Friday, November 28, 2014


When we talk about mass communication, one of the device came in our mind is the Radio. Actually Radio was the first device which made mass communication possible. Information can be transferred miles of distance though Radio very easily. Here we will see how Radio was invented.
In 1885, Heinrich Hertz was the first to prove that electric waves could be transmitted and received wirelessly in the form of electromagnetic waves. Today it is recognized as the fundamental building block of radio and every frequency measurement is named after him(Hertz).

In 1891, the radios were used mainly for maintaining contact between ships out a sea. However, contact was not in the form of speech, but  Morse code messages were sent back and forth between ships and stations on the land. During time of distress, a sinking ship would use a radio messaged nearby vessels and stations on the land to ask for help. The radio proved to be very useful during the First World War. Both sides used the radio to relay messages to troops and top officials as well as to people not on the battle front.

In 1893, Nikolai Tesla made first public demonstration of radio by transmitting electromagnetic waves in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1896, Guglielmo Marconi realized that it could be used for receiving and sending the telegraph messages, referring to it as wireless telegraphs. His earliest radio transmissions, the coded signals transmitted to only a mile far.  Then he filed for patent protection of his radio apparatus and moved to England for further experiments.

In 1899, the R.F. Matthews was the first ship to request emergency assistance using a wireless apparatus (Marconi’s system). The following year, he opened his radio factory in Essex, thus establishing link between France and Britain. He then established link with USA in year 1901.
In 1901, First trans-Atlantic signal sent-by Marconi from Ireland to Canada.

There has been tremendous growth of the radio over the years. Transmitters earlier were known as spark gap machines. It was established for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication. The communication was just confined to two points then and was not public broadcasting as it is today. Wireless signals demonstrated effective communication for the purpose of rescue in case of sea disasters.

 In year 1905, Port Arthur’s naval battle was also reported over wireless and US weather department tried radiotelegraphy for speeding notice weather condition.Eventually radio transmitters were improved.

He shared Nobel Prize in Physics for wireless telegraph in year 1909.But his wireless telegraph only transmitted signals.

It was Reginald Fessenden who developed a way to combine sound and radio carrier waves. His first effort to transmit this mixed signal to a receiver removing  the carrier wave so that  the listener could hear the original sound got failed. However, in 1906, using Alexanderson’s Alternator, Fessenden made the first long range transmission of voice.
Lee DeForest is credited with the “father of American radio.” DeForest was a direct competitor to Marconi at the turn of the century (1899), when he was the chief scientist at the U.S.’s first radio firm ‘American Wireless Telephone
and Telegraph’.
 In 1906, Lee DeForest produces the “Audion,” a triode vacuum tube that allowed for amplification of radio signals.
Lee Deforest was inventor of space telegraphy. In early 1990s, delicate and effective detector of the electromagnetic radiation was needed for developing the radio further. And Lee Deforest discovered the detector. He was the first person to use term ‘radio’.

His work resulted in discovery of AM radio that capably broadcasted various radio stations which early gap transmitters did not allow.
Radio has now become a popular medium of portable entertainment.
Europe’s most famous broadcasting station, the British Broadcasting Company or BBC, began following in 1922. In fact, Marconi was one of the founding members along with other prominent leaders in the field of wireless manufacturers. Broadcasts began locally in London, but by 1925 it has spread to most of the United Kingdom. The station aired plays, classical music and variety programs. In 1927 the BBC became the British Broadcasting Corporation when it was granted it a Royal Charter. When the Second World War began all the television stations shut down and it fell on the shoulders of the radio to cover the war.

Edwin Armstrong—this WWI Army officer, Columbia University engineering professor, and creator of FM radio
invented the regenerative circuit, the first amplifying receiver and reliable continuous-wave transmitter; and the
superheterodyne circuit, a means of receiving, converting and amplifying weak, high-frequency electromagnetic
In 21stcentury, technological advancements have given birth to internet radio. Satellite radio is also recent development in the field. One can listen to various international radio stations without any hassles. Besides all these latest editions, Ham radio would be next big thing. This technology is gearing up to hit the market soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Camera is one of the most cherished creations that made us to freeze time in pictures though photography. Our facebook and other social networking profiles would be incompleted or bored without pictures of us, our families, friends, and all other things around us. Let us have a journey of its invention.

Photography is a word derived from the Greek words photos ("light") and graphein ("to draw"). It is a method of recording images by the action of light, or related radiation, on a sensitive material.

The first pinhole camera ‘Camera Obscura’ was invented by Alhazen, a great authority on optics in the middle ages.

Camera Obscura was a device which uses a pinhole or lens to project an image of the scene outside upside-down onto a viewing surface. It was generally used by ancient greeks and chinese. In year 1544, this camera was used by Reiners Gemma Frisius, a mathematician for observing a solar eclipse.
Camera Obscura

This invention rooted up the development of cameras and photography.

At that time, there was no method to preserve the images produced by the cameras. Tracing with hand was the only way to preserve these pictures. People used the camera obscura for viewing or drawing purposes, not for making photographs.

