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SPECIAL MILLENNIUM ISSUE / SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY | C
NOTES: So Cal at the Turn of the Century

YEAR BY YEAR: Great Moments in Sci/Tech

July 25, 1999

35,000 BC+: 'Speculative evidence" that primitive stone hunting tools exist.

0-500: Chumash invent plank canoe. Innovations include brightly colored abalone hooks to attract fish.

1769: Gaspar de Portola carves out El Camino Real to link missions, starting road system.

1883: John Montgomery's Gull Glider makes first American man-carrying glider flight, near San Diego.

1888-'89: Modern biological pest control begins in downtown L.A. when USDA imports ladybugs to save citrus industry from devastating scale insect.

1901: Henry Huntington incorporates Pacific Electric Railway Co.

1910: 176,466 attend first American flying meet, in Dominguez Hills, and see first bombing experiment, a passenger in biplane dropping 2-pound sandbags on target. -- Glenn L. Martin Co., forerunner to Martin Marietta & Lockheed Martin, incorporates. And stylish "Flying Dude" moves factory from 2nd and Main streets in Santa Ana to abandoned cannery at 943 S. Los Angeles St.

1913: On Nov. 5, 233-mile Los Angeles Aqueduct, world's longest, brings Owens Valley water to San Fernando Valley. William Mulholland is hailed as engineering genius.

1916: Loughead (Lockheed) brothers move from Polk and Pacific streets in San Francisco to rear garage at 101 State St., Santa Barbara, seeking calmer waters to launch wood and fabric seaplane.

1917: Mt. Wilson's 100-inch mirror telescope sees "first light." It remains world's largest for three decades.

1926: Accurate measurement of the speed of light is useful in navigation, so America's first Nobel Prize-winning physicist, 74-year-old A.A. Michelson, travels from Chicago with famous eight-sided rotating mirror to clock light beam making 22-mile round-trip between Mt. Wilson and Mt. San Antonio peaks at 299,796 km.

1927: Charles Lindbergh takes delivery of custom-built Spirit of St. Louis from San Diego's Ryan Airlines. Within a month he flies to fame.

1928: Lockheed's first big success, molded-wood Vega fuselage with Jack Northrop-designed wings.

1929: Jack Northrop builds first of famous flying wings with his new Burbank company, Avion.

1932: After two years studying photos of cloud chamber cosmic rays, Caltech's Carl Anderson announces discovery of first antimatter particle, a positive electron called the positron, for which he wins 1936 Nobel Prize.

1933: Douglas DC-1, first of DC series that revolutionizes airline industry, makes first flight, from Santa Monica's Clover Field.

1935: Los Angeles-to-New York American Airlines flight piloted by James Doolittle sets nonstop passenger record of 11 hours, 59 minutes. -- Caltech's Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg develop Richter scale to measure magnitude of earthquakes.

1936: Caltech chemist Arnold Beckman's pH meter for Sunkist lemon juice gets patent, and Beckman Instruments goes on to develop spectrophotometer and other precision analytic instruments widely used in chemistry and medicine.

1940: First six-mile stretch of Pasadena Freeway opens.

1942: First American jet, Bell XP-59A Airacomet, flies, from Muroc Field (now Edwards Air Force Base).

1943: L.A.'s wartime blackout darkens sky, allowing Mt. Wilson's Walter Baade to discern red and blue Andromeda galaxy stars with different structures and histories, an astronomical milestone.

1945: Project RAND (Research and Development), progenitor of Rand Corp., starts under government contract at Santa Monica Douglas Aircraft plant to study futuristic topics such as supersonic flight, missiles and satellites.

1947: U.S. Air Force's Charles Yeager breaks sound barrier in Bell X-1 flight over high desert. -- Howard Hughes pilots world's largest aircraft, the wooden Spruce Goose, over Long Beach Harbor.

1948:L.A. building inspector Walter Morrison invents the Frisbee, a massive 1957 success for San Gabriel's Wham-O, creator of 1958's Hula-Hoop craze.

1949: Caltech aerospace engineer Bob Simmons develops lightweight hydrodynamic fiberglass over Styrofoam core design to replace 150-pound traditional wood surfboard.

1953: Sidewinder air-to-air missile fashioned out of spare parts by Navy makes first successful interception, at China Lake.

1955: Lockheed Burbank Skunk Works completes first U-2 spy plane. -- Navy lab bounces Washington, D.C., Teletype message off moon to reach San Diego, a transcontinental communications technique now common using orbiting satellites.

1958: America enters Space Age when a Jupiter C rocket powered by Rocketdyne Redstone engine lifts America's first satellite, Explorer 1--built by JPL--into Earth's orbit.

1959: Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a project involving 200 contractors and thousands of subcontractors managed from adjoining Inglewood offices of Ramo-Wooldridge (TRW precursor) and the Air Force, is declared operational after 4,300-mile shot from Vandenberg AFB. -- UCLA's Brain Research Institute opens.

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