, looking into the horn of a gramophone machine. 

1960 – A toy originally from France whose name translated to “The Magic Screen” first went on sale. It ended up becoming a huge hit with over 50 million units sold in the first 25 years. Years later, the device we came to know as the Etch a Sketch made it all the way to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

1962 – The “Telstar” communications satellite was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, FL. “Telstar” would usher in a new age of communication via telephone and TV, with voice and picture transmission from Europe to America and back. Signals were picked up by a 38-ton antenna in Andover, Maine.

1979 – Skylab, in orbit since 1973, and the only space station ever to be exclusively operated by the US, made a spectacular return to Earth. Its expected re-entry was a media phenomenon with hats and t-shirts being sold, as well as bottles of Skylab repellent. One town in Nebraska painted a massive target in a field, so that Skylab would have something to aim for. The abandoned space station mostly burned up in the atmosphere and showered debris over the Indian Ocean and parts of Australia.

And this week in 2006 – Twitter, later one of the largest social media platforms in the world, is launched. Co-founder Jack Dorsey explained the origin of the company name, saying that when they came across the word twitter and saw that its definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’ they figured it was perfect.

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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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