keyboard and a mouse, using the Smalltalk operating system. The weight was of 22 Kg
and the production costs were incredibly high, reaching $50,000, at the time of

One of the most important steps in the history of the laptop is the one taken in 1981 by
Osborne Computer Corporation that released the world's first portable computer on the
market at a price of $1795. Osborne 1 was called after its designer's name, Adam
Osborne, who created the 24.5-pound laptop powered by a Zilog Z80 processor
featuring 4MHz speeds, 64K RAM memory, a 5-inch display with 53 x 24 text
resolution, IEEE-488 port configurable as a Parallel printer port, RS-232 compatible
1200 or 300 baud Serial port for use with external modems or serial printers, modem,
dual 5-1/4 inches 91K drives for storage, single sided, single density floppy disk drives,
and the CP/M operating system.
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
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Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
about $5000 each. The magnetron tube had to be water-cooled, so plumbing
installations were also required.

Patent No. 2,495,429 "Method of Treating Foodsuff" was granted on Jan. 24, 1950 to
Percy Lebaron Spencer.

Sometime between 1952-55, Tappan introduced the first home model priced at $1295.
In 1965 Raytheon acquired Amana Refrigeration. Two years later, the first countertop,
domestic oven was introduced. It was a 100-volt microwave oven, which cost just
under $500 and was smaller, safer and more reliable than previous models.

By 1975, sales of microwave ovens would, for the first time, exceed that of gas ranges.
The following year, a reported 17% of all homes in Japan were doing their cooking by
microwaves, compared with 4% of the homes in the United States the same year.
Before long, though, microwave ovens were adorning the kitchens in over nine million
homes, or about 14%, of all the homes in the United States. In 1976, the microwave
oven became a more commonly owned kitchen appliance than the dishwasher, reaching
nearly 60%, or about 52 million U.S. households. America's cooking habits were being
drastically changed by the time and energy-saving convenience of the microwave oven.
Once considered a luxury, the microwave oven had developed into a practical necessity
for a fast-paced world.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
Quiz #268 Results

An expanding market has produced a style to suit every
taste; a size, shape, and color to fit any kitchen, and a
price to please almost every pocketbook. Options and
features, such as the addition of convection heat, probe
and sensor cooking, meet the needs of virtually every
cooking, heating or drying application. Today, the magic
of microwave cooking has radiated around the globe,
becoming an international phenomenon.
Drawing from orignal
microwave patent.
(b) The Double Helix
Late in 1951, Francis Crick started working with James
D. Watson at Cavendish Laboratory at the University of
Cambridge, England. Using "Photo 51" (the X-ray
diffraction results of Raymond Gosling and Rosalind
Franklin of King's College London, given to them by
Gosling and Franklin's colleague Maurice Wilkins),
Watson and Crick together developed a model for a
helical structure of DNA, which they published in 1953.
For this and subsequent work they were jointly awarded
the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 with
Maurice Wilkins.

When James Watson came to Cambridge, Crick was a
35-year-old post-graduate student (due to his work
during WWII) and Watson was only 23, but he already
Read more
about Rosalind
Obit of Dr.
Francis Crick.
the discovery on Saturday, May 30, 1953. Bragg's original announcement of the
discovery at a Solvay conference on proteins in Belgium on 8 April 1953 went
unreported by the British press.
Answers to Quiz #268
August 15, 2010
indicating that it had helical structure.
Having failed once, Watson and Crick
were now somewhat reluctant to try
again and for a while they were forbidden
to make further efforts to find a
molecular model of DNA.

The discovery was made on February 28,
1953; the first Watson/Crick paper
appeared in Nature on April 25, 1953. Sir
Lawrence Bragg, the director of the
Cavendish Laboratory, where Watson and
had a Ph.D. They shared an interest in the fundamental problem of learning how genetic
information might be stored in molecular form. Watson and Crick talked endlessly
about DNA and the idea that it might be possible to guess a good molecular model of its
structure. A key piece of experimentally-derived information came from X-ray
diffraction images that had been obtained by Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, and
their research student, Raymond Gosling. In November 1951, Wilkins came to
Cambridge and shared his data with Watson and Crick. Alexander Stokes (another
expert in helical diffraction theory) and Wilkins (both at King's College) had reached the
conclusion that X-ray diffraction data for DNA indicated that the molecule had a helical
structure—but Franklin vehemently disputed this conclusion. Stimulated by their
discussions with Wilkins and what Watson learned by attending a talk given by Franklin
about her work on DNA, Crick and Watson produced and showed off an erroneous
first model of DNA. Their hurry to produce a model of DNA structure was driven in
part by Watson's belief that they were competing against Linus Pauling. Given Pauling's
recent success in discovering the Alpha helix, it was not unreasonable to worry that
Pauling might also be the first to determine the structure of DNA.

