Inventions of the 1970s

Written by veronica romualdez
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Inventions of the 1970s
The Rubik's Cube is just one of many inventions of the 1970s. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The 1970s was a decade known for the end of the Vietnam War and President Richard Nixon's resignation. The decade brought us classic television shows such as "Starsky and Hutch," "The Muppet Show" and "The Brady Bunch." It also was a decade of dozens of inventions which changed the way we live, work and play.

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Games

Many different electronic and board games were invented during the 1970s. Hasbro introduced Mastermind, a code-breaking board game in 1970. Pong, the first video game, was made in 1972 by Atari. It was like tennis but used two moving rectangles to hit the ball from one side of the screen to the other. Crossfire, a board game played by pushing a puck into the opposing player's goal by shooting small metal balls from attached guns, was made by Milton Bradley in 1971. Milton Bradley also made Simon in 1978. This electronic game is still played today and tests players' rhythm and memory skills by pressing flashing coloured lights in the order that they appear.

Innovative Products

Numerous innovative products still in use today were introduced in the 1970s. By 1980, Post-it notes, invented in 1974 by 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver, were being sold nationwide. Today, different kinds of Post-it notes are sold and used all over the world. Wilbert L. Gore, Rowena Taylor and Robert W. Gore invented GORE-TEX in 1976. The waterproof, breathable fabric has numerous applications, such as in high performance fabrics, rain wear, medical implants, insulation for wires and cables, and sealants.

Toys

Children in the 1970s were introduced to the original Peter Powell Stunt Kite made by Hasbro. Although no longer available today, this steerable diamond shaped kite with a plastic tubular tail was all the rage at the time. Milton Bradley introduced Shrinky Dinks in 1973. Kids colour different shapes such as butterflies or fashion accessories on sheets of film and bake the shapes to shrink them to create accessories. The Rubik's Cube, invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, is still challenging people today.

Technology

Companies found ways to use the technology that emerged in the 1960s to create dozens of sometimes smaller, often more powerful and definitely more affordable products in the 1970s. Ray Tomlinson created an e-mail system in 1971. Xerox PARC, a research and development company, developed the ethernet and personal computers during the decade. The Sharp Corp. introduced pocket calculators and IBM invented floppy disks.

Bikes and Skates

Although more popular in England, the Raleigh Chopper children's bicycle, known for its long padded seat with a backrest, high-rise handlebars and differently sized front and back wheels, was invented in 1970. Although roller skates became popular in the 1980s, inline blades were actually invented in 1979 by Scott and Brennan Olson. The brothers replaced the blades of a hockey skate with wheels and marketing their invention as Rollerblades.

Consumer Products

The Walkman probably was the most famous consumer product introduced in the decade. The predecessor of today's portable audio players was invented by Sony Corp. in 1979. Victor Wouk came up with a hybrid vehicle in 1974. Steven Sasson of Eastman Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975. Ray Jardine became famous for inventing and developing the spring-loaded camming devices that revolutionised rock climbing in the late 1970s.

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