IEEE MILESTONES IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING
Milestones, with their plaque citations, are listed below in chronological order of the achievement.
To make it easier for people to visit the sites of IEEE Milestones, we have also made a page with addresses, maps, and satellite images. We hope you will enjoy visiting the sites where important electrical engineering and computing achievements occurred.
Benjamin Franklin's Work in London, 1757-1775
London, England Dedication: 31 March 2003 - IEEE UKRI Section
Benjamin Franklin, American electrician, printer, and diplomat, spent many years on Craven Street. He lived at No. 7 between 1772 and 1775 and at No. 36 from 1757-1762 and again from 1764-1772. During these years, Franklin popularized the study of electricity, performed experiments, and served as an advisor on lightning conductors.
Volta's Electrical Battery Invention, 1799
Como, Italy September 1999 - IEEE North Italy Section
In 1799, Alessandro Volta developed the first electrical battery. This battery, known as the Voltaic Cell, consisted of two plates of different metals immersed in a chemical solution. Volta's development of the first continuous and reproducible source of electrical current was an important step in the study of electromagnetism and in the development of electrical equipment.
Callan's Pioneering Contributions to Electrical Science and Technology, 1836
Maynooth, Ireland, Dedication: September 2006
Reverend Nicholas Callan (1799 - 1864), professor of Natural Philosophy at Saint Patrick's College Maynooth, contributed significantly to the understanding of electrical induction and the development of the induction coil. He did this through a series of experiments that made the inductive transient phenomena visibly clear. The apparatus used in these experiments was replicated in other laboratories.
Demonstration of Practical Telegraphy, 1838
Morristown, NJ Dedicated May 1988 - IEEE North Jersey Section
In this building in January 1838, Samuel F. B. Morse and Alfred Vail first demonstrated publicly crucial elements of their telegraph system, using instruments that Vail had constructed during the previous months. Electrical pulses, transmitted through two miles of wire, caused an electromagnet to ink dots and dashes (grouped to represent letters and words) on a strip of paper. Commercialization began in 1844 when funding became available.
Electric Fire Alarm System, 1852
IEEE Boston Section, Dedication: 1 October 2004
On 28 April 1852 the first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling to indicate the location of a fire was placed into operation in Boston. Invented by William Channing and Moses Farmer, this system was highly successful in reducing property loss and deaths due to fire and was subsequently adopted throughout the United States and in Canada.
Transcontinental Telegraph, 1861
Fort Laramie, WY Dedicated August 1990 - IEEE Denver Section
Between July 4 and October 24, 1861, a telegraph line was constructed by the Western Union Company between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, thereby completing the first high-speed communications link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This service met the critical demand for fast communications between these two areas. The telegraph line operated until May 1869, when it was replaced by a multi-wire system constructed with the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railway lines.
Landing of the Transatlantic Cable, 1866
Heart's Content, Newfoundland Dedicated June 1985 - IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
A permanent electrical communications link between the old world and the new was initiated at this site with the landing of a transatlantic cable on July 27, 1866. This achievement altered for all time personal, commercial, and political relations between peoples on the two sides of the ocean. Five more cables between Heart's Content and Valentia, Ireland were completed between 1866 and 1894. This station continued in operation until 1965. IEEE Canada maintains a web site about this Milestone.
County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866
County Kerry, Ireland, July 2000 - IEEE UKRI Section
On July 13, 1866 the Great Eastern steamed westward from Valentia, laying telegraph cable behind her. The successful landing at Heart's Content, Newfoundland on July 27 established a permanent electrical communications link that altered for all time personal, commercial and political relations between people across the Atlantic Ocean. Later, additional cables were laid from Valentia and new stations opened at Ballinskelligs (1874) and Waterville (1884), making County Kerry a major focal point for global communications.
County Kerry has dedicated part of their web site to this event. You can find the Milestone under "Heritage".
First Intelligible Voice Transmission over Electric Wire, 1876
Boston, MA, Dedication: 10 March 2006
The first transmission of intelligible speech over electrical wires took place on 10 March 1876. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell called out to his assistant Thomas Watson, "Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you." This transmission took place in their attic laboratory located in a building near here at 5 Exeter Place.
First Distant Speech Transmission in Canada, 1876
Paris, Ontario, Canada, Dedication: 4 May 2008
On 10 August 1876, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated on this site that the human voice could be transmitted electrically over distance. While family members spoke into a transmitter in Brantford, 13 km away, Bell was able to hear them at a receiver located here. This test convinced Bell that his invention could be used for communications between towns and could compete successfully with the telegraph.
Thomas Alva Edison Historic Site at Menlo Park, 1876
Menlo Park, NJ: Dedication 9 September 2006
Between 1876 and 1882 at Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison developed the world's first industrial research and development laboratory devoted to developing new technology. At this laboratory. Edison and his staff developed the first system of incandescent electric lighting and electric power generation, and invented recorded sound and a commercially successful telephone transmitter.
