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Sat, 04/17/2021 - 07:23

Many people consider Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 telephone patent to have been the most valuable ever issued by the U. S. Patent Office. In his recent book, The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret, author Seth Shulman claims that Bell “stole the key idea behind the invention of the telephone,” having copied the idea for a liquid transmitter from a patent caveat filed by rival Elisha Gray, and that Gray’s idea unlocked the secrets of the telephone for Bell.

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 14:18
perseverance landing
In February 2021, Perseverance will become the latest NASA rover to touch down on Mars. NASA

 

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 11:39

Editor's Note: Bruce Watson is a senior editor of American Heritage. This story appeared in shorter form on his website, The Attic: True Stories for a Kinder, Cooler America.

Carrying no engine, no gas, the featherweight plane takes off at dawn.  To his left, the pilot sees the white cliffs of Dover.  Before him stretch just sea and sky.  Head down, pedaling frantically, Bryan Allen steers his plane southward.  The Gossamer Albatross is on its way.  Destination: France. 

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 12:16
moon man
In one of the most famous photographs of the 20th Century, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle. NASA

 

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 11:08

Editor's Note: Kris Trexler is a two-time Emmy award winning video/film editor who has worked on shows like "In Living Color" (Fox), "Ellen" (ABC), and "Titus" (Fox). You can find this story and more like it on his blog, King of the Road

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 10:57

On board a Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft nicknamed "Miss Piggy," NOAA hurricane hunters fly into the center of Tropical Storm Isaias on the morning of Aug. 2, 2020. Photograph by Lt. Cmdr. Doremus, NOAA Corps, Courtesy NOAA.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 05:56
bing video
A fledgling television industry discovered magnetic audiotape after World War II thanks to an Army Signal Corps major named Jack Mullin (left) and a determined singing star who wanted to be able to tape his weekly radio show — Bing Crosby (right). Stanford University

 

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 16:48
crehore dial
One of the last remaining sundials by Albert Crehore still sits on public display on the campus of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 13:21

Editor's Note: Eric Jay Dolin is a writer with degrees in environmental science and environmental policy from Brown, Yale, and MIT. His most recent book is A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes (Liveright), from which this essay was adapted. 

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 18:10

THE INVENTOR’S WIFE STOOD WITH HER ARMS SPREAD across the filing cabinets, trying to cover the open drawers as three men struggled to remove the files they contained. She knew she couldn’t win, but she thought it might somehow help her husband legally if the men had to use force. The men pulled her away and started loading boxes. Then, with about a third of the files gone, they began to relax their guard. She seized a moment when they all were outside the office to slam the door and lock it. More time gained.

Tue, 08/18/2020 - 15:49

Editor's Note: Thomas Wheeler was the 31st Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017. Portions of this essay appeared in his most recent book, From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future (Brookings Institution). 

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 09:29
Weizenbaum
Joseph Weizenbaum.

CAMBRIDGE, MA — 1966 — A woman sits at a computer terminal. No screen, no mouse, just a keyboard linked to some mainframe somewhere across campus.

“This is ELIZA,” Joe says. “It’s a computer program.You can ask it anything you want. Just type in a question.”  

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 19:38
mars rover
Scheduled to launch in July, the Mars 2020 mission will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize Mars' climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. Courtesy of NASA.
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 15:51
The Dreibelbis Station Bridge is a classic Burr arch truss covered bridge spanning Maiden Creek south of Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania.
The Dreibelbis Station Bridge, spanning Maiden Creek south of Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania. was constructed with a Burr Arch truss, which employs both an arch and a multiple kingpost truss design.
Mon, 06/22/2020 - 22:08
Lewis_Latimer
Born in Massachusetts in 1848, Latimer served in the U.S.
Sat, 06/20/2020 - 17:49

Editor's Note: Michael J. Boyle is Associate Professor  of Political Science at Rutgers Camden and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 15:31
paul allen
Allen died from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018. He was 65. 

My friendship with Paul started with a computer. I was in 8th grade, Paul was in 10th (although he seemed a lot more than two years older to me, because he was tall and had a really cool beard). 

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 17:59

STRASBURG, PA. Replica sailing ships and historic buildings are commonplace; I have lost count of the number of reproduced Santa Marias . Locomotive replicas are much more rare. During the past 70 years or so, only three have been built in the United States, so it was newsworthy when Stanley P. Gentry, an industrialist of Ribbing, Minnesota, decided to build a replica of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s first locomotive, the Lyon .

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 07:43
Marc Chavannes (above) and Alfred Fielding invented bubble wrap in 1957 as a high-end wallpaper.
Marc Chavannes (above) and Alfred Fielding invented bubble wrap in 1957 as a high-end wallpaper.

Emily Prokop is the author of 

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