Timeline of electrical and electronic engineering

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The following timeline tables list the discoveries and inventions in the history of "electrical and electronic engineering".[1][2]

History of discoveries timeline[edit]

Year Event
600BCE Thales of Miletus discovered static electricity by rubbing fur on substances such as amber
250BCE Baghdad battery, suggested to be an electroplating device but most probably just a document storage jar.
1600 English scientist William Gilbert coined the word electricus after careful experiments.
1705 Francis Hauksbee made a glass ball that glowed when spun and rubbed with the hand
1720 Stephen Gray discovered insulators and conductors
1752 Benjamin Franklin showed that lightning was electrical by flying a kite, and explained how Leyden jars work
1783 French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb formulated Coulomb's law
1785 French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace developed a technique which was called Laplace transform to transform a linear differential equation to an algebraic equation. Later on his transform proved to be a valuable tool in circuit analysis.
1800 Italian physicist Alessandro Volta invented battery
1820 Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted accidentally discovered that the change in electric field creates magnetic field
1820 One week after Ørsted's discovery, French physicist André-Marie Ampère published his law. He also proposed right hand screw rule
1825 English physicist William Sturgeon developed the first electromagnet
1827 German physicist Georg Ohm introduced the concept of electrical resistance
1831 English physicist Michael Faraday published the law of induction (Joseph Henry developed the same law independently)
1831 American scientist Joseph Henry in United States developed a prototype DC motor
1832 French instrument maker Hippolyte Pixii in France developed a prototype DC generator
1836 Irish priest (and later scientist) Nicholas Callan invented transformer in Ireland
1844 American inventor Samuel Morse developed telegraphy and the Morse code
1850 Belgian engineer Floris Nollet invented (and patented) a practical AC generator
1855 First utilization of AC (in electrotherapy) by French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne
1856 Belgian engineer Charles Bourseul proposed telephony
1856 First electrically powered light house in England
1862 Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell published four equations bearing his name
1873 Belgian engineer Zenobe Gramme who developed DC generator accidentally discovered that a DC generator also works as a DC motor during an exhibit in Vienna.
1876 Russian engineer Pavel Yablochkov invented electric carbon arc lamp
1876 Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell invented telephone
1877 First street lighting in Paris, France
1878 First hydroelectric plant in Cragside, England
1878 English engineer Joseph Swan invented Incandescent light bulb
1879 Thomas Alva Edison introduced a long lasting filament for the incandescent lamp.
1882 First thermal power stations in London and New York
1888 German physicist Heinrich Hertz proved the that electro magnetic waves travel over some distance. (First indication of radio communication)
1888 Italian physicist and electrical engineer Galileo Ferraris publishes a paper on the induction motor and Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla gets a US patent on the same device[3][4]
1890 Thomas Alva Edison invented fuse
1893 During the Fourth International Conference of Electricians in Chicago electrical units in were defined
1894 Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov developed a prototype of a radio receiver
1896 First successful intercontinental telegram
1897 German inventor Karl Ferdinand Braun invented cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO)
1900 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in first radio broadcast
1901 First transatlantic radio broadcast by Guglielmo Marconi
1904 English engineer John Ambrose Fleming invented diode
1906 American inventor Lee de Forest invented triode
1912 American engineer Edwin Howard Armstrong developed Electronic oscillator
1919 Edwin Howard Armstrong developed standard AM radio receiver
1921 Metre Convention was extended to include the electrical units
1928 First experimental Television broadcast in the US.
1929 First public TV broadcast in Germany
1931 First wind energy plant in the Soviet Union
1938 Russian American engineer Vladimir K. Zworykin developed Iconoscope
1939 Edwin Howard Armstrong developed FM radio receiver
1939 Russell and Sigurd Varian developed the first Klystron tube in the US.
1941 German engineer Konrad Zuse developed the first programmable computer in Berlin
1944 English engineer John Logie Baird developed the first color picture tube
1947 American engineers John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain together with their group leader William Shockley invented transistor.
1950 French physicist Alfred Kastler invented MASER
1951 First nuclear power plant plant in the US
1953 First fully transistorized computer in the US
1958 American engineer Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit (IC)
1960 American engineer Theodore Harold Maiman invented the LASER
1962 Nick Holonyak Jr. invented the LED
2008 American scientist Richard Stanley Williams invented memristor which was proposed by Leon O. Chua in 1971