Vulcan Street Plant, 1882
Appleton, WI Dedicated September 1977 - IEEE Northeastern Wisconsin Section
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with ASCE and IEEE)
Near this site on September 30, 1882, the world's first hydroelectric central station began operation. The station, here reproduced, was known as the Vulcan Street Plant and had a direct current generator capable of lighting 250 sixteen candle power lamps each equivalent to 50 watts. The generator operated at 110 volts and was driven through gears and belts by a water wheel operating under a ten foot fall of water.
First Central Station in South Carolina, 1882
Charleston, SC Dedicated July 1986 - IEEE Coastal South Carolina Section
The United States Electric Illuminating Company started up South Carolina's first central station for incandescent electric lighting in this building in October 1882. This was just one month after Thomas Edison opened his central station on New York City's Pearl Street. In the following years, the pioneering firm of United States Electric was one of Edison's main competitors.
Alternating Current Electrification, 1886
IEEE Berkshire Section, Dedication: 2 October 2004
On 20 March 1886 William Stanley provided alternating current electrification to offices and stores on Main Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He thus demonstrated the first practical system for providing electrical illumination using alternating current with transformers to adjust voltage levels of the distribution system.
Richmond Union Passenger Railway, 1888
Richmond, VA Dedicated February 1992 - IEEE Richmond Section
In February 1888, the electric street railway system designed by Frank Julian Sprague for the Richmond Union Passenger Railway began operating in Richmond, Virginia. Sprague's Richmond system became the lasting prototype for electric street railways because of its large-scale practicality and operating superiority. This system, which combined Sprague's engineering innovations with other proven technical features, helped shape urban growth worldwide.
Power System of Boston's Rapid Transit, 1889
Boston, MA, Dedication: 10 November 2004, IEEE Boston Section
Boston was the first city to build electric traction for a large-scale rapid transit system. The engineering challenge to design and construct safe, economically viable, and reliable electric power for Boston's rapid transit was met by the West End Street Railway Company, beginning in 1889. The company's pioneering efforts provided an important impetus to the adoption of mass transit systems nationwide.
Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1891
Ames, CO Dedicated July 1988 - IEEE Pikes Peak Section
Electricity produced here in the spring of 1891 was transmitted 2.6 miles over rugged and at times inaccessible terrain to provide power for operating the motor-driven mill at the Gold King Mine. This pioneering demonstration of the practical value of transmitting electrical power was a significant precedent in the United States for much larger plants at Niagara Falls (in 1895) and elsewhere. Electricity at Ames was generated at 3000 volts, 133 Hertz, single-phase AC, by a 100-hp Westinghouse alternator.
Mill Creek No. 1 Hydroelectric Plant. 1893
Redlands, CA Dedicated February 1997 - IEEE Foothills Section
(ASCE California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
Built by the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company, the Mill Creek hydroelectric generating plant began operating on 7 September 1893. This powerhouse was foremost in the use of three-phase alternating current power for commercial application and was influential in the widespread adoption of three-phase power throughout the United States.
Popov's Contribution to the Development of Wireless Communication, 1895
St. Petersburg, Russia. IEEE Russia (Northwest) Section, Dedication: May 2005
On 7 May 1895, A. S. Popov demonstrated the possibility of transmitting and receiving short, continuous signals over a distance up to 64 meters by means of electromagnetic waves with the help of a special portable device responding to electrical oscillation which was a significant contribution to the development of wireless communication.
Adams Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1895
Niagara Falls, NY Dedicated June 1990 - IEEE Buffalo Section
When the Adams Plant went into operation on August 26, 1895, it represented a key victory for alternating-current systems over direct-current. The clear advantage of high voltage AC for long distance power transmission and the unprecedented size of the plant (it reached its full capacity of ten 5,000-HP generators in May 1900) influenced the future of the electrical industry worldwide.
Marconi's Early Wireless Experiments, 1895
Switzerland, Dedication: 26 September 2003. IEEE Switzerland Section
On this spot in 1895, with local assistance, Guglielmo Marconi carried out some of the first wireless experiments. He first transmitted a signal from this "Shepherdess Stone" over a few meters and later, following one and a half months of careful adjustments, over a distance of up to one and a half kilometers. This was the beginning of Marconi’s pivotal involvement in wireless radio.
Chivilingo Hydroelectric Plant, 1897
Chile, Dedicated October 2001, IEEE Chile Section
The 1897 430 kW Chivilingo Plant was the first hydroelectric plant in Chile and the second in South America. A 10 km line fed the Lota coal mines and the railway extracting minerals 12 km from shore under the sea. It represented a new key technology and a new source of electrical energy in the region as a tool for economic development. Chivilingo demonstrated the advantages of industrial use of electricity and hastened its widespread adoption in Chile.
Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Plant, 1898
IEEE Hamilton Section, Dedication: 2 May 2004
The Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Development was a pioneering project in the generation and transmission of electrical energy at higher voltages and at greater distances in Canada. On 25 August 1898 this station transmitted power at 22,500 Volts, 66 2/3 Hz, two-phase, a distance of 56 km to Hamilton, Ontario. Using the higher voltage permitted efficient transmission over that distance.
