Friday 21 December 2018

2018: things that didn’t quite make the cut

We’ve covered a range of stuff this year, as far back as 1888 and through to 1928, 1938, 1948, 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 (phew!). But quite a few things also had anniversaries this year. Here are some that we didn’t get to cover.

If you like spicy food, then there’s a good chance that you own some Tabasco sauce. The tabasco peppers the sauce contains originally came from the Mexican state of the same name, but the Tabasco branded sauce you typically see comes from Louisiana where both it and the McIlhenny Company were created in 1868.

One thing that you could put a dash of Tabasco in would be a Cup Noodle. Introduced by Nissin into Japan in 1958, the Cup Noodle eventually spread throughout the world, inspiring other very similar brands such as Pot Noodle in the UK.

Tabasco Sauce (1868), Cup Noodle (1958), Pepsi Cola (1898)
If you were looking for a beverage to wash your spicy Cup Noodle down with, Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1898 or you could try some Vimto, invented in Manchester in 1908 and popular with members of temperance societies who didn’t drink alcohol. Vimto also because a hit in many Muslim countries for the same reason.

1958 saw a peculiarly American take on a Scandinavian favourite with the launch of Swedish Fish. A brightly-coloured remake of the salty liquorice original, Swedish Fish remain popular in the United States today, although they contain no actual fish. Similarly, Jelly Babies contain no actual babies, but are also squishy and brightly coloured. Bassetts launched their well-known take on Jelly Babies in 1918.

Vimto (1908), Swedish Fish (1958), Jelly Babies (1918)

Back in Sweden, 1978 saw the launch of perhaps the most recognisable SAAB automobile, the SAAB 900. Spending 15 years in product, the 900 was an understated yet rather desirable car that showed Swedish engineering at its finest… and most quirky. One thing that drivers of the SAAB 900 would find interrupting their otherwise enjoyable journey were traffic lights, first introduced in London in December 1868. This gas-powered traffic light was short-lived however, as it exploded the following month. It took another half century or so for the idea to gain popularity… but my goodness, it did.

More entertaining than traffic lights, the LP record was launched by Columbia Records in 1948. Starting a familiar pattern of trying to squeeze more entertainment into a physical format, technologies such as the LaserDisc, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays really just followed the LP’s lead.

SAAB 900 (1978), Traffic Light (1868), LP Record (1948)
1918 saw the creation of the electronic flip-flop, a bistable circuit that can be used to save a 0 or a 1, and is therefore an important step into creating modern computing.  Three-quarters of a century later this led to the not exactly awe-inspiring Atari Jaguar and Amstrad Mega PC consoles, plus the Apple MessagePad PDA. But apparently there was a lot of other stuff along the way too.

Flip-Flop (1918) plus Atari Jaguar, Amstrad Mega PC, Apple MessagePad (1993)

In the online world, the process of connecting computers together to share information was given a boost by the invention of the modem in 1958, allowing computers to communicate over plain old telephone lines. 30 years later this allowed many Internet-connected computer users to talk to each other using Internet Relay Chat, and 5 years after THAT - in 1993 -  these technologies had grown into the nascent World-Wide Web and the world’s first recognisable search engine was born… no, not Google but something called JumpStation.

Modem (not actually a 1958 model), Jumpstation (1993), Internet Relay Chat (1988)

What can we look forward to next year? We see the anniversaries of such diverse products as TiVO, the Intel 486, Sinclair ZX80, Lunar Lander and... err, the Toyota Crown S130. Not all breakthroughs are as obvious as you would think. In the meantime, enjoy a mince pie - first introduced into Europe in the 13th Century.

Image credits:
g4ll4is via Flickr
Rainer Zenz via Wikimedia Commons
Qirille via Wikimedia Commons
Wapster via Flickr
Swedennewyork via Flickr
Sam Greenhalgh via Flickr 
Huynh Phuc via Wikimedia Commons 
Raysonho via Wikimedia Commons
Sheila Scarborough via Flickr
Turbojet via Wikimedia Commons
Evan-Amos via Wikimdia Commons
Association WDA via Flickr
MKFI via Wikimedia Commons
Frederik Ramm: Recherchieren und Publizieren im World Wide Web
Darkbear via Wikimedia Commons

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