Milestones:List of IEEE Milestones
Milestones, with their plaque citations, are listed below in chronological order of the achievement. When the dates of the milestone are a range and overlap, our convention is to list them by the start date of the work, e.g. 1961-1972 comes before 1962, which comes before 1962-1965, which comes before 1964, etc.
To make it easier for people to visit the sites of IEEE Milestones, we have also made a page with addresses, maps, and satellite images. You may access it by clicking on the Innovation Map . We hope you will enjoy visiting the sites where important electrical engineering and computing achievements occurred.
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Prior to 1800
Book "Experiments and Observations on Electricity" by Benjamin Franklin, 1751
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., Dedicated 7 August 2009 - IEEE Philadelphia Section
In April 1751 the Royal Society published Benjamin Franklin's book, "Experiments and Observations on Electricity: Made in Philadelphia in America." A collection of letters to London's Peter Collinson, it described Franklin's ideas about the nature of electricity and how electrical devices worked, and new experiments to investigate lightning. This book led to a better understanding of charges, stimulated Franklin's work on lightning rods, and made him an internationally known figure.
Benjamin Franklin's Work in London, 1757-1775
London, England, Dedicated 31 March 2003 - IEEE UKRI Section
Benjamin Franklin, American electrician, printer, and diplomat, spent many years on Craven Street. He lived at No. 7 between 1772 and 1775 and at No. 36 from 1757-1762 and again from 1764-1772. During these years, Franklin popularized the study of electricity, performed experiments, and served as an advisor on lightning conductors.
Volta's Electrical Battery Invention, 1799
Como, Italy, Dedicated September 1999 - IEEE North Italy Section
In 1799, Alessandro Volta developed the first electrical battery. This battery, known as the Voltaic Cell, consisted of two plates of different metals immersed in a chemical solution. Volta's development of the first continuous and reproducible source of electrical current was an important step in the study of electromagnetism and in the development of electrical equipment.
Shilling's Pioneering Contribution to Practical Telegraphy, 1828-1837
St. Petersburg, Russia, Dedicated 18 May 2009 -- IEEE Russia Northwest Section
In this building, Shilling`s original electromagnetic telegraph is exhibited. P. L. Shilling, a Russian scientist, successfully transmitted messages over different distances by means of an electric current’s effect on a magnetic needle, using two signs and a telegraph dictionary for transferring letters and digits. Shilling`s demonstrations in St. Petersburg and abroad provided an impetus to scientists in different countries and influenced the invention of more advanced electromagnetic telegraphs.
Callan's Pioneering Contributions to Electrical Science and Technology, 1836
Maynooth, Ireland, Dedicated 5 September 2006 -- IEEE UKRI Section
Reverend Nicholas Callan (1799 - 1864), professor of Natural Philosophy at Saint Patrick's College Maynooth, contributed significantly to the understanding of electrical induction and the development of the induction coil. He did this through a series of experiments that made the inductive transient phenomena visibly clear. The apparatus used in these experiments was replicated in other laboratories.
Demonstration of Practical Telegraphy, 1838
Morristown, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 7 May 1988 -- IEEE North Jersey Section
In this building in January 1838, Samuel F. B. Morse and Alfred Vail first demonstrated publicly crucial elements of their telegraph system, using instruments that Vail had constructed during the previous months. Electrical pulses, transmitted through two miles of wire, caused an electromagnet to ink dots and dashes (grouped to represent letters and words) on a strip of paper. Commercialization began in 1844 when funding became available.
Electric Fire Alarm System, 1852
Boston, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 1 October 2004 -- IEEE Boston Section
On 28 April 1852 the first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling to indicate the location of a fire was placed into operation in Boston. Invented by William Channing and Moses Farmer, this system was highly successful in reducing property loss and deaths due to fire and was subsequently adopted throughout the United States and in Canada.
Maxwell's Equations, 1861-1870
London England, Glenlair, Scotland, Dedicated 13 August 2009 -- IEEE UKRI Section
Between 1860 and 1871, at his family home Glenlair and at King’s College London, where he was Professor of Natural Philosophy, James Clerk Maxwell conceived and developed his unified theory of electricity, magnetism and light. A cornerstone of classical physics, the Theory of Electromagnetism is summarized in four key equations that now bear his name. Maxwell’s equations today underpin all modern information and communication technologies.
Transcontinental Telegraph, 1861
Fort Laramie, WY, U.S.A. Dedicated 5 August 1990 -- IEEE Denver Section
Between July 4 and October 24, 1861, a telegraph line was constructed by the Western Union Company between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, thereby completing the first high-speed communications link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This service met the critical demand for fast communications between these two areas. The telegraph line operated until May 1869, when it was replaced by a multi-wire system constructed with the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railway lines.
Landing of the Transatlantic Cable, 1866
Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada, Dedicated 15 June 1985 -- IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
A permanent electrical communications link between the old world and the new was initiated at this site with the landing of a transatlantic cable on July 27, 1866. This achievement altered for all time personal, commercial, and political relations between peoples on the two sides of the ocean. Five more cables between Heart's Content and Valentia, Ireland were completed between 1866 and 1894. This station continued in operation until 1965. IEEE Canada maintains a web site about this Milestone.
County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866
County Kerry, Ireland, Dedicated 13 July 2000 - IEEE UKRI Section
On July 13, 1866 the Great Eastern steamed westward from Valentia, laying telegraph cable behind her. The successful landing at Heart's Content, Newfoundland on July 27 established a permanent electrical communications link that altered for all time personal, commercial and political relations between people across the Atlantic Ocean. Later, additional cables were laid from Valentia and new stations opened at Ballinskelligs (1874) and Waterville (1884), making County Kerry a major focal point for global communications.
County Kerry has dedicated part of their web site to this event. You can find the Milestone under "Heritage".
First Intelligible Voice Transmission over Electric Wire, 1876
Boston, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 10 March 2006 -- IEEE Boston Section
The first transmission of intelligible speech over electrical wires took place on 10 March 1876. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell called out to his assistant Thomas Watson, "Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you." This transmission took place in their attic laboratory located in a building near here at 5 Exeter Place.
First Distant Speech Transmission in Canada, 1876
Paris, Ontario, Canada, Dedicated 4 May 2008 -- IEEE Hamilton Section
On 10 August 1876, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated on this site that the human voice could be transmitted electrically over distance. While family members spoke into a transmitter in Brantford, 13 km away, Bell was able to hear them at a receiver located here. This test convinced Bell that his invention could be used for communications between towns and could compete successfully with the telegraph.
Thomas Alva Edison Historic Site at Menlo Park, 1876
Menlo Park, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 9 September 2006 -- IEEE Princton/Central Jersey Section
Between 1876 and 1882 at Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison developed the world's first industrial research and development laboratory devoted to developing new technology. At this laboratory. Edison and his staff developed the first system of incandescent electric lighting and electric power generation, and invented recorded sound and a commercially successful telephone transmitter.
Pearl Street Generating Station, 1882
New York City, NY, U.S.A., Dedicated 10 May 2011 -- IEEE New York Section
Thomas Alva Edison established the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York, now Consolidated Edison, to commercialize his 1879 incandescent lamp invention. On 4 September 1882, Edison’s direct current (dc) generating station at 257 Pearl Street, began supplying electricity to customers in the First District, a one-quarter square mile (0.65 square km) area. This installation was the forerunner of all central electric generating stations.
Vulcan Street Plant, 1882
Appleton, WI, U.S.A., Dedicated 15 September 1977 -- IEEE Northeastern Wisconsin Section
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with ASCE and IEEE)
Near this site on September 30, 1882, the world's first hydroelectric central station began operation. The station, here reproduced, was known as the Vulcan Street Plant and had a direct current generator capable of lighting 250 sixteen candle power lamps each equivalent to 50 watts. The generator operated at 110 volts and was driven through gears and belts by a water wheel operating under a ten foot fall of water.
First Central Station in South Carolina, 1882
Charleston, SC, U.S.A., Dedicated 24 July 1986 - IEEE Coastal South Carolina Section
The United States Electric Illuminating Company started up South Carolina's first central station for incandescent electric lighting in this building in October 1882. This was just one month after Thomas Edison opened his central station on New York City's Pearl Street. In the following years, the pioneering firm of United States Electric was one of Edison's main competitors.