Georgetown Steam/Hydro Generating Plant, 1900
Georgetown, CO, USA July 1999 - IEEE Denver Section
Electric generating plants, through their high-voltage lines, provided critical power to the isolated mines in this region. Georgetown, completed in 1900, was unusual in employing both steam and water power. Its owner, United Light and Power Company, was a pioneer in using three-phase, 60-Hertz alternating current and in being interconnected with other utilities.
Transmission of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901
Poldhu, Cornwall, England, Dedicated 12 December 2001. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On December 12, 1901, a radio transmission of the Morse code letter 'S' was broadcast from this site, using equipment built by John Ambrose Fleming. At Signal Hill in Newfoundland, Guglielmo Marconi, using a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, confirmed the reception of these first transatlantic radio signals. These experiments showed that radio signals could propagate far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communications in the twentieth century.
Early Developments in Remote-Control, 1901
IEEE Spain Section, Dedication: 15 March 2007
In 1901, the Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres-Quevedo began the development of a system, which he called Telekine, which was able to do "mechanical movements at a distance." The system was a way of testing dirigible balloons of his own creation without risking human lives. In 1902 and 1903 he requested some patents for the system. With the Telekine, Torres-Quevedo laid down modern wireless remote-control operation principles.
Reception of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901
Signal Hill, Newfoundland Dedicated October 1985 - IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
At Signal Hill on December 12, 1901, Guglielmo Marconi and his assistant, George Kemp, confirmed the reception of the first transatlantic radio signals. With a telephone receiver and a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, they heard Morse code for the letter "S" transmitted from Poldhu, Cornwall. Their experiments showed that radio signals extended far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communication in the twentieth century.
First Operational Use Of Wireless Telegraphy, 1899-1902
Capetown, SA September 1999 - IEEE South Africa Section
The first use of wireless telegraphy in the field occurred during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). The British Army experimented with Marconi's system and the British Navy successfully used it for communication among naval vessels in Delagoa Bay, prompting further development of Marconi's wireless telegraph system for practical uses.
Poulsen-Arc Radio Transmitter, 1902
Lyngby, Denmark Dedicated May 1994 - IEEE Denmark Section
Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, invented an arc converter as a generator of continuous-wave radio signals in 1902. Beginning in 1904, Poulsen used the arc for experimental radio transmission from Lyngby to various receiving sites in Denmark and Great Britain. Poulsen-arc transmitters were used internationally until they were superseded by vacuum-tube transmitters.
Vucje Hydroelectric Plant, 1903
Leskovac, Yugoslavia, Dedication: 25 June 2005, IEEE Yugoslavia Section
The Vucje hydroelectric plant began operation in 1903. It was the first in southern Serbia and the largest in the broader region. By transmitting alternating electric current of 50 Hz at 7000 volts -- high for the period -- over a distance of 16 km , it helped to transform the regional economy. It remained in continual use for more than a century.
Alexanderson Radio Alternator, 1904
Schenectady, NY Dedicated February 1992 - IEEE Schenectady Section
The Alexanderson radio alternator was a high-power, radio-frequency source which provided reliable transoceanic radiotelegraph communication during and after World War I. Ernst F.W. Alexanderson (1878-1975), a General Electric engineer, designed radio alternators with a frequency range to 100 kHz and a power capability from 2 kW to 200 kW. These machines, developed during the period 1904 to 1918, were used in research on high-frequency properties of materials as well as for international communications.
Fleming Valve, 1904
IEEE UKRI Section, Dedication: 1 July 2004
Beginning in the 1880s Professor John Ambrose Fleming of University College London investigated the Edison effect, electrical conduction within a glass bulb from an incandescent filament to a metal plate. In 1904 he constructed such a bulb and used it to rectify high frequency oscillations and thus detect wireless signals. The same year Fleming patented the device, later known as the ‘Fleming valve.'
Alternating-Current Electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, 1907
Cos Cob, CT Dedicated May 1982 - IEEE Connecticut Section
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
This was a pioneering venture in mainline railroad electrification. It established single-phase alternating current as a technical and economical alternative to direct current. This concept exerted considerable influence over subsequent systems both in the United States and abroad. The major components of the system were developed by the engineering staffs of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Shoshone Transmission Line, 1909
Georgetown, CO Dedicated June 1991 - IEEE Denver Section
July 17, 1909, the Shoshone Transmission Line began service carrying power, generated by the Shoshone Hydroelectric Generating Station, to Denver. The Line operated at 90 kV, was 153.4 miles long, and crossed the Continental Divide three times reaching an altitude of 13,500 feet. Its design and construction represented an outstanding electrical engineering accomplishment due to its length, the mountainous country over which it was constructed, and the unusually severe weather conditions under which it operated.
Panama Canal Electrical and Control Installations, 1914
Panama, Dedication: 4 April 2003. IEEE Panama Section
The Panama Canal project included one of the largest and most important electrical installations in the world early in the 20th century. The use of 1022 electric motors with an installed capacity of 28,290 horsepower largely replaced the steam and water powered equipment then in common use. Reliability and safety were also engineered into the innovative electrical control system, enabling remote lock operation from a central location.
Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA, 1920
Pittsburgh, PA Dedicated June 1994 - IEEE Pittsburgh Section
Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA was a world pioneer of commercial radio broadcasting. Transmitting with a power of 100 watts on a wavelength of 360 meters, KDKA began scheduled programming with the Harding-Cox Presidential election returns on November 2, 1920. A shed, housing studio and transmitter, was atop the K Building of the Westinghouse East Pittsburgh works. Conceived by C.P. Davis, broadcasting as a public service evolved from Frank Conrad's weekly experimental broadcasts over his amateur radio station 8XK, attracting many regular listeners who had wireless receiving sets.
Directive Short Wave Antenna, 1924
Miyagi, Japan Dedicated June 1995 - IEEE Tokyo Section
In these laboratories, beginning in 1924, Professor Hidetsugu Yagi and his assistant, Shintaro Uda, designed and constructed a sensitive and highly-directional antenna using closely-coupled parasitic elements. The antenna, which is effective in the higher-frequency ranges, has been important for radar, television, and amateur radio.
One-Way Police Radio Communication, 1928
Detroit, MI Dedicated May 1987 - IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section
At this site on April 7, 1928 the Detroit Police Department commenced regular one-way radio communication with its patrol cars. Developed by personnel of the department's radio bureau, the system was the product of seven years of experimentation under the direction of police commissioner, William P. Rutledge. Their work proved the practicality of land-mobile radio for police work and led to its adoption throughout the country.
Shannon Scheme for the Electrification of the Irish Free State, 1929
Ardnacrusha, County Limerick, Ireland. Dedicated 29 July 2002. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASCE International Historic Engineering Landmark)
The Shannon Scheme was officially opened at Parteen Weir on 22 July 1929. One of the largest engineering projects of its day, it was successfully executed by Siemens to harness the Shannon River. It subsequently served as a model for large-scale electrification projects worldwide. Operated by the Electricity Board of Ireland, it had an immediate impact on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland and continues to supply significant power beyond the end of the 20th century.
Two-Way Police Radio Communication, 1933
Bayonne, NJ Dedicated May 1987 - IEEE North Jersey Section
In 1933, the police department in Bayonne, New Jersey initiated regular two-way communications with its patrol cars, a major advance over previous one-way systems. The very high frequency system developed by radio engineer Frank A. Gunther and station operator Vincent J. Doyle placed transmitters in patrol cars to enable patrolmen to communicate with headquarters and other cars instead of just receiving calls. Two-way police radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Bayonne system.
Long-Range Shortwave Voice Transmissions from Byrd's Antarctic Expedition, 1934
Cedar Rapids, IA, February 2001 - IEEE Cedar Rapids Section
Beginning 3 February 1934, Vice Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic Expedition transmitted news releases to New York via short-wave radio voice equipment. From New York, the US nationwide CBS network broadcast the news releases to the public. Previous expeditions had been limited to dot-dash telegraphy, but innovative equipment from the newly formed Collins Radio Company made this long-range voice transmission feasible.
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Westinghouse "Atom Smasher," 1937
Forest Hills, PA. Dedicated May 1985 - IEEE Pittsburgh Section
The five million volt van de Graaff generator represents the first large-scale program in nuclear physics established in industry. Constructed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1937, it made possible precise measurements of nuclear reactions and provided valuable research experience for the company's pioneering work in nuclear power.
Atanasoff-Berry Computer, 1939
Ames, IA Dedicated April 1990 - IEEE Central Iowa Section
John Vincent Atanasoff conceived basic design principles for the first electronic-digital computer in the winter of 1937 and, assisted by his graduate student, Clifford E. Berry, constructed a prototype here in October 1939. It used binary numbers, direct logic for calculation, and a regenerative memory. It embodied concepts that would be central to the future development of computers.
FM Police Radio Communication, 1940
Hartford, CT Dedicated June 1987 - IEEE Connecticut Section
A major advance in police radio occurred in 1940 when the Connecticut state police began operating a two-way, frequency modulated (FM) system in Hartford. The statewide system developed by Daniel E. Noble of the University of Connecticut and engineers at the Fred M. Link Company greatly reduced static, the main problem of the amplitude modulated (AM) system. FM mobile radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Connecticut system.
Opana Radar Site, 1941
Kuhuku, Hawaii, USA, February 2000 - IEEE Hawaii Section
On December 7, 1941, an SCR-270b radar located at this site tracked incoming Japanese aircraft for over 30 minutes until they were obscured by the island ground clutter. This was the first wartime use of radar by the United States military, and led to its successful application throughout the theater.
Code-breaking at Bletchley Park during World War II, 1939-1945
Bletchley Park, United Kingdom, Dedication: 1 April 2003. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On this site during the 1939-45 World War, 12,000 men and women broke the German Lorenz and Enigma ciphers, as well as Japanese and Italian codes and ciphers. They used innovative mathematical analysis and were assisted by two computing machines developed here by teams led by Alan Turing: the electro-mechanical Bombe developed with Gordon Welchman, and the electronic Colossus designed by Tommy Flowers. These achievements greatly shortened the war, thereby saving countless lives.