It was Joseph Nicephore Niepce who made the first photographic image with a camera obscura . Joseph Nicephore Niepce's sun prints were the prototype for the modern photograph, by letting light draw the picture.

In 1816, Niepce made a small camera of his own and used a paper coated with silver chloride which get darkened on exposure to light but this was not a permanent method of preserving photographs because the picture gets disappeared or fade away whenever viewed in light.

In 1826, Frenchman Nicephore Niepce produces first permanent photograph of a view from nature using the photosensitivity of bitumen of Judea.

Niepce used a sliding wooden box camera made by Parisian opticians Charles and Vincent Chevalier on metal plate thinly coated with Bitumen of Judea. The bitumen slowly hardened in the brightest areas of the image.

When Niepce placed the metal plate in a solvent, gradually an image, until then invisible, appeared. However, Niepce's photograph required eight hours of light exposure. One of those photographs is still surviving.

Then Louis Daguerre start experimenting with Niepce to improve the existing method of photography. After NiƩpce's death in 1833, Louis Daguerre continued to experiment.

In 1836, Louis Daguerre created practical photographic mechanism known as Daguerreotype. Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide, a surface that was sensitive to light and "developed" with warmed mercury; that images were long lasting and not changed on exposure to light.
Daguerrotype camera

In 1839, Daguerre and Niepce's son sold the rights for the daguerreotype to the French government and published a booklet describing the process. 
Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.

Henry Fox Talbot ,an English botanist and mathematician and a contemporary of Daguerre, exposed a paper in silver salt solution to make it light sensitive. He then exposed the paper to light. He observed that the background became black, and the subject was rendered in grey shades. 
Talbot with his Calotype camera
This was a negative image, and from the paper negative, Talbot used contact printing to create a positive image. He then reversed the light and shadows to create a detailed picture. In 1841, he perfected this paper-negative process and called it a calotype,

In 1851, Frederick Scoff Archer, an English sculptor in London, invented the wet plate negative. He spreaded a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. This improved the photographic resolution. Because it was glass and not paper, this wet plate created a more stable and detailed negative.

Although Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotype but wet plates had to be developed quickly before the emulsion dried. This process was published but not patented.

In 1855, although collodion dry plates were available but with the introduction of gelatin dry plate in 1871, Richard Leach Maddox gave a tough competition to quality and speed of the wet plates. Photographers no longer needed portable darkrooms and could now hire technicians to develop their photographs.

Dry processes absorbed light so rapidly that the hand-held camera was now possible.This gave birth to cameras small enough to be accommodated in hands

There was a proliferation of various designs, from single- and twin-lens reflexes to large and bulky field cameras, handheld cameras, and even "detective cameras" disguised as pocket watches, hats, or other objects.

George Eastman introduced the paper film in the year 1885 and soon in 1889 switched to celluloid. The ‘Kodak’ camera ,that we all know, was developed by George Eastman and went on sale in 1888, pioneering the use of photographic film.
first Kodak camera in 1888

This was not a flashy camera. It was a simple box camera with fixed focus, same shutter speed but its low price was appealing to the average consumers. This model came with ability having 100 shots with preloaded film and needed to be sent back to the factory for processing and could be reloaded.

Around the year 1913, a German optical engineer named Oskar Barnack, who was in charge of research and development at ‘Leitz’, made a prototype compact camera that used 35 mm film. 
Though further development was delayed for several years due to World War I, Leitz test-marketed the design between 1923 and 1924 and received enough positive feedback that the camera was put into production named as ‘Leica’.
Leica camera

Kodak once again launched into the market in 1934 with ‘Retina I’ introducing 135 cartridge. . Although the Retina was comparatively inexpensive, but roll film was still a popular choice of the mass-market cameras. Surprisingly the choice of masses transitioned to Argus A in 1936 then Argus C3 in 1939.

The fledgling Japanese camera industry began to take off in 1936 with the Canon 35 mm rangefinder, an improved version of the 1933 Kwanon prototype.

Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex TLR (Twin-Lens Reflex) is known to be one of the initial reflex cameras that came in 1928. Although Bulky single- and twin-lens reflex cameras were available for decades, but those bulky reflex cameras were replaced by this decently compact camera.

Such a revolution was also began in the SLR designs during 1933 with birth of Ihagee Exakta followed by first ever western SLR that used 35mm film called Kine Exakta.

In 1952, first Japanese SLR with 35mm film – Asahiflex introduced by Asahi Optical Company(later became Pentex Cameras). Soon the market was flooded with several other Japanese camera companies – Nikon, Yashica, Canon. With Nikon F line entry into the market, the company secured its position as professional-quality equipment company.
Nikon-F camera

In 1948, Polaroid Model 95, the world's first viable instant-picture camera became popular. It was known as a Land Camera after its inventor, Edwin Land. This Model 95 used a patented chemical process to produce finished positive prints from the exposed negatives in under a minute but it was quite expensive. The first Polaroid camera aimed at the popular market, the Model 20 Swinger of 1965, was a huge success and remains one of the top-selling cameras of all time.

