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History of Text Timeline

13.8 Billion Years Ago

ca 13,800,000,000 years ago the universe comes into being. There was no ‘instant’ of creation. The universe didn’t flash into existence, it came into being as an all-encompassing, interactive, quantum wave. There is no going back. From pure energy to all there is today, the universe gets more complicated and more interactive one Planck moment at a time
ca 4,540,000,000 years ago the earth and the solar system is formed
ca 4,400,000,000years ago oceans form, providing a substrate for life with rich potential for interactions

Let’s pause before we continue the journey into the next, great step (that of life itself ). Look at these dates – the solar system has been around for roughly 1⁄3 of the universe’s existence. That is something to marvel at. It’s easy to imagine vast intergalactic civilizations having come and gone over the life of the universe, but it turns out that there actually isn’t that much time in the past. We’re pretty early inhabitants. There may have been one generation of stars similar to our own before us —maximum. So, maybe there hasn’t been enough time for advanced civilizations to evolve. That we might be one of the most advanced consciousness in creation (or perhaps the only one) is a sobering thought. Can we handle this responsibility?

ca 4,000,000,000 years ago Self-replicating molecules appear. Life is happening. It’s pretty basic, but it’s happening
ca 3,500,000,000 years ago Single-celled organisms
ca 3,000,000,000 years ago Viruses, though they may be much older
ca 580,000,000 years ago Complex multicellular life
ca 250,000,000 years ago or less–it is hard to be sure, DNA, with complex ‘letters’ of interaction takes life to a whole new level

250 Million-3.6 Million

2.7-2.5, 1.9-1.7 and 1.1-0.9 millionyears ago, the earth sees rapid climate change (on the scale of lifetimes of individuals, not species) spurring on hominid evolution in the Rift Valley in Africa, with each period coinciding with brain development. During the period 1.9-1.7 the number of hominid species reached its peak and Homo Erectus appeared. Tool development also coincided with these cycles of rapid climate change, including Oldowan, Acheulean and Mousterian. For more on this topic, and how the planet shaped us in general refer to Origins by Lewis Dartnell
ca 3,600,000 years ago Our ancestors walk upright and they loose body hair
ca 2,300,000 years ago Homo Habilis, the tool user, is our oldest ancestor to use tools
ca 2,000,000 years ago Olduwan tool Culture begins. Its key feature was the method of chipping stones to create a chopping or cutting edge.

2,000,000-50,000 BCE

ca 500,000 years ago Earliest evidence of purpose-built shelters. Found near Chichibu, Japan
ca 400,000 years ago Early humans begin to hunt with spears
ca 280,000 years ago
First complex stone blades and grinding stones
ca 150,000 years ago Humans possibly capable of speech
ca100,000-200,000 Modern Humans

50,000-3,000 BCE

ca50,000 BCE Our ‘Great leap forward’. Human culture starts to change more rapidly (burying our dead ritually, clothes from animal hides, complex hunting techniques)
ca44,000 BCE Oldest known cave painting, found in the Franco-Cantabrian region in western Europe and Sulawesi, Indonesia
ca35,400 BCE Oldest-known example of figurative art, in Sulawesi, Indonesia
ca11,000 BCE Cave art by young children in the Rouffignac Cave
ca 7500 BCE Near Eastern counters ‘Tokens’ to keep track of goods are the earliest known antecedents of the Mesopotamian Cuneiform script
ca 6600 BCE Eleven isolated symbols carved on tortoise shells were found at Jiahu, an archaeological site in the Henan province of China, some bearing a striking resemblance to certain modern characters but the connection is not established
ca 4500 BCE Proto-Indo-European language developed, probably somewhere near the Black Sea, and probably spreading because its speakers invented horse riding. Today 60% of humans speak a daughter language, 27% as their mother tongue
ca 4000 BCE Possible preliterate images which may have been symbols (such as Gerzean pottery) which could have been precursors to Egyptian hieroglyphic writing

4000 BCE

ca 3500 BCE Egyptian Proto-hieroglyphic symbol systems
ca 3300 BCE Reduction of three-dimensional Near Eastern tokens into two-dimensional signs on envelopes holding tokens
ca 3200 BCE First logographic Near Eastern accounting lists written on clay tablets by impressing tokens
ca 3100 BCE First logographic proto-cuneiform signs traced with a stylus on accounting tablets
ca 3000 BCE First proto-cuneiform phonetic signs to represent personal names on economic tablets
ca 3000 BCE First known use of papyrus for writing. Previously Egyptians had been writing on stone and pottery
ca 3000-1000 BCE Hieratic (‘priestly’) cursive writing system used for Egyptian until the rise of Demotic. Primarily written in ink with a reed pen on papyrus.