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MIT Radiation Laboratory, 1940-1945
Cambridge, MA Dedicated October 1990 - IEEE Boston Section
The MIT Radiation Laboratory, operated on this site between 1940 and 1945, advanced the allied war effort by making fundamental contributions to the design and deployment of microwave radar systems. Used on land, sea, and in the air, in many adaptations, radar was a decisive factor in the outcome of the conflict. The laboratory's 3900 employees made lasting contributions to microwave theory and technology, operational radar, systems engineering, long-range navigation, and control equipment.
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US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory, 1942-1945
Dayton, Ohio, Dedicated October 2001, IEEE Dayton Section
In 1942, the United States Navy joined with the National Cash Register Company to design and manufacture a series of code-breaking machines. This project was located at the U.S. Naval Computing Machine Laboratory in Building 26, near this site. The machines built here, including the American "Bombes", incorporated advanced electronics and significantly influenced the course of World War II.
Merrill Wheel-Balancing System, 1945
Denver, CO, USA September 1999 - IEEE Denver Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
In 1945, Marcellus Merrill first implemented an electronic dynamic wheel-balancing system. Previously, all mechanical methods were static in nature and required removing the wheels from the vehicle. Merrill's innovative balancing system came to be widely used internationally. Elements of the dynamic balancing systems are still used today, primarily for industrial and automotive production applications.
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, 1946
Philadelphia, PA Dedicated September 1987 - IEEE Philadelphia Section
A major advance in the history of computing occurred at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 when engineers put the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) into operation. Designed and constructed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering under a U. S. Army contract during World War II, the ENIAC established the practicality of large scale, electronic digital computers and strongly influenced the development of the modern, stored-program, general-purpose computer.
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Manufacture of Transistors, 1951
Allentown, PA Dedicated April 1989 - IEEE Lehigh Valley Section
The commercial manufacture of transistors began here in October 1951. Smaller, more efficient, and more reliable than the vacuum tubes they replaced, transistors revolutionized the electronics industry.
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Experimental Breeder Reactor I, 1951
IEEE Eastern Idaho Section, Dedication: 4 June 2004
At this facility on 20 December 1951 electricity was first generated from the heat produced by a sustained nuclear reaction providing steam to a turbine generator. This event inaugurated the nuclear power industry in the United States. On 4 June 1953 EBR-I provided the first proof of "breeding“ capability, producing one atom of nuclear fuel for each atom burned, and later produced electricity using a plutonium core reactor.
Monochrome-Compatible Electronic Color Television, 1946-1953
Princeton, NJ, 29 Dedicated November 2001, IEEE Princeton/Central New Jersey Section
On this site between 1946 and 1950 the research staff of RCA Laboratories invented the world's first electronic, monochrome-compatible, color television system. They worked with other engineers in the industry for three years to develop a national analog standard based on this system, which lasted until the transition to digital broadcasting.
WEIZAC Computer, 1955
Rehovot, Israel, Dedication:: 5 December 2006
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, built the Weizmann Automatic Computer (WEIZAC) during 1954-1955 with the scientific vision of Chaim Pekeris and the engineering leadership of Gerald Estrin. The WEIZAC was based on drawings from the IAS computer at Princeton University and built with much ingenuity. The machine was the first digital electronic computer constructed in the Middle East and it became an indispensable scientific computing resource for many scientists and engineers worldwide.
IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, Dedication: 26 May 2005
Developed by IBM in San Jose, California at 99 Notre Dame Street from 1952 until 1956, the Random Access Method of Accounting and Control (RAMAC) was the first computer system conceived around a radically new magnetic disk storage device. The extremely large capacity, rapid access, and low cost of magnetic disk storage revolutionized computer architecture, performance, and applications.
The First Submarine Transatlantic Telephone Cable System (TAT-1), 1956
Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada; Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Oban, Scotland, Dedication: 24 September 2006
Global telephone communications using submarine cables began on 25 September 1956, when the first transatlantic undersea telephone system, TAT-1, went into service. This site is the eastern terminal of the transatlantic cable that stretched west to Clarenville, Newfoundland. TAT-1 was a great technological achievement providing unparalleled reliability with fragile components in hostile environments. It was made possible through the efforts of engineers at AT&T Bell Laboratories and British Post Office. The system operated until 1978.
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First Wearable Cardiac Pacemaker, 1957-1958
Minneapolis, MN, USA October 1999 - IEEE Twin Cities Section
During the winter of 1957-58, Earl E. Bakken developed the first wearable transistorized pacemaker, the request of heart surgeon, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei. As earlier pacemakers were AC-powered, this battery-powered device liberated patients from their power-cord tethers. The wearable pacemaker was a significant step in the evolution to fully-implantable units.
