What Is a Brief History of Electronics?

The history of electronics began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with technological improvements within the telegraph, radio and phone industries, although the term electronics did not begin to be used until the 1940s. The development of electronics eventually led to the use of modern technology such as computers and microprocessors.

Some 19th century inventions such as the spark-gap transmitter and the coherer, helped enable wireless telegraphy. The first radio tube was invented in 1904, and the first amplifier tube was created in 1906. By 1916, the amplifier tube was used in radio transmitters, receivers and systems for long-distance telephone calls.

The first purely electronic television was demonstrated in 1928, and multiple countries began broadcasting in the 1930s. World War II brought innovation in electronic location and radio guidance. Television broadcasts began to spread to millions of receivers after the war ended.

The first electronic computers were also developed during World War II and were originally the size of a large room. The first commercial microprocessor was created at Intel in 1969, which then ignited the development of personal computers. Modern computers eventually developed to be a fraction of the size of the original computers and to use a fraction of the energy that their mid-20th century counterparts used.