Christie's auction and other computer history events

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Fri Feb 18 16:18:24 2005

On Fri, 18 Feb 2005, William Donzelli wrote:

re: magnetron.

> The British, however, get nearly all of the credit.

First, while the magnetron existed since the 1920's (but then, it
was a curious side-effect of some other function, this microwave
"whistle") what the british did wa make it output WATTS to
KILOWATTS, one or many orders of magnitude in output. THat's when
RADAR because usable. There are and were many other devices
capable of emitting uwave energy. (Not sure how many of those
could be pulsed, though.)

Second, so rarely as to be practically 'never' does any device
have a bright-line "invention". Nearly everything is incremental.
This "invented on..." thing is a cultural construct.

very small, but world-changing.

For most things, there's an incremental accretion of ideas at some
point a whirlwind of convergences that cause "invention". Radar
is a perfect example.

Robert Buderi's (I think hes the author) "THE INVENTION THAT
CHANGED THE WORLD" is a great pop book on the history of radar.

Without radar there would have been no electronic computers.
Received on Fri Feb 18 2005 - 16:18:24 GMT

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