Milestones:First Technical Meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1884
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated 15 December 2013 - IEEE Drexel Student Branch
As part of the landmark International Electrical Exhibition organized by the Franklin Institute and held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1884, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a predecessor of IEEE, held its first conference on 7-8 October 1884. This meeting was the first formal technical conference on electrical engineering held in the United States.
Alternating Current Electrification, 1886
Great Barrington, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 2 October 2004 -- IEEE Berkshire Section,
On 20 March 1886 William Stanley provided alternating current electrification to offices and stores on Main Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He thus demonstrated the first practical system for providing electrical illumination using alternating current with transformers to adjust voltage levels of the distribution system.
Thomas A. Edison West Orange Laboratories and Factories, 1887
West Orange, NJ, Dedicated 18 October 2008 -- IEEE North Jersey Section
Thomas Alva Edison, a West Orange resident from 1886 until his death in 1931, established his final and most comprehensive laboratory and factory complex about one-half mile (0.8 km) north of here in 1887. Edison's visionary combination in one organization of basic and applied research, development, and manufacturing became the prototype for industrial enterprises worldwide. Work here resulted in more than half of Edison's 1,093 patents.
Richmond Union Passenger Railway, 1888
Richmond, VA, U.S.A., Dedicated 2 February 1992 -- IEEE Richmond Section
In February 1888, the electric street railway system designed by Frank Julian Sprague for the Richmond Union Passenger Railway began operating in Richmond, Virginia. Sprague's Richmond system became the lasting prototype for electric street railways because of its large-scale practicality and operating superiority. This system, which combined Sprague's engineering innovations with other proven technical features, helped shape urban growth worldwide.
Power System of Boston's Rapid Transit, 1889
Boston, MA, Dedicated 10 November 2004 -- IEEE Boston Section
Boston was the first city to build electric traction for a large-scale rapid transit system. The engineering challenge to design and construct safe, economically viable, and reliable electric power for Boston's rapid transit was met by the West End Street Railway Company, beginning in 1889. The company's pioneering efforts provided an important impetus to the adoption of mass transit systems nationwide.
Discovery of Radioconduction by Edouard Branly, 1890
Paris, France, Dedicated 23 September 2010 -- IEEE France Section
In this building, Edouard Branly discovered radioconduction, now called the Branly Effect. On 24 November 1890, he observed that an electromagnetic wave changes the ability of metal filings to conduct electricity. Branly used his discovery to make a very sensitive detector called a coherer, improved versions of which became the first practical wireless signal receivers.
Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1891
Ames, CO, U.S.A., Dedicated July 1988 -- IEEE Pikes Peak Section
Electricity produced here in the spring of 1891 was transmitted 2.6 miles over rugged and at times inaccessible terrain to provide power for operating the motor-driven mill at the Gold King Mine. This pioneering demonstration of the practical value of transmitting electrical power was a significant precedent in the United States for much larger plants at Niagara Falls (in 1895) and elsewhere. Electricity at Ames was generated at 3000 volts, 133 Hertz, single-phase AC, by a 100-hp Westinghouse alternator.
Mill Creek No. 1 Hydroelectric Plant, 1893
Redlands, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated 20 February 1977 - IEEE Foothills Section
(ASCE California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
Built by the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company, the Mill Creek hydroelectric generating plant began operating on 7 September 1893. This powerhouse was foremost in the use of three-phase alternating current power for commercial application and was influential in the widespread adoption of three-phase power throughout the United States.
Birth and Growth of Primary and Secondary Battery Industries in Japan, 1893
Japan, Dedicated 12 April 2014 -- IEEE Kansai Section
First Millimeter-wave Communication Experiments by J. C. Bose, 1894-96
Kolkata, India, Dedicated 15 September 2012 - IEEE Kolkata Section
Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, in 1895, first demonstrated at Presidency College, Calcutta, India, transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves at 60 GHz, over a distance of 23 meters, through two intervening walls by remotely ringing a bell and detonating gunpowder. For his communication system, Bose developed entire millimeter-wave components such as: a spark transmitter, coherer, dielectric lens, polarizer, horn antenna and cylindrical diffraction grating.
Popov's Contribution to the Development of Wireless Communication, 1895
St. Petersburg, Russia, Dedicated 20 May 2005 -- IEEE Russia (Northwest) Section
On 7 May 1895, A. S. Popov demonstrated the possibility of transmitting and receiving short, continuous signals over a distance up to 64 meters by means of electromagnetic waves with the help of a special portable device responding to electrical oscillation which was a significant contribution to the development of wireless communication.
Mainline Electrification of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1895
Baltimore MD, U.S.A., Dedicated 21 June 2012 -- IEEE Baltimore Section
On 27 June 1895, at the nearby Howard Street Tunnel, the B&O demonstrated the first electrified main line railroad, and commercial operation began four days later. The electrification involved designing, engineering, and constructing electric locomotives far more powerful than any then existing and creating innovative electric power generation and distribution facilities. This pioneering achievement became a prototype for later main line railroad electrification.
Adams Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1895
Niagara Falls, NY, Dedicated 21 June 1990 - IEEE Buffalo Section
When the Adams Plant went into operation on August 26, 1895, it represented a key victory for alternating-current systems over direct-current. The clear advantage of high voltage AC for long distance power transmission and the unprecedented size of the plant (it reached its full capacity of ten 5,000-HP generators in May 1900) influenced the future of the electrical industry worldwide.
Krka-Sibenik Electric Power System, 1895
Krka-Sibenik, Croatia, Dedicated 5 July 2013 -- IEEE Croatia Section
Krka-Šibenik Electric Power System, 1895
On 28 August 1895 electricity generated at this location was transmitted to the city of Šibenik, where six power transformers supplied a large number of street lamps. This early system of power generation, transmission and distribution was one of the first complete multiphase alternating current systems in the world and it remained in operation until World War I.
Marconi's Early Experiments in Wireless Telegraphy, 1895
Pontechio Marconi, Italy, Dedicated 29 April 2011 -- IEEE Italy Section
In this garden, after the experiments carried out between 1894 and 1895 in the “Silkworm Room” in the attic of Villa Griffone, Guglielmo Marconi connected a grounded antenna to its transmitter. With this apparatus the young inventor was able to transmit radiotelegraphic signals beyond a physical obstacle, the Celestini hill, at a distance of about two kilometres. The experiment heralded the birth of the era of wireless communication.
On this hill, during the summer of 1895, the radiotelegraphic signals sent by Guglielmo Marconi from the garden of Villa Griffone were received. The reception was communicated to Marconi with a gunshot. This event marked the beginning of the new era of wireless communication
Marconi's Early Wireless Experiments, 1895
Switzerland, Dedicated 26 September 2003 -- IEEE Switzerland Section
On this spot in 1895, with local assistance, Guglielmo Marconi carried out some of the first wireless experiments. He first transmitted a signal from this "Shepherdess Stone" over a few meters and later, following one and a half months of careful adjustments, over a distance of up to one and a half kilometers. This was the beginning of Marconi’s pivotal involvement in wireless radio.
Chivilingo Hydroelectric Plant, 1897
Lota, Chile, Dedicated 24 October 2001 -- IEEE Chile Section
The 1897 430 kW Chivilingo Plant was the first hydroelectric plant in Chile and the second in South America. A 10 km line fed the Lota coal mines and the railway extracting minerals 12 km from shore under the sea. It represented a new key technology and a new source of electrical energy in the region as a tool for economic development. Chivilingo demonstrated the advantages of industrial use of electricity and hastened its widespread adoption in Chile.
Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Plant, 1898
Decew Falls, Ontario, Dedicated 2 May 2004 -- IEEE Hamilton Section
The Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Development was a pioneering project in the generation and transmission of electrical energy at higher voltages and at greater distances in Canada. On 25 August 1898 this station transmitted power at 22,500 Volts, 66 2/3 Hz, two-phase, a distance of 56 km to Hamilton, Ontario. Using the higher voltage permitted efficient transmission over that distance.