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Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1962
Stanford, CA Dedicated February 1984 - IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Council
(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
The Stanford two-mile accelerator, the longest in the world, accelerates electrons to the very high energy needed in the study of subatomic particles and forces. Experiments performed here have shown that the proton, one of the building blocks of the atom, is in turn composed of smaller particles now called quarks. Other research here has uncovered new families of particles and demonstrated subtle effects of the weak nuclear force. This research requires the utmost precision in the large and unique electromechanical devices and systems that accelerate, define, deliver and store the beams of particles, and in the detectors that analyze the results of the particle interactions.
First Transatlantic Transmission of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
Andover, Maine, Dedicated July 2002. IEEE Maine Section
On 11 July 1962 this site transmitted the first transatlantic TV signal to a twin station in Pleumeur-Bodou, France via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.
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First Transatlantic Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
Doonhilly Downs, Cornwall, England, Dedicated July 2002. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
On 11 July 1962 this site transmitted the first live television signal across the Atlantic from Europe to the USA, via TELSTAR. This Satellite Earth Station was designed and built by the British Post Office Engineering Department. Known as 'Arthur' (of "Knights of the Round Table" fame), its open-dish design became a model for satellite television earth stations throughout the world.
First Transatlantic Reception of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962
France, Dedicated July 2002 - IEEE France Section (Pleumeur-Bodou)
On 11 July 1962 this site received the first transatlantic transmission of a TV signal from a twin station in Andover, Maine, USA via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.
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Alouette-ISIS Satellite Program, 1962
Ottawa, Ontario Dedicated May 1993 - IEEE Ottawa Section
Driven by the need to understand the characteristics of radio communication in Canada's North, Canadian researchers focused on the exploration of the earth's upper atmosphere, the ionosphere. Canada's satellite program commenced with the launch of Alouette-I on September 29, 1962. Alouette-II followed in 1965, ISIS-I in 1969, ISIS-II in 1971. The Alouette/ISIS tracking antenna serves as a reminder of Canada's contribution to this international effort in space science. IEEE Canada maintains a web site on this Milestone.
NAIC/Arecibo Radiotelescope, 1963
Arecibo, Puerto Rico, November 2001, IEEE Puerto Rico & Caribbean Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
The Arecibo Observatory, the world's largest radiotelescope, was dedicated in 1963. Its design and implementation led to advances in the electrical engineering areas of antenna design, signal processing, and electronic instrumentation, and in the mechanical engineering areas of antenna suspension and drive systems. The drive system positions all active parts of the antenna with millimeter precision, regardless of temperature changes, enabling the telescope to maintain an accurate focus. Its subsequent operation led to advances in the scientific fields of radioastronomy, planetary studies, and space and atmospheric sciences.
Taum Sauk Pumped-Storage Electric Power Plant, 1963
Missouri, Dedication: September 2005
The Taum Sauk Plant, when it came on-line in 1963, was the largest pure pumped-storage electric power plant in North America. Other pioneering features for this pumped-storage plant were its high capacity turbine-generators and its ability to be operated remotely, 90 miles away, from St. Louis, Missouri.
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Mount Fuji Radar System, 1964
Mount Fuji, Japan, March 2000 - IEEE Nagoya Section
Completed in 1964 as the highest weather radar in the world in the pre-satellite era, the Mount Fuji Radar System almost immediately warned of a major storm over 800 km away. In addition to advancing the technology of weather radar, it pioneered aspects of remote-control and low-maintenance of complex electronic systems. The radar was planned by the Japan Meteorological Agency and constructed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.
Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) 1964
Nagoya, Japan July 2000 - IEEE Tokyo Section
(IEEE Milestone and ASME Landmark)
Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) was designed with the world's most advanced electrical and mechanical train technologies to operate at speeds up to 210 km/hr, a world record when it began service in 1964. It has carried more than 80 million passengers per year for many years with an excellent safety record.
First 735 kV AC Transmission System, 1965
Quebec, Canada, Dedication: November 2005
Hydro-Quebec's 735,000 volt electric power transmission system was the first in the world to be designed, built and operated at an alternating-current voltage above 700 kV. This development extended the limits of long-distance transmission of electrical energy. On 29 November 1965 the first 735 kV line was inaugurated. Power was transmitted from the Manicouagan-Outardes hydro-electric generating complex to Montreal, a distance of 600 km.
Pioneering Work on the Quartz Electronic Wristwatch, 1962-1967
Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Dedicated 28 September 2002, IEEE Switzerland Section
A key milestone in development of the quartz electronic wristwatch in Switzerland was the creation in 1962 of the Centre Electronique Horloger of Neuchâtel. The Centre produced the first prototypes incorporating dedicated integrated circuits that set new timekeeping performance records at the International Chronometric Competition held at this observatory in 1967. Since then quartz watches, with hundreds of millions of units produced, became an extremely successful electronic system.
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Liquid Crystal Display, 1968
Princeton, NJ, Dedication 30 September 06
Between 1964 and 1968, at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, a team of engineers and scientists led by George H. Heilmeier with Louis A. Zanoni and Lucian A. Barton, devised a method for electronic control of light reflected from liquid crystals and demonstrated the first liquid crystal display. Their work launched a global industry that now produces millions of LCDs annually for watches, calculators, flat-panel displays in televisions, computers and instruments.
