20th Century Timeline 1900 - 1999
History & Classics  
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20th Century — the Technology, Science, and Inventions
 
Technology, science, inventions and re-inventions have progressed at an accelerated rate during the hundred years of the 20th century, more so than any other century.

 

We began the 20th century with the infancy of airplanes, automobiles, and radio, when those inventions dazzled us with their novelty and wonder.
 
We end the 20th century with spaceships, computers, cell phones, and the wireless Internet all being technologies we can take for granted.
 
1900
The zeppelin invented by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
Charles Seeberger redesigned Jesse Reno's escalator and invented the modern escalator.
1901
King Camp Gillette invents the double-edged safety razor.
The first radio receiver, successfully received a radio transmission.
Hubert Booth invents a compact and modern vacuum cleaner.
1902
Willis Carrier invents the air conditioner.
The lie detector or polygraph machine is invented by James Mackenzie.
The birth of the Teddy Bear.
George Claude invented neon light.
1903
Edward Binney and Harold Smith co-invent crayons.
Bottle-making machinery invented by Michael J. Owens.
The Wright brothers invent the first gas motored and manned airplane.
Mary Anderson invents windshield wipers.
William Coolidge invents ductile tungsten used in lightbulbs.
1904
Teabags invented by Thomas Suillivan.
Benjamin Holt invents a tractor.
John A Fleming invents a vacuum diode or Fleming valve.
1905
Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity and made famous the equation, E = mc2.
Mary Anderson receives a patent for windshield wipers.
1906
William Kellogg invents Cornflakes.
Lewis Nixon invents the first sonar like device.
Lee Deforest invents electronic amplifying tube (triode).
1907
Leo Baekeland invents the first synthetic plastic called Bakelite.
Color photography invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.
The very first piloted helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu.
1908
The gyrocompass invented by Elmer A. Sperry.
Cellophane invented by Jacques E. Brandenberger.
Model T first sold.
J W Geiger and W Müller invent the geiger counter.
Fritz Haber invents the Haber Process for making artificial nitrates.
1909
Instant coffee invented by G. Washington.
1910
Thomas Edison demonstrated the first talking motion picture.
Georges Claude displayed the first neon lamp to the public on December 11, 1910, in Paris.
1911
Charles Franklin Kettering invents the first automobile electrical ignition system.
1912
Motorized movie cameras invented, replaced hand-cranked cameras.
 
The first tank patented by Australian inventor De La Mole.
Clarence Crane created Life Savers candy in 1912.
1913
The crossword puzzle invented by Arthur Wynne.
The Merck Chemical Company patented, what is now know as, ecstasy.
Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra.
Gideon Sundback invented the modern zipper.
1914
Garrett A. Morgan invents the Morgan gas mask.
1915
Eugene Sullivan and William Taylor co-invented Pyrex in New York City.
1916
Radio tuners invented, that received different stations.
Stainless steel invented by Henry Brearly.
1917
Gideon Sundback patented the modern zipper (not the first zipper).
1918
The superheterodyne radio circuit invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong. Today, every radio or television set uses this invention.
Charles Jung invented fortune cookies.
1919
The pop-up toaster invented by Charles Strite.
Short-wave radio invented.
The flip-flop circuit invented.
The arc welder invented.
1920
The tommy gun patented by John T Thompson.
The Band-Aid (pronounced 'ban-'dade) invented by Earle Dickson.
1921
Artificial life begins -- the first robot built.
John Larson invented the lie detector.
1922
Insulin invented by Sir Frederick Grant Banting.
The first 3-D movie (spectacles with one red and one green lens) is released.
1923
Garrett A. Morgan invents a traffic signal.
The television or iconoscope (cathode-ray tube) invented by Vladimir Kosma Zworykin.
John Harwood invented the self-winding watch.
Clarence Birdseye invents frozen food.
1924
The dynamic loudspeaker invented by Rice and Kellogg.
Notebooks with spiral bindings invented.
1925
The mechanical television a precursor to the modern television, invented by John Logie Baird.
1926
Robert H. Goddard invents liquid-fueled rockets.
1927
Eduard Haas III invents PEZ candy.
JWA Morrison invents the first quartz crystal watch.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth invents a complete electronic TV system.
Technicolor invented, which allowed the widespread creation of color movies.
Erik Rotheim patents an aerosol can.
Warren Marrison developed the first quartz clock.
Philip Drinker invents the iron lung.
 

 

1928
Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.
Bubble gum invented by Walter E. Diemer.
Jacob Schick patented the electric shaver.
1929
American, Paul Galvin invents the car radio.
Yo-Yo re-invented as an American fad.
1930
Scotch tape patented by 3M engineer, Richard G. Drew.
The frozen food process patented by Clarence Birdseye.
Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents neoprene.
The "differential analyzer", or analog computer invented by Vannevar Bush at MIT in Boston.
Frank Whittle and Dr Hans von Ohain both invent a jet engine.
1931
Harold Edgerton invented stop-action photography.
Germans Max Knott and Ernst Ruska co-invent the electron microscope.
1932
Polaroid photography invented by Edwin Herbert Land.
The zoom lens and the light meter invented.
Carl C. Magee invents the first parking meter.
Karl Jansky invents the radio telescope.
1933
Frequency modulation (FM radio) invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong.
Stereo records invented.
Richard M. Hollingshead builds a prototype drive-in movie theater in his driveway.
1934
Englishmen, Percy Shaw invents cat eyes or roads reflectors.
Charles Darrow claims he invented the game Monopoly.
Joseph Begun invents the first tape recorder for broadcasting - first magnetic recording.
1935
Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents nylon ( polymer 6.6.)
The first canned beer made.
Robert Watson-Watt patented radar.
1936
Bell Labs invents the voice recognition machine.
Samuel Colt patents the Colt revolver.
1937
Chester F. Carlson invents the photocopier.
The first jet engine is built.
1938
The ballpoint pen invented by Ladislo Biro.
Strobe lighting invented.
LSD was synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories.
Roy J. Plunkett invented tetrafluoroethylene polymers or Teflon.
Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee invented.
The first working turboprop engine.
1939
Igor Sikorsky invents the first successful helicopter.
The electron microscope invented.
1940
Dr William Reich invents the orgone accumulator.
Peter Goldmark invents modern color television system.
Karl Pabst invents the jeep.
1941
Konrad Zuse's Z3, the first computer controlled by software.
Aerosol spray cans invented by American inventors, Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan.
Enrico Fermi invents the neutronic reactor.
1942
John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry built the first electronic digital computer.
Mueller designs a turboprop engine.
1943
Synthetic rubber invented.
Richard James invents the slinky.
James Wright invent silly putty.
Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD.
Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau invent the aqualung.
1944
The kidney dialysis machine invented by Willem Kolff.
Synthetic cortisone invented by Percy Lavon Julian.
1945
Vannevar Bush proposes hypertext.
The atomic bomb invented.
1946
The microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer.
1947
British/Hungarian scientist, Dennis Gabor, developed the theory of holography.
Mobile phones first invented. Although cell phones were not sold commercially until 1983.
Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley invent the transistor.
Earl Silas Tupper patented the Tupperware seal.
1948
The Frisbee ® invented by Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni.
Velcro ® invented by George de Mestral.
Robert Hope-Jones invented the Wurlitzer jukebox.
1949
Cake mix invented.

 
 


 
 


 
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