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  1900    Telephone transmission extends across and between major cities

As telephone transmission extends across and between major cities, "loading coils" or inductors are placed along the lines to reduce distortion and attenuation or the loss of a signal's power. Independently invented by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company's (AT&T) George Campbell and Michael Pupin of Columbia University, the loading coils are first used commercially in New York and Boston, nearly doubling the transmission distance of open lines. Pupin is awarded the patent for the device in 1904, and AT&T pays him for its use.

  1900    Kodak Brownie camera

Eastman introduces the Kodak Brownie camera. Named after popular children’s book characters, it sells for $1 and uses film that sells for 15¢ a roll. For the first time, photography is inexpensive and accessible to anyone who wants to take "snapshots." In the first year 150,000 cameras are sold, and many of the first owners are children. In the course of its long production life, the Brownie has more than 175 models; the last one is marketed as late as 1980 in England.

  1900    Sanitary and Ship Canal opens in Chicago

In Chicago the Main Channel of the Sanitary and Ship Canal opens, reversing the flow of the Chicago River. The 28-mile, 24-foot-deep, 160-foot-wide drainage canal, built between Chicago and the town of Lockport, Illinois, is designed to bring in water from Lake Michigan to dilute sewage dumped into the river from houses, farms, stockyards, and other industries. Directed by Rudolph Hering, chief engineer of the Commission on Drainage and Water Supply, the project is the largest municipal earth-moving project of the time.

  1900    Tesla granted a U.S. patent

Nikola Tesla is granted a U.S. patent for a "system of transmitting electrical energy" and another patent for "an electrical transmitter"—both the products of his years of development in transmitting and receiving radio signals. These patents would be challenged and upheld (1903), reversed (1904), and finally restored (1943).

  1901    The telescope shock absorber developed

C. L. Horock designs the "telescope" shock absorber, using a piston and cylinder fitted inside a metal sleeve, with a one-way valve built into the piston. As air or oil moves through the valve into the cylinder, the piston moves freely in one direction but is resisted in the other direction by the air or oil. The result is a smoother ride and less lingering bounce. The telescope shock absorber is still used today.

  1901    North America’s first oil gusher

North America’s first oil gusher blows at the Spindletop field near Beaumont in southeastern Texas, spraying more than 800,000 barrels of crude into the air before it can be brought under control. The strike boosts the yearly oil output in the United States from 2,000 barrels in 1859 to more than 65 million barrels by 1901.

  1901    First successful flying model propelled by an internal combustion engine

Samuel Pierpont Langley builds a gasoline-powered version of his tandem-winged "Aerodromes." the first successful flying model to be propelled by an internal combustion engine.  As early as 1896 he launches steam-propelled models with wingspans of up to 15 feet on flights of more than half a mile.

  1901    Olds automobile factory starts production

The Olds automobile factory starts production in Detroit. Ransom E. Olds contracts with outside companies for parts, thus helping to originate mass production techniques. Olds produces 425 cars in its first year of operation, introducing the three-horsepower "curved-dash" Oldsmobile at $650. The car is a success; Olds is selling 5,000 units a year by 1905.

  1901    Marconi picks up the first transatlantic radio signal

Guglielmo Marconi, waiting at a wireless receiver in St. John’s, Newfoundland, picks up the first transatlantic radio signal, transmitted some 2,000 miles from a Marconi station in Cornwall, England. To send the signal—the three dots of the Morse letter "s"—Marconi’s engineers send a copper wire aerial skyward by hoisting it with a kite. Marconi builds a booming business using radio as a new way to send Morse code.

  1901    Engine-powered vacuum cleaner

British civil engineer H. Cecil Booth patents a vacuum cleaner powered by an engine and mounted on a horse-drawn cart. Teams of operators would reel the hoses into buildings to be cleaned.

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