3000 BCE

2900 BCE First known air mail. Egyptian sailors released carrier pigeons from ships to pre-announce the arrival of important visitors
ca 2800 BCE First full sentence written in mature Egyptian hieroglyphs so far discovered. Found on a seal impression in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen at Umm el-Qa’ab
ca 2700 BCE First cuneiform texts which departs from accounting: funerary texts
At least 2600 Ink was used in Ancient Egypt for writing and drawing on papyrus, Chinese inks go back further
ca 2600 BCE Sumerian language develops
ca 2600 BCE Egyptian language develops
ca 2400 BCE Akkadian language develops
ca 2400 BCE First cuneiform tablet dealing with trade
ca 2300 BCE First written sentences. These texts were inscribed on worshippers’ votive statues dedicated to a god and requesting immortality
ca2300 BCE First named author, Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon the Great
ca 2300 BCE Oldest known dictionaries of cuneiform tablets with bilingual Sumerian–Akkadian wordlists, discovered in Ebla (modern Syria)
ca 2000 BCE Classical period of the Sumerian Cuneiform Script
ca 2000 BCE First known library catalog in the Sumerian city of Nippur
ca 2000 BCE Abacus (from Greek meaning “board strewn with sand or dust used for drawing geometric figures or calculating”), the first known calculator, is invented in Babylonia (Iraq)
ca 2100 BCE Elamite language develops
ca 2100–1500 BCE Proto-Sinaitic script, the earliest trace of alphabetic writing known, in the Egyptian Pharaoh’s turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula

2000 BCE

ca 1900 BCE First known cipher (not yet decoded), in tomb of Khnumhotep II 
ca 1750 BCE Hammurabi’s Code, by Hammurabi, ruler of Babylon
ca 1700 BCE Hittite language develops
ca 1600 BCE Earliest known medical document, the Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus, thought based on material from 3000 BCE, including the first reference to the human brain
ca 1500 BCE Phoenician alphabet of 22 consonants was among the early mature alphabets. It spread over the Mediterranean and led to the Greek, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic and modern alphabets
ca 1450 BCE Greek language develops
ca 1500 BCE Earliest book known, the Ebers papyrus, a 20 meter scroll
ca 1500 BCE First known use of movable type (stamps reused to repeat symbols identically), the Phaistos Disc, and first font
ca 1300 BCE First known inclusion of words on a map, in Mesopotamia
ca. 1300–1190 BCE The Ugaritic writing system: a cuneiform augmented abjad (consonantal alphabet) for Ugaritic, an extinct Northwest Semitic language
ca 1300sBCE Wax tablet with stylus: origins are uncertain but known to have been used at least until the 1860s CE, for example in the fish market in Rouen, France
1200s BCE Late Bronze Age collapse
ca 1250–1192 BCE Earliest confirmed evidence of Chinese script, Oracle bones script
ca 1200 BCE Torah was copied onto a scroll by Moses according to the Hebrew tradition (date disputed)
ca 1200 BCE Old Chinese language develops
ca 1100 BC–256 BCE Chinese Jinwen (Bronzeware Script)
1000-300 BCE Chinese bronze inscriptions/script
1000s BCE the Gezer Calendar, first vertically-formatted list
ca 1000 BCE Hebrew language develops

