As a lover of history, I’m enamoured by photos of the past. Important moments that have been preserved through light and lenses. Some are joyous. Some mournful.
I often trawl historic images on Instagram, because my nerdom knows no bounds. So I thought I would share some incredible photographs that have captured moments in tech history, from some of my favourite accounts.
Old School Calculations
Before the days of computers, @NASA employees had to calculate and compute equations the old-fashioned way, by hand. Pictured here are six unidentified scientists using ladders and a large chalkboard to work out equations for satellite orbits, circa 1957. #NASA #Math #Science #SpaceRace #history #USHistory
A Historic Explosion
On #ThisDayinHistory 1937, the German airship Hindenburg explodes as it arrives in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people died in the fiery accident that has since become iconic, in part because of the live radio broadcast of the disaster. The dirigible was built to be the fastest, largest and most luxurious flying vessel of its time. It was more than 800 feet long, had a range of 8,000 miles, could carry 97 passengers and had a state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz engine. It was filled with 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen, even though helium was known to be far safer, because it made the flying ship more maneuverable. The Hindenburg had made 10 successful ocean crossings the year before and was held up by Germany’s Nazi government as a symbol of national pride. Flying at a speed of 85 miles per hour, the Hindenburg was scheduled to arrive in New Jersey at 5 a.m. on May 6. However, weather conditions pushed the arrival back to the late afternoon and then rain further delayed the docking. When the dirigible was finally cleared to dock, the captain brought the ship in too fast and had to order a reverse engine thrust. A gas leak was noticed and within minutes, the tail blew up, sending flames hundreds of feet in the air and as far down as the ground below. A chain reaction caused the entire vessel to burn instantly. The nearly 1,000 spectators awaiting the Hindenburg‘s arrival felt the heat from a mile away. Some on the blimp attempted to jump for the landing cables at the docking station but most died when they missed. Others waited to jump until the blimp was closer to the ground as it fell. Those who were not critically injured from burns often suffered broken bones from the jump. Fifty-six people managed to survive. On WLS radio, announcer Herbert Morrison gave an unforgettably harrowing live account of the disaster, “Oh, oh, oh. It’s burst into flames. Get out of the way, please . . . this is terrible . . . it’s burning, bursting into flames, and is falling . . . Oh! This is one of the worst . . . it’s a terrific sight . . .oh, the humanity.” #Hindenburg #ohthehumanity #1937 #history #dirigible #airship
An Important Announcement
The Iron Lung
Children encased in an iron lung before the advent of the polio vaccination, 1950 The iron lung works by acting as a negative pressure ventilator, allowing a person to breathe when normal muscle control has been lost or the act of breathing exceeds the person’s ability. The iron lung creates lower pressure around the thorax and this expands the rib cage and draws air into the lungs. #science #polio #vaccines
The First Chimpanzee In Space
On #ThisDayinHistory 1961, Ham the chimpanzee became the first hominid launched into space. He was born around 1957 in Cameroon but was captured and brought to a facility in Florida. He was “recruited” to the space program in July 1959,and was transferred to Holloman Air Force Base to be trained for space flight as part of Project Mercury. Ham and other future chimpanzee astronauts were trained over 18 months, but Ham was eventually selected as the chimpanzee who would venture into space for science. On January 31, 1961, Ham was propelled into space, strapped into a container called a “couch.” His flight lasted approximately 16 ½ minutes and he performed all of his assigned tasks correctly. After the flight, however, the capsule splashed down 130 miles from target. It took several hours for a recovery ship to reach Ham, but miraculously he was alive. Upon landing, Ham’s “smile” assured people he was all right, but when chimps bare their teeth it’s a sign of anxiety. Anxiety that was apparent when photographers attempted to get another shot of Ham in his “couch.” He refused to go back into it. Unlike most of the space chimps, Ham was not given over to biomedical research, instead being transferred to The National Zoo in 1963, where he lived alone for 17 years, before finally being sent to the North Carolina Zoo where he could live with other chimps. He died in 1983. #HAM #chimpanzee #NASA #Projectmercury #animalsinspace
Even if Outkast did sing it, don’t shake the polaroids! This portrait is of scientist, inventor, and businessman Edwin Land president and co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. A Harvard dropout, Land founded the company to commercialize his first invention, but it was his 1948 invention that really took off. The first polaroid camera weighed over 4 pounds, but the images developed in 60 seconds. What most of us know as the iconic polaroid debuted in 1972 and instant pictures delighted us until the company declared bankruptcy in the 2000s. It all but closed down until a small company called the Impossible Project purchased their last film factory. And polaroid lives again! #Polaroid #picture #heyya #photohistory
1956 Hard Drive
First American In Space
On #ThisDayinHistory 1962, John Hershel Glenn Jr. is successfully launched into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first orbital flight by an American astronaut. Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by NASA in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts. A decorated pilot, he flew nearly 150 combat missions during WWII and the Korean War. In 1957, he made the first nonstop supersonic flight across the United States, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes. Glenn was preceded in space by two Americans, Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, and two Soviet Cosmonauts Yuri A. Gagarin and Gherman S. Titov. It was with this responsibility in mind that John Glenn lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral under the gaze of 100,000 spectators. As he approached orbit, Glenn radioed back, “Capsule is turning around. Oh, that view is tremendous.” #JohnGlenn #NASA #Space #Friendship7 #Space #orbit