First Operational Use Of Wireless Telegraphy, 1899-1902
Capetown, South Africa, Dedicated 29 September 1999 -- IEEE South Africa Section
The first use of wireless telegraphy in the field occurred during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). The British Army experimented with Marconi's system and the British Navy successfully used it for communication among naval vessels in Delagoa Bay, prompting further development of Marconi's wireless telegraph system for practical uses.
Georgetown Steam Hydro Generating Plant, 1900
Georgetown, CO, 31 July 1999 - IEEE Denver Section
Electric generating plants, through their high-voltage lines, provided critical power to the isolated mines in this region. Georgetown, completed in 1900, was unusual in employing both steam and water power. Its owner, United Light and Power Company, was a pioneer in using three-phase, 60-Hertz alternating current and in being interconnected with other utilities.
Transmission of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901
Poldhu, Cornwall, England, Dedicated 12 December 2001 -- IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On December 12, 1901, a radio transmission of the Morse code letter 'S' was broadcast from this site, using equipment built by John Ambrose Fleming. At Signal Hill in Newfoundland, Guglielmo Marconi, using a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, confirmed the reception of these first transatlantic radio signals. These experiments showed that radio signals could propagate far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communications in the twentieth century.
Early Developments in Remote-Control, 1901
Madrid, Spain, Dedicated 15 March 2007 -- IEEE Spain Section
In 1901, the Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres-Quevedo began the development of a system, which he called Telekine, which was able to do "mechanical movements at a distance." The system was a way of testing dirigible balloons of his own creation without risking human lives. In 1902 and 1903 he requested some patents for the system. With the Telekine, Torres-Quevedo laid down modern wireless remote-control operation principles.
Reception of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901
Signal Hill, Newfoundland, Canada, Dedicated 4 October 1985 - IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
At Signal Hill on December 12, 1901, Guglielmo Marconi and his assistant, George Kemp, confirmed the reception of the first transatlantic radio signals. With a telephone receiver and a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, they heard Morse code for the letter "S" transmitted from Poldhu, Cornwall. Their experiments showed that radio signals extended far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communication in the twentieth century.
Poulsen-Arc Radio Transmitter, 1902
Lyngby, Denmark, Dedicated May 1994 - IEEE Denmark Section
Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, invented an arc converter as a generator of continuous-wave radio signals in 1902. Beginning in 1904, Poulsen used the arc for experimental radio transmission from Lyngby to various receiving sites in Denmark and Great Britain. Poulsen-arc transmitters were used internationally until they were superseded by vacuum-tube transmitters.
Vucje Hydroelectric Plant, 1903
Leskovac, Serbia, Dedicated 25 June 2005 -- IEEE Yugoslavia Section
The Vucje hydroelectric plant began operation in 1903. It was the first in southern Serbia and the largest in the broader region. By transmitting alternating electric current of 50 Hz at 7000 volts -- high for the period -- over a distance of 16 km , it helped to transform the regional economy. It remained in continual use for more than a century.
Alexanderson Radio Alternator, 1904
Schenectady, NY, U.S.A., Dedicated 20 February 1992 -- IEEE Schenectady Section
The Alexanderson radio alternator was a high-power, radio-frequency source which provided reliable transoceanic radiotelegraph communication during and after World War I. Ernst F.W. Alexanderson (1878-1975), a General Electric engineer, designed radio alternators with a frequency range to 100 kHz and a power capability from 2 kW to 200 kW. These machines, developed during the period 1904 to 1918, were used in research on high-frequency properties of materials as well as for international communications.
Fleming Valve, 1904
London, England, Dedicated 1 July 2004 -- IEEE UKRI Section
Beginning in the 1880s Professor John Ambrose Fleming of University College London investigated the Edison effect, electrical conduction within a glass bulb from an incandescent filament to a metal plate. In 1904 he constructed such a bulb and used it to rectify high frequency oscillations and thus detect wireless signals. The same year Fleming patented the device, later known as the ‘Fleming valve.'
Pinawa Hydroelectric Power Project, 1906
Nelson River, Canada, Dedicated 6 June 2008 -- IEEE Winnipeg Section
On 9 June 1906 the Winnipeg Electric Railway Co. transmitted electric power from the Pinawa generating station on the Winnipeg River to the city of Winnipeg at 60,000 volts. It was the first year-round hydroelectric plant in Manitoba and one of the first to be developed in such a cold climate anywhere in the world.
First Wireless Radio Broadcast by Reginald A. Fessenden, 1906
Brant Rock, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 13 September 2008 -- IEEE Boston Section
On 24 December 1906, the first radio broadcast for entertainment and music was transmitted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts to the general public. This pioneering broadcast was achieved after years of development work by
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932) who built a complete system of wireless transmission and reception using amplitude modulation (AM) of continuous electromagnetic waves. This technology was a revolutionary departure from transmission of dots and dashes widespread at the time.
Alternating-Current Electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, 1907
Cos Cob, CT, U.S.A., Dedicated 22 May 1982 -- IEEE Connecticut Section
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
This was a pioneering venture in mainline railroad electrification. It established single-phase alternating current as a technical and economical alternative to direct current. This concept exerted considerable influence over subsequent systems both in the United States and abroad. The major components of the system were developed by the engineering staffs of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Shoshone Transmission Line, 1909
Georgetown, CO, U.S.A., Dedicated 22 June 1991 - IEEE Denver Section
July 17, 1909, the Shoshone Transmission Line began service carrying power, generated by the Shoshone Hydroelectric Generating Station, to Denver. The Line operated at 90 kV, was 153.4 miles long, and crossed the Continental Divide three times reaching an altitude of 13,500 feet. Its design and construction represented an outstanding electrical engineering accomplishment due to its length, the mountainous country over which it was constructed, and the unusually severe weather conditions under which it operated.
Reliable High Voltage Power Fuse, 1909
Chicago, IL, U.S.A., Dedicated 3 August 2012 - IEEE Chicago Section
Reliable High-Voltage Power Fuse, 1909
In 1909 Nicholas J. Conrad and Edmund O. Schweitzer developed an extremely reliable high voltage power fuse which used an arc-extinguishing liquid to assure proper interruption of short circuits. These fuses, later manufactured at this location, played a major role in the adoption of outdoor distribution substations, and the technology remains a central component of electrical transmission and distribution systems today.
Discovery of Superconductivity, 1911
Leiden, The Netherlands, Dedicated 8 April 2011 -- IEEE Benelux Section/IEEE Superconductivity Council
On 8 April 1911, in this building, Professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and his collaborators, Cornelis Dorsman, Gerrit Jan Flim, and Gilles Holst, discovered superconductivity. They observed that the resistance of mercury approached "practically zero" as its temperature was lowered to 3 kelvins. Today, superconductivity makes many electrical technologies possible, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and high-energy particle accelerators.
Panama Canal Electrical and Control Installations, 1914
Balboa, Panama, Dedicated 4 April 2003 -- IEEE Panama Section
The Panama Canal project included one of the largest and most important electrical installations in the world early in the 20th century. The use of 1022 electric motors with an installed capacity of 28,290 horsepower largely replaced the steam and water powered equipment then in common use. Reliability and safety were also engineered into the innovative electrical control system, enabling remote lock operation from a central location.
Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA, 1920
Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated June 1994 -- IEEE Pittsburgh Section
Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA was a world pioneer of commercial radio broadcasting. Transmitting with a power of 100 watts on a wavelength of 360 meters, KDKA began scheduled programming with the Harding-Cox Presidential election returns on November 2, 1920. A shed, housing studio and transmitter, was atop the K Building of the Westinghouse East Pittsburgh works. Conceived by C.P. Davis, broadcasting as a public service evolved from Frank Conrad's weekly experimental broadcasts over his amateur radio station 8XK, attracting many regular listeners who had wireless receiving sets.
Directive Short Wave Antenna, 1924
Miyagi, Japan, Dedicated June 1995 -- IEEE Sendai Section
In these laboratories, beginning in 1924, Professor Hidetsugu Yagi and his assistant, Shintaro Uda, designed and constructed a sensitive and highly-directional antenna using closely-coupled parasitic elements. The antenna, which is effective in the higher-frequency ranges, has been important for radar, television, and amateur radio.