CERN Experimental Instrumentation, 1968
Geneva, Switzerland, Dedication: 26 September 2005
IEEE France Section, endorsed by the IEEE Switzerland Section
At CERN laboratories the invention of multiple-wire proportional chambers and drift chambers revolutionized the domain of electronic particle detectors, leading to new research on the constitution of matter. The development of unique electrical and electronic devices made possible the major high-energy physics experiments which have been recognized worldwide.
Electronic Technology for Space Rocket Launches, 1950-1969
Cape Canaveral, February 2001 - IEEE Canaveral Section
The demonstrated success in space flight is the result of electronic technology developed at Cape Canaveral, the J. F. Kennedy Space Center, and other sites, and applied here. A wide variety of advances in radar tracking, data telemetry, instrumentation, space-to-ground communications, on-board guidance, and real-time computation were employed to support the U.S. space program. These and other electronic developments provided infrastructure necessary for the successful landing of men on the moon in July 1969 and their safe return to earth.
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Electronic Quartz Wristwatch, 1969
IEEE Tokyo Section, Dedication: 25 November 2004
After ten years of research and development at Suwa Seikosha, a manufacturing company of Seiko Group, a team of engineers headed by Tsuneya Nakamura produced the first quartz wristwatch to be sold to the public. The Seiko Quartz-Astron 35SQ was introduced in Tokyo on December 25, 1969. Crucial elements included a quartz crystal oscillator, a hybrid integrated circuit, and a miniature stepping motor to turn the hands. It was accurate to within five seconds per month.
Railroad Ticket Examining System, 1965-1971
IEEE Kansai Section, Dedication: 27 November 2007
Pioneering ticket examining machines, designed to speed commuter railroad use substantially, were first installed in 1965, based on work by a joint research team of Osaka University and Kintetsu Corporation. Following this work, an improved version -- based on joint work by Omron, Kintetsu, and Hankyu corporations using punched cards and magnetic cards -- was first deployed in 1967 and at nineteen stations in 1971.
Nelson River HVDC Transmission System, 1972
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Dedication: 3 June 2005, IEEE Winnipeg Section
On 17 June 1972, the Nelson River High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system began delivery of electric power. It used the highest operating voltage to deliver the largest amount of power from a remote site to a city. The bipolar scheme gave superior line reliability and the innovative use of the controls added significantly to the overall system capabilities. Finally, the scheme used the largest mercury arc valves ever developed for such an application.
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Pioneering Work on Electronic Calculators, 1964-1973
Tenri City, Nara Prefecture , Japan, Dedication: December 2005
A Sharp Corporation project team designed and produced several families of electronic calculators on the basis of all-transistor (1964), bipolar and MOS integrated circuit (1967), MOS Large Scale Integration (1969) and CMOS-LSI/Liquid Crystal Display (1973). The integration of CMOS-LSI and LCD devices onto a single glass substrate yielded battery-powered calculators. These achievements made possible the widespread personal use of hand-held calculators
Development of VHS, a World Standard for Home Video Recording, 1976
Tokyo, Japan, Dedication: 11 October 2006
At the Yokohama Plant of Victor Company of Japan, Limited, a team of engineers headed by Shizuo Takano and Yuma Shiraishi developed VHS (Video Home System) format. They looked ahead to the need for home video tape recorders and embodied their idea in unique inventions. The first model JVC HR-3300 was announced on 9 September 1976. Their basic design with subsequent improvement gained wide customer acceptance. VHS became the world standard for home video tape recorders.
Lempel -Ziv Data Compression Algorithm, 1977
Haifa, Israel, Dedication: September 2004
IEEE Israel Section
The data compression algorithm developed at this site in 1977 by Abraham Lempel and Jacob Ziv became a basis for enabling data transmission via the internet in an efficient way. It contributed significantly in making the internet a global communications medium.
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Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), Electrical Pioneer
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, October 2006, IEEE Serbia Section
On the 150th anniversary of his birth, the IEEE is pleased to recognize the seminal work of Nikola Tesla in the field of electrical engineering. Among his many accomplishments, those that stand out are his innovative contributions to the applications of polyphase current to electric power systems, his pioneering work with electromagnetic waves, and his experiments with very high voltages. The Tesla Museum in Beograd is to be commended for its successful efforts to preserve artifacts and documents related to Tesla and to make them accessible to scholars throughout the world.
