Sixties Index Page
Sixties Inventions Innovations and Discoveries
Sixties Inventions Innovations and Discoveries

Contrary to time-distorted opinion, not everyone was on drugs, ensconced in hippie communes, protesting against the bomb or attending an endless series of music festivals and concerts in a flower-covered Volkswagen camper. Historians have described the Sixties as the decade having the most epochal changes in history. It was the decade of non-dairy creamer, computers and walking on the moon. The youth of the Baby Boom had a fondness for change and modern gadgets that resonates in the way we live today.

The Sixties saw incredible inventions, brilliant innovations, exciting discoveries and the bringing to the masses of the culmination of many years of research. Although now taken much for granted, many of these currently shape the world in which we live or paved the way for further research and development. In many cases, the development period was protracted or there is a differential between the actual 'year' of invention or discovery and the granting of patents or approved marketing for public use. I don't feel the need to get into discussions regarding the actual dates, so I'll just list some of the items for your interest, in no particular order, and let you carry out further investigation for yourselves should you wish to do so . . . . .

Events by Year:

1960 News and Events
1961 News and Events
1962 News and Events
1963 News and Events
1964 News and Events
1965 News and Events
1966 News and Events
1967 News and Events
1968 News and Events
1969 News and Events

The halogen light lamp was invented by General Electric engineer Fredrick Moby

Physicist Theodore Maiman perfected the laser

The first hologram, using lasers, was devised

The heart pacemaker was introduced to the USA by Wilson Greatbatch

The first weather satellite was launched into orbit by the USA - Tiros I

The submersible 'Trieste' descended nearly seven miles to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. The journey down to the ocean floor took five hours.

Hollywood producer Mike Todd Jr. released the film "Scent of Mystery," which featured a special technology that added aromas to scenes - Smell-O-Vision

The birth control pill was approved by the FDA and marketed in the USA and UK

London Transit installed the first video surveillance system at a London Transit Station

The M.O.T. test for vehicles over 10 years old was introduced in the UK

The first 'travelator' opened at Bank underground station

Four hidden CCTV cameras were placed by Liverpool Police in the city's centre

Black and Decker released its first cordless drill, but designers couldn't get more than 20 watts from its NiCd batteries

The cochlear implant - a 'bionic ear' - was developed by William F. House. This was a surgically implanted electronic device that provided a sense of sound to a person who was profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing

Ultrasound was invented in Australia by scientists at the Commonwealth Health Department

The police 'identikit' was launched

Letraset art lettering was developed

The Renault 4 was the first 'hatchback' car

Sony marketed a helical scan videotape recorder

The Carousel Projector was developed to aid lecturers

The time-sharing computer was developed

The fibre-tip pen was invented in Japan by Masao Miura and Yukio Horie, who ran a business making art materials

Spacewar, the first computer video game, was invented

Dow Corporation invented silicone breast implants

Teletext was first demonstrated

Skateboards were invented

Polaroid instant film and cameras were first marketed

Harvey Ball created the 'smiley' logo

ZIP Codes were introduced in the USA

Syncom, the world's first geosynchronous satellite, was put into orbit by NASA

'Instant replay' was developed
Instamatic cameras with drop-in cartridges were introduced

Sony offered an open-reel videotape recorder for home use

Acrylic paint was invented

Permanent-press fabric was invented

BASIC (an early computer language) was invented by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz

Home kidney dialysis was introduced

Peter Higgs theorised how elementary particles are created with Bosum

Widespread use of remotely piloted aircraft began during the Vietnam War with deployment of 1000 AQM-34 Ryan Firebees. The first model of these 29-ft.-long planes was developed in just 90 days

Robert Moog developed the first electronic music synthesizer

Ralph H. Baer invented the video console

The Russian Tupolev TU-144 became the first supersonic airliner

The 'Trinitron' colour TV tube was developed by Sony

Post codes were launched in London W1

Magnetic-stripe credit cards were introduced

Candido Jacuzzi invented and brought to market the first self-contained, fully integrated whirlpool bath

Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) were used to capture images

The mammogram, the first x-ray machines used just for breast imaging, became available

The first in-vitro human egg fertilisation was achieved by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards

The first automatic analog cellular phone was made in the 1960's

Scientists developed a rocket belt for the US military that was capable of lifting its wearer nearly 60 feet off the ground

The thermal printer was invented by Texas Instruments

The world's first automatic cash dispenser (ATM) opened at Barclays, Enfield

The first Pulsar was discovered by Jocelyn Bell and Antony Hewish

Regular colour television broadcasting began

IBM introduced the floppy disk

The first computer with integrated circuits was manufactured

Robert Dennard invented RAM (random access memory). T.J Watson (owner) and IBM developed and patented the first memory module called DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) which became the foundation for short term memory storage used by computers