History of inventions timeline[edit]

Brief History of Electronics Timeline
Date Invention/Discovery Inventor(s)
1745 Capacitor Leyden
1780 Galvanic action Galvani
1800 Dry cell Volta
1808 Atomic theory Dalton
1812 Cable insulation Sommering and Schilling
1820 Electromagnetism Oersted
1821 Thermoelectricity Seebeck
1826 Ohm's law Ohm
1831 Transformer Faraday
1831 Electromagnetic induction Faraday
1832 Self-induction Henry
1834 Electrolysis Faraday
1837 Relays Cooke, Wheatstone, and Davy
1839 Photovoltaic effect Becquerel
1843 Wheatstone bridge Christie
1845 Kirchhoff's circuit laws Kirchhoff
1850 Thermistor Faraday
1860 Microphone diaphragm Reis
1865 Radiowave propagation Maxwell
1866 Transatlantic telegraph cable T.C. & M. Co.
1874 Capacitors, mica Bauer
1876 Rolled-paper capacitor Fitzgerald
1876 Telephone Bell
1877 Phonograph Edison
1877 Microphone, carbon Edison
1877 Loudspeaker moving coil Siemens
1878 Cathode rays Crookes
1878 Carbon-filament incandescent lamp Swan, Stearn, Topham, and Cross
1879 Hall effect Hall
1880 Piezoelectricity Curie
1887 Gramophone record Berliner
1887 Aerials, radiowave Hertz
1888 Induction motor Ferraris and Tesla
1893 Waveguides Thomson
1895 X-rays Roentgen
1896 Wireless telegraphy Marconi
1900 Old quantum theory Planck
1901 Fluorescent lamp Cooper and Hewitt
1904 Two-electrode tube Fleming
1905 Theory of relativity Einstein
1906 Radio broadcasting Fessenden
1908 Television Campell, Swinton
1911 Superconductivity Onnes
1915 Sonar Langevin
1918 Multivibrator circuit Abraham and Bioch
1918 Atomic transmutation Rutherford
1919 Flip-flop circuits Eccles and Jordan
1921 Crystal control of frequency Cady
1924 Radar Appleton, Briet, Watson, and Watt
1927 Negative-feedback amplifier Black
1927 Video camera tube Max Dieckmann and Rudolf Hell
1930 Patent of traffic signal timing system Thomas Watson awarded patent
1932 Neutron Chadwick
1932 Particle accelerator Crockcroft and Walton
1934 Liquid crystals Dreyer
1935 Transistor field effect Hieil
1935 Scanning electron microscope Knoll
1937 Xerography Carlson
1937 Oscillograph Van Ardenne, Dowling, and Bullen
1939 Early digital computer Aitken and IBM
1943 First general-purpose computer (ENIAC) Mauchly and Eckert
1943 Printed circuit board Eisler
1945 First commercially successful computer (UNIVAC I) N/A
1948 Bipolar transistor Bardeen, Bratlain, and Shockley
1948 Holography Gabor and Shockley
1950 Modem MIT and Bell Labs
1950 Karnaugh mapping technique (digital logic) Karnaugh
1952 Digital voltmeter Kay
1953 Unijunction transistor GEC
1954 Transistor radioset Regency
1954 Solar battery Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson
1956 Transatlantic telephone cable U.K. and U.S.A.
1957 Sputnik I satellite U.S.S.R.
1957 FORTRAN programming language Watson Scientific
1958 Video tape recorder U.S.A.
1958 Laser Schalow and Townes
1959 First one-piece plain paper photocopier (Xerox 914) Xerox
1959 Veroboard (Stripboard) Terry Fitzpatrick
1960 Light-emitting diode Allen and Gibbons
1961 Electronic clock Vogel and Cie
1962 MOSFET transistors Hofstein, Heiman, and RCA
1963 Electronic calculator Bell Punch Co.
1963 First commercially successful audio compact cassette Philips Corporation
1964 BASIC programming language Kemeny and Kurtz
1966 Optical fiber communications Kao and Hockham
late 1960s First digital fax machine Dacom
1969 UNIX operating system AT&T's Bell Labs
1970 Floppy disk recorder IBM
1970 First microprocessor (4004, 60,000 oper/s) Intel
1970 First commercially available DRAM memory IBM
1971 EPROM N/A
1971 PASCAL programming language Wirth
1971 First microcomputer-on-a-chip Texas Instruments
1972 8008 processor (200 kHz, 16 kB) Intel
1972 Ping Pong (video game) Atari
1972 First programmable word processor Automatic Electronic Systems
