The year 1947 holds some significance in U.S. history. During this post-war time, the dawn of the modern age was just around the corner. Some of the inventions of this year paved the way for many of the modern comforts enjoyed in the present day.
The winter of 1947 was an important time for technology, as reported by PBS. In mid-November, scientist Walter Brattain struggled to learn how to properly create an amplifier by studying how electrons responded to semiconductor surfaces. To keep condensation from forming on the silicone he used, he dropped his invention into some water and thereby created a large amplification. John Bardeen learned of this, and the two of them crafted a tiny amplifier prototype. By late December, Brattain and Bardeen, with the help of Robert Gibney, had created the first point-contact transistor.
While looking to improve electron microscope resolution, scientist Dennis Gabor managed to stumble upon the theory of holography. Gabor himself came up with the term, as stated by the website Holophile. The word stems from two Greek words – holos, or “whole,” and gramma, or “message.” Gabor soon began experimenting with the creation of holograms using film transparencies and a mercury arc lamp. Because of light source limitations at the time, progress on holography did not truly take off until the 1960s.
Magnetrons were discovered to have the power to cook food in 1946 when Dr. Percy Spencer accidentally melted his chocolate bar while standing next to a magnetron. He next tested magnetrons with popcorn kernels, loosely creating the first microwave popcorn, then with an egg. From there, Spencer and P.R. Hanson dedicated their time to creating a way to cook food with a microwave using a magnetron. The first microwave oven to be used for food purposes was stuck in a Boston restaurant as a test, according to the website Microtech. The devices then were made commercially available. The first microwaves were a whopping 5 1/2 feet tall, weighed 750 pounds and cost about $5,000 apiece.
The modern cell phone continues to evolve from a device suited solely for phone calls into tiny personal computers, and it all started back in 1947. During that year, engineers from AT&T and Bell Labs worked together to create the basic prototype of the modern cell phone. They referred to these phones as hexagonal cells, and their purpose was to allow military base stations to communicate with one another easily. According to the technology website TopBits, the first cell phones replaced older radiophones used by wearing transmitter backpacks.
- micro wave oven image by mattmatt73 from Fotolia.com