To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on the 5th of June we have been looking at the remarkable technological advances which have happened during her Majesty’s reign. In our first blog article entitled Ringing the Changes we looked specifically at how the telephone has changed over the last 60 years: www.qubegb.com/Blog/ringing-the-changes.
In this second article we take a look at some of our favourite technological advances throughout each decade, from the 1950’s up to the current day. Let’s start with the good old TV remote control. Where would we be without it? Even though it has been credited for creating a nation of couch potatoes, at the end of the day with so many channels to hop through it has become an essential part of daily life. The first wireless remote control was designed by Zenith’s Eugene Polly, who sadly passed away recently at the age of 96, and this was essentially a flashlight. Eugene Polly was quite right to be proud of his invention and kept the original remote control at his home to show to visitors.
The 1960’s was of course a decade of incredible change as we entered the space age and put a man on the moon. It was also the start of our obsession with gadgets. One gadget which became essential in that decade was the hand held calculator. Today, of course, most of us have calculators on our phones but in those days it was a huge advancement. The calculator was invented in 1966 by Texas Instruments and was truly a team effort with a number of their employees working on the invention. Another invention of the 1960’s was the cassette tape which became a major competitor to vinyl. The cassette tape was invented by the Philips Company in the Netherlands in 1962. Although it was the start of the music revolution which would eventually result in the iPod you could argue that vinyl had a better sound.
The foundations of many of the gadgets and technology that we now take for granted were laid in the 1970’s. It was the beginning of the computer age, new developments in space and the advent of small cars with the advancement of the German and Japanese car industry. The two inventions we particularly like in this decade are the invention of video games and the microwave. The first video game was invented by William Higinbotham with his game “Tennis for Two”. And from these humble beginnings, the rise of the games industry as we know it today is just incredible. The microwave was actually invented in the 1940’s by Percy Spencer, however it really took off in the 70’s as the ovens became smaller and prices became more affordable. The microwave has now become an essential household item across the UK.
The 1980’s was the decade when the computer really came of age and saw the huge rise in the number of people owning a personal computer with the creation of Microsoft and Apple at the end of the 1970’s. As crucial though as the computers was another invention during this decade which laid the foundations of companies and businesses worldwide including that of QubeGB. This revolution is known nowadays as the Internet.The Internet actually originated from a system known as the Bulletin Board System (BBS) and was invented by English physicist Tim Berners Lee who later went on to name it the World Wide Web. Although we didn’t perhaps realise it at the time, the growth of the internet and computers were to dominate our lives from then on. The 1980’s was not all about technology however and in this decade the Post-It note was invented. It may not have changed since the 1980’s but what office would be without it now ?
The 1990’s saw the rapid growth of the internet. The www became available to the public in 1991 and grew rapidly at the rate of 3500 times a year and by the end of the decade there were an estimated 295 million users. Microsoft also grew at a tremendous rate in this decade and by the end of the 1990's it was installed on 80% of the world’s computers. Also in this decade and again crucial to QubeGB’s business today was the growth of Satellite and Cable TV with a huge number of channels covering every topic under the sun. The remote control was now essential.
And so to the last decade which has again seen huge growth in gadgets and technology such as digital cameras, digital and social media all much of which is focused on our smart phones. But for us the rise in broadband and internet access is the major advancement with over a billion worldwide 3G users.
The Queen has seen quite unbelievable change during the sixty years of her reign. Not only has she seen 12 Prime Ministers come and go and countless world changing events but she has also seen a massive change in the way we use technology.
For all of us here at QubeGB the internet is our favourite technological advancement. We wonder what Her Majesty’s favourite is?
What is your favourite gadget of the last 60 years? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.