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Timeline: The History of Technology and Silicon Valley

Updated Thursday 3rd August 2017

Who created the computer? What was the first video game? When did Apple first make $1bn? When was Facebook founded? Get the answers in our interactive timeline.

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The History of Technology and Silicon Valley

Discover some of the pioneers of technology and products that changed the world.

smecc.org
Frederick Terman

Frederick Terman joins Stanford University

1925

Frederick Terman joins Stanford University to teach electronics electrical engineering and encourages his students to start businesses in California. 

Ohio University
John Atanasov in the 1990s

John Atanasoff devises the electronic digital computer

1938

John Atanasoff at Iowa State College conceives the electronic digital computer.

Wikimedia
The garage in Palo Alto where Hewlett and Packard began their company

William Hewlett and David Packard produce their audio-oscillator

1939

Fred Terman's students William Hewlett and David Packard start a company to produce their audio-oscillator. 

The National Archives (UK)
A Colossus Mark 2 computer being operated by Wrens.

Colossus is built

1943

Tommy Flowers and others build the Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer.

Topory
Harvard Mark I Computer - Right Segment

The Harvard Mark I is unveiled

1944

Howard Aiken of IBM unveils the first computer programmed by punched paper tape, the Harvard Mark I.

Jud McCranie
Function table from ENIAC on display at Aberdeen Proving Grounds museum

The first non-military computer, ENIAC, is revealed

1946

The first non-military computer, ENIAC, or "Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer", is unveiled, built by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania.

Konrad Jacobs
Norbert Wiener, American mathematician

Cybernetics founded

1947

Norbert Wiener founds Cybernetics.

Konrad Jacobs
Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon coins the term "bit"

1948

Claude Shannon founds Information Theory and coins the term "bit".

Remington Rand purchases Eckert-Mauchly Computer

1950

Remington Rand purchases Eckert-Mauchly Computer.

Wikimedia
Ferranti Mark 1, c. 1951

First commercially available computer released

1951

First commercially available computer released, the Ferranti Mk 1.

Public Domain
UNIVAC II

The Univac is built

1951

The first commercial computer is built, the Univac.

Public Domain
Whirlwind computer, sections of core memory and controls, in Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Jay Forrester's team at the MIT builds the "Whirlwind" computer

1951

A team led by Jay Forrester at the MIT builds the "Whirlwind" computer, the first real-time system and the first computer to use a video display for output. 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
An IBM 704 mainframe

IBM introduces its first computer model

1954

IBM introduces its first computer model, the 704. 

Public Domain
IBM 305 at U.S. Army Red River Arsenal, with two IBM 350 disk drives in the foreground

IBM invent the hard-disk drive

1956

IBM's San Jose labs invent the hard-disk drive.

James Duncan via Wikimedia
Harry Huskey in 2011

Harry Huskey designs Bendix's first digital computer

1956

Berkeley's professor Harry Huskey designs Bendix's first digital computer, the G-15. 

IEEE Computer Society
Werner Buchholz

Werner Buchholz coins the term "byte"

1956

Werner Buchholz of IBM coins the term "byte".

Public Domain
Cover of The Fortran Automatic Coding System for the IBM 704 EDPM

John Backus introduces the FORTRAN programming language

1957

John Backus of IBM introduces the FORTRAN programming language, the first practical machine-independent language.

Public Domain
This was the logo of Watkins-Johnson Company

Dean Watkins founds Watkins-Johnson

1957

Dean Watkins of Stanford's ERL founds Watkins-Johnson, one of the first venture-capital funded companies in the Santa Clara Valley.

Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory
The Mark I Perceptron machine was the first implementation of the perceptron algorithm.

Frank Rosenblatt conceives the "Perceptron"

1957

Frank Rosenblatt conceives the "Perceptron", a neural computer that can learn by trial and error.

Public Domain
Fairchild Semi new logo

Rockefeller Brothers invests in Fairchild Semiconductor

1957

Rockefeller Brothers invests in Fairchild Semiconductor, the first venture-funded startup of the Bay Area. 

