From 'Pong' To 'Concorde' To 'Mr. Coffee' - Another Fascinating Show
"In the 1970s, American dropped conformity and adopted a hedonistic lifestyle." So opens this program on the wild-and-wacky '70s. However, the culture isn't really discussed; it's the technology. What inventions took place or were perfected that stand out?
According to Modern Marvels, it was (1) video and computer games; (2) supersonic jets; (3) the Poloroid camera; (4) Mr. Coffee; (5) microwave ovens; (6) the Firebird Trans-Am and (7) the CB radio.
Some of these things led to everyday products millions of people use today. Video and computer games are now a multi-BILLION dollar industry. The technology that began those, beginning with the primitive "Pong" game, is explained here. It led to the famous computer "chip" which has led to hand-held games now all the way to the new HD TV sets and a lot more technological advances of today.
Another innocent but popular item of the day - the Speak & Spell game which helped children learn how to spell - led to today's cell phone technology.
Some inventions looked great but didn't really pan out too well, the biggest and most expensive being the SSTs - those huge supersonic passenger planes. Only the Concorde made it, and now it is out of business after 25 years because it's simply too expensive to run. When it stopped giving service, it cost $6,000 a ticket to get on it! Boeing almost went bankrupt trying to build a huge SST for the United States.
Edwin Land became famous for sticking with his project, the Poloroid camera. It took him 25 years but in 1972, his SX70 was ready to market and it was a big hit. For the first time, people could see within minutes what they just photographed.
Also in 1972, Mr. Coffee made its debut and bitter percolated coffee was a thing of the past. Since then, over 50 million of these units have been sold!
Who couldn't do without a microwave oven? Prior to the '70s, however, only a few huge "Radar Range" microwaves - for restaurants, could be had.
The car of the decade definitely was the Pontiac Firebird with its famous "screaming chicken" logo and high horsepower. This car was made doubly famous when Burt Reynolds drove it in "Smokey And The Bandit." For the next two years, more were sold than the first six years combined.
Finally, the CB radio was the forerunner of today's cell phone, being the first way to talk on the phone in an automobile.
"That's a 10-4, good buddy!"
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