In 1952, Watson did X-ray diffraction on tobacco mosaic virus and found results
Crick worked, gave a talk at Guys Hospital Medical
School in London on Thursday, May 14, 1953
which resulted in an article by Ritchie Calder in
The News Chronicle of London, on Friday, May
15, 1953, entitled "Why You Are You. Nearer
Secret of Life." The news reached readers of The
New York Times the next day; Victor K.
McElheny, in researching his biography, "Watson
and DNA: Making a Scientific Revolution", found a
clipping of a six-paragraph New York Times article
written from London and dated May 16, 1953 with
the headline "Form of `Life Unit' in Cell Is
Scanned." The article ran in an early edition and
was then pulled to make space for news deemed
more important. (The New York Times
subsequently ran a longer article on June 12,
1953). The Cambridge University undergraduate
newspaper Varsity also ran its own short article on
Comments from Our Readers
Francis Crick (top)
James D. Watson (bottom)
N.B.  What cracks me up is that the answering machine was so popular with
Orthodox Jews who were not allowed to answer the phone on the Sabbath. What
puzzles me is who would be calling them on the Sabbath? Was the guy who invented
it Orthodox Jew and it was OK to make the calls but not answer them? What a
business opportuntiy!   Q. Gen.

I attended Jewish Hospital School of Nursing - so I know a little about the customs.  
They cannot turn on or off a light - but if someone (non-orthodox) comes to the house,
they are allowed to do it.  They can't cook, but their stove can be used.  (I guess the
stove isn't orthodox.)  So, yes, strictly speaking they cannot answer the phone.  What
puzzles me is - what if the call (from a non-orthodox person obviously) is an
emergency?  They can't call back! Jews are known for being self-employed - mainly
because no one would hire them.  So customers could also call and leave messages for
follow up.                                                                                    
Debbie Johnson

My parents had a rotary phone until the late 80's and didn't get an answering machine
or cable TV until I was in college. My poor mom can write these complicated programs
for mainframe computers, but PCs confound her for some reason. LOL! Love these
quizzes Colleen! Thanks! :)                                                           
Laurel Fletchner

I found it interesting that the voice mail guy wanted a human voice to answer the
phone.  And all we want is an actual human!                        
Debbie Johnson (again)

Engineers (like me) just love quizesses like this.

The DNA date is when the first scientific article describing your photo was published.  
The other dates are for the first working models.  Most technologies were actually
conceived of much earlier than prototypes created, but I decided to use the date that
someone got the pictured device to work.

Its a good thing you didn't include a photo of a transistor.  The device was patented by
Julius Lilienfeld in 1925 but nobody could figure out how to manufacture it until Bell
Labs in 1947. What is the first working model date? Take your pick.

Isn't engineering FUN?                                                                     
George Wright

N.B.  Yes isn't engineering (and physics too please) fun!  I knew this would attract
the technophiles in the audience.  Q Gen.

As you probably know, many of these gadgets had a rather complex path to the
common usage we enjoy today. The cordless phone, the laptop computer and the
telephone answering machine all saw early versions that were not marketable or it was
simply to early for their value to be recognized for what it was. But they laid a
foundation upon which later developers would build. I have used the earliest dates that,
I believe, show the practical application of the devices. I have added notes that should
help align these findings with what others may submit. For the DNA picture I chose the
date that Watson and Crick published the double-helix model of DNA. A lot of work by
a lot of people went in to this model. We know that in 1943 Avery showed that DNA
carried genetic information. In 1948 Linus Pauling discovered that many proteins were
helix-shaped. Rosalind Franklin, using x-ray diffraction, was possibly the first to
suspect that all DNA but it was Watson and Crick who first proposed the double helix
John Fitzparick

Long time since I had some time to dig into one of your quizzes, Collene. The picture
of the cassette recorder (If I'm right, that's what it is) was the real magnet! Sorry I've
been away so long; keep the messages coming!                          
Richard Cleaveland

Addendum to Third place which could change the lineup entirely!  If one believes in
God, then God created life and thus, is the "inventor" of DNA!  This would place DNA
as the precursor to all the rest of these items because if one does not have life, then one
cannot invent anything (in theory, at least...) Therefore, DNA would have to come first
before all the rest.

