The invention of videotape revolutionized television broadcasting in the 1950s. Suddenly, programs that were broadcast live in the East could be recorded quickly and efficiently for rebroadcast three hours later on the West Coast. And because videotape could be erased and reused, the cost of producing those broadcasts was reduced greatly.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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).
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 .
Mary Phelps Jacobs was only 19 when she became dissatisfied with the confining corset-style under-garments of the era. It was 1910, and the wealthy socialite wanted to wear a revealing gown to a debutante ball. But her tight and restrictive corsets, a typical fashion of the day, poked out from under the plunging neckline.
Struck with inspiration, she asked a maid to bring her two silk handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon and transformed them into a comfortable undergarment suitable for backless gowns.
We are so pleased to be able to once again produce an issue of Invention & Technology, especially one chronicling the lives of 50 women inventors.