Development of Electronic Television, 1924-1941
Hamamatsu, Japan, Dedicated 12 November 2009 -- IEEE Nagoya Section
Professor Kenjiro Takayanagi started his research program in television at Hamamatsu Technical College (now Shizuoka University) in 1924. He transmitted an image of the Japanese character イ(i) on a cathode-ray tube on 25 December 1926 and broadcast video over an electronic television system in 1935. His work, patents, articles, and teaching helped lay the foundation for the rise of Japanese television and related industries to global leadership.
Raman effect, 1928
Kolkata, India, Dedicated 15 September 2012 -- IEEE Kolkata Section
Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Nobel-laureate (Physics-1930), assisted by K S Krishnan at IACS, Calcutta, India, discovered on 28 February 1928, that when a beam of coloured light entered a liquid, a fraction of the light scattered was of a different colour, dependent on material property. This radiation effect of molecular scattering of light bears his name as ‘Raman Effect’, from which many applications in photonic communications and spectroscopy evolved.
One-Way Police Radio Communication, 1928
Detroit, MI, U.S.A., Dedicated May 1987 -- IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section
At this site on April 7, 1928 the Detroit Police Department commenced regular one-way radio communication with its patrol cars. Developed by personnel of the department's radio bureau, the system was the product of seven years of experimentation under the direction of police commissioner, William P. Rutledge. Their work proved the practicality of land-mobile radio for police work and led to its adoption throughout the country.
Shannon Scheme for the Electrification of the Irish Free State, 1929
Ardnacrusha, County Limerick, Ireland, Dedicated 29 July 2002 -- IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASCE International Historic Engineering Landmark)
The Shannon Scheme was officially opened at Parteen Weir on 22 July 1929. One of the largest engineering projects of its day, it was successfully executed by Siemens to harness the Shannon River. It subsequently served as a model for large-scale electrification projects worldwide. Operated by the Electricity Board of Ireland, it had an immediate impact on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland and continues to supply significant power beyond the end of the 20th century.
Yosami Radio Transmitting Station, 1929
Kariya City, Japan, Dedicated 19 May 2009 -- IEEE Nagoya Section
In April 1929, the Yosami Station established the first wireless communications between Japan and Europe with a long wave operating at 17.442 kHz. An inductor-type high-frequency alternator provided output power at 500 kW. The antenna system used eight towers, each 250m high. The facilities were used for communicating with submarines by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1941 to 1945 and by the United States Navy from 1950 to 1993.
Largest Private (dc) Generating Plant in the U.S.A., 1929
New York, New York, U.S.A., Dedicated 25 September 2008 -- IEEE New York Section
The Direct Current (dc) generating plant installed at the New Yorker Hotel in 1929, capable of supplying electric power sufficient for a city of 35,000 people, was the largest private generating plant in the U.S.A. Steam engines drove electric generators, with exhaust steam used for heating and other facilities. The installation used more than two hundred dc motors, and was controlled from a seven-foot (two-meter) high, sixty-foot (eighteen-meter) long switchboard.
Development of Ferrite Materials and Their Applications, 1930-1945
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 13 October 2009 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
In 1930, at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Drs. Yogoro Kato and Takeshi Takei invented ferrite, a magnetic ceramic compound containing oxides of iron and of other metals with properties useful in electronics. TDK Corporation began mass production of ferrite cores in 1937 for use in radio equipment. The electric and electronics industries use ferrites in numerous applications today.
Two-Way Police Radio Communication, 1933
Bayonne, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated May 1987 -- IEEE North Jersey Section
In 1933, the police department in Bayonne, New Jersey initiated regular two-way communications with its patrol cars, a major advance over previous one-way systems. The very high frequency system developed by radio engineer Frank A. Gunther and station operator Vincent J. Doyle placed transmitters in patrol cars to enable patrolmen to communicate with headquarters and other cars instead of just receiving calls. Two-way police radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Bayonne system.
Long-Range Shortwave Voice Transmissions from Byrd's Antarctic Expedition, 1934
Cedar Rapids, IA, February 2001 -- IEEE Cedar Rapids Section
Beginning 3 February 1934, Vice Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic Expedition transmitted news releases to New York via short-wave radio voice equipment. From New York, the US nationwide CBS network broadcast the news releases to the public. Previous expeditions had been limited to dot-dash telegraphy, but innovative equipment from the newly formed Collins Radio Company made this long-range voice transmission feasible.
Westinghouse "Atom Smasher," 1937
Forest Hills, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated May 1985 -- IEEE Pittsburgh Section
The five million volt van de Graaff generator represents the first large-scale program in nuclear physics established in industry. Constructed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1937, it made possible precise measurements of nuclear reactions and provided valuable research experience for the company's pioneering work in nuclear power.
Atanasoff-Berry Computer, 1939
Ames, IA, U.S.A., Dedicated April 1990 -- IEEE Central Iowa Section
John Vincent Atanasoff conceived basic design principles for the first electronic-digital computer in the winter of 1937 and, assisted by his graduate student, Clifford E. Berry, constructed a prototype here in October 1939. It used binary numbers, direct logic for calculation, and a regenerative memory. It embodied concepts that would be central to the future development of computers.
Single-element Unidirectional Microphone - Shure Unidyne, 1939
Niles, IL, U.S.A., Dedicated 31 January 2014 -- IEEE Chicago Section
In 1939, Shure Incorporated introduced the Unidyne microphone. Using the Uniphase acoustical system, the patented Unidyne was the first microphone to provide directional characteristics using a single dynamic element. This breakthrough offered lower cost, greater reliability and improved performance for communication and public address systems. Shure Unidyne microphones are still manufactured and used worldwide in numerous audio applications.
Code-breaking at Bletchley Park during World War II, 1939-1945
Bletchley Park, United Kingdom, Dedicated 1 April 2003 -- IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On this site during the 1939-45 World War, 12,000 men and women broke the German Lorenz and Enigma ciphers, as well as Japanese and Italian codes and ciphers. They used innovative mathematical analysis and were assisted by two computing machines developed here by teams led by Alan Turing: the electro-mechanical Bombe developed with Gordon Welchman, and the electronic Colossus designed by Tommy Flowers. These achievements greatly shortened the war, thereby saving countless lives.
FM Police Radio Communication, 1940
Hartford, CT, U.S.A., Dedicated June 1987 -- IEEE Connecticut Section
A major advance in police radio occurred in 1940 when the Connecticut state police began operating a two-way, frequency modulated (FM) system in Hartford. The statewide system developed by Daniel E. Noble of the University of Connecticut and engineers at the Fred M. Link Company greatly reduced static, the main problem of the amplitude modulated (AM) system. FM mobile radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Connecticut system.
MIT Radiation Laboratory, 1940-1945
Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated October 1990 -- IEEE Boston Section
The MIT Radiation Laboratory, operated on this site between 1940 and 1945, advanced the allied war effort by making fundamental contributions to the design and deployment of microwave radar systems. Used on land, sea, and in the air, in many adaptations, radar was a decisive factor in the outcome of the conflict. The laboratory's 3900 employees made lasting contributions to microwave theory and technology, operational radar, systems engineering, long-range navigation, and control equipment.
Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 27 June 2012 -- IEEE Boston Section
The rapid development of Loran -- long range navigation -- under wartime conditions at MIT’s Radiation Lab was not only a significant engineering feat but also transformed navigation, providing the world’s first near-real-time positioning information. Beginning in June 1942, the United States Coast Guard helped develop, install and operate Loran until 2010.
Opana Radar Site, 1941
Kuhuku, Hawaii, U.S.A., February 2000 -- IEEE Hawaii Section
On December 7, 1941, an SCR-270b radar located at this site tracked incoming Japanese aircraft for over 30 minutes until they were obscured by the island ground clutter. This was the first wartime use of radar by the United States military, and led to its successful application throughout the theater.
In 1942, the United States Navy joined with the National Cash Register Company to design and manufacture a series of code-breaking machines. This project was located at the U.S. Naval Computing Machine Laboratory in Building 26, near this site. The machines built here, including the American "Bombes", incorporated advanced electronics and significantly influenced the course of World War II.