Texas Instruments via Wikimedia
The first working integrated circuit was created by Jack Kilby.

Jack Kilby independently invents the integrated circuit

1958

Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments and Kack Kilby of Texas Instruments independently invents the integrated circuit, a micro-sized silicon device containing a large number of electronic switches.

Draper, Gaither and Anderson is founded

1958

Draper, Gaither and Anderson is founded, the first professional venture-capital firm in California.

IntelFreePress
Robert Noyce

Fairchild Semiconductor employees invent the planar process and integrated circuit

1959

Jean Hoerni at Fairchild Semiconductor invents the planar process that enables great precision in silicon components, and Robert Noyce at Fairchild Semiconductor designs a planar integrated circuit.

Frank Chambers founds Continental Capital

1959

Frank Chambers founds the venture-capital company Continental Capital.

Alex Handy via Wikimedia
Steve Russell and the Computer History Museum's PDP-1 at the Vintage Computer Fair 2006

The first minicomputer, with a keyboard and a monitor, is launched

1960

Digital Equipment introduces the first minicomputer, the PDP-1 (Program Data Processor), that comes with a keyboard and a monitor. 

Dennis Hamilton
Charles Bachman at the 2012 ACM Turing Centenary Celebration

The first database management system, IDS, is developed

1961

Charles Bachman at General Electric develops the first database management system, IDS.

Critical Past Via YouTube
Electronic robot 'Unimate' works in a building in Connecticut, United States.

"Unimate", the first industrial robot, is presented

1961

General Motors unveils "Unimate", the first industrial robot.

Singhaniket255 via Wikimedia
Davis' business partner Arthur Rock

Tommy Davis founds one of Santa Clara Valley's first venture-capital firms

1961

Tommy Davis founds one of Santa Clara Valley's first venture-capital firms with Arthur Rock, Davis & Rock. 

Public Domain
AT&T logo

AT&T manufactures the first commercial modem

1962

The first commercial modem is manufactured by AT&T.

SRI International
The Engelbart mouse

The "mouse" prototype is built

1963

Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute builds the first prototype of the "mouse". 

Arnold Reinhold via Wikimedia
IBM System 360/30 at the Computer History Museum.

IBM introduces the first "mainframe" computer and "operating system"

1964

IBM introduces the first "mainframe" computer, the 360, and the first "operating system", the OS/360.

Public Domain
MSX BASIC version 3.0

John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz invent the BASIC programming language

1964

John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz (at Dartmouth College) invent the BASIC programming language). 

IBM
American Airlines poster for the IBM SABRE reservation system

American Airlines' SABRE reservation system is developed by IBM

1964

American Airlines' SABRE reservation system, developed by IBM, is the first online transaction processing.

Intel Free Press
Gordon Moore (left) and Robert Noyce

"Moore's Law" is first predicted by Gordon Moore

1965

Gordon Moore predicts that the processing power of computers will double every 18 months ("Moore's law"). 

Public Domain
The PDP-8 on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The Digital Equipment Corporation unveils the PDP-8 mini computer

1965

The Digital Equipment Corporation unveils the first successful mini-computer, the PDP-8, that uses integrated circuits.

Museo scienza e tecnologia Milano
Olivetti's Programma 101

Olivetti introduces the first affordable programmable electronic desktop computer

1965

European computer manufacturer Olivetti introduces the first affordable programmable electronic desktop computer, the P101.

Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab
Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab's video on their research

John McCarthy opens the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

1966

John McCarthy opens the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL).

LPS.1
HP Headquarters in Palo Alto

Hewlett-Packard enters the business of general-purpose computers

1966

Hewlett-Packard enters the business of general-purpose computers with the HP-2116.

Gardner Campbell
Bob Taylor in 2008

Robert Taylor launches “the foundation for today’s Internet”

1966

Robert Taylor, the acting director of ARPA’s research division launches the ARPAnet project, which according to the Internet Hall of Fame, is “the foundation for today’s Internet.”

