Technology History 50 Years Ago This Month, November 1964

By: | November 18th, 2014

It was 50 years ago this month, back in November 1964, when  Lyndon B. Johnson was reelected as President of the United States after defeating Barry Goldwater with over 60% of the vote. This came just four months after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which abolished racial segregation in the United States.

Ruby Lasers

In November 1964, Popular Science magazine ran a story about how to build a working “Ruby Laser.” The laser was quite large and probably didn’t have a lot of practical applications, but is the forerunner of the handheld lasers we have today.

Nuclear Proliferation & Attempts Toward Disarmament

Linus Pauling wrote a three-page letter on the ” Significance of Science to World Affairs” talking about his last meeting with President Kennedy before his assassination and meetings between the US, USSR, Great Britain, France and the Chinese about how to control nuclear weapons.

Pauling’s ideas to stop the spread of nuclear weapons included getting the United Nations involved in settling disputes between great powers, convincing great powers not to aggravate each other into war and to begin a push for disarmament without introducing imbalances that would tempt militarists..

Advancing Washing Machines

Hoover was introducing its Keymatic Washing Machine. Appliances were becoming sleeker and more efficient and this washing machine had 39 improvements over the previous model.

1964 New York World’s Fair – “A Millennium of Progress”

The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadom, Queens, had 140 pavilions on 646 acres of land and was a showcase for US companies as well as technology being developed for the new space age.

GE showcased  television and IBM phones with built-in cameras. But this technology served to undermine these types of large fairs which thereafter became less compelling as television began to bring news and entertainment into the living rooms of American families. For presidents, including Lyndon B. Johnson, attending the fair was a must.

Other hits at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, included Disney’s animatronic robots, heavily promoting its Disneyland Park, the Ford Mustang two seat, mid-engine sports car officially unveiled for the first time and Kodak’s Kodachrome technology.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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