Whirlwind Computer, 1944-1959
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dedicated 27 June 2012 -- IEEE Boston Section
The Whirlwind computer was developed at 211 Massachusetts Avenue by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was the first real-time high-speed digital computer using random-access magnetic-core memory. Whirlwind featured outputs displayed on a CRT, and a light pen to write data on the screen. Whirlwindʼs success led to the United States Air Forceʼs Semi Automatic Ground Environment - SAGE - system and to many business computers and minicomputers.
Merrill Wheel-Balancing System, 1945
Denver, CO, U.S.A., September 1999 -- IEEE Denver Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
In 1945, Marcellus Merrill first implemented an electronic dynamic wheel-balancing system. Previously, all mechanical methods were static in nature and required removing the wheels from the vehicle. Merrill's innovative balancing system came to be widely used internationally. Elements of the dynamic balancing systems are still used today, primarily for industrial and automotive production applications.
Rincon del Bonete Hydroelectric Plant and Transmission System, 1945
Rincon del Bonete, Uruguay, Dedicated 14 December 2012 -- IEEE Uruguay Section
In December, 1945, much-needed hydroelectric power began flowing from here to other parts of Uruguay. World War II had interrupted the work begun by a German consortium, but Uruguayan engineers reformulated and completed the project using United States-supplied equipment. The large artificial lake spurred further Rio Negro electrification; availability of abundant, clean hydroelectricity was a turning point in Uruguay's development, quality of life, and engineering profession.
Invention of Holography, 1947
London, England, Dedicated 12 June 2013 -- IEEE UK&RI Section
In 1947 Dennis Gabor conceived the idea of wavefront reconstruction for improving the performance of the electron microscope. This became the basis for the invention of optical holography for three-dimensional imaging but implementation required coherent light sources and had to await the emergence of the laser some years later. Gabor was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention in 1971.
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, 1946
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated September 1987 -- IEEE Philadelphia Section
A major advance in the history of computing occurred at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 when engineers put the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) into operation. Designed and constructed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering under a U. S. Army contract during World War II, the ENIAC established the practicality of large scale, electronic digital computers and strongly influenced the development of the modern, stored-program, general-purpose computer.
Monochrome-Compatible Electronic Color Television, 1946-1953
Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 29 November 2001 -- IEEE Princeton/Central New Jersey Section
On this site between 1946 and 1950 the research staff of RCA Laboratories invented the world's first electronic, monochrome-compatible, color television system. They worked with other engineers in the industry for three years to develop a national analog standard based on this system, which lasted until the transition to digital broadcasting.
Invention of the First Transistor at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 1947
Murray Hill, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 8 December 2009 -- IEEE Northern New Jersey Section
At this site, in Building 1, Room 1E455, from 17 November to 23 December 1947, Walter H. Brattain and John A. Bardeen -- under the direction of William B. Shockley -- discovered the transistor effect, and developed and demonstrated a point-contact germanium transistor. This led directly to developments in solid-state devices that revolutionized the electronics industry and changed the way people around the world lived, learned, worked, and played.
Birthplace of the Barcode, 1948
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated 22 October 2012 -- IEEE Philadelphia Section
In an attempt to automate the reading of product information in a local grocery store, Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland at the Drexel Institute of Technology developed a solution that became the ubiquitous Barcode Identification System. Patented in 1952, the Barcode has become a key technology for product identification and inventory control in industry and daily life.
First External Cardiac Pacemaker, 1950
Toronto, Canada, September 2009 -- IEEE Toronto Section
In 1950, in Room 64 of the Bantling Institute of the University of Toronto, Drs. Wilfred Bigelow and John Callaghan successfully paced the heart of a dog using an external electronic pacemaker-defibrillator having implanted electrodes. The device was developed by Dr. John Hopps at the National Research Council of Canada. This pioneering work led to the use of cardiac pacemakers in humans and helped establish the importance of electronic devices in medicine.
The demonstrated success in space flight is the result of electronic technology developed at Cape Canaveral, the J. F. Kennedy Space Center, and other sites, and applied here. A wide variety of advances in radar tracking, data telemetry, instrumentation, space-to-ground communications, on-board guidance, and real-time computation were employed to support the U.S. space program. These and other electronic developments provided infrastructure necessary for the successful landing of men on the moon in July 1969 and their safe return to earth.
Manufacture of Transistors, 1951
Allentown, PA, U.S.A., Dedicated April 1989 -- IEEE Lehigh Valley Section
The commercial manufacture of transistors began here in October 1951. Smaller, more efficient, and more reliable than the vacuum tubes they replaced, transistors revolutionized the electronics industry.
Experimental Breeder Reactor I, 1951
Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A., Dedicated 4 June 2004 -- IEEE Eastern Idaho Section
At this facility on 20 December 1951 electricity was first generated from the heat produced by a sustained nuclear reaction providing steam to a turbine generator. This event inaugurated the nuclear power industry in the United States. On 4 June 1953 EBR-I provided the first proof of "breeding“ capability, producing one atom of nuclear fuel for each atom burned, and later produced electricity using a plutonium core reactor.
SAGE -- Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, 1951-1958
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Dedicated 27 June 2012 -- IEEE Boston Section
In 1951 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology undertook the development of an air defense system for the United States. The centerpiece of this defense system was a large digital computer originally developed at MIT. The MIT Lincoln Laboratory was formed to carry out the initial development of this system and the first of some 23 SAGE control centers was completed in 1958. SAGE was the forerunner of today’s digital computer networks.
First Television Broadcast in Western Canada, 1953
North Vancouver, BC, Canada, Dedicated 6 November 2010 -- IEEE Vancouver Section
On 16 December 1953, the first television broadcast in Western Canada was transmitted from this site by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBUT Channel 2. The engineering experience gained here was instrumental in the subsequent establishment of the more than one thousand public and private television broadcasting sites that serve Western Canada today.
WEIZAC Computer, 1955
Rehovot, Israel, Dedicated 5 December 2006 -- IEEE Israel Section
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, built the Weizmann Automatic Computer (WEIZAC) during 1954-1955 with the scientific vision of Chaim Pekeris and the engineering leadership of Gerald Estrin. The WEIZAC was based on drawings from the IAS computer at Princeton University and built with much ingenuity. The machine was the first digital electronic computer constructed in the Middle East and it became an indispensable scientific computing resource for many scientists and engineers worldwide.
San Jose, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated 26 May 2005 -- IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
Developed by IBM in San Jose, California at 99 Notre Dame Street from 1952 until 1956, the Random Access Method of Accounting and Control (RAMAC) was the first computer system conceived around a radically new magnetic disk storage device. The extremely large capacity, rapid access, and low cost of magnetic disk storage revolutionized computer architecture, performance, and applications.
The First Submarine Transatlantic Telephone Cable System (TAT-1), 1956
Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada; Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Oban, Scotland, Dedicated 24 September 2006 -- IEEE Newfoundland Section, IEEE Canadian Atlantic Section, and IEEE UKRI Section
Global telephone communications using submarine cables began on 25 September 1956, when the first transatlantic undersea telephone system, TAT-1, went into service. This site is the eastern terminal of the transatlantic cable that stretched west to Clarenville, Newfoundland. TAT-1 was a great technological achievement providing unparalleled reliability with fragile components in hostile environments. It was made possible through the efforts of engineers at AT&T Bell Laboratories and British Post Office. The system operated until 1978.
Kurobe River No. 4 Hydropower Plant, 1956-63
Kurobe, Japan, Dedicated 9 April 2010 -- IEEE Kansai Section
Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., completed the innovative Kurobe River No. 4 Hydropower Plant, including the subterranean power station and Kurobe Dam, in 1963. The 275kV long-distance transmission system delivered the generated electric power to the Kansai region and solved serious power shortages, contributing to industrial development and enhancing living standards for the population.
First Wearable Cardiac Pacemaker, 1957-1958
Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., October 1999 -- IEEE Twin Cities Section
During the winter of 1957-58, Earl E. Bakken developed the first wearable transistorized pacemaker, the request of heart surgeon, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei. As earlier pacemakers were AC-powered, this battery-powered device liberated patients from their power-cord tethers. The wearable pacemaker was a significant step in the evolution to fully-implantable units.