1000 BCE

1000 BCE Chinese Seal script evolved organically out of the bronze script
900–400 BCE The Greek Alphabet emerged around the ninth or eight century BCE which had distinct letters for vowels, not only consonants. Many versions of the Greek alphabet existed but by the fourth century it had been standardised into twenty-four letters, ordered from alpha to omega
ca 700 BCE Latin language develops
700s BCE Alphabetic writing entered the Greek world from the Levant
650 BCE Demotic Egyptian script following Late Egyptian and preceding Coptic. The term was first used by the Greek historian Herodotus to distinguish it from hieratic and hieroglyphic scripts
500s First known curated museum. Mesopotamian artifacts spanning 1,500 years, by Princess Ennigaldi, daughter of King Nabonidus
ca 500 BCE Sanskrit language develops
ca 550 BCE First official mail service, by Cyrus the Great, stretching from Post, Iran to Hakha, Myanmar
ca 500 BCE Aṣṭādhyāyī by Pāṇini, quasi-generative grammar of Sanskrit, anticipating Chomsky
300s BCE The basic form of the Codex invented in Pergamon
ca 300 BCE Tamil language develops
300s BCE Reed pens for writing on papyrus
310/305–240 BCE The Pinakes, the first library catalog at the Library of Alexandria
285–246 BCE Alexandria founded by Alexander the Great
283 BCE Library of Alexandria founded by Ptolemy I and II
257–180 BCE Punctuation is invented at the Library of Alexandria by Aristophanes of Byzantium
256-206 BCE Chinese Zhuanshu (Seal Script).
206 BCE Chinese Zhuanshu starts being simplified to Lishu (Clerical script)
ca 230 BCE The letter ‘G’, by Spurius Carvilius Ruga, the first known inventor of a letter
200s BCE Quill used until about the 19th century CE, when replaced by the pen
200s BCE Alphabetization developed, probably in Alexandria by Callimachus to catalog the Great Library
200s BCE Erya, first known dictionary
ca 131-59 BCEBCEActa diurna, daily news by government, published in Rome
179–141 BCE Earliest extant paper fragment in Fangmatan in Gansu province, China
before 134 BCE First character encoding, by Cleoxenus and Democleitus, described by Polybius. Each Greek letter was converted to 2 digits (1 to 5), then to smoke or fire signals
63 BCE & ‘ampersand’ proposed by Marcus Tiro
ca 55 BCE The book in the form of folded sheets, not just a stack of sheets, by Julius Caesar, in his reports on the Gallic Wars

1 CE

ca 50 Earliest surviving example of Old Roman Cursive script: a speech by Claudius
79 Earliest tables of contents by Pliny the Elder in Naturalis Historia (Natural History)
79 Earliest known marketing pun and portmanteau word: wine jars in Pompeii marked ‘Vesuvinum’ (Vesuvius wine)
79 Two SATOR AREPO word squares in Pompeii, perhaps with Christian associations, making them the earliest surviving Christian inscriptions



ca 200 New Roman (or Minuscule) Cursive script which evolved into modern lower case letterforms
ca 220 Earliest surviving woodblock printed fragment (China)
220 Chinese Zhuanshu completed simplified to Lishu (Clerical script)


ca 300 Maya writing
ca 300 Latin handwriting starts to use larger letters at the start of sentences, though the same shape (not mixed case)
330–360 Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest extant codex; a biblical manuscript written in Greek
367 Old Roman Cursive script banned except for official imperial documents, eventually leading to lower case text (derived from New Roman Cursive) being normal and upper case exceptional


420–589 Chinese Kaishu script (Regular Script) replaces Lishu
400s Demotic Egyptian script dies out from active use


Before 500s Literacy introduced to Japan in the form of the Chinese writing system, via Baekje
500-1000 Florilegium, which are selections of ‘flowers’(select passages) from work, rather than a summary, to help people deal with the volume of books
593 Woodblock printing starts in China


600s Quill pens, made from the outer feathers of crows and other large birds, become popular


ca 700s Word spacing pioneered by Celtic monks
ca 700 St Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest surviving Western book, which still has its original goatskin leather cover
700s Japanese writing develops away from Chinese
764 Empress Kōken commissions the earliest known examples of woodblock printing in Japan