Not really an invention, as such. The DNA molecular chain was figured out in the
sixties. I recommend the book " Double Helix ", which documents the procedures.

There could be two answers to this question depending on your school of thought,
either the correct conditions created simple proteins that eventually became DNA
(whatever!) or God.

If you are asking who discovered DNA, many people over a number of years have
added to our knowledge of it, including:

Friedrich Miescher
Phoebus Levene
William Astbury
Frederick Griffith
Oswald Avery
Colin MacLeod
Maclyn McCarty
Alfred Hershey
Martha Chase
Rosalind Franklin
James D. Watson
Francis Crick
Maurice Wilkins.
Karen Kay Bunting
The moon was most likely around before any evidence of DNA.           
Dennis Brann

Wow, Colleen, too many variables on a couple of these. Is (b) the first isolation of the
compound or the discovery of its structure? is (c) a telephone recording device, an
automatic answering machine, or a cassette automatic answering machine? I have to
assume (why? because of what's on the display?) that (e) is not just a generic
computer, but is it a portable, a true laptop, a notebook style? Maybe I'm tired and
grumpy after two (wonderful) weeks of music festival, but I don't have the patience
(nor, unfortunately, the time) this week to sort it out any further. This doesn't mean I
don't still love you!                                                                             
Peter Norton

N.B.  >>>BLUSH<<< There you go trying to sweet talk your way into being declared
a winner.    Q. Gen.
Interesting Facts about the Moon

Unlike other international rivalries, the
Space Race has remained unaffected in a
direct way regarding the desire for
territorial expansion. After the successful
landings on the Moon, the U.S. explicitly
disclaimed the right to ownership of any
part of the Moon.

President Richard Nixon had speechwriter
William Safire prepare a condolence
speech for delivery in the event that
Armstrong and Aldrin became marooned
on the Moon's surface and could not be

In the 1940s writer Arthur C. Clarke
(d) Microwave Oven
Compact cassette tape based answering machine
patent granted on Nov. 10, 1931 to Benjamin J.
Thornton; Patent No. 1,831,331.

Mr. Willy Müller invented the first automatic
answering machine in 1935. This answering
machine was a three-foot-tall machine popular with
Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the
phone on the Sabbath. The Ansafone, created by
inventor Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto for Phonetel, was the
first answering machine sold in the USA, beginning
in 1960.

In 1986, Kazuo Hashimoto received a patent for a
Digital Answering Machine architecture with US
Patent 4,616,110.  The first Digital Answering
Machine brought to the market was AT&T's 1337;
an activity led by Trey Weaver. Mr. Hashimoto sued
AT&T but quickly dropped the suit because the
AT&T architecture was significantly different than
his patent.

To see Benjaman Thornton's patent, click
To see Dr. Hashimoto's patent, click
Answering Machine
and first page of  
Thornton's 1931
Like many of today's great inventions, the microwave oven was
a by-product of another technology. It was during a
radar-related research project around 1946 that Dr. Percy
Spencer, a self-taught engineer with the Raytheon Corporation,
noticed something very unusual. He was testing a new vacuum
tube called a magnetron, when he discovered that the candy bar
in his pocket had melted. When Dr. Spencer placed popcorn
kernels near the tube, the popcorn popped. When he tried the
same experiment with an egg, it exploded.  Spencer concluded
the food was heating due to exposure to low-density
microwave energy.

By late 1946, the Raytheon Company had filed a patent for a
device that used microwaves to cook food. In 1947, Raytheon
demonstrated the world's first microwave oven and called it a
"Radarange," the winning name in an employee contest. Housed
in refrigerator-sized cabinets, the first microwave ovens cost
between $2,000 and $3,000. that same year, the first
commercial microwave oven was introduced into the market.
These primitive units where gigantic and enormously expensive,
standing 5 1/2 feet tall, weighing over 750 pounds, and costing
(f) Cordless Phone
A jazz musician named Teri Pall invented a version of the
cordless phone in 1965 but could not market her invention
as its two-mile range caused radio signals to interfere with
aircraft. She sold her rights to the cordless phone in 1968
to a manufacturer who modified it for practical use.

