Year Keyword Event  and Description
1180 bl * Glass B Glass windows appear in private English houses (see tax, 1695). 
1278 bl hp ls J The glass mirror is invented. 
1596 bl ha Clean L A practical water closet invented by English poet Sir John Harington has few buyers. The privy and chamber pot now in universal use will remain in common use for centuries (see Cummings, 1775). 
1742 bl ha Franklin U The Franklin stove invented by Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin heats a room far more efficiently than does an open fireplace. Designed to be set inside a fireplace, Franklin’s iron “Pennsylvania fireplace” represents the first application of the principle of heating by warmed air—it has a top, back, and sides with an air box inside joined to the sides but not reaching quite to the top. The fire built in front of its opening produces smoke that moves up the front of its air box, over its top, and down again behind it whence it enters the flue at floor level, thus heating the air in the air box which is released by shutters in the sides of the stove. 
1778 bl ha Clean L A water closet patented by English engineer Joseph Bramah, 30, has a valve-and-siphon flushing system that will be the basis of all future toilet plumbing. Bramah’s factory at Pimlico will train other engineers and machine tool inventors, but his flush toilet will not come into wide use for more than a century (see 1775). 
1803 bl ha Kitchen F The first ice refrigerator (icebox) is patented by Maryland farmer Thomas Moore, who places one wooden box inside another, insulates the space in between with charcoal or ashes, and places a tin box container at the top of the inner 
1824 bl * Build T Portland cement, patented by English bricklayer Joseph Aspdin of Leeds, is impervious to water and as durable as the cement used by Roman aqueduct builders in ancient times. Aspdin has mixed chalk and clay and heated the mixture to a high temperature (see White, 1820; reinforced concrete, 1849). 
1834 bl ha Gas F Gas refrigeration has its beginnings in a compression machine invented in England by U.S. inventor Jacob Perkins of 1790 nail-cutter fame who has lived abroad for years. Now 58, Perkins distills rubber to create a volatile liquid which is allowed to evaporate by absorbing heat from its surroundings. When the vapor is compressed it turns back to liquid, giving off heat, and by alternately compressing and expanding Perkins extracts heat from the region of expansion until he has cooled water to the point that it freezes (see Faraday, 1823; Gorrie, 1842; Linde, 1873). 
1842 bl ha Carrier B Florida physician John Gorrie, 39, pioneers air conditioning (and mechanical refrigeration) with a method for lowering the temperature in his wife’s sick-room at Apalachicola. Having waited in vain for ice from Maine that has been lost in the wreck of the schooner that was carrying it, Dr. Gorrie takes measures to alleviate the unbearable heat. He sets a vessel of ammonia atop a stepladder, lets it drip, and thus invents an artificial ice-making machine whose basic principle will be employed in air conditioning (and in refrigeration) (see Perkins, 1834; Carré, 1858; Linde, 1873; Carrier, 1902). 
1845 bl * Build K William Armstrong patents an hydraulic crane (see Ellswick Engineering Works, 1847). 
1849 bl * Build B Reinforced concrete containing iron bars, patented by French inventor Joseph Monier, 26, will permit construction of taller buildings, bigger dams, and other structures not heretofore possible, but no reinforced concrete building of more than two stories will be erected for 54 years (see Cincinnati, 1903; Otis, 1852). 
1849 bl * Build B The first modular prefabricated cast iron and glass “curtain wall” buildings are erected in New York at the corner of Washington and Murray Streets by former watchmaker and inventor James Bogardus, 49, who has designed them on commission from local merchant Edgar H. Laing. The columns and spandrels that make up the facades are simply bolted together with the bolt heads covered by cast iron rosettes and other decorative ornaments. Bogardus will obtain a patent next year to cover his revolutionary invention, and prefabricated buildings will soon go up all over Manhattan and at Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, and other cities as well (see department store, 1862). 
