Text and photos courtesy of Michelle Mock

The 20th Century to the Present

The 20th Century was an era of great strides in technological and industrial advances.  It was also the decade of two World Wars.  For a moment, consider what your life might be like today without some of these inventions and events.  Then... read more about it!  Learn the stories behind the facts!

1901 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless transmission to England from the U.S.A.

1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright (U.S.A.) made the first successful powered flight of an airplane.

1906 San Francisco was virtually destroyed by a great earthquake.

1906 Reginald Fessenden (Canada) broadcast first human voice radio signals.

1909 Five Pin Bowling invented by Thomas Ryan (Canada).

1912 Henry Ford began mass producing motor cars (U.S.A.).

1913 Gideon Sundback designed the modern zipper (Canada).

1914 The Panama Canal opened.

1917 U.S.A. declares war on Germany and enters World War I, after U.S. passenger ships were sunk by German submarines.

1918 Worldwide flu epidemic kills 20 million. More than 50,000 died in Canada and over 500,000 died in the U.S.A. In Mexico estimates say approximately 4% of the entire population died.

1921 Dr. Frederick Banting discovered insulin as a treatment of diabetes (Canada).

1923 Edwin Hubble (U.S.A.) proved that other galaxies existed beyond the Milky Way.

1923 Garret Morgan patents his invention of the traffic signal.

1925 Arthur Sicard invents the snowblower (Canada).

1926 Robert Goddard invented modern (liquid propulsion) rocket.

1927 Philo Farnsworth (USA) and Reginald Fessenden (Canada) invented first complete television systems.

1927 Talking movies made their debut and Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean.

1928 Mickey Mouse stars in first sound animated cartoon: Steamboat Willie.

1928 Morse Robb invents Electric Organ (Canada).

1929 Edwin Hubble showed that galaxies moved away from each other: the basis for the Big Bang Theory.

1929 Car radio was invented by Paul Galvin.

1929 The Great Depression was a crisis for almost every country in the world.

1931 First experimental television transmission in Mexico.

1932 The Empire State Building, the tallest in the world at that time, opened in New York City.

1939 Igor Sihorsky, a Russian-born American, designed the first modern helicopter.

1940 Guillermo González Camarena received patent for trichromatic system used for color televisión (Mexico).

1941 The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.

1941 Aerosol spray cans invented by L. Goodloe and W. Sullivan (U.S.A.).

1941 First anti-gravity flight suit invented by Wilbur Franks (Canada).

1942 First Nuclear reactor was built by Enrico Fermi in the U.S.A.

1943 Microwave oven invented, but not for home use until decades later.

1945 The United States exploded the first atom bomb in New Mexico.

1947 Mobile phones were invented but not sold commercially until 1983!

1948 The transistor was the first invention to miniaturize electronic circuitry.

1950 First heart pacemaker developed by John Hopps (Canada).

1950 The hydrogen bomb was developed (U.S.A.)

1950 Harry Wasylyk invents polyethylene plastic garbage bag (Canada).

1951 Video tape recorder (VTR) invented. Commercial VCR sold by Sony in 1971.

1954 First vaccinations against polio were given in the United States and Canada.

1954 Ray Kroc starts McDonalds.

1957 Walt Disney opens the first Disney theme park: Disneyland (California, U.S.A.)

1958 Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce invent integrated circuit.

1958 Joseph-Armand Bombardier designed the modern snowmobile (Canada).

1959 Jack Kilby and Rober Noyce invent the microchip.

1961 Alan Shepard was first American to be launched into Space (Russia's Yuri Gagarin was first human in Space)

1962 Telstar, the first satellite to relay television and telephone calls was launched. (U.S.A.)

1962 John Glenn was first American to orbit the Earth.

1964 In the United States, the Civil Rights Bill prohibited racial discrimination.

1966 Following the impact landings of the Ranger spacecrafts, the Surveyor spacecrafts began landing on the Moon (U.S.A.).

1969 First humans land on Moon (Apollo 11, U.S.A.).

1971 Intel announces first single chip microprocessor

1976 Viking spacecraft land on Mars.

1979 Three Mile Island was the site of the worst nuclear leak in United State history.

1981 First flight of the Space Shuttle (U.S.A.).

1981 First IBM personal computer released.

1984 Apple Macintosh invented.

1990 Hubble Space telescope is launched (U.S.A.).

1992 Virtual Reality is developed by Gilman Louie (U.S.A.).

1995 Quebec votes to remain part of Canada.

1997 Pathfinder and Sojourner land on Mars and Mars Global Surveyor arrives to orbit Mars (U.S.A.).

World  North America


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