35-millimeter Photography

35mm film remained the standard for photography for decades until digital photography. The film is important because it enabled the miniaturization of cameras. Background The Houston brothers invented roll film and sold the rights to George Eastman. Eventually, Thomas Edison purchased 70mm roll film from Eastman to make movies. Subsequently, Edison employee William Dickson sliced […]

Cathode-ray Tube (CRT)

Cathode ray tubes are a vacuum tube with an electron gun at the back. The gun shoots electrons through the vacuum onto a screen which creates images. Thick screens that predate flat-screen televisions and computer monitors are cathode ray technology. Background German scientists Julius Plücker and Johan Hittorf discovered cathode-ray tubes. Hittorf noticed a negative […]

Visual Web Browser

Tim Berners-Lee original world wide web was entirely text-based, mainly used to link textual papers to one another. Mosaic Marc Andreesen, then a student at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, extended Andreesen’s HTML. Andreesen extended the original HTML, adding components describing not only the contents of a page but also how it should be laid […]

Streaming Video

Early streaming video was more science experiment than entertainment. Video over the internet wouldn’t become common for almost 20 more years after the first stream. Background However, computer companies, thinking about the early Internet, were interested in using it for television. These early transmissions required expensive and complicated computers and extremely expensive Internet connections to […]


In 1909, Nicola Tesla described what eventually would be a smartphone. They’ve existed in various forms for many years. History IBM invented a phone called the Angler in 1992 with PDA like functions. Subsequently, they released a commercial version in 1994. The term “smartphone” first appears in 1995 describing AT&T’s PhoneWriter Communicator. Eventually, more phones […]

Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)

Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) emit light with virtually no electricity. Lamps, televisions, mobile phone, and computer monitors are common applications. Additionally, OLEDs are bright, high-contrast, and extremely thin. OLED screens are faster, brighter, and use far less energy than LED-based displays. As the technology develops, they will eventually cost less than LED displays. OLED’s are […]


The camcorder combined a camera and videotape player into one handheld unit. It made moviemaking exponentially easier and less expensive, opening the field to countless new auteurs. Background The first video making system offered for the home was by Ampex. Advertised in the 1963 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog it cost $30,000 ($247,201 adjusted to 2018) […]

24-Hour News

Broadcast news was a staid affair, a half-hour visual summary showing events of the day. American networks NBC, ABC, and CBS each had a newscast and each aired at the same time. Ted Turner inherited an outdoor advertising company. To build more advertising outlets he purchased a third-rate television station running old TV series and […]

Interpress & PostScript

Interpress and PostScript enabled display technology, initially printers and eventually screens, to display output exactly as it would look between media. Printouts and screens, no matter the size, would look exactly the same. The technology is another from Xerox PARC. Background Warnock left Evans & Sutherland, a computer graphics company founded by Ivan Sutherland, to […]

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet printing produces affordable, high-quality printouts using low-cost personal desktop printers. Background Ichiro Endo, of Canon, was the first to realize the idea that ink could be heated to form a small bubble, then deposited on a page to form a pixel, inkjet printing. John Vaught, a college dropout working at Hewlett-Packard, was working on […]