1972 5.25-in diskette N/A
1972 First modern automated teller machine (IBM 2984) IBM
1973 Josephson junction IBM
1973 Tunable continuous-wave laser Bell Labs
1973 Ethernet Metcalfe
1973 Mobile phone John F. Mitchell and Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola
1974 C (programming language) Kernighan, Ritchie
1974 Programmable pocket calculator Hewlett-Packard
1975 BASIC for personal computers Allen
1975 Liquid-crystal display United Kingdom
1975 First personal computer (Altair 8800) Roberts
1975 Digital camera Steven Sasson of Eastman Kodak
1975 Integrated optical circuits Reinhart and Logan
1975 Microsoft founded Gates and Allen
1975 Omni-font optical character recognition system Nuance Communications
1975 CCD flatbed scanner Kurzweil Computer Products
1975 Text-to-speech synthesis Kurzweil Computer Products
1975 First commercial reading machine for the blind (Kurzweil Reading Machine) Kurzweil Computer Products
1976 Apple I computer Wozniak, Jobs
1977 Launch of the "1977 trinity computers" expanding home computing, the Apple II, Commodore PET and the TRS-80 Apple, Tandy Corporation, Commodore Business Machines
1977 First handheld electronic game (Auto Race) Mattel
1978 Space Invaders (video game) Taito
1978 WordPerfect 1.0 Satellite Software
1980 3.5-in floppy (2-sided, 875 kB) N/A
1980 Commodore 64 Commodore Business Machines
1981 IBM Personal Computer (8088 processor) IBM
1981 MS-DOS 1.0 Microsoft
1982 Laser printer IBM
1982 First commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition Kurzweil Applied Intelligence and Dragon Systems
1983 Satellite television U.S. Satellite Communications, Inc.
1983 "Wet" solar cell Germany/U.S.A.
1983 First built-in hard drive (IBM PC-XT) IBM
1983 Microsoft Word Microsoft
1983 C++ (programming language) Stroostrup
1984 Macintosh computer (introduced) Apple Computer
1984 CD-ROM player for personal computers Philips
1984 First music synthesizer (Kurzweil K250) capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments Kurzweil Music Systems
1985 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber AT&T, Bell Laboratory
1985 Nintendo Entertainment System Nintendo
1987 Warmer superconductivity Karl Alex Mueller
1987 80386 microprocessor (25 MHz) Intel
1989 Sega Genesis (console) Sega
1989 First commercial handheld GPS receiver (Magellan NAV 1000) Magellan Navigation Inc.
1989 Silicon-germanium transistors IBM fellow Bernie Meyerson
1990 486 microprocessor (33MHz) Intel
1994 Pentium processor (60/90 MHz, 166.2 mips) Intel
1994 Bluetooth Ericsson
1994 First DVD player ever made Tatung Company
1995 PlayStation (console) Sony Computer Entertainment
1996 Alpha 21164 processor (550 MHz) Digital Equipment
1996 P2SC processor (15 million transistors) IBM
1997 Deep Blue (IBM RS/6000SP supercomputer) defeats world chess champ Garry Kasparov IBM
2001 Xbox (console) Microsoft
2001 iPod Apple Inc.
2007 iPhone Apple Inc.
2011 IBM Watson defeated two of Jeopardy's greatest champions IBM
2011 Wii (console) Nintendo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Isaac Asimov:Biographical Encyclopedia of science and Engineering, London, 1975 ISBN 0-330-24323-3
  2. ^ Elektrik Mühendisliği, s.259-260, Kemal İnan pp 245-263
  3. ^ Fritz E. Froehlich, Allen Kent, The Froehlich/Kent Encyclopedia of Telecommunications: Volume 17, page 36. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  4. ^ The Electrical Engineer. (1888). London: Biggs & Co. Pg., 239. [cf., "[...] new application of the alternating current in the production of rotary motion was made known almost simultaneously by two experimenters, Nikola Tesla and Galileo Ferraris, and the subject has attracted general attention from the fact that no commutator or connection of any kind with the armature was required."]