This Date in IT History: DARPAnet, Mosaic Netscape and Prodigy


6 Computer scientists at Bolt, Beranek and Newman in 1968 propose building a packet-switching network for the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency network (ARPAnet), a precursor to the Internet.

7 David Packard is born in 1912 in Pueblo, Colo. Packard would go on to cofound Hewlett-Packard in 1939 (with fellow Stanford graduate William Hewlett) as a maker of electrical testing equipment.

9 Grace Murray Hopper finds the first computer "bug" in 1945. A moth had caught itself in the circuitry of the Mark II computer system at Harvard. Hopper and an assistant remove it with tweezers.

11 More than 3,000 users per minute try to access an online version of the report on President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky posted on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s website in 1998.

In 2001, the United States suffers the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history when planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing 2,936. Communications are disrupted throughout Northeast.

12 In 1958, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments tests the first integrated circuit.

Marc Andreessen unveils a new Web browser called Mosaic Netscape in 1994 at a trade show.

18 Two Web domain-name groups, Network Solutions and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, form the nonprofit ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in 1998 to oversee the domain-name system.

20 In 1988, Sears and IBM roll out Prodigy, a videotext service costing $9.95 per month, to subscribers in seven cities. It becomes a pre-Web rival to CompuServe, GE’s Genie and The Source (now AOL).

22 IBM announces in 1997 that it can make computer chips with copper instead of aluminum, a development that could increase computer speeds by up to 40 percent.

23 In 1884, Herman Hollerith, a 24-year-old mechanical engineering instructor at MIT, files the first patent for an adding machine that uses punch cards. Hollerith would go on to found the Tabulating Machine, a forerunner of IBM, in 1896.

Government officials in Argentina slice phone rates in half for Internet users to encourage citizens to get online in 1997.

25 In 1956 in New York, AT&T Chairman Cleo Frank Craig makes the first trans-Atlantic telephone call to Charles Hill of the British Post Office in London.

29 Compaq unveils its second portable computer, the Compaq Portable 386 (powered by an Intel 386 chip) in 1987. It costs between $8,000 and $10,000 and weighs 20 pounds.

30 Microsoft releases its Excel spreadsheet in 1985, claiming that it’s the fastest spreadsheet available for the IBM PC.

Xerox, which had worked with Digital Equipment and Intel, publishes Ethernet specifications in 1980. Ethernet went on to become the most widely installed LAN technology.

Sources:,, National Institute of Standards and Technology Virtual Museum,, Hewlett-Packard


Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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