1852 bl * Otis B The safety elevator invented at Yonkers, N.Y., by master mechanic Elisha Graves Otis, 41, will lead to the development of high-rise buildings. Otis sets up ratchets along each side of an elevator shaft at the Yonkers Bedstead Manufacturing Co., he attaches teeth to the sides of the cage, the rope that holds up the cage keeps the teeth clear of the ratchets so long as the rope remains under tension, and when the tension is released the teeth grip the ratchets and hold the cage securely in place. Otis has been about to join the gold rush to California but changes his mind when he receives two unsolicited orders for his “safety hoister” (see 1854). 
1854 bl * Otis B The Otis safety elevator invented 2 years ago impresses visitors to a New York industrial fair. Elisha G. Otis has thus far sold only three of his elevators, but he has himself hoisted aloft, orders the rope to be cut, and plunges melodramatically earthward as spectators gasp and scream; safety ratchets engage to halt his descent, and Otis emerges from his elevator cage saying, “All safe. All safe, ladies and gentlemen” as he sweeps the stovepipe hat from his head and takes a bow (see 1857). 
1860 bl * Armstrong L Armstrong Cork Co. has its beginnings in a firm founded by Pennsylvania entrepreneurs Thomas Marton Armstrong and John D. Glass. It will employ machinery to cut the bark off cork trees in Spain, Portugal, and North Africa (see linoleum, 1907). 
1861 bl * Otis B Elisha G. Otis patents a steam-powered elevator but dies at Yonkers, N.Y., April 8 at age 50, leaving Otis Elevator Co. to his sons (see 1857). The Otis elevator together with cheaper steel will permit development of the high-rise building and lead to the rise of the modern city (see 1884). 
1874 bl * American Standard B U.S. inventor William Baldwin improves the steam radiator by screwing short lengths of one-inch pipe into a cast-iron base, but mass production of cast-iron radiators will not come for another 20 years and central heating of U.S. homes and offices not until the turn of the century. 
1876 bl * Build K Henry A. Sherwin, 34, of Cleveland’s 6-year-old Sherwin-Williams Co. pioneers prepared, ready-to-apply paint by developing a machine that grinds good-bodied pigments so finely and evenly that they will suspend in linseed oil. Sherwin-Williams will go on to make varnishes and then enamels (pigments suspended in varnish). 
1879 bl * Build B McKim, Mead & White is established by New York architects Charles Follen McKim, 32, William Rutherford Mead, 33, and Stanford White, 26. The firm will become famous for such buildings as the Century, Harvard, Metropolitan, Players, and University clubs in midtown Manhattan, some Columbia University buildings, and the Boston Public Library. It will also design bridges and make restorations in the White House (see Newport Casino, 1881). 
1882 bl ea cool U The world’s first electric fan is devised by the chief engineer of New York’s Crocker and Curtis Electric Motor Co. The two-bladed desk fan is the work of Schuyler Skaats Wheeler, 22. 
1889 bl * Otis B Otis Co. installs the world’s first electric elevators in New York’s Demarest building on Fifth Avenue at 33rd Street. 
1898 bl ha Kitchen F Mechanical refrigeration gets a boost from Swedish inventor Carl von Linde who perfects a machine that liquefies air (see 1873; Freon 12, 1931). 
1899 bl * Build E Bechtel Group has its beginnings as U.S. mule driver Warren A. Bechtel quits his job hauling train rails in Indian Territory at $2.75 per day and starts what will become a worldwide engineering concern. 
1901 bl ha Co. L The first practical electric vacuum cleaner is invented by British bridge builder Hubert Booth. His Vacuum Cleaner Co. Ltd. sends vans round to houses and uses the Booth machine to suck dust out of houses via tubes (see Spangler, Hoover, 1907; Electrolux, 1921). 
1901 bl * Build B Johns Manville Co. is created by Milwaukee’s 21-year-old Manville Covering Company which buys out New York’s 43-year-old Johns Manufacturing Co. Johns Manville will import asbestos (45 percent silica, 45 percent magnesia, 10 percent water) from Canadian mines and be the world’s largest insulation company. 