800s paper starts to replace parchment as the primary writing material for administrative uses in Baghdad
813 Council of Tours decreed sermons should be in vulgar language not Latin. This may have triggered early Romance languages to be spelt literally, rather than as Latin with distorted pronunciation
842 Oaths of Strasbourg, first surviving document in Romance (early French), with parallel version in Frankish (early Germanic)
868 The oldest known printed book, The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist book in China
854–931 Prototype professional peer-review process recommended in the Ethics of the Physician written by Ishāq ibn ʻAlī al-Ruhāwī


ca900 Screen Printing in China during the Song Dynasty
900s Arabic numerals come to Spain, though they were not commonly used until the fourteenth century.
960–1279 Chinese Kaishu script evolves to Songti script


1080 The Missal of Silos, the oldest known document on paper created in Europe
1056 First recorded paper mill in Xàtiva on the Iberian Peninsula


1190 First paper mill in France


1200s The term ‘Originalia’ is coined in contrast to Florilegia, indicating a greater authority to original sources than excerpts
1246 Call numbers associated with the location of books, in the Library at Amiens Cathedral in France
1276 Paper mills established in Italy
1290 Ars Magna by Ramon Lul


1377 Jikji the oldest surviving book printed using moveable metal type by Gyeonghan in Korea
1300s The word ‘history’ meant, “relation of incidents whether true of false.” The word goes back to the Proto-Indo-European root of wid-tor weid, it literally mean “to know” and “to see.”
1304–1374 Humanism founded by Francesco Petrarch, reviving enthusiasm for ancient Roman thinkers, with books as the centre of their discourse
1320 First paper mills in Germany
1340–1350 First paper mills in Holland
1346 First known two-color print, a frontispiece to a Buddhist sutra scroll


1400s First prototype of a Jacquard-type loom by Jean le Calabrais
1424 The University of Cambridge has one of the largest libraries in Europe with just 122 books. Books are still handwritten on parchment
1453 Constantinople captured by the Turks and books from its Imperial Library are burned or removed, marking the end of the last of the great libraries of the ancient world
1455 ‘Gutenberg Bible’, also-called Forty-two-line Bible, or Mazarin Bible, the first complete moveable type printed book extant in the West, printed by Johannes Gutenberg
1457 First known color printing is used in Mainz Psalter by Johann Fust and his son-in-law Peter Schöffler
1470 Roman typeface, the first recognisably modern typeface, a combination of capital letters inspired by ancient Roman architectural inscriptions and Carolingian minuscules, developed by Nicolas Jenson
1470 First printed joke book, Facetiae by Poggio Bracciolini
1470 Earliest extant example of sequential numbering in a book, Sermo in festo praesentationis beatissimae Mariae virginis, printed in Cologne. This did not become standard for another half century. Peter Schoffër, apprentice of Gutenberg, is the inventor of the title page and Arnold Therhoernen in Cologne, is one of the first to use both a title page and page numbers
Late 1470s, title, author, and publisher information included by printers on the first inside page of a book
1479 Manicule in Breviarium totius juris canonici, compiled by Paolo Attavanti printed in Milan by the German firm of Leonhard Pachel and Ulrich Scinzenzeller
1481 First marginal annotations used in printed texts on a Venetian edition of Horace with commentaries by Acro and Porphyry
1483 First Talmud printed
End of the 1400s almost all printed books have title pages
End of the 1400s the numerals 4, 5, and 7 begin to take the forms we are familiar with today


