Technology Timeline

Explore a timeline of remarkable technological innovations and historical events, from the steam engine to modern-day wonders. Discover how people have rapidly achieved ambitious goals together with more impressive examples of collaboration on Fast.

  • 2.6 million years ago: The Pleistocene Epoch (most recent Ice Age)
    An epoch characterized by repeated glaciations.
  • 500: Fall of the Roman Empire
    The decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 1602: First-ever common stock established
    The Dutch East India Company introduced the first-ever common stock on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
  • 1712: Invention of the Steam Engine
    Thomas Newcomen invented the first practical steam engine.
  • 1727: Formation of Benjamin Franklin's Junto Club
    In 1727, Benjamin Franklin founded the Junto Club, also known as the Leather Apron Club or the Mutual Improvement Club, in Philadelphia. The Junto was a group of like-minded individuals who gathered weekly to discuss and debate various topics ranging from philosophy and politics to business and community service. Comprised of tradesmen, artisans, and intellectuals, the Junto aimed to promote mutual improvement, civic responsibility, and social betterment. It served as a forum for exchanging ideas, networking, and initiating community projects. The Junto Club played a pivotal role in Franklin's personal and professional development, fostering his lifelong commitment to self-improvement, public service, and civic engagement.
  • 1764: Invention of the Spinning Jenny
    James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, a multi-spindle spinning frame.
  • 1800: Invention of the Battery
    Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile, the first battery.
  • 1804: Invention of the Railway Locomotive
    Richard Trevithick built the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive.
  • 1838: Invention of Morse Code
    Samuel Morse invented Morse Code.
  • 1851: White settlers came to Seattle area
    European-American settlers established the first permanent European-American settlement in the area that would become Seattle.
  • 1867: Invention of Dynamite
    Alfred Nobel invents dynamite, a high-explosive material used in construction, mining, and warfare, revolutionizing industries worldwide.
  • 1869: Goldman Sachs was founded
    Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs founded Goldman Sachs.
  • 1876: Invention of the Telephone
    Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
  • 1877: Invention of the Phonograph
    Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.
  • 1889: Seattle’s Great Fire
    A fire destroyed the central business district of Seattle.
  • 1890: Madison Square Garden
    The first Madison Square Garden opened.
  • 1893: The Panic of 1893
    A serious economic depression in the United States.
  • mid-1990: U.S. recession
    A period of economic downturn in the United States.
  • 1902: Air conditioning
    Willis Carrier invented modern air conditioning.
  • 1903: Invention of the Airplane and the Flatiron Building
    The Wright brothers achieved the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight. The Flatiron Building in New York City was completed.
  • 1906: 1906 San Francisco earthquake
    A major earthquake struck San Francisco.
  • 1914 - 1918: World War I
    A global war primarily involving Europe.
  • 1915: Invention of the Tracer Bullet
    The concept of the tracer bullet, a bullet that leaves a visible trace of its trajectory, was invented.
  • 1921: The discovery of Insulin
    Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin.
  • 1923: Electric refrigeration
    Frigidaire introduced the first electric refrigerator.
  • 1925: Chrysler was founded
    Walter Chrysler founded the Chrysler Corporation.
  • 1929: Start of Empire State Building construction and Great Depression
    Construction of the Empire State Building began. The Great Depression started.
  • 1931: Completion of Empire State Building and Invention of Vinyl
    The Empire State Building was completed. Vinyl was invented.
  • 1933: Start of the Golden Gate Bridge construction and Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
    Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began. Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
  • 1935: Opening of Tsukiji Market
    Tsukiji Market, one of the largest wholesale fish and seafood markets in the world, opened in Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1936: Geico was founded
    Leo Goodwin Sr. and his wife Lillian founded the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO).
  • 1937: Completion of the Golden Gate Bridge
    The Golden Gate Bridge was completed.
  • 1939 - 1945: World War II
    A global war involving most of the world's nations.
  • 1941: Start of the Manhattan Project
    The Manhattan Project, a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons, began.
