Who invented the answering machine?

1938 to 1944: nuclear fission, ballpoint pen, answering machine, color television, computer and mask molding

earlier inventions

Nuclear fission
Automatic answering machine
Color television
Mask molding

Nuclear fission - discoverers: 1938 Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann

A discovery with far-reaching consequences was made in 1938 by the German physicist and Otto Hahn and his colleague Fritz Straßmann: They succeeded in splitting uranium atoms and detecting the fission products. In one experiment, they bombarded the uranium with neutrons and received artificial barium and krypton. Although some scientists had previously speculated about a possible nuclear fission, thanks to Hahn and Straßmann, the proof was now also available. The atomic age had begun.

Ballpoint pen - inventor: 1938 László József Bíró

It is amazing how long it took to invent a seemingly ubiquitous, trivial object like the ballpoint pen. In 1938 the Hungarian László József Bíró developed this practical writing instrument with the small ball that rolls special ink on the paper. The ballpoint pen owed its breakthrough to a very curious application: Since it works well even at low air pressure and is therefore airworthy, the British Royal Air Force ordered 30,000 copies during the Second World War.

Automatic answering machine - inventor: 1938 Willy Müller

The first answering machine came from the German inventor Willy Müller. Although he was able to play a personal greeting message (and thus actually answer the call), he could not save a message from the caller. This recording function was only added to later AB models. After the Second World War, Müller went to neighboring Switzerland to manufacture his own answering machines and dictation machines. From a technical point of view, both types of device have a lot in common.

Color television inventor: 1940 Peter Goldmark / John Logie Baird

The history of color television began around 1928 with a pioneering invention by the Scotsman John Logie Baird. Even so, until 1940 the world of television remained largely black and white. Then the American engineer Peter Goldmark brought color into play and developed the prototype of a high-performance color television - based on Baird's basic principle. At around the same time, the Mexican Guillermo González Camarena also invented a system for color image transmission. Neither Baird's, nor Goldmark's, nor Camarena's methods prevailed in practice. The most important counter-argument against Goldmark's "Field Sequential System", which worked with rotating color wheels, was the lack of compatibility with black and white televisions. In other words, if this technology had been introduced, all owners of old televisions would have had to throw their devices away.

Computer inventor: 1941 Konrad Zuse

The computer age began almost unnoticed in 1941. The digital calculating machine "Zuse Z3" by the German inventor Konrad Zuse could in principle already do many things that modern computers do today. Like its predecessor, Zuse Z1, it was programmable, calculated in the binary system and had a working memory (200 bytes!). The great advantage of the Zuse Z3 was its reliability, after Konrad Zuse had replaced the previous mechanical switching elements with an electromechanical solution: the Zuse Z3 had around 2200 relay switches.

The first digital computers in the USA were the "Atanasoff-Berry Computer" from 1941 and the "Electronic Nemerical Integrator and Computer" (ENIAC) developed in 1942. The Atanasoff-Berry computer was ahead of the Zuse Z1, was able to solve linear systems of equations, but could not be programmed and was prone to failure. The ENIAC was more flexible and progressive. He calculated with storage units called “accumulators” and needed a good two milliseconds for a difficult multiplication.

Mask molding - inventor: 1944 Johannes Croning

The German Johannes Croning invented an important innovation in metal casting in the middle of World War II: the so-called Croning process uses phenolic resin, which combines with quartz sand under the action of heat and forms a form that is particularly accurate but can only be used once (lost form).

later inventions