1837, American History Museum
The era of telecommunications began with dots and dashes
In 1888, George Eastman liberated photography from big devices that used cumbersome glass plates when he introduced a portable box camera preloaded with flexible film. It cost $25 and was easy: Simply pull a string, press a button and wind the film. Some 13,000 people bought the camera in its first year. "Through the ingenious and wonderful little instrument...," one magazine said at the time, "we are able to cry 'Eureka!'"