1500-1700 Handwritten newsletters in Europe called avvisi, reporti, gazzette, ragguagli, nouvelles, advis, corantos, courantes and Zeitungen
1500s Garamond typeface. Claude Garamont, a French type designer, publisher and punch-cutter lived in Paris. Thus, many old-style serif typefaces are collectively known by his name as ‘Garamond’
1500s The word ‘history’ is differentiated into ‘history’ and ’story’ in English, though in other languages, such as Spanish and Norwegian there is still no distinction
1500s Maya writing mostly fallen out of use
ca1500 Etching for printing by Daniel Hopfer
1501 Italic typeface by Aldus Manutius
1513 Likely first pagination with Arabic numerals in Cornucopiae by Niccoloo Perotti
1517 Martin Luther posts a thesis against indulgences and thus sparking what would be called the Reformation, a questioning of authority which would spur greater literacy rates and interest in education
1530s Monasteries disolved in England
1538 Latin-English wordbook by Sir Thomas Elyot
1539 Henry the Eighth’s Great Bible, by Myles Coverdale banning all glossing
1540 Henry the Eighth’s authorised Grammar, of which formed the basis of schoolbooks in England for the next 300 years
1545 Bibliotheca universalis by Conrad Gessner, a complete bibliography of all printed books (except itself)
1556 Notizie Scritte, first monthly newspaper published in Venice
1557 The Geneva Bible, the primary Bible of 16th-century English Protestantism displaces the Great Bible
1560 First blueprints for the modern, wood-encased carpentry pencil by Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti
1564 Graphite for pencils comes into widespread use following the discovery of a large graphite deposit in Borrowdale, England
1568 Bishops’ Bible, English translation of the Bible produced under the authority of the established Church of England and later used as the base text for the King James Bible
1575 First paper mills in Mexico
1565 Mechanical/Lead holder pencil by Conrad Gesner
1588 First commercially successful paper mill in Britain by John Spilman in Kent
1593 Index to content in a book, by Christopher Marlowe in Hero and Leander
1595 The first printed catalog of an institutional library, the Nomenclator of Leiden University Library


1604 Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien, first weekly newspaper, published in Germany by Johann Carolus
1611 King James Bible
1642 Mezzotint Printmaking by Ludwig von Siegen
1648 Part emoticon ‘(smiling yet:)’ by poet Robert Herrick
1665 Journal des sçavans, in Paris, first academic journal
1665 Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society, in London, second academic journal
1665 Oxford Gazette, first English newspaper
1667 Acoustic string telephone by Robert Hooke
1674 First decipherment of a script, the Staveless Runes, by Magnus Celsius
1677 Artificial versifying by John Peter
1600s Quills become more pointed and flexible
1690 First paper mills in the USA


1702 The Daily Courant, the world’s first daily newspaper, printed on paper so cheap it was designed to be thrown away after reading
1704 Daniel Defoe, considered the first journalist, publishes The Review
1704 Newton’s Opticks, the first major scientific book published in English, not Latin
1706 Newton’s Opticks translated into Latin
1714 First patent for a mechanical typewriter issued to Henry Mill
1723 De Etruria regali libri VII Thomas Dempster used sans serif typeface to represent inscriptions in Ancient Greek and Etruscan
1725 Improvement to the Jacquard-type loom by Basile Bouchon who introduced the principle of using a perforated band of paper
1731 First peer-reviewed journal, Medical Essays and Observations (Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, Edinburgh).
1739 Last international treaty written in Latin, the Treaty of Belgrade, indicating the new pre-eminence of living languages over dead ones
1748 First modern use of sans-serif (“grotesque”) lettering, anonymous letter carver, grotto at Stourhead, England
1755 A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson
1767 Index Card organization by Carl Linnaeus
1769 Every house in Britain needs to have a number for addressing, introduced with the Stamp Act
1770 Natural rubber used as an eraser by Edward Nairne
1771 UK Parliament formally gives journalists the right to report proceedings
1772 Aquatint printing by Peter Perez Burdett, named by Paul Sandby
1780 Didot and Bodoni by Firmin Didot and Giambattista Bodoni, the first modern Roman typefaces
1780 First card catalog by librarian Gottfried van Swieten, Prefect of the Imperial Library, Austria
1783 James Madison of Virginia proposes the creation of a congressional library
1786 Rounded sans-serif script font developed by Valentin Haüy for the use of the blind to read with their fingers
1787 Constitution of the United States, mentioned here as a milestone in written documents producing and framing a society
1787 The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton with John Jay and James Madison in The Independent Journal, considered the most important documents for interpreting and understanding the original intent of the Constitution of the United States
1791 First card catalog for libraries, using the back of playing cards by a group of men with bibliographic experience led by Barthélemy Mercier
1795 Modern Pencil by Nicholas-Jacques Conté
1796 Lithography by Alois Senefelder
1796 Colour Lithography by Alois Senefelder
1799 The Fourdrinier machine, a continuous paper making machine by Louis-Nicolas Robert of France


