From the 1940’s Decade – Famous Firsts and Inventions

From the 1940’s Decade – Famous Firsts and Inventions

• Penicillin was used to help cure diseases.
• Morton Salt was introduced.
• The first synthetic rubber tires were manufactured.
• Synthetic tooth fillings were developed.
• Tiffany’s in New York City was the first fully air-conditioned store.
• The first commercial flights with pressurized cabins were inaugurated.
• The Jeep made its debut on November 11, 1940.
• M&Ms® were manufactured for the U.S. Army.


• The first Superman movie, an animated cartoon, debuted.
• The first disposable aerosol cans were developed by Lyle Goodhue and W. N. Sullivan.


• The first all-star bowling tournament was held.
• The first successful turbo-prop engine was developed.


• The Slinky® was invented but not sold commercially until 1947.


• Harvard University mathematician Howard Aiken built the Mark I computer. The 35-ton machine was capable of finding the product of two 11-digit numbers in just three seconds.


• The first atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexican desert near Alamogordo. The team of scientists was headed by Robert Oppenheimer.
• Grand Rapids, Michigan began fluoridation of its water supply. It had been discovered that small amounts of fluoride could dramatically reduce tooth decay.


• ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first electronic digital computer. Built by Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly, it filled a 30′ x 60′ room.
• The first electric blanket was manufactured.


• Elmer’s Glue-All was introduced.
• Engineer and inventor Buckminster Fuller built his first geodesic dome. Its unique design encloses the most space, using a given amount of material.


• The first long-playing (LP) phonograph record was introduced by Columbia Records. It held six times as much music as previous records and helped create the modern recording industry.
• Bell Laboratories’ physicists invented the transistor. Smaller, cheaper, and faster than a vacuum tube, it revolutionized the field of electronics.
• Edwin Land invented the Polaroid Land® camera. It was the first camera to produce finished prints “instantly” – in this case, 60 seconds. It sold for $89.75.
• Holography was invented by Dennis Gabor. The technique created three-dimensional images.


• Silly Putty® was invented.
• Physicist Harold Lyons built the first atomic clock. Built for the National Bureau of
Standards, the clock was accurate to within a few seconds over fifty years.

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Profile photo of Paul
A determined contributor to the memory and preservation of a decade.


  1. May 9, 2013, 8:00 pm   /  Reply

    I had no idea that the first Polaroid camera was invented so early. Wow. I always thought that was a 70s thing. Thanks for posting these!

  2. Profile photo of Marylea
    May 15, 2013, 8:33 pm   /  Reply

    You rock, Paul! This is an amazing array!

  3. December 12, 2013, 10:15 am   /  Reply

    Silly Putty® was actually created by accident during research into potential rubber substitutes for use by the US in WWII. Credit for the invention of Silly Putty is disputed. More at

  4. Theo
    February 10, 2016, 3:48 pm   /  Reply

    the first assault rifle was distrubuted in 1944

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