1907 bl * Armstrong L Armstrong Linoleum is introduced by the Armstrong Cork Co. founded in 1860. 
1907 bl ha Co. L The Hoover Vacuum Cleaner has its beginnings in an electric vacuum cleaner invented by J. Murray Spangler who has improved on the cleaner patented by H. C. Booth in 1901. U.S. industrialist W. H. Hoover, now 58, will manufacture Spangler’s machine; his Hoover Suction Sweeper Co. will become the Hoover Co. in 1922. 
1907 bl ha Co. L The Thor washing machine, introduced by Hurley Machine Co. of Chicago, is the first complete, self-contained electric washer. 
1915 bl ha Carrier B Carrier Corp. is founded under the name Carrier Engineering by air-conditioning pioneer Willis H. Carrier and six other young engineers who pool $32,600 to start the company (see 1911; Empire Theater, 1917). 
1916 bl ha Kitchen F A mechanical home refrigerator is marketed for the first time in the United States, but its $900 price discourages buyers, who can buy a good motorcar for the same money (see 1925; Frigidaire, 1919; GE, 1927). 
1918 bl * Build B The Staatliches Bauhaus founded at Weimar by German Architect Walter Gropius of 1911 “curtain wall” fame combines two art schools in a revolutionary center that interrelates art, science, technology, and humanism. The Bauhaus will move to a new Gropius-designed building at Dessau in 1925 but will be closed in 1933 (see 1937). 
1921 bl hp Co. L Electrolux vacuum cleaners are introduced by Swedish electric lamp salesman Axel Wenner-Gren, 40, who has founded the Electrolux Co. to produce the machines that will be the world’s top-performing vacuum cleaners. Wenner-Gren’s company will also be a major factor in refrigerators. 
1926 bl * Otis B Otis Elevator is challenged by Westinghouse, which acquires the patents and engineering skills of several sizeable companies that include Otis’s chief competitors. Westinghouse elevators will vie with Otis elevators in America’s proliferating skyscrapers. 
1929 bl * American Standard B American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp. is created by a merger of New York’s American Radiator and Pittsburgh’s Standard Sanitary to join the world’s two leading companies in their respective fields. The merger has been engineered by American Radiator’s Clarence Mott Woolley, 64, who has spent 43 years promoting cast-iron radiators in Europe and the United States and who acquires C. F. Church, a maker of toilet seats.  
1931 bl ha Kitchen F U.S. mechanical refrigerator production tops one million units, up from 5,000 in 1921. By 1937 the industry will be producing refrigerators at the rate of nearly 3 million per year (see 1929). 
1931 bl * Build U U.S. engineer Henry J. Kaiser, 49, organizes the Six Companies to construct Boulder Dam on the Colorado River. Having built miles of highway from California up the West Coast into British Columbia and in Cuba plus many cement plants, Kaiser coordinates the capabilities of six contractors (see 1936). 
1937 bl ha Kitchen F Home freezers become commercially important for the first time in the United States as frozen food sales increase, but relatively few Americans have anything more advanced than an icebox. Icemen continue regular deliveries. 
1938 bl * Build K Fiberglas, perfected by Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass Works, can be spun into yarn and woven into fabrics or used as insulating material. The material is made of fine glass filaments.  
1942 bl dt Kaiser Y The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, a pioneer health maintenance organization, has its beginnings in a 54-bed hospital at Oakland, Calif., dedicated by U.S. industrialist Henry Kaiser. The Foundation will often be called Kaiser-Permanente after the creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains where Kaiser built his first cement plant. 
1947 bl * Build B Levittown goes up on Long Island to help satisfy the booming demand for housing. Builder Abraham Levitt and his sons
1947 bl * Build B New York’s postwar building boom begins with a 21-story office building at 445 Park Avenue erected by Tishman
1947 bl ha Kitchen F The first commercial microwave oven is introduced by the Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Mass., whose Percy LeBaron
1964 bl g Cities NY Worlds Fair caps half century of Robert Moses construction dominance in New York