1800 The Library of Congress established when President John Adams signed an act of Congress also providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington
1801 Blackboard by James Pillans
1801 Carbon Paper by Pellegrino Turri
1804 Jacquard loom by Joseph Marie Jacquard
1806 Patent for Carbon Paper by Ralph Wedgwood
1875 First literary agents


1816 First typeface without serifs by William Caslon IV
1816 First working Telegraph by Francis Ronalds used static electricity; it was rejected by the Admiralty as “wholly unnecessary”
1817 A Code of Signals for the Merchant Service, the first general system of signalling for merchant vessels by Captain Frederick Marryat
1819 Rotary printing press by David Napier


1822 Mechanical Pencil with a ‘Mechanism to Propel Replaceable Lead’ by Sampson Mordan and John Isaac Hawkins
1828 Pencil Sharpener by Bernard Lassimonne
1829 Embossed printing invented by Louis Braille


1836 Chorded Keyboard by Wheatstone and Cooke
1837 Early forerunner of Morse Code by Samuel F. B. Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail
1839 Vulcanized rubber used for erasers by Charles Goodyear
1839 Electrical Telegraph commercialised by Sir William Fothergill Cooke


1843 Rotary Drum Printing by Richard March Hoe
1843 Wood pulp introduced to paper mills for paper production
1844 Newsprint by Charles Fenerty of Canada. Designed for use in printing presses that employ a long web (continuous sheet) of paper rather than individual sheets of paper
1844 Morse Code by Samuel F. B. Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail, in use
1846 Printed Output envisioned by Charles Babbage from his Difference Engine 2


1854 Boolean algebra the mathematical basis of digital computing, developed by George Boole in The Laws of Thought
1855 International Code of Signals drafted by the British Board of Trade
1857 International Code of Signals published as the Commercial Code
1857 National Telegraphic Review and Operators Guide lists emoticon precursors <3 and :* as shorthand for ‘love and kisses’
1857 Study On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries, which identified seven distinct shortcomings in contemporary dictionaries published by the Unregistered Words Committee of The Philological Society, a small group of intellectuals in London headed by Richard Chenevix Trench
1858 Eraser on pencil by Hymen Lipman
1858 First transatlantic telegraph cable laid by Cyrus West Field


1860s The first card catalog, designed for readers, rather than staff, by Ezra Abbott, Harvard’s assistant librarian
1860 Herbert Coleridge succeeds Richard Chenevix Trench as the first editor of the Unregistered Words Committee’s effort; this work was the precursor of what eventually became the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
1860 Hectograph, gelatin duplicator or jellygraph printing process by Nelson S. Knaggs
1860 The New York Herald starts the first ‘morgue’, meaning archive
1861 The Unregistered Words Committee published the first sample pages, Herbert Coleridge dies and Frederick Furnivall takes over as editor
1864 Non-Digital ‘spam’. Unsolicited group telegram advertisement
1868 Kineograph / Flip-Book by John Barnes Linnett
1868 The Remington by Christopher Latham Sholes, the first successful typewriter


1870s QWERTY layout by Christopher Latham Sholes
1874 Stencil Duplicating by Eugenio de Zuccato
1876 Telephone patent by Alexander Graham Bell
1876 Telephone Switch, which allowed for the formation of telephone exchanges and eventually networks by Tivadar Puská
1876 Autographic Printing by Thomas Edison
1879 The Oxford University Press agrees to publish The Unregistered Words Committee’s dictionary, to be edited by James Murray
1879 Index Medicus edited by John S. Billings and Robert Fletcher, published by Frederick Leypoldt


1828 On the recent Improvements in the Art of Printing published in The Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature, and Art, by Edward Cowper
1850 On Printing Machines, Especially Those Used in Printing ‘The Times’ Newspaper published in Institution of Civil Engineers. Minutes of Proceedings, by Edward Cowper, outlining his contribution to printing which had increased newspaper printing from 200-250 copies per hour on a hand press to 10,000 copies per hour
1873 First illustrated daily newspaper, The Daily Graphic, published in New York.
1877 Current definition of entropy, by Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann
1881 Harvard Citation Style (author date) by Edward Laurens Mark at Harvard University
1881 Emoticon precursors as Puck magazine published a set of type-set faces expressing joy, melancholy, indifference and astonishment using basic type characters
1883 Téléphonoscope concept by Albert Robida
1884 Linotype by Ottmar Mergenthaler
1884 The Oxford University Press agrees to publish A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society
1887 Snigger Point by Ambrose Bierce, a precursor emoji/emoticon symbol in the form of an opening parenthesis character ‘(’, but rotated 90° to the left
1888 Ballpoint Pen by John J. Loud


