How long has home technology been a thing? A very subjective question if you fully consider it? Human innovation has always been with us, but what constitutes technological inventiveness? Is a hand-operated whisk a technological invention or simply a helpful tool? That, and the answer to any other question, is very much in the eye of the beholder. We could also differentiate between when technologies were invented and when they became commonplace. Consider the remote control; when do you think it was first created? Most would guess, maybe the 1950s, 60s, or even 70s? But, these are the decades when that particular invention came into regular use. The remote control was invented by Nikola Tesla in 1898 when he produced a model boat controlled via this method.
Kitchen appliances are the classic type of device that would be considered home technology. We can credit the earliest washing machine way back to Jacob Christian Schäffer in 1767. However, this was a basic hand-operated device, but still revolutionary compared to the alternatives of the day. As electricity became commonplace throughout the 20th Century, we have seen more and more automated machinery we barely think about it today. We even see such niche products as coffee cup warmers now.
Entertainment technology is a relatively recent occurrence, beginning at the start of the 20th Century, as we can see in this handy graphic by timetoast.com. The first radio was invented in 1901, and the first TV was not until 1925; even then, it was mechanical. We had to wait until 1939 until the first electronic TV appeared, and then the mass acceptance of the TV in our homes was disrupted by World War 2. Fast forward through the latter half of the 20th Century, and we can see a vast array of smart TVs, gaming devices, and interactive technologies.,
Home security has been a concern for humans for as long as we’ve had homes. Going back further than anyone can remember, wealthy families paid men to guard their property through the night. Locks have existed as far back as 4000 years ago when the Egyptians invested a type of lock. The first automatic home alarm system was invented in 1853 by Augustus Russell Pope, using an electromagnetic system that triggered a bell when the circuit was broken. When we consider how many choices we are faced with when finding a home security system these days, it is fascinating to consider where we began.
In some ways, computing is the key in all our recent technologies found in the home. A computer chip controls virtually every device; even more, are controlled by a smart computer. The list of smart devices is almost endless, smart speakers, TVs, fridges, heating systems, etc. But it’s not so long ago that computers and the internet were the domain of a few enthusiasts. The internet officially first came to lie in 1983 as a network for physicists; however it was not publicly available via the world wide web until 1993.