4. You have listened to a person speak on the radio.
1906: Reginald Fessenden used a rotary-spark transmitter to broadcast the first radio program from Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, Mass., on Christmas Eve. He played “O Holy Night” on violin and read a passage from the bible.
5. You’ve cleaned a room with a motorized vacuum cleaner.
1907: A janitor from Canton, Ohio named James Murray Spangler invented the first portable vacuum cleaner. He didn’t have the funding to produce the design himself, so he sold the parent to William Henry Hoover in 1908.
6. You’ve been on or heard of someone who’s been on Ecstasy.
1912: MDMA was first synthesized by Merck chemist Anton Köllisch, in an effort to develop a substance that would stop abnormal bleeding. It’s effects were described in a paper in 1958, and by the ’70s MDMA, or ecstasy, was being used recreationally.
7. You have zipped or unzipped something.
1913: Gideon Sundbäck, a Swedish-American electrical engineer, devoted himself to design after his wife’s death in 1911, and by December of 1913 he had invented the modern zipper. In 1923, the popular “zipper” name came from the B. F. Goodrich Company, who used the fastener on a pair of rubber boots and referred to it as a “zipper.” The name stuck.
9. You’ve heard people talking in a movie.
1923: After years of experimentation, the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology took place. By 1927, a feature film “talkie” called The Jazz Singer is presented. Sound-on-film would soon become the standard.
11. You’ve eaten perfectly sliced bread without having to get out a knife.
1928: Sliced and packaged bread made with an automated machine was first sold by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri. The bread was advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”
18. You’ve fastened something with velcro.
1948: A hook and loop fastener is invented by George de Mestral, who patented the new-fangled “velcro” in 1955, commercially introducing it in the late ’50s.
19. You have played a video game.
1948: The first known interactive electronic game was by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann on an “amusement device” on a cathode ray tube. The game was a missile simulator, inspired by World War II. It took until 1971 for the first video game to be commercially sold.
20. You’ve “charged it.”
1950: Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara founded the Diners Club, the first “credit card” with which customers could pay multiple merchants with one card. Their general purpose charge card was followed by American Express in 1958, the first to create a worldwide credit card network.
21. You’ve used a personal computer.
1957: IBM announced the IBM 610 Auto-Point, almost ten years in the making, at the Watson Lab at Columbia University. According to Columbia University, the IBM 610 was the first personal computer because it was “the first programmable computer intended for use by one person and controlled from a keyboard.”
22. You’ve played with a Barbie.
1959: Barbie is launched after Mattel co-founder Eliot Handler’s wife Ruth had the idea, inspired by her daughter Barbara’s love of paper dolls and by a German toy doll with adult proportions called Bild Lilli. Barbie (named for Barbara) made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959.
- Bitterly cold temperatures and arctic winds began freezing large swathes of the U.S. Northeast ❄️