By 1890 Some papers boasted circulations of more than one million
1890 US Census undertaken using the punched-card technology, an invention suggested by John S. Billings to Herman Hollerith in the company which would become IBM
1891 Automatic Cyclostyle duplicating machine by David Gestetner
1895 Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), starting with the Universal Bibliographic Repertory (RBU: Répertoire Bibliographique Universel) by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine with the implementation being as card catalogue by Herbert Haviland Field, using the Dewey Decimal Classification system by Melvil Dewey
1894 Information and Entropy in Thermodynamics by Ludwig Boltzmann
1895 A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles renamed as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)


1901 Trans-Atlantic Radio Signal by Marconi Company
1902 The term Diglossia coined by Karl Krumbacher to refer to the phenomenon of divergence between spoken and written language
1903 First message to travel around the globe by Commercial Pacific Cable Company, from US President Theodore Roosevelt, wishing “a happy Independence Day to the US, its territories and properties…” It took nine minutes for the message to travel worldwide
1903 The Daily Mirror, the first tabloid-style newspaper
1904 Patent for a ‘type wheel printing telegraph machine’ filed by Charles Krum which would go on to become Teletype in 1929
1906–7 Photographic Copying Machines by George C. Beidler at the Rectigraph Company
1907 Commercial Transatlantic Radio Telegraph Cable opened by Marconi Company


1910 Felt-tip marking pen by Lee Newman
1910’s Teleprinter, Teletext via telegraphs, by
1910 Mundaneum by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine
1910 First criminal caught via wireless telegraph: the murderer Dr Crippen on board a transatlantic ship
1913 Plantin typeface by Frank Hinman Pierpont and draughtsman Fritz Stelzer of the British Monotype Corporation, based on a Gros Cicero face cut in the 16th century by Robert Granjon
1914 Optophone (OCR precursor) by Emanuel Goldberg, a machine which read characters and converted them into standard telegraph code
1914 Handheld Scanner (OCR precursor) by Edmund Fournier d’Albe a machine which read characters and converted them into tones


1920s First full-time Type Designer Frederic Goudy
1922 Ulysses by James Joyce, first extensive use of stream of consciousness: text conveying thoughts not speech
1923 Spirit duplicator (also referred to as a Ditto machine, Banda machine, or Roneo) by Wilhelm Ritzerfeld
1925 Corkboard by George Brooks
1926 Information in physics by Leo Szilard
1926 research and development which would become Telex initiated by Reichspost in Germany
1927 The Statistical Machine patented by Emanuel Goldberg
1927 Futura typeface family by Paul Renner
1924 Art Color Pencils by Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache
1928 Standardised punch cards by Clair D. Lake
1929 Hellschreiber by Rudolf Hell, precursor to dot matrix printing
1929 Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgment by Richards, I.A


1930 The Readies, a concept for portable speed reading by Bob Brown
1931 Knowledge Machine by Emanuel Goldberg
1931 Biro by brothers László Bíró and György Bíró
1931 The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) introduced its teletypewriter exchange service, TWX
1932 Times New Roman typeface by Victor Lardent under the direction of Stanley Morison, on a commission of the Times newspaper, based on the Plantin typeface
1932 Information in quantum and particle physics by John von Neumann
1933 Telex by Reichspost in Germany operational
1933 Machine translation by Petr Petrovitch Smirnov-Troyanski
1934 Logik der Forschung by Karl R. Popper advanced the theory that the demarcation of the limit of scientific knowledge, is its ‘falsifiability’ and not its ‘verifiability’
1934 Mundaneum/ “Mondothèque,” by Paul Otlet. Includes automated linking between “card catalogs with sixteen million entries, photos, documents, microfilm, and more. Work on integrating telegraphy and multiple media, from sound recordings to television”
1935 Monde book by Paul Otlet
1936 Dvorak Keyboard Layout by August Dvorak
1937 World Brain by H. G. Wells