Christiaan Neethling Barnard, a South African heart surgeon, developed surgical procedures for organ transplants, invented new heart valves, and performed the first human heart transplant on December 3rd, 1967, in a five-hour operation with a team of 20 surgeons

James Black saved millions of lives by inventing Beta Blockers
  The Hawker-Siddeley VTOL P1127 'Harrier jump jet' made its first flight. Sidney Camm, Ralph Hooper, and Stanley Hooker invented a vertical take-off aircraft that could soar straight up into the sky. Rather than using rotors or a direct jet thrust, they built an innovative vectored thrust turbofan engine.

The inertia seat belt was invented and marketed by Britax

Teflon was patented

The Parker 45 fountain pen was the first to take refill cartridges

The electronic larynx - voice communication for people who could not talk - was developed

The Post Office experimented with facsimile mail - 'FAX'

The IBM Selectric “golf ball” typewriter was produced

Valium was invented

Non-dairy creamer was developed

Electric toothbrushes were first manufactured

The Unimate, the first programmable industrial robot, was developed by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger and installed on a General Motors assembly line in New Jersey

The first transatlantic communication satellite was put into orbit - Telstar

LEDs - Light Emitting Diodes - were used for displays

The space observatory was created by Ball Brothers Aerospace Corporation

After repeated trials, John Charnley's hip replacement surgery became a reality

Pantyhose became available

The first self-service petrol station opened on London's Southwark Bridge

The Sunday Times became the first newspaper to print a colour supplement

Push-button 'Panda' road crossings were introduced

The first reattachment of a human limb was performed in America

Plastic insulation for telephone lines was introduced

The first videodisc was invented

In The Netherlands, Philips introduced the musicassette (compact music cassette)

Klaus and Manfred Hammes introduced the first residential air purifiers, in Germany

Geneticist J.B.S. Haldane first coined the word 'clone'

Chemotherapy was first used in the treatment of cancer

IBM’s OS/360 was the first mass-produced computer operating system

The first family planning clinic opened in the UK

The IBM Selectric typewriter utilised reusable magnetic tape

Astroturf, a synthetic material that could be used to replace grass on sports surfaces, was invented by James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright of Monsanto Industries

NutraSweet, an artificial sweetener, was invented by Mr. James Schlatter, at G.D. Searle & Company

Hypertext was invented in the USA for linking electronic text

Frank Partridge invented the portable defibrillator, saving thousands of lives

Fuzzy logic was invented by Lofti Zadeh at the University of California

Electronic Fuel injection for cars was invented

The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines released a semi-dwarf, high-yield Indica variety that, in conjunction with high-yield wheat, ushered in the Green Revolution

The first hand-held calculator was produced by Texas Instruments for sale to the public at $2,500 each

The 'breathalyser' was first used on car drivers

The wine box, a plastic bag full of wine contained in a cardboard box, was invented in Australia

Light pen pens were invented for computers

The computer mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart

Pratley Putty, Pratley's famous glue, became the only South African invention that has been to the moon. In 1969 the putty was used to hold bits of the Apollo XI mission's Eagle landing craft together. Krugersdorp engineer George Pratley invented his famous sticky stuff in the 1960s while looking for a glue that would hold components in an electrical box

Kodak offered the Super 8 format film for home movies

Bausch and Lomb, a company that specializes in eye-contacts, developed soft contact lenses

The compact optical disk was invented by James Russell

Kevlar was developed at DuPont by Stephanie Kwolek and Roberto Berendt

Owen MacLaren designed the double-joint baby buggy

The first successful dental implants were made

Philips Electric launched the 'Popmaster' portable transistor radio

Fibre Optics were invented in the UK by Charles Keo and George Hockham

Trident Studios introduced 3M 8-track recording decks

The two-tier post system came into operation

The Arpanet (first internet) was developed for use by the US military

Doctor Denton Cooley implanted the first temporary artificial heart

The barcode scanner was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver

The PASCAL computer language was developed

Sony introduced its Color Videoplayer (later known as Umatic) which used a three-quarter inch video cassette tape and had a maximum playing time of 90 minutes

Bubble Wrap was invented in the USA by Marc A Chavannes

The Respirator, a replacement for the Iron Lung, was developed in the USA

The first residential smoke alarm (detector) was designed by Randolph Smith and Kenneth House of BRK Electronics

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