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Twentieth Century History

1900 – 1912

1900 Escalator invented by Charles Seeberger. Paperclip patented by Norwegian Johann Vaaler. Loudspeaker invented by Horace Short. Charlotte Cooper becomes the first woman to win an Olympic gold, for tennis. Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, in a lecture to the German Physical Society, announces that matter absorbs heat energy and emits light energy discontinuously, giving birth to quantum mechanics.

1901 Edison General Electric Co introduces its christmas tree lights. The first facelift is performed by Eugene Hollander in Berlin on a Polish aristocrat. First time getaway car is used by 3 bank robbers in Paris. Gustave Whitehead possibly made first flight.

1902 The teddy bear is created by a Russian immigrant to the USA, after seeing a newspaper cartoon depicting President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Automatic vending machine invented. Willis Carrier invents the air conditioner. Richard Pearse makes powered flight.

1903 Orville Wright makes powered flight with Kitty Hawk, flying for 12 seconds. Earlier that year, Russian physicist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky claimed, with complex mathematical theories that man will one day travel in space and occupy planets. First Tour de France. William Harley and Arthur Davidson launch the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company. Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky publishes The Investigation of Outer Space by Means of Reaction Apparatus. First Crayola crayons go on sale.

1904 Teabags invented by Thomas Suillivan. The first underwater journey by submarine – from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Henry Royce and Charles Rolls start Rolls-Royce.

1905 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen discovers the magnetic north pole. Albert Einstein publishes “theory of relativity.” Sinn Fein founded by printer Arthur Griffith.

1906 William Kellogg invents cornflakes. Lewis Nixon invents sonar. Instant coffee invented by Mr G Washington, an Englishman living in Guatemala. The first Grand Prix is held at Le Mans, France – won by Romanian driver Ferenc Szisz in a Renault. Picasso invents cubism.

1907 Frenchman Paul Cornu designs first helicopter, flying it for a few seconds. First blood transfusion. Leo Baekeland discovers plastic. Colour photography invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.

1908 Paper cups launched by the International Paper Co New York. Ford Model T rolls out. Einstein proposes quantum theory. Swiss chemist Jacques Brandenberger invents cellophane. Gideon Bible Company started.

1909 American Robert Peary reaches North Pole. French aviator Louis Bleriot flies across the English Channel in a wooden monoplane tied together with piano strings. Briton George Smith launches the first commercially made colour film.

1910 French physicist George Claude invents neon light. Thomas Edison demonstrates the talking motion picture. Artificial silk stockings made in Germany. Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker found Black & Decker in Baltimore. Mrs John B Dodd starts Father’s Day. The Dalai Lama is forced to flee Tibet as Chinese invade Lhasa.

1911 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who discovered the magnetic north pole, reaches the South Pole. First airmail is carried from London to Berkshire. Republic of China founded. Chevrolet Motor Co founded. First Hollywood studios built. Word “Vitamin” used to describe chemicals necessary to diets.

1912 First crossword puzzle published in New York Journal. Dr Gaston Odin discovers the cancer microbe. Albert Berry makes the first parachute jump from an airplane. First neon advertising sign is displayed in Paris, for Cinzano. First self-service food store opens in California. The Titanic sinks on April, 15. Turkey surrenders to Serbia and Bulgaria, ending the Ottoman period.