Paid Cable Television Channels

Background Charles Dolan was a cable TV pioneer who received a license to build a cable television system in lower Manhattan. Due to New York City restrictions, cables needed to run underground, vastly increasing the cost of the infrastructure. New Yorkers lacked enthusiasm. By 1971, Dolan only had 400 subscribers. To increase sales, Dolan eventually […]

Consumer Shared Computer Network (CompuServe)

CompuServe is the first computer network targeted towards ordinary people though it did not start out that way. Background Jeff Wilkins sold burglar alarms. His father-in-law ran a small insurance company and needed to buy a computer. However, the DEC model he wanted had far more computing power than his father required. Wilkins realized he […]

Barbie

In 1945, Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler created a garage-based manufacturing business. They named it by combining their first names, Mattel. First, they manufactured picture frames. Using the leftover pieces of wood, Elliot built dollhouses that sold well. Soon, Matson dropped out of the business leaving it solely owned by Handler and his wife, […]

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing identifies genetic patterns, including irregularities. In 2019, genetic testing is typically used to search for abnormalities and susceptibilities. However, new treatments under development target the specific traits of patients or disease. These treatments attack and cure at the genetic level. In addition, genetic testing is entertaining. People find unknown relatives or trace family […]

Rock & Roll

“If you’re not doing something different, you’re not doing anything.” Sam Phillips Background Billboard magazine started charting songs in 1940. Eventually, they divided songs into three categories, pop, country-and-western, and “race music.” Around 1949, race music was renamed rhythm and blues (R&B). Music sales were proprietary and closely guarded so Billboard based their charts off […]

Electric Instruments

Early History Claims about electric instruments date back to 1730 when texts describe a Czech musician who “generated sound by electromagnetic excitation of piano strings.” These claims are either false or the entire history of electricity of incorrect. Until Volta’s Voltaic Pile battery, in 1800, there was no method to produce an ongoing current. Electrical […]

Long Playing (LP) Records & Talking Movies

Long-playing records play for a long time, enabling records with more than one song. Background As Edison’s phonograph evolved, the recordings eventually migrated to small disks played at 78 rotations per minute (rpm). Each disk held about three minutes of music per side. Filmmakers wanted to add sound to their movies. Before then, movies ran […]

Jukebox

The Jukebox is an automated coin-operated music player which plays individual songs. The differentiating factor of the Jukebox from a simple coin-operated record player is the ability of an automated machine to replace live music in a restaurant or bar. Background Louis Glass and William Arnold modified Edison’s record players to operate by coins. These […]

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 […]

Modern Art

Background Towards the late 1800s, two new technologies radically changed the world of painting. The first photography. Images were primitive, expensive, and slow at first. However, by the late 1800s photography would eventually produce entirely realistic images in less time and at less cost than any painter could. Painting as a functional exercise, to preserve […]