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

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