Decades TV Network
First Handheld Calculator

Jack Kilby develops the first hand-held calculator

1967

Jack Kilby (at Texas Instruments) develops the first hand-held calculator.

Smerus
Blue plaque on the Enfield Barclays commemorating the world's first cash machine

ATMs are introduced by Barclays Bank

1967

Barclays Bank installs networked "automated teller machines" or ATMs.

Public Domain
Intel logo since 2006

Intel is founded to build memory chips

1968

Philip Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove found Intel ("Integrated Electronics") to build memory chips.

YouTube
Part of the 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS

Doug Engelbart demonstrates the NLS, the first system to use the mouse

1968

Doug Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute demonstrates the NLS ("oN-Line System"), the first system to employ the mouse 

Eric Fischer
Sand Hill Road in 1971, in the non-approved "Willow Expressway" proposal, which would have extended Sand Hill to connect Interstate 280 to the Dumbarton Bridge

Construction begins at 3000 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

1969

Construction begins at 3000 Sand Hill Road, in Menlo Park, soon to become the headquarters of the venture-capital community. 

Public Domain
AL1 Microprocessor

Lee Boysel designs the AL1

1970

Lee Boysel at Four Phase Systems designs the AL1, a commercial microprocessor (an 8-bit CPU).

Five large USA semiconductor manufacturers are located in Santa Clara Valley

1970

Five of the seven largest USA semiconductor manufacturers are located in Santa Clara Valley.

Public Domain
Xerox PARC old logo

Xerox opens PARC

1970

Xerox opens the Palo Alto Research Center or PARC.

George Chernilevsky
8-inch, 5¼-inch, and 3½-inch floppy disks

The floppy disk is invented

1971

David Noble at IBM invents the floppy disk.

Thomas Nguyen
A processor Intel C4004

Intel unveils the first commercially available microprocessor

1971

Intel unveils the first commercially available microprocessor, the 4004. 

pulsar2121
Demonstration of Pong

Nolan Bushnell invents the first videogame, "Pong" and founds Atari

1972

Nolan Bushnell invents the first videogame, "Pong", an evolution of Magnavox's Odyssey, and founds Atari. 

Email is invented and the "@"

1972

Ray Tomlinson at Bolt, Beranek and Newman invents email for sending messages between computer users, and invents a system to identify the user name and the computer name separated by a "@".

Rico Shen
Martin Cooper photographed in 2007 with his 1973 handheld mobile phone prototype

Motorola invents the first "cellular" or mobile telephone

1973

Motorola invents the first portable, wireless or "cellular" telephone.

Duncan Hull
Vinton Gray Cerf

The term "Internet" is coined

1973

Vinton Cerf of Stanford University coins the term "Internet".

Public Domain
Altair 8800 Computer with 8 inch floppy disk system.

The first personal computer, the Altair 8800, is launched

1974

Ed Roberts invents the first personal computer, the Altair 8800. 

Public Domain
Microsoft logo

Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft and develop a version of BASIC

1975

Bill Gates and Paul Allen develop a version of BASIC for the Altair personal computer and found Microsoft.

Mathieu Thouvenin
Garage of Steve Jobs' parents on Crist Drive in Los Altos, California

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs form Apple Computer

1976

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs form Apple Computer and build the first microcomputer in Jobs' garage in Cupertino. 

Michael from San Jose, California, USA
Downtown San Jose as seen with lit palm trees

27,000 people are employed in the Semiconductor industry of Silicon Valley

1977

27,000 people are employed in the Semiconductor industry of Silicon Valley. 

Oracle PR
Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison founds the Software Development Laboratories

1977

Larry Ellison founds the Software Development Laboratories, later renamed Oracle Corporation.

Public Domain
An Atari 2600 four-switch "wood veneer" version

The 2600 videogame console is produced by Atari

1977

Atari introduces a videogame console, the 2600, based on the 6502 processor.

Douglas Whitaker at English Wikipedia
V.34 modem in the shape of an internal ISA card

Dennis Hayes of National Data Corporation invents the PC modem

1977

Dennis Hayes of National Data Corporation invents the PC modem, a device that converts between analog and digital signals.