First Semiconductor Integrated Circuit (IC), 1958
Dallas, TX, U.S.A., 15 October 2009 -- IEEE Dallas Section
On 12 September 1958, Jack S. Kilby demonstrated the first working integrated circuit to managers at Texas Instruments. This was the first time electronic components were integrated onto a single substrate. This seminal device consisted of a phase shift oscillator circuit on a tiny bar of germanium measuring 7/16” by 1/16” (11.1 mm by 1.6 mm). Today, integrated circuits are the fundamental building blocks of virtually all electronic equipment.
Star of Laufenburg Interconnection, 1958
Laufenburg, Switzerland, Dedicated 18 August 2010 -- IEEE Switzerland Section
This is the original location of the electric-power interconnection of three countries: Switzerland, Germany and France. The Union for Production and Transmission of Electricity (now UCTE) was formed to manage this interconnection. This installation pioneered international connections, and technical and political cooperation for European integration. UCTE coordinated one of the largest synchronously connected power networks serving almost all of continental Europe.
Semiconductor Planar Process and Integrated Circuit, 1959
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated 8 May 2009 -- IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
The 1959 invention of the Planar Process by Jean A. Hoerni and the Integrated Circuit (IC) based on planar technology by Robert N. Noyce catapulted the semiconductor industry into the silicon IC era. This pair of pioneering inventions led to the present IC industry, which today supplies a wide and growing variety of advanced semiconductor products used throughout the world.
Commercialization and Industrialization of Photovoltaic Cells, 1959-83
Nara and Osaka, Japan, Dedicated 9 April 2010 -- IEEE Kansai Section
Sharp Corporation pioneered the development and commercialization of photovoltaic (PV) cells for applications ranging from satellites to lighthouses to residential uses. From the beginning of research into monocrystal PV-cells in 1959, to the mass production of amorphous PV-cells in 1983, this work contributed greatly toward the industrialization of photovoltaic technologies and toward the mitigation of global warming.
TIROS-1 Weather Satellite, 1960
Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 27 September 2010 -- IEEE Princeton/Central New Jersey Section
TIROS 1 - TELEVISION INFRA-RED OBSERVATION SATELLITE, 1960 On 1 April 1960, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration launched TIROS I, the world's first meteorological satellite, to capture and transmit video images of the Earth's weather patterns. RCA staff at Defense Electronics Products, the David Sarnoff Research Center, and Astro-Electronics Division designed and constructed the satellite and ground station systems. TIROS I pioneered meteorological and environmental satellite television for an expanding array of purposes.
First Working Laser, 1960
Malibu, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated 23 November 2010 -- IEEE Metro Los Angeles Section
On this site in May 1960 Theodore Maiman built and operated the first laser. A number of teams around the world were trying to construct this theoretically anticipated device from different materials. Maiman’s was based on a ruby rod optically pumped by a flash lamp. The laser was a transformative technology in the 20th century and continues to enjoy wide application in many fields of human endeavor.
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, 1960 – 1984
Yorktown Heights, NY, U.S.A., Dedicated 16 October 2009 -- IEEE New York Section
In its first quarter century, the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center produced numerous seminal advances having sustained worldwide impact in electrical engineering and computing. Semiconductor device innovations include dynamic random access memory (DRAM), superlattice crystals, and field effect transistor (FET) scaling laws. Computing innovations include reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, integer programming, amorphous magnetic films for optical storage technology, and thin-film magnetic recording heads.
First Optical Fiber Laser and Amplifier, 1961-1964
southbridge, MA, U.S.A., Dedicated 26 October 2012 -- IEEE Worcester County Section/IEEE Photonics Society
The First Optical Fiber Laser and Amplifier, 1961-1964
In 1961, Elias Snitzer and colleagues constructed and operated the world's first optical fiber laser in the former American Optical complex at 14 Mechanic Street. Three years later this team demonstrated the first optical fiber amplifier. Fiber lasers that can cut and weld steel have since become powerful industrial tools and fiber amplifiers routinely boost signals in the global optical fiber network allowing messages to cross oceans and continents without interruption.
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1962
Stanford, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated February 1984 -- IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Council
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
The Stanford two-mile accelerator, the longest in the world, accelerates electrons to the very high energy needed in the study of subatomic particles and forces. Experiments performed here have shown that the proton, one of the building blocks of the atom, is in turn composed of smaller particles now called quarks. Other research here has uncovered new families of particles and demonstrated subtle effects of the weak nuclear force. This research requires the utmost precision in the large and unique electromechanical devices and systems that accelerate, define, deliver and store the beams of particles, and in the detectors that analyze the results of the particle interactions.
Mercury Spacecraft MA-6, 1962
St Louis, MO, U.S.A., Dedicated 24 February 2011 -- IEEE St. Louis Section and IEEE AES Society St. Louis Chapter
Col. John Glenn piloted the Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft in the first United States human orbital flight on 20 February 1962. Electrical and electronic systems invented by McDonnell engineers, including IRE members, made his and future spaceflights possible. Among the key contributions were navigation and control instruments, autopilot, rate stabilization and control, and fly-by-wire (FBW) systems.
First Transatlantic Transmission of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
Andover, ME, U.S.A., Dedicated July 2002 -- IEEE Maine Section
On 11 July 1962 this site transmitted the first transatlantic TV signal to a twin station in Pleumeur-Bodou, France via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.
First Transatlantic Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
Goonhilly Downs, Cornwall, England, Dedicated July 2002 -- IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On 11 July 1962 this site transmitted the first live television signal across the Atlantic from Europe to the USA, via TELSTAR. This Satellite Earth Station was designed and built by the British Post Office Engineering Department. Known as 'Arthur' (of "Knights of the Round Table" fame), its open-dish design became a model for satellite television earth stations throughout the world.
First Transatlantic Reception of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
Pleumeur-Bodou, France, Dedicated July 2002 -- IEEE France Section
On 11 July 1962 this site received the first transatlantic transmission of a TV signal from a twin station in Andover, Maine, USA via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.
Alouette-ISIS Satellite Program, 1962
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dedicated May 1993 -- IEEE Ottawa Section
Driven by the need to understand the characteristics of radio communication in Canada's North, Canadian researchers focused on the exploration of the earth's upper atmosphere, the ionosphere. Canada's satellite program commenced with the launch of Alouette-I on September 29, 1962. Alouette-II followed in 1965, ISIS-I in 1969, ISIS-II in 1971. The Alouette/ISIS tracking antenna serves as a reminder of Canada's contribution to this international effort in space science. IEEE Canada maintains a web site on this Milestone.
Pioneering Work on the Quartz Electronic Wristwatch, 1962-1967
Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Dedicated 28 September 2002 -- IEEE Switzerland Section
A key milestone in development of the quartz electronic wristwatch in Switzerland was the creation in 1962 of the Centre Electronique Horloger of Neuchâtel. The Centre produced the first prototypes incorporating dedicated integrated circuits that set new timekeeping performance records at the International Chronometric Competition held at this observatory in 1967. Since then quartz watches, with hundreds of millions of units produced, became an extremely successful electronic system.
Grumman Lunar Module, 1962 - 1972
Bethpage, New York, U.S.A., Dedicated 20 July 2011 -- IEEE Long Island Section
The Grumman Lunar Module was the first vehicle to land man on an extraterrestrial body, the Moon. Because it was designed to fly solely in space, its design, construction and testing continuously pushed the technology envelope for lightweight metals and unique electrical and electronic systems resulting in one of the most important and successful engineering achievements of mankind.
Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), 1962-1972
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Dedicated 13 December 2011 -- IEEE Boston Section
The Apollo Guidance Computer provided spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control during all of NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. It was developed under the leadership of Dr. Charles Stark Draper at the MIT Instrumentation Lab - now Draper Laboratory. This pioneering digital flight computer was the first real-time embedded computing system to collect data automatically and provide mission-critical calculations for the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module.
