Everyday Technology

Everyday Technology

Scientists and engineers produced more technological advances in the last hundred years than in all of recorded history before 1900.


In 1903 Orville Wright became the first human to fly. The plane he and his brother Wilbur built traveled only 120 feet.

What made it fly: An impressive list of Wright Brothers’ innovations include the first long narrow wings, flight stabilizers, and lightweight engines.

Cool flight science: In 1967 the experimental X-15 rocket-plane flew at least five times the speed of sound.


The U.S. Rubber Company invented Keds–the world’s first rubber-soled shoes—in 1917.

What made them jump: Synthetic rubber, a stretchy plastic, was created by German scientists for use as aircraft tires during World War 1.

Cool shoe science: New Converse sneakers feature helium-filled soles, so you can jump sky high.


The Model T Ford, America’s first mass-produced car, revolutionized how Americans lived in the 20th century.

What made them run: Henry Ford’s cost-saving assembly line and improved gas engines made the Model T a hot ticket.

Cool car science: Honda’s latest model runs on gas and electricity, and gets 70 miles per gallon.


ENIAC, the world’s first electronic computer, appeared in 1945.

What made the compute: Thirty, tons of equipment, including 18,000 vacuum tubes, made ENIAC run.

Cool PC science: Today’s computers are thousands of times faster than ENIAC and weigh just a few pounds.

Plus …


American companies churn out 20 million tons of plastic each year for thousands of everyday products.


TVs first lit up American homes in 1946. By 1998, 97% of Americans owned at least one set. Thanks goes to Philo Farnsworth, who invented the first picture tube in 1927 at the age of 21.


Engineer George DeMarshal invented Velcro in 1948, inspired by burrs clinging to his pants, Today, space-walking astronauts use 173 Velcro strips to hold tools to their space suits.

Bar Codes

Lasers, computers, and microchips spurred the use of bar codes in 1974. Today shopping is a breeze.

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