Category Archives: Automation
IBM and The First Social Security Check
Today in 1940, Ida M. Fuller became the first person to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. Her first check, dated January 31, was for $22.54. The Social Security Act was signed into law by Franklin … Continue reading
“I’m the Oldest Criminal in History”: Why the Cash Register Was Invented
Today in 1883, James Ritty, a saloonkeeper in Dayton, Ohio, and John Birch received a patent (No. 271,363) for the first cash register, nicknamed the “Incorruptible Cashier.” There was a bell to ring up sales, referred to in advertising as “The Bell Heard … Continue reading
Patent for Multiple Telephone Switchboards Granted
Today in 1882, U.S. Patent No. 252, 576 for a “a new system for multiple [telephone] switchboards” was granted to Leroy B. Firman. For more on telephone switchboards, see here and here and here.
Ray Bradbury 1920-2012
In 1950, typing rapidly on a pay-by-the-hour typewriter in UCLA’s library basement, Ray Bradbury completed in just nine days the first draft of what will become Fahrenheit 451. In the book, which was published in 1953, Bradbury described a society … Continue reading
Race Against the Machine: End of Professional Musical Instrument Tuners?
Algorithm Spells the End for Professional Musical Instrument Tuners
The Dirty Lives of Robots, 1794-2012
1794: “Wonderful exhibition !!! Signor Gulielmo Pittachio, the sublime wonder of the world!!! condescends to inform the public at large, and his friends in particular, that he has now opened his grand hall of exhibitions at Westminster… In the course … Continue reading
Race Against the Machine Watch
Today in 1811, the first Luddite attack in which knitting frames were actually smashed occurred in the Nottinghamshire village of Arnold. Kevin Binfield, Writings of the Luddites: “The grievances consisted, first, of the sue of wide stocking frames to produce … Continue reading