NAIC/Arecibo Radiotelescope, 1963
Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dedicated November 2001 -- IEEE Puerto Rico & Caribbean Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
The Arecibo Observatory, the world's largest radiotelescope, was dedicated in 1963. Its design and implementation led to advances in the electrical engineering areas of antenna design, signal processing, and electronic instrumentation, and in the mechanical engineering areas of antenna suspension and drive systems. The drive system positions all active parts of the antenna with millimeter precision, regardless of temperature changes, enabling the telescope to maintain an accurate focus. Its subsequent operation led to advances in the scientific fields of radioastronomy, planetary studies, and space and atmospheric sciences.
First Transpacific Reception of a Television (TV) Signal via Satellite, 1963
Takahagi City, Japan, Dedicated 23 November 2009 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
First Transpacific Reception of a Television (TV) Signal via Satellite, 1963 On 23 November 1963, this site received the first transpacific transmission of a TV Signal from Mojave earth station in California, U.S.A., via the Relay 1 communications satellite. The Ibaraki earth station used a 20m Cassegrain antenna, the first use of this type of antenna for commercial telecommunications. This event demonstrated the capability and impact of satellite communications and helped open a new era of intercontinental live TV programming relayed via Satellite.
Taum Sauk Pumped-Storage Electric Power Plant, 1963
Proffit Mountain, Missouri, U.S.A. -- Dedicated September 2005
The Taum Sauk Plant, when it came on-line in 1963, was the largest pure pumped-storage electric power plant in North America. Other pioneering features for this pumped-storage plant were its high capacity turbine-generators and its ability to be operated remotely, 90 miles away, from St. Louis, Missouri.
Mount Fuji Radar System, 1964
Mount Fuji, Japan, Dedicated March 2000 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
Completed in 1964 as the highest weather radar in the world in the pre-satellite era, the Mount Fuji Radar System almost immediately warned of a major storm over 800 km away. In addition to advancing the technology of weather radar, it pioneered aspects of remote-control and low-maintenance of complex electronic systems. The radar was planned by the Japan Meteorological Agency and constructed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.
Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train), 1964
Nagoya, Japan, Dedicated July 2000 -- IEEE Nagoya Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) was designed with the world's most advanced electrical and mechanical train technologies to operate at speeds up to 210 km/hr, a world record when it began service in 1964. It has carried over 100 million passengers per year for many years with an excellent safety record.
Pioneering Work on Electronic Calculators, 1964-1973
Tenri City, Nara Prefecture , Japan, Dedicated December 2005 -- IEEE Kansai Section
A Sharp Corporation project team designed and produced several families of electronic calculators on the basis of all-transistor (1964), bipolar and MOS integrated circuit (1967), MOS Large Scale Integration (1969) and CMOS-LSI/Liquid Crystal Display (1973). The integration of CMOS-LSI and LCD devices onto a single glass substrate yielded battery-powered calculators. These achievements made possible the widespread personal use of hand-held calculators
First 735 kV AC Transmission System, 1965
Quebec, Canada, Dedicated November 2005 -- IEEE Quebec Section
Hydro-Quebec's 735,000 volt electric power transmission system was the first in the world to be designed, built and operated at an alternating-current voltage above 700 kV. This development extended the limits of long-distance transmission of electrical energy. On 29 November 1965 the first 735 kV line was inaugurated. Power was transmitted from the Manicouagan-Outardes hydro-electric generating complex to Montreal, a distance of 600 km.
Railroad Ticketing Examining System, 1965-1971
Osake, Japan, Dedicated 27 November 2007 -- IEEE Kansai Section
Pioneering ticket examining machines, designed to speed commuter railroad use substantially, were first installed in 1965, based on work by a joint research team of Osaka University and Kintetsu Corporation. Following this work, an improved version -- based on joint work by Omron, Kintetsu, and Hankyu corporations using punched cards and magnetic cards -- was first deployed in 1967 and at nineteen stations in 1971.
First Radio Astronomical Observations Using VLBI, 1967
Kaleden, British Columbia, Canada, Dedicated 25 September 2010 -- IEEE Vancouver Section
On the morning of 17 April 1967, radio astronomers used this radiotelescope at DRAO and a second one at the Algonquin Radio Observatory located 3074 km away to make the first successful radio astronomical observations using Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Today, VLBI networks span the globe, extend into space and continue to make significant contributions to both radio astronomy and geodesy.
Liquid Crystal Display, 1968
Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., Dedicated 30 September 2006 -- IEEE Princeton and Central New Jersey Section
Between 1964 and 1968, at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, a team of engineers and scientists led by George H. Heilmeier with Louis A. Zanoni and Lucian A. Barton, devised a method for electronic control of light reflected from liquid crystals and demonstrated the first liquid crystal display. Their work launched a global industry that now produces millions of LCDs annually for watches, calculators, flat-panel displays in televisions, computers and instruments.
CERN Experimental Instrumentation, 1968
Geneva, Switzerland, Dedicated 26 September 2005 -- IEEE France Section, endorsed by the IEEE Switzerland Section
At CERN laboratories the invention of multiple-wire proportional chambers and drift chambers revolutionized the domain of electronic particle detectors, leading to new research on the constitution of matter. The development of unique electrical and electronic devices made possible the major high-energy physics experiments which have been recognized worldwide.
Birthplace of the Internet, 1969
University of California, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., Dedicated 29 October 2009 -- IEEE Coastal Los Angeles Section
At 10:30 p.m., 29 October 1969, the first ARPANET message was sent from this UCLA site to the Stanford Research Institute. Based on packet switching and dynamic resource allocation, the sharing of information digitally from this first node of ARPANET launched the Internet revolution.
Inception of the ARPANET, 1969
Stanford Research Institute, California, U.S.A., Dedicated 16 September 2009 -- IEEE Santa Clara Section
SRI was one of the first two nodes, with the University of California at Los Angeles, on the ARPANET, the first digital global network based on packet switching and demand access. The first documented ARPANET connection was from UCLA to SRI on 29 October 1969 at 10:30 p.m. The ARPANET’s technology and deployment laid the foundation for the development of the Internet.
Electronic Quartz Wristwatch, 1969
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 25 November 2004 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
After ten years of research and development at Suwa Seikosha, a manufacturing company of Seiko Group, a team of engineers headed by Tsuneya Nakamura produced the first quartz wristwatch to be sold to the public. The Seiko Quartz-Astron 35SQ was introduced in Tokyo on December 25, 1969. Crucial elements included a quartz crystal oscillator, a hybrid integrated circuit, and a miniature stepping motor to turn the hands. It was accurate to within five seconds per month.
Birth of the SPICE Circuit Simulation Program, 1971
Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., Dedicated 20 February 2011 -- IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section and Oakland East Bay Section
SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) was created at UC Berkeley as a class project in 1969-1970. It evolved to become the worldwide standard integrated circuit simulator. SPICE has been used to train many students in the intricacies of circuit simulation. SPICE and its descendents have become essential tools employed by virtually all integrated circuit designers.
Invention of Public Key Cryptography, 1969-1975
Cheltenham, England, Dedicated 5 October 2010 -- IEEE UKRI Section
At Great Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), by 1975 James Ellis had proved that a symmetric secret-key system is unnecessary and Clifford Cocks with Malcolm Williamson showed how such 'public-key cryptography' could be achieved. Until then it was believed that secure communication was impossible without exchange of a secret key, with key distribution a major impediment. With these discoveries the essential principles were known but were kept secret until 1997.
World's First Low-Loss Optical Fiber for Telecommunications, 1970
Corning, NY, U.S.A., Dedicated May 2012 -- IEEE Photonics Society
In 1970, Corning scientists Dr. Robert Maurer, Dr. Peter Schultz, and Dr. Donald Keck developed a highly pure optical glass that effectively transmitted light signals over long distances. This astounding medium, which is thinner than a human hair, revolutionized global communications. By 2011, the world depended upon the continuous transmission of voice, data, and video along more than 1.6 billion kilometers of optical fiber installed around the globe.
The First Word Processor for the Japanese Language, 1971-1978
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated November 2008 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
At this site, between 1971 and 1978, the first Japanese-language word processor was developed. Researchers headed by Ken-ichi Mori created a wholly new concept of Japanese word processing. Their first practical system, JW-10, was publicly unveiled on 3 October 1978. The JW-10, and improved versions, played a major role in advancing the Information Age in Japan, and provided the basis for Japanese-language word-processing software in personal computers.
