Watching Computer Scientists Recall Their First Computer Is So Adorable

Your first computer is (kind of) like your first kiss: exciting at the time, deeply memorable later in life, and yet still potentially embarrassing when recounted in public. For those reasons, watching dozens of computer scientists recall their first (computer) in this video is oddly compelling. Read More >>

image cache
ESA Celebrates 50 Years Since First French Satellite Launch

European Space History, a project from the European Space Agency (ESA), has just posted this film-poster-looking, orange and blue launch photo of a historic space event that took place on November 26th, 1965. Read More >>

How Netflix Could’ve Looked in the 1950s

The Phlico Predicta was a TV that, in design terms at least, was way ahead of its time. But what if it had come loaded with Netflix? Read More >>

This 3D-Printed Predicta Will Transport You to the 1950’s

Once upon a time, long before Twitter or Xbox Live, you could turn on a TV that looked a lot like this and watch spacemen valiantly defeat their enemies with rayguns and plutonium-powered rockets. We can't travel back to that simpler age, but we can re-create the experience using 3D printing. Read More >>

Satellites Looked So Futuristic in 1958

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a piece of modern sculpture. But in fact you're looking at one of NASA's old Vanguard satellites, photographed at Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1958. Read More >>

The 110-Year-Old Light Bulb That’s Never Been Turned Off

The oldest lightbulb in continuous use was installed before the Wright Brothers took flight, is 110 years old, and is still as beautiful as the day she was born. In fact, it's likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Take a moment and consider just how much the world has changed around this one, singular device. Read More >>

Even the 19th Century Had Seedy Nigerian Prince Scams

We've all received that email at least once before. A kind prince/princess/spambot in Nigeria has millions of dollars (but never millions of pounds), and better yet, they want to split it with you. Just hand over your social security code and wait for them to arrive on American soil. As the above newspaper clipping shows, these types of scams were going on even before email came around—in this case, as early as 1876. Read More >>

Could We Have Built a Computer in the 18th Century?

So you want to build a computer in the 18th century. Is it even possible? Read More >>

Being Fitted for Contacts in 1948 Was Totally Horrifying

Want to know just how badass folks from the boomer generation were? Just watch this nice lady get jammed in the eyeballs with pieces of glass—all in the name of 20/20 vision. Fair warning: you're going to want to keep a finger on the close tab button because ewwwwwwwwwww. Read More >>

How This Vintage Lighter Works Without Creating a Single Spark

In the early 20th century, smokers ruining their lungs could do so with the help of a nifty little gadget called the catalytic lighter. It looked like a small double metal tube. Put one tube in the other and voila, fire. No flint, no sparks. The secret to the catalytic lighter? Platinum. Read More >>

The Very First Wikipedia Entries for 19 Tech Icons

Single-serving tumblrs tend to fizzle out and die before their first day is even up, but First Drafts of History might actually have some staying power. Because when it comes to hunting down the more delightfully bizarre of Wikipedia's first entries, there's enough material to last a lifetime. Read More >>