George Sweigert, an amateur radio operator and inventor
from Cleveland, Ohio,  submitted a patent application in
1966 for a "full duplex wireless communications
Then and now.
One of first
microwave ovens
compared to a
modern model.
To see Percy
original patent
for the
microwave, click
appartus"[sic]. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded him a patent in June
1969. Sweigert, a radio operator in World War II stationed at the South Pacific Islands
of Guadalcanal and Bougainville, developed the full duplex-concept for untrained
personnel, to improve battlefield communications for senior commanders. He was also
licensed as W8ZIS and N9LC in the amateur radio service. He also held a First Class
Radiotelephone Operator's Permit issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

Sweigert was an active proponent for directly coupling consumer electronics to the
AT&T-owned telephone lines in the late 1960s. (This was banned at the time; most
telephones were made by Western Electric and rented to the customer by AT&T.) The
Carterphone, a crude device for interconnecting a two-way radio with the telephone,
(a) Man on the Moon
Congraulations to Our Winners!


Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.                Jocelyn Thayer
Donna Jolley                Gary Sterne
Debbie Johnson                Jessica Jolley
Laurel Fletchner                John Fitzpatrick
Susan Skidmore                Arthur Hartwell
Pat Quin                Margie O'Donnell
Carl Blessing                Molly Collins
Richard Cleaveland                       Richard Wakeham
Mark Goldberg                Karen Kay Bunting
Wayne Douglas                Betty Chambers
Mary Tanona                Dennis Brann
Peter Norton                Steven Jolley
Don Draper                Diane Burkett
Mike Dalton                Milene Rawlinson                Tish Olshefski
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led to the reversal of the Federal Communications Commission
ban on direct coupling of consumer equipment to phone lines
(known as the 1968 landmark Carterphone decision) on June 26,
1968. The original cordless phones, like the Carterphone, were
acoustically (not electrically) connected to the Public Switched
Telephone Network (PSTN).

In the 1980s, a number of manufacturers, including Sony,
introduced cordless phones for the consumer market.
(c) Answering Machine
IBM NoteTaker
The history of the laptop sends us back in
April 1976, when Xerox PARC developed
the first portable computer prototype
called Xerox NoteTaker. It never reached
mass production but it was the inspiration
source for the first commercially available
notebook. Xerox NoteTaker was designed
by Alan Key, Adele Goldberg, Douglas
Fairbairn, and Larry Tesler. It featured a
built-in monochrome display monitor,
128K 8-bit memory, 1MHz processing
speed, a floppy disk drive, foldable
Still frame from the video transmission
of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the
surface of the Moon at 02:56 UTC on
July 21, 1969. An estimated 500 million
people worldwide watched this event,
the largest television audience for a live
broadcast at that time.[
Moon Landings
forecast that man would reach the Moon by 2000.

On August 16, 2006, the Associated Press reported that NASA is missing the original
Slow-scan television tapes (which were made before the scan conversion for
conventional TV) of the Apollo 11 Moon walk. Some news outlets have mistakenly
reported that the SSTV tapes were found in Western Australia, but those tapes were
only recordings of data from the Apollo 11 Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package.

Read more about Moon Landings. Click


There was some freedom of interpretation on what the images depicted.
The following is what I intended:

The inventions shown had a long history of development, sometimes beginning
with early models that did not work.
We gave readers a lot of leeway in evaluating each response.
(c)   1935 - Answering machine
(d)   1947 - Microwave oven
(b)   1953 - DNA double helix discovered
(f)   1965 - First cordless phone
(a)   1969 - Man lands on the moon
(e)   1976 - First laptop
To see George
original patent
for the cordless
phone, click
Landing Date
Blastoff Date
Lunar Landing
Duration on
Lunar Surface
No. of
Total EVA
Apollo 11
20 Jul 1969
21 July 1969
Sea of Tranquility
Neil Armstrong, Edwin
"Buzz" Aldrin
Apollo 12
19 Nov 1969
21 Nov 1969
Ocean of Storms
1 day, 7:31
Charles "Pete" Conrad,
Alan Bean
Apollo 14
5 Feb 1971
6 Feb 1971
Fra Mauro
1 day, 9:30
Alan B. Shepard, Edgar
Apollo 15
30 Jul 1971
3 Aug 1971
Hadley Rille
2 days, 18:55
David Scott, James Irwin
Apollo 16
21 Apr 1972
24 Apr 1971
2 days, 23:02
John Young, Charles Duke
Apollo 17
11 Dec 1972
14 Dec 1972
3 days, 2:59
Eugene Cernan, Harrison
H. "Jack" Schmitt
(e)  Laptop Computer