  • 1945: Production of the world’s first Atomic bomb and bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    The United States produced the world’s first atomic bomb. Atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • 1947: Invention of the Transistor
    John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley invented the transistor.
  • 1950: Introduction of the First Credit Card
    The Diners Club issued the first credit card.
  • 1956: Refrigeration and Start of the Interstate Highway System construction
    The Interstate Highway System construction began. Refrigeration technology improved significantly.
  • 1957: Traitorous eight and Launch of Sputnik 1
    The Traitorous Eight, a group of engineers who left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, formed Fairchild Semiconductor. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite.
  • 1958: Inception of BankAmericard (Predecessor to Visa)
    Dee Hock was given 90 days to launch the BankAmericard card (which became the Visa card), starting from scratch. He did. In that period, he signed up more than 100,000 customers.
  • 1961: Start of NASA’s Apollo Program
    NASA initiated the Apollo Program, which aimed to land humans on the Moon.
  • 1964: Launch of the First Shinkansen
    On October 1, 1964, the first Shinkansen, known as the 'Bullet Train,' was launched in Japan. This high-speed rail network initially connected Tokyo and Osaka, covering a distance of 515 kilometers. The Shinkansen revolutionized rail travel with its cutting-edge technology, including dedicated tracks, aerodynamically-designed trains, and advanced signaling systems. With maximum speeds reaching up to 210 km/h (130 mph) at the time of its launch, the Shinkansen significantly reduced travel time between major cities and set new standards for speed, efficiency, and safety in rail transportation. The success of the Shinkansen paved the way for the development of high-speed rail networks worldwide.
  • 1965: First 20,000 miles of road open for driving
    The first 20,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System were opened for driving.
  • 1969: Moon Landing and Invention of Gore-Tex
    The United States Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the Moon. Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable fabric, was invented by Wilbert L. Gore.
  • 1971: Invention of the Microprocessor, Birth of Email, and US abandonment of the gold standard
    Intel introduced the first microprocessor. Ray Tomlinson sent the first network email. The United States abandoned the gold standard.
  • 1972: First 12 men landed on the moon
    The Apollo 17 mission was the last manned lunar landing mission.
  • 1973: Introduction of the Xerox GUI
    Xerox introduced the first graphical user interface (GUI).
  • 1975: Development of Internet protocol suite
    Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn developed the TCP/IP protocol suite.
  • 1976: Founding of Apple and Coining of the term ‘meme’
    Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Inc. Richard Dawkins coined the term ‘meme’ in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’.
  • 1978: Invention of the 401(k)
    The Revenue Act of 1978 included a provision allowing employees to defer compensation into retirement accounts.
  • 1979: Development of the Light Bulb
    Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb.
  • 1980: Latin American debt crisis and Implementation of China’s one-child policy
    Many Latin American countries faced severe debt crises. China implemented its one-child policy.
  • 1981: Accidental Invention of the 401(k) and Release of Hakushu 1981 whisky
    Ted Benna discovered a loophole in the Revenue Act of 1978, leading to the creation of the 401(k) retirement savings plan. Hakushu 1981 whisky was released by the Suntory distillery.
  • 1984: Introduction of the First Model Phone
    Motorola introduced the DynaTAC 8000X, the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.
  • 1985: Shift in popularity of majors at Stanford and Apple’s internal politics
    Economics became the most popular major at Stanford University. Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple Inc. The Convention between Malaysia and Japan for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income was signed.
  • 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square crackdown, and Loma Prieta earthquake
    The Berlin Wall fell, symbolizing the end of the Cold War. The Chinese government suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • 1990s: Japanese debt crisis
    Japan faced a severe economic downturn due to a debt crisis.
  • 1991: Invention of the World Wide Web
    Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
  • 1992: End of the Japanese debt crisis recovery
    The Japanese economy emerged from the debt crisis.
  • 1993: Release of Mosaic browser and Death of Ferruccio Lamborghini
    The Mosaic web browser was officially released. Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of the luxury sports car brand Lamborghini, passed away.