Public Domain
Logo of the company Apple Inc.

Apple goes public for a record $1.3 billion

1980

Apple goes public for a record $1.3 billion.

Ale2006-from-en
Blue arrows depict implementation of SMTP variations

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (for sending email) published

1981

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (for sending email) published.

Engelbert Reineke / CC-BY-SA 3.0
IBM Personal Computer with IBM CGA monitor (model number 5153)

The IBM PC is launched, its operating system developed by Microsoft

1981

The IBM PC is launched, running an operating system developed by Bill Gates' Microsoft.

Norbert Stuhrmann
Andreas Bechtolsheim at Stanford holding a lecture

Andreas Bechtolsheim builds a workstation running Unix and networking software

1981

Andreas Bechtolsheim at Stanford University builds a workstation running Unix and networking software 

Pinterest
Time magazine cover 1982

Time's "Man of the Year" is "The Computer"

1982

Time's "Man of the Year" is "The Computer".

Rdc5 Wikimedia
Gavilan SC

Gavilan introduces the first portable computer marketed as a "laptop"

1983

Gavilan, founded by Manuel Fernandez, former CEO of Zilog, introduces the first portable computer marketed as a "laptop". 

Public Domain
CISCO logo

Cisco is founded by Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner

1984

Cisco is founded by Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner.

Public Domain
Dell Logo

Michael Dell founds PCs Limited, later renamed Dell

1984

Michael Dell, a student at University of Texas at Austin, founds PCs Limited, later renamed Dell, to sell custom PC-compatible computers by mail-order only. 

Wikimedia
The original Macintosh 128K

Apple introduces the Macintosh

1984

Apple introduces the Macintosh, which revolutionizes desktop publishing.

Public Domain
CD-ROM Drive (dell)

The CDROM is introduced by Sony and Philips

1984

The CDROM is introduced by Sony and Philips.

Public Domain
First AOL logo as "America Online", used from 1991 to 2005.

Quantum Computer Services (later renamed America Online) founded

1985

Jim Kimsey founds Quantum Computer Services (later renamed America Online) to provide dedicated online services for personal computers.

received by e-mail, part of e-mail interview with Robert Cailliau Author Robert Cailliau
Robert Cailliau, Jean-François Abramatic, and Tim Berners-Lee at the 10th anniversary of the World Wide Web Consortium.

The World-Wide Web debuts on the Internet

1991

The World-Wide Web debuts on the Internet.

Public Domain
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) logo

The "Information Tapestry" project at Xerox PARC pioneers collaborative filtering

1992

The "Information Tapestry" project at Xerox PARC pioneers collaborative filtering, a use of "big data" that make suggestions based on past preferences.

Coolcaesar
The headquarters of Adobe Systems in downtown San Jose, California. Adobe Systems West Tower (left) and Adobe Systems East Tower (right).

Adobe Systems introduces Acrobat and PDF

1993

Adobe Systems introduces Acrobat and the file format PDF (or Portable Document Format) 

Public Domain
San Francisco Bay Area within California

There are 315 public companies in Silicon Valley

1994

There are 315 public companies in Silicon Valley.

Gaku
Yahoo headquarters in 2001

Stanford student Jerry Yang founds Yahoo

1994

Stanford student Jerry Yang founds Yahoo.

Cezary p and Matt Wade
The north (top) and south (bottom) sides of the White House in Washington, D.C.

The White House gets its first website

1994

The White House gets its first website, an “interactive citizens’ handbook” that allows users to find the latest presidential statements and browse pictures of the First Family. Bill Clinton and Al Gore are the first POTUS and VPOTUS respectively to have official email addresses: president@whitehouse.gov and vice-president@whitehouse.gov.

Public Domain
Netscape logo

Netscape goes public and starts the "dot.com" craze

1995

Netscape, the company founded by Marc Andreesen, goes public even before earning money and starts the "dot.com" craze and the boom of the Nasdaq. 