- 1 IEEE MILESTONES IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING
- 1.1 Benjamin Franklin's Work in London, 1757-1775 London, England Dedication: 31 March 2003 - IEEE UKRI Section
- 1.2 Volta's Electrical Battery Invention, 1799Como, Italy September 1999 - IEEE North Italy Section
- 1.3 1800-1850
- 1.4 1850-1870
- 1.4.1 Electric Fire Alarm System, 1852 IEEE Boston Section, Dedication: 1 October 2004
- 1.4.2 Transcontinental Telegraph, 1861Fort Laramie, WY Dedicated August 1990 - IEEE Denver Section
- 1.4.3 Landing of the Transatlantic Cable, 1866 Heart's Content, Newfoundland Dedicated June 1985 - IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
- 1.4.4 County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866 County Kerry, Ireland, July 2000 - IEEE UKRI Section
- 1.5 1870-1890
- 1.5.1 First Intelligible Voice Transmission over Electric Wire, 1876 Boston, MA, Dedication: 10 March 2006
- 1.5.2 First Distant Speech Transmission in Canada, 1876
- 1.5.3 Paris, Ontario, Canada, Dedication: 4 May 2008
- 1.5.4 Thomas Alva Edison Historic Site at Menlo Park, 1876 Menlo Park, NJ: Dedication 9 September 2006
- 1.5.5 Vulcan Street Plant, 1882 Appleton, WI Dedicated September 1977 - IEEE Northeastern Wisconsin Section(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with ASCE and IEEE)
- 1.5.6 First Central Station in South Carolina, 1882 Charleston, SC Dedicated July 1986 - IEEE Coastal South Carolina Section
- 1.5.7 Alternating Current Electrification, 1886 IEEE Berkshire Section, Dedication: 2 October 2004
- 1.5.8 Richmond Union Passenger Railway, 1888 Richmond, VA Dedicated February 1992 - IEEE Richmond Section
- 1.5.9 Power System of Boston's Rapid Transit, 1889 Boston, MA, Dedication: 10 November 2004, IEEE Boston Section
- 1.6 1890-1900
- 1.6.1 Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1891 Ames, CO Dedicated July 1988 - IEEE Pikes Peak Section
- 1.6.2 Mill Creek No. 1 Hydroelectric Plant. 1893 Redlands, CA Dedicated February 1997 - IEEE Foothills Section(ASCE California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
- 1.6.3 Popov's Contribution to the Development of Wireless Communication, 1895 St. Petersburg, Russia. IEEE Russia (Northwest) Section, Dedication: May 2005
- 1.6.4 Adams Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1895 Niagara Falls, NY Dedicated June 1990 - IEEE Buffalo Section
- 1.6.5 Marconi's Early Wireless Experiments, 1895 Switzerland, Dedication: 26 September 2003. IEEE Switzerland Section
- 1.6.6 Chivilingo Hydroelectric Plant, 1897 Chile, Dedicated October 2001, IEEE Chile Section
- 1.6.7 Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Plant, 1898 IEEE Hamilton Section, Dedication: 2 May 2004
- 1.7 1900-1920
- 1.7.1 Georgetown Steam/Hydro Generating Plant, 1900Georgetown, CO, USA July 1999 - IEEE Denver Section
- 1.7.2 Transmission of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901Poldhu, Cornwall, England, Dedicated 12 December 2001. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section
- 1.7.3 Early Developments in Remote-Control, 1901 IEEE Spain Section, Dedication: 15 March 2007
- 1.7.4 Reception of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901Signal Hill, Newfoundland Dedicated October 1985 - IEEE Newfoundland-Labrador Section
- 1.7.5 First Operational Use Of Wireless Telegraphy, 1899-1902 Capetown, SA September 1999 - IEEE South Africa Section
- 1.7.6 Poulsen-Arc Radio Transmitter, 1902Lyngby, Denmark Dedicated May 1994 - IEEE Denmark Section
- 1.7.7 Vucje Hydroelectric Plant, 1903 Leskovac, Yugoslavia, Dedication: 25 June 2005, IEEE Yugoslavia Section
- 1.7.8 Alexanderson Radio Alternator, 1904 Schenectady, NY Dedicated February 1992 - IEEE Schenectady Section
- 1.7.9 Fleming Valve, 1904 IEEE UKRI Section, Dedication: 1 July 2004
- 1.7.10 Alternating-Current Electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, 1907Cos Cob, CT Dedicated May 1982 - IEEE Connecticut Section(ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark, jointly designated with IEEE)
- 1.7.11 Shoshone Transmission Line, 1909Georgetown, CO Dedicated June 1991 - IEEE Denver Section
- 1.7.12 Panama Canal Electrical and Control Installations, 1914 Panama, Dedication: 4 April 2003. IEEE Panama Section
- 1.8 1920-1930
- 1.8.1 Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA, 1920 Pittsburgh, PA Dedicated June 1994 - IEEE Pittsburgh Section
- 1.8.2 Directive Short Wave Antenna, 1924 Miyagi, Japan Dedicated June 1995 - IEEE Tokyo Section
- 1.8.3 One-Way Police Radio Communication, 1928Detroit, MI Dedicated May 1987 - IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section
- 1.8.4 Shannon Scheme for the Electrification of the Irish Free State, 1929 Ardnacrusha, County Limerick, Ireland. Dedicated 29 July 2002. IEEE United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland Section(IEEE Milestone and ASCE International Historic Engineering Landmark)
- 1.9 1930-1950