In 1969, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith got success for the first time in imaging technology using a digital sensor . In 2009, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions which paved the way for digital photography.

And by late 1980s, commercially successful digital cameras were introduced like Fuji DS-1P, Fuji DS-X, Dycam, Kodak DCS-100. Digital cameras do not use film, but capture and save photographs on digital memory cards or internal storage instead. Various formats like JPEG, MPEG became popular. Video recording was also made a part of the cameras to match up with growing demand. The first commercial DSLR (digital single lens reflex) was launched by Kodak in 1991.
Digital single lens reflex camera

From pinhole cameras to DSLRs – we surely have come a long way in the world of photography. Now there is a trend of more and more detailed pictures is going on. We can see mobiles with huge number of pixels for the high definition image. Also front cameras are also available in mobile phones. Through Wireless communication, photos can be transferred or shared among friends or relatives very easily using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. And in future we will see technology more and more improving and it will surely add-on new features in cameras and photography.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


As we know, Toaster is a home appliance used to toast bread in order to make it crunchier, tastier and suitable for spreading butter or jam for breakfast. 

But this question can arise in anybody’s mind that how it was invented and what was the need in our past that created such device. Today let us have a view over the creation of toaster and how it get a place in our kitchens.

As we know it today Bread was likely invented in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians learned that if they left dough rest out for a while, it would rise. When baked, the bread would retain its risen shape.

 The closed oven was invented in Egypt for the baking of leavened breads by 3000 B.C., There was just one problem, if bread was left out in the desert heat for long periods of time, it would go hard and became difficult to eat.

The best way to preserve the bread was none other than ‘toasting’ it which is a method of prolonging the life of bread by scorching slices of bread.

The word “toast” actually comes from the Latin word “tostum,” which means “to burn or scorch.”

 The first breads were supposed to be toasted by putting them in front of the fire on a hot stone. Later, simple devices were made to toast bread in the fire, such as wire frames to cook the toast more evenly.

 The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 by Scotsman Alan MacMasters, but it wasn’t very popular. The iron wiring would often melt, creating a fire hazard. 

Because the surface of toast needs to be heated to temperatures above 310 degrees Fahrenheit, Electric toasters must contain wires with the ability to reach very high temperatures without being damaged or starting a fire.
Antique Toasters array

In 1905, an engineer named Albert Marsh discovered that an alloy of nickel and chromium, known as Nichrome, had the properties to withstand a high temperature and is fire resistant too.

In July, 1909, Frank Shailor of General Electric submitted his patent application for the D-12, considered the first commercially successful electric toaster.
Antique Toaster from 1909

Several different electric toasters were also invented around the same time. But it only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required a person to stand by and turn it off manually when the toast cooked on.

Lloyd Copeman and his wife, Hazel were issued five toaster related patents during 1914 to find a way to turn the toast itself without manual help or we can say an ‘Automatic’ toaster.

Many companies who wished to produce electric toasters were forced to pay royalties to Copeman or find a different way to “turn the toast”. Some swung the toast around in little baskets. Another toaster carried the bread past the heating elements on a little conveyer belt, toasting it as it traveled along.
early Electric Toaster

During World War I, Charles Strite, a master mechanic in a plant in Stillwater, Minnesota tired of eating burnt toast served in the company cafeteria. 

He solved the problem of continuous human attention on toaster by using springs and a variable timer. He filed the patent for his pop-up toaster on May 29, 1919. 

Charles P. Strite, born in Minneapolis, MN, received patent on October 18, 1921 for the bread-toaster. 

That same year Strite formed the ‘Waters Genter Company’ to manufacture toaster and market it to restaurants. Strite looked after the production of first 100 hand-assembled toasters getting financial support from friends, which were shipped to the Childs restaurant chain. 
Pop up toaster

The next major breakthrough for the toaster came in 1928. 

Prior to then, the bread used to be sold in loaves on bakeries. But Otto Frederick Rohwedder, an inventor, created the presliced-loaf and sealed-bag process. 

The Continental Baking Company introduced sliced Wonder Bread in 1930. Sales were slow at first as consumers were slow to accept a pre-sliced bread, but convenience overruled apprehension and soon everyone wanted sliced Wonder Bread on their dinner table.

By 1933, American bakeries were turning out more sliced bread than unsliced bread. This gave a boost to another new invention.

 Charles Strite's spring-loaded, automatic, pop-up toaster which was not so popular , with Rohwedder's standardized slices on the market, suddenly made sense. The automatic (pop-up) toaster becomes a standard in American households

Many homes today have toasters that are not very different from the toasters that Charles Strite produced in1926.

 By the 1960's, the toaster was common enough and cheap enough that every middle class family in America afford this. 
Toaster now-a-days

By the 1980's the slots of toasters grew, enabling bagels and wider bread to be toasted. Additionally, heat-resistant plastic and microchip controls were used in the making of the toaster, making it even more convenient and efficient for future purposes.