Public Domain
A Internet Explorer 10 logo

Microsoft introduces Internet Explorer

1995

Microsoft introduces Internet Explorer and starts the browser wars.

Public Domain
Amazon logo

Amazon.com is launched on the web as the "world's largest bookstore"

1995

Amazon.com is launched on the web as the "world's largest bookstore", except that it is not a bookstore, it is a website.

Erik Baas
Nokia 1610

Nokia introduces the first "smartphone"

1996

Nokia introduces the first "smartphone".

Willking1979, Wikimedia
Opened Netflix rental envelope containing a DVD of Coach Carter.

Reed Hastings founds Netflix

1997

Reed Hastings founds Netflix to rent videos via the Internet.

Ehud Kenan
Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2003

Two Stanford students launch the search engine Google

1998

Two Stanford students, Larry Page and Russian-born Sergey Brin, launch the search engine Google. 

JoshuaG via YouTube
Apple Music Event 2001 - The First Ever iPod Introduction

Apple launches the iPod

2001

Apple launches the iPod, with the slogan '1000 songs in your pocket'. 

Nohat, Wkimedia
Wikipedia’s logo

Jimmy Wales founds Wikipedia

2003

Jimmy Wales founds Wikipedia, a multilingual encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by the Internet community. 

Public Domain
Skype Logo

Skype is founded in Europe

2003

Skype is founded in Europe by Niklas Zennstroem and Janus Friis to offer voice over IP, a system invented by Estonian engineers.

Elaine Chan and Priscilla Chan
Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005

Mark Zuckerberg founds the social networking service Facebook

2004

Mark Zuckerberg founds the social networking service Facebook at Harvard University (soon relocated to Palo Alto). 

Coolcaesar
Silicon Valley, as seen from over north San Jose, facing southbound towards Downtown San Jose

Silicon Valley accounts for 14% of the world's venture capital

2005

Silicon Valley accounts for 14% of the world's venture capital.

MatthewKeys
Twitter's San Francisco, California, headquarters, as seen from a corner on Market Street

Social networking service Twitter is created

2006

Jack Dorsey creates the social networking service Twitter. 

David G Silvers
Julian Assange at a press conference before international media.

Wikileaks founded by Julain Assange and others

2006

Wikileaks founded by Julain Assange and others.

Wikimedia
Steve Jobs shows off the iPhone 4 a few years later at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple launches the iPhone

2007

Apple launches the iPhone.

Public Domain
Airbnb's logo since July 2014

Airbnb is founded in San Francisco

2008

Airbnb is founded in San Francisco.

Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media
Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of Uber, in 2013

Uber is launched

2009

Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp launch the smartphone app Uber. 

Jijithecat
A view of the Google logo from the patio of area of Googleplex between buildings 40 and 43

Google's market value is more than $140 billion

2009

Google's market value is more than $140 billion.

Jess Pass via YouTube
Steve Jobs introducing the iPad explaining how it differs from a smart phone or a laptop.

Apple introduces the iPad

2010

Apple introduces the tablet computer iPad that sells one million units in less than one month. 

Bloomberg
How Facebook changed after its IPO

Facebook goes public, the biggest high-tech IPO in history

2012

Facebook goes public, the biggest high-tech IPO in history. 

Public Domain
The world

90% of the world's data has been created in the last two years

2013

90% of the world's data has been created in the last two years.

Public Domain
Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commission

US Federal Trade Commission adopts laws to allow companies to restrict internet access

2017

The US Federal Trade Commission adopts laws to allow companies to restrict internet access (the end of Net Neutrality).

How do I use this timeline?

The easiest way to journey through the history of technology and Silicon Valley is to click the arrow on the right hand side (or swipe right on a tablet), which will take you through all the entries.

You can also investigate various thems such as: 'AI', 'Business' or 'Hardware' by selecting the 'Open filters' button on the top right hand side. This will allow you to filter content and only see one theme.

You can also drag and explore via the grey timeline section at the bottom, although this is in beta at the moment and may have a few hiccups!

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