Nelson River HVDC Transmission System, 1972
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Dedicated 3 June 2005 -- IEEE Winnipeg Section
On 17 June 1972, the Nelson River High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system began delivery of electric power. It used the highest operating voltage to deliver the largest amount of power from a remote site to a city. The bipolar scheme gave superior line reliability and the innovative use of the controls added significantly to the overall system capabilities. Finally, the scheme used the largest mercury arc valves ever developed for such an application.
First Practical Field Emission Electron Microscope, 1972
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 31 January 2012 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
Hitachi developed practical field emission electron source technology in collaboration with Albert Crewe of the University of Chicago, and commercialized the world’s first field emission scanning electron microscope in 1972. This technology enabled stable and reliable ultrahigh resolution imaging with easy operation. Field emission electron microscopes have made invaluable contributions to the progress of science, technology and industry in physics, biology, materials, and semiconductor devices.
Development of the HP-35, the First Handheld Scientific Calculator, 1972
Palo Alto, California, U.S.A., Dedicated 14 April 2009 -- Santa Clara Valley Section
The HP-35 was the first handheld calculator to perform transcendental functions (such as trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions). Most contemporary calculators could only perform the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The HP-35 and subsequent models have replaced the slide rule, used by generations of engineers and scientists. The HP-35 performed all the functions of the slide rule to ten-digit precision over a full two-hundred-decade range.
Eel River High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station, 1972
Eel River, Northern New Brunswick, Canada, Dedicated 24 February 2011 -- IEEE New Brunswick Section
Eel River High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station, 1972
Operating since 1972, Eel River, New Brunswick is home to the world's first commercial solid state High Voltage Direct Current converter station. This 320 MW interconnection facility, built by Canadian General Electric and NB Power, incorporates high current silicon solid state thyristors to convert alternating current from Hydro Quebec to direct current and back to alternating, allowing asynchronous, stable power transfers to serve NB Power's customers.
First 500 MeV Proton Beam from the TRIUMF Cyclotron, 1974
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Dedicated 16 December 2010 -- IEEE Vancouver Section
At 3:30 pm on 15 December 1974, the first 500 MeV proton beam was extracted from the TRIUMF cyclotron. Since then, TRIUMF has used proton beams from its cyclotron (and secondary beams of pions, muons, neutrons and radioactive ions produced in its experimental halls) to conduct pioneering studies that have advanced nuclear physics, particle physics, molecular and materials science, and nuclear medicine.
First Real-Time Speech Communication on Packet Networks, 1974 - 1982
Lexington, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Dedicated 8 December 2011 -- IEEE Boston Section
In August 1974, the first real-time speech communication over a packet-switched network was demonstrated via ARPANET between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and USC Information Sciences Institute. By 1982, these technologies enabled Internet packet speech and conferencing linking terrestrial, packet radio, and satellite networks. This work in real-time network protocols and speech coding laid the foundation for voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) communications and related applications including Internet videoconferencing.
Development of VHS, a World Standard for Home Video Recording, 1976
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 11 October 2006 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
At the Yokohama Plant of Victor Company of Japan, Limited, a team of engineers headed by Shizuo Takano and Yuma Shiraishi developed VHS (Video Home System) format. They looked ahead to the need for home video tape recorders and embodied their idea in unique inventions. The first model JVC HR-3300 was announced on 9 September 1976. Their basic design with subsequent improvement gained wide customer acceptance. VHS became the world standard for home video tape recorders.
The Floating Gate EEPROM, 1976-1978
Milpitas, California, USA, Dedicated 21 August 2012 -- IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section
From 1976-1978, at Hughes Microelectronics in Newport Beach, California, the practicality, reliability, manufacturability and endurance of the Floating Gate EEPROM -- an electrically erasable device using a thin gate oxide and Fowler-Nordheim tunneling for writing and erasing -- was proven. As a significant foundation of data storage in flash memory, this fostered new classes of portable computing and communication devices which allow ubiquitous personal access to data.
Lempel-Ziv Data Compression Algorithm, 1977
Haifa, Israel, Dedicated September 2004 -- IEEE Israel Section
The data compression algorithm developed at this site in 1977 by Abraham Lempel and Jacob Ziv became a basis for enabling data transmission via the internet in an efficient way. It contributed significantly in making the internet a global communications medium.
Speak & Spell, the First Use of a Digital Signal Processing IC for Speech Generation, 1978
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., Dedicated 15 October 2009 -- IEEE Dallas Section
In December 1976, Richard Wiggins demonstrated the Speak & Spell concept to Paul Breedlove, Larry Brantingham and Gene Frantz in Texas Instruments' Dallas research laboratory. This group led the team that created Speak & Spell in April 1978. The key device was the industry's first digital signal processing integrated processor, the TMS5100. This innovation in audio processing began the huge digital signal processing consumer market.
First Digitally Processed Image from a Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, 1978
Richmond, BC, Dedicated 19 March 2014 -- IEEE Vancouver Section
In November 1978, a team from MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) became the first to use a digital processor to reconstruct an image from Seasat-A, the first civilian spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR). MDA engineers subsequently developed three of the four most important SAR digital processing algorithms that replaced the optical processing methods used previously.
Compact Disc Audio Player, 1979
Eindhoven, Netherlands, Dedicated 6 March 2009 -- IEEE Benelux Section
On 8 March 1979, N.V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken demonstrated for the international press a Compact Disc Audio Player. The demonstration showed that it is possible by using digital optical recording and playback to reproduce audio signals with superb stereo quality. This research at Philips established the technical standard for digital optical recording systems.
International Standardization of G3 Facsimile, 1980
Yokosuka City, Kanagawa, Japan, Dedicated 5 April 2012 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
This site commemorates the creation of the Modified READ two-dimensional coding for G3 facsimile developed through the careful collaboration of NTT and KDDI. Strong Japanese leadership with intense international discussion, testing, and cooperation produced the International Telecommunications Union G3 recommendation in 1980. This innovative and efficient standard enabled the worldwide commercial success of facsimile.
World’s First Monolithic 16-Bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) for Digital Audio, 1981
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A. and Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., Dedicated 6 December 2010 -- IEEE Dallas Section
World’s First Monolithic 16-Bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) for Digital Audio, 1981
In early 1982, Burr-Brown Research Corporation, later part of Texas Instruments, Inc., demonstrated a 16-bit monolithic digital-to-analog converter. Coupled with earlier compact disc development by Philips and Sony, it enabled affordable high-quality compact disc players, helped transform music distribution and playback from analog phonograph records to digital compact discs, and ushered in digital media playback.
First Direct Broadcast Satellite Service, 1984
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 18 November 2011 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
NHK began the world's first direct broadcast satellite service in May, 1984. This was the culmination of eighteen years of research that included the development of an inexpensive low-noise receiver and investigations of rain attenuation in the 12 GHz band. RRL, NASDA, TSCJ, Toshiba Corporation, General Electric Company, and NASA participated with NHK to make satellite broadcasting to the home a practical reality.
Toshiba T1100, a Pioneering Contribution to the Development of Laptop PC, 1985
Tokyo, Japan, Dedicated 29 October 2013 -- IEEE Tokyo Section
Toshiba T1100, a Pioneering Contribution to the Development of Laptop PC, 1985
The Toshiba T1100, an IBM PC compatible laptop computer that shipped in 1985, made an invaluable contribution to the development of the laptop PC and portable personal computers. With the T1100, Toshiba demonstrated and promoted the emergence and importance of true portability for PCs running packaged software, with the result that T1100 won acceptance not only among PC experts but by the business community.
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), Electrical Pioneer
Belgrade, Serbia, Dedicated October 2006 -- IEEE Serbia and Montenegro Section
On the 150th anniversary of his birth, the IEEE is pleased to recognize the seminal work of Nikola Tesla in the field of electrical engineering. Among his many accomplishments, those that stand out are his innovative contributions to the applications of polyphase current to electric power systems, his pioneering work with electromagnetic waves, and his experiments with very high voltages. The Tesla Museum in Beograd is to be commended for its successful efforts to preserve artifacts and documents related to Tesla and to make them accessible to scholars throughout the world.