FROM THE ZIP TO THE PS4 – ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF INFLUENTIAL GADGETS

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If we asked you what a zip and the PS4 have in common, would you know? No? Well, according to a survey of 3,900 gadget fans commissioned by Gadget Show Live @ Christmas, they are two of the most influential gadget launches of the last 100 years. In fact, they top and tail the list, with the zip launching in 1913 and the PS4 due for release in November this year.

The list of 100 gadgets (see below) throws up a plethora of fascinating facts. For example, does it make you feel old to know that Dyson’s trailblazing dustbag-free vacuum is 20 this year? That the life-changing Sony Walkman is over 30 years old and Breville’s sandwich maker hits the big 4-0 in 2014? Or that the humble modem was already 37 years old and the Ethernet already 16 by the time Tim Berners Lee developed the World Wide Web in 1989?

The list also shows how gadgets have made a massive impact on our health and fitness over the last century, starting with the design of the artificial heart in 1941. This was followed swiftly by the kidney dialysis machine three years later, the breathalyser in 1955, the hearing aid a year later and the pacemaker in 1958.

Tech has also become an accepted, integrated and much loved part of our kitchens thanks to inventions like Pyrex in 1915, the pop up toaster in 1919 and the electric kettle in 1922. The modern day can opener made an appearance in 1925 just seven years ahead of its electric counterpart. The Teasmade has been brightening many a morning since 1933 and the microwave oven and Kenwood’s food mixer have been helping us make light work of cooking since the 40s.

The full list of the most influential gadget launches over the last century is as follows:

1913              The zip invented by Gideon Sundback
1914              Motorised movie cameras
1915              Pyrex
1916              Electric power drill
1917              Radio tuners
1918              The superheterodyne radio circuit (used in all TVs and radios today)
1919              The pop up toaster
1920              The hairdryer
1921              The modern lie detector
1922              Electric kettle
1923              Self-winding watch
1924              Loudspeaker
1925              Modern day can opener
1926              Tevelox robot
1927              Aerosol can
1928              Baird Television Department Company television
1929              Car radio
1930              Jet engine
1931              Electric razor
1932              Electric can opener
1933              The Teasmade
1934              Zippo lighter
1935              Radar
1936              First voice recognition machine
1937              Dirt Devil
1938              The biro
1939              Helicopter
1940              Modern colour television
1941              Artificial heart
1942              The turboprop engine
1943              The slinky
1944              Kidney dialysis machine
1945              Clock radio
1946              Disposable nappy
1947              Kenwood food mixer
1948              First pager
1949              Photo-Pac disposable camera
1950              Alkaline batteries
1951              Power steering
1952              SAGE modem
1953              Black box flight recorder
1954              Regency pocket radio
1955              Breathalyser
1956              Behind the air hearing aid
1957              Casio digital watch
1958              Pacemaker
1959              Black and Decker cordless drill
1960              Stereos/hi-fis
1961              Kodak Instamatic
1962              LED
1963              The Telefunken ‘mouse’
1964              Plasma television – University of Illinois
1965              Y. Hatano’s pedmoter
1966              El-Gi 1:12 Ferrari radio controlled car
1967              Polaroid
1968              Smoke detector
1969              The Internet
1970              Digital thermometer
1971              Busicom LE-120A Handy pocket calculator
1972              Multi socket power plug
1973              The Ethernet
1974              Breville sandwich maker
1975              Kodak digital camera
1976              Lithium batteries
1977              Mattel Electronic Football
1978              Victor HR-3300REK – first UK VHS video recorder
1979              Texas Instruments Speak and Spell
1980              Sony Walkman
1981              Epson HX-20 – the world’s first laptop
1982              Sony Watchman – CD player
1983              Commodore 64
1984              Sony Discman
1985              The Leatherman
1986              Bose noise cancelling headphones
1987              Sony super VHS camcorder
1988              Digital mobile phones
1989              World Wide Web
1990              Nintendo Game Boy
1991              Nintendo SNES
1992              Palm Pilot
1993              Dyson vacuum cleaner
1994              Digital cordless telephone /Mega Drive
1995              PlayStation 1
1996              Audio Highway – world’s first MP3 player
1997              Motorola StarTac
1998              Panasonic portable DVD player
1999              DVR by TiVo
2000              The Trek Tech/IBM – flash drive
2001              Apple iPod
2002              PlayStation 2
2003              Blackberry 6210
2004              Samsung OLED TV
2005              Xbox 360
2006              SanDisk Micro SD
2007              Apple iPhone
2008              Beats by Dre
2009              Twitter
2010              Apple iPad
2011              Kindle Fire
2012              Nexus 7
2013              PlayStation 4

“When we talk about gadgets, we often talk in terms of the 80s onwards – of phones, laptops and music systems,” said Gadget Show Live @Christmas event manager Katie Tozer.

“But gadgets have been around for hundreds of years. This list, which takes us right back to 1913 with the invention of the zip, a gadget that was so influential it’s still in daily use today – is just the tip of the iceberg and it shows just how integral and essential they have become to the way we live, work and enjoy life today.”

Gadget Show Live @ Christmas takes place at Earls Court in London on 1-3 November and tickets are on sale now at www.gadgetshowlive.net. Jason Bradbury, Pollyanna Woodward and Jon Bentley will present a spectacular hour-long entertainment show in the Super Theatre each day.

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Author: Paul Bradley Editor-In-Chief View all posts by
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