  • 1994: Transformation of Mosaic into Netscape and Release of Navigator app
    Mosaic Communications Corporation was renamed Netscape Communications Corporation. Netscape released its Navigator web browser.
  • 1994: Emergence of Internet Cafés
    In 1994, the concept of internet cafes began to gain popularity, particularly in urban areas and tourist destinations. Internet cafes, also known as cybercafés, offered public access to computers connected to the internet for a fee, allowing individuals without personal computers or internet connections at home to browse the web, send emails, and engage in online activities. Internet cafes played a crucial role in bridging the digital divide and democratizing access to information and online communication. They served as social hubs where people could gather, work, socialize, and access digital resources. Internet cafes experienced a surge in popularity during the late 1990s and early 2000s before declining in prevalence with the widespread adoption of personal computers, home internet connections, and mobile devices.
  • 1995: Netscape IPO
    Netscape Communications Corporation went public.
  • 1996: Development of Deep Blue and IPO of Yahoo!
    IBM's Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in a chess match. Yahoo! Inc. went public.
  • 1997: Asian financial crisis, Launch of Amazon, and Founding of Netflix
    Several Asian economies faced financial crises., Inc. went public. Netflix, Inc. was founded.
  • 1998: Ruble crisis, Founding of Google, and Introduction of the Roth IRA
    Russia experienced a financial crisis. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google. The Roth IRA was established.
  • 1998-2000: Dot-com mania and Silicon Valley gold rush
    The dot-com bubble saw rapid growth in internet-based companies and investments. Silicon Valley experienced a surge in technological innovation and investment.
  • 2000: Long-Term Capital Management blowup and Bursting of the dot-com bubble
    The collapse of Long-Term Capital Management led to financial instability. The dot-com bubble burst, leading to a sharp decline in stock prices.
  • 2001: Aftermath of 9/11 attacks and Introduction of the iPod
    The September 11 attacks led to economic and geopolitical consequences. Apple Inc. introduced the iPod portable media player.
  • 2002: Bottoming out of NASDAQ and Sale of PayPal to eBay
    The NASDAQ Composite index reached its lowest point since its peak during the dot-com bubble. PayPal Holdings, Inc. was acquired by eBay Inc.
  • 2003: Founding of Philz Coffee
    Phil Jaber founded Philz Coffee, a specialty coffee retailer.
  • 2004: Launch of Facebook
    Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates launched Facebook, Inc.
  • 2005: Launch of YouTube and Addition of Section 409A to the Internal Revenue Code
    YouTube, LLC was founded. Section 409A, a provision of the Internal Revenue Code, was added to regulate deferred compensation.
  • 2007: Introduction of the iPhone and Start of the Great Recession
    Apple Inc. released the iPhone smartphone. The Great Recession began with the subprime mortgage crisis.
  • 2008: Financial crisis and Start of Tesla Roadster production
    The financial crisis triggered by the subprime mortgage collapse led to a global recession. Tesla, Inc. began production of the Tesla Roadster, its first electric car model.
  • 2009: Collapse of the Madoff Ponzi scheme and End of the Great Recession
    Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme collapsed, causing financial losses for investors. The Great Recession officially ended.
  • 2010: Introduction of the iPad
    Apple Inc. released the iPad tablet computer.
  • 2012: Launch of the Tesla Model S
    Tesla, Inc. released the Model S electric sedan.
  • 2013: Twitter goes public and Growth of U.S. retirement accounts
    Twitter, Inc. went public with its initial public offering (IPO). U.S. retirement accounts reached a total of $27 trillion.
  • 2016: Crisis in Venezuela
    Venezuela faced a severe economic and political crisis.
  • 2019: Retirement of Lee Sedol
    Lee Sedol, a top professional Go player, announced his retirement, citing the increasing dominance of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • 2024: End of negative interest rates by the Bank of Japan
    The Bank of Japan (BOJ) ended its policy of negative interest rates.

If you know a good one, let me know.

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