The Times They Are A-Changin’: Innovative Inventions Since 1948
We’ve been spring manufacturers since 1948 – that’s 67 years of incredible experience in the industry, and in that time we’ve certainly seen some incredible changes. In fact, we’ve been around long enough to witness some seriously life-changing inventions – the spectacular innovations that make the world a better place.
So, in light of our outstanding heritage, we thought we’d look at all those wonderful inventions that we’ve seen since European Springs was first established. Inventions like…
The Transistor Radio
The first transistor – a semiconductor that amplifies electrical signals – was invented a year before our birth, but it wasn’t until 1954 that a couple of tech whizzes at Texas Instruments managed to parlay the invention into the world’s first commercial transistor radio. Though their popularity waned in the 1980s, and despite living in the good ol’ digital age, they still have a strong fan-base.
Speaking of the digital age, there’s no way we couldn’t mention the internet. It’s probably the most life-defining invention since Henry Ford’s Model T. It originally started life as a US Government test to share data among different offices in the 1960s, and, in 1989, the potential was exploited by Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at CERN – who proposed a system that could link texts to other pages, images and even video. Truly revolutionary!
The concept of the laser was first proposed by some chap called Albert Einstein back in 1917. That was all theoretical, of course, until 1960, when the world’s first fully functioning laser was unveiled by Ted Maiman. The laser works on the principle of tightly focussing light into a single beam. These days, it has a whole variety of uses, from medical to construction. Oh, and the word laser stands for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.’ So now you know.
The Video Game
Video games consoles have been a mainstay in the home since the 1970s – and now it’s become a dominant form of entertainment, earning more money than all of Hollywood’s films combined. But it all started in 1948, with the primitive Cathode-Ray Amusement Device, which had gamers laying pictures on the screen to show the game’s targets. Then, in 1958, physicist William Higinbotham invented the world’s first truly graphical video game, Tennis for Two.
The Colour TV
Colour TVs have been around, in one form or another, since 1908 – well before even the first actual television broadcast. But colour TV as we know it was introduced in 1950 in the US. We’d have to wait another 17 years for colour TV in Britain. Yep, 1967, BBC 2 – check out…Wimbledon in colour (So much green!). Since then, we’ve seen some incredible leaps in the format, from the introduction of LED and LCD screens in 1970, to high definition TV in 2004.
Ah, the familiar soundtrack of the supermarket: Bleep. Like all great inventions, it took years to go from concept to completion. Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland first tried in 1948, and patented their plans in 1952; David Collins continued experimenting in the 1960s. But it wasn’t until tech giants IBM and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) backed the idea of a design, made up of lines and spaces that could be optically scanned, that the barcode was born in 1973. Probably the biggest benefit to us was that, thanks to those bleeps, supermarket running costs lowered, meaning cheaper products.
The Personal Computer
Without a doubt, the biggest game-changer in the world of inventions, has been the PC. In 1975, the first PC – the MITS Altair 8800 – was released. And the tech has snowballed ever since. One year on, Jobs and Wozniak gave us the Apple I, followed by the Apple II just a year later. These days we can watch movies and TV, play games, chat to friends and family, make calls – all thanks to the PC.
The Car Seatbelt
Ok, we thought we’d end on an unsung hero. We barely even register the seatbelt when we enter a car – we just tug it around us and plug it in, keeping us safe. In fact, it’s hard to think of a world without seatbelts. They were introduced in 1949, with Ford bringing them into their cars in 1955 – when the first automotive seatbelt was patented. In 1959, Volvo created the first three-point seatbelt – and it’s been saving lives ever since. It’s a design that looks so effortless, you wonder why it took so long to invent. Clunk, click, every trip.
Having been in the industry for such a long time, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of innovation – and here at European Springs we’ve also come up with innovative solutions, from designing compression springs that can withstand extreme temperatures to removing the unwanted vibrations of the Oresund Bridge, and we just keep going! If you reckon we could help find the right solution for you, simply contact us on 028 9083 8605 and our professional, experienced team will be delighted to help.