1940s-60s Information as a concept, through the works of Claude Shannon (information theory), Warren Weaver (machine translation), Alan Turing (universal computer), Norbert Wiener (cybernetics) and Friedrich Hayek (invisible hand is information)
1942 Xerography Patent by Chester Carlson. The technique was originally called electrophotography
1943 The term ‘acronym’ coined, meaning word formed from the first letters of a series of words
1944 Marking pen which held ink in liquid form in its handle and used a felt tip by Walter J. De Groft which becomes ‘Sharpie’ in 1964
1945 Memex proposed by Vannevar Bush in As We May Think
1945 ENIAC first programmable, electronic, general-purpose digital computer by J. Presper Eckhart and John Mauchley (University of Pennsylvania)
1946 A Logic Named Joe by Murray Leinster
1946 Works on Machine Translation by Andrew Booth
1947 Machine translation, suggested in a letter from Warren Weaver suggests to Norbert Wiener
1946 Electric Printing Telegraph by Alexander Bain, precursor to the fax
1948 A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude Shannon, including the word ‘bit,’ short for binary digit, credited to John Tukey
1948 The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society by Norbert Wiener. The word cybernetics was first used in the context of the study of self-governance of people by Plato and in 1834 by André-Marie Ampère to mean the sciences of government in his classification system of human knowledge. Here Norbert Wiener introduced the term for the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine
1949 El libro mecánico by Ángela Ruiz Robles
1949 Translation memo by Warren Weaver
1949 The Lumitype-Photon Phototypesetting by the Photon Corporation based on the Lumitype of Rene Higonnet and Louis Moyroud
1949 Fr Roberto Busa starts work on computerizing his Index Thomisticus (St Thomas Aquinas), in the process founding Humanities computing
1949 The Chinese Language Character Reform Association established


ca 1950 Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten system for storing and cross-referencing information in card indexes
1950 Whirlwind computer at MIT including a display oscilloscope becomes operational
1950 Computing Machinery And Intelligence by Alan Turing where he proposes the question ‘Can machines think?’
1950s-60s Simplified Chinese characters created by works moderated by the government of the People’s Republic of China
1951 Doug Engelbart’s Epiphany: “Problems are getting more complex and urgent and have to be dealt with collectively – we have to deal with them collectively”
1951 Qu’est-ce que la documentation? by Suzanne Briet
1951 Regular expressions by mathematician Stephen Cole Kleene
1951 Linear B deciphered as a syllabic script for early Greek, by Michael Ventris
1951 LEO I the first general-purpose business computer, Lyons Ltd, text on paper-tape readers and punches
1951 UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at EMCC/ Remington Rand
1952 Manchester Mark I computer Love Letter Generator by Christopher Strachey, using a random number algorithm by Alan Turing
1952 Antitrust Investigations And Trial Against IBM starts, dragging on for thirty years, finally being dismissed in 1982. IBM will cautiously monitor its microcomputer business practices, fearful of a repeat of government scrutiny
1952–4 Dot Matrix Teletypewriter developed by Fritz Karl Preikschat
1952 ‘Love letter generator’ aimed to generate a literary text from scratch, by Christopher Strachey
1953 UNIVAC 1103 designed by Seymour Cray at the Engineering Research Associates and built by the Remington Rand corporation
1953 Magic Marker by Sidney Rosenthal
1953 The Lumitype-Photon Phototypesetting System first used to set a complete published book and to set a newspaper
1954 Charactron by J. T. McNaney at Convair was a shaped electron beam cathode ray tube functioning both a display device and a read-only memory storing multiple characters and fonts on the UNIVAC 1103
1954 IBM 740 CRT used computers to draw vector graphics images, point by point, on 35 mm film 1956 Keyboard and Light Pen for computer text input at MIT on the Whirlwind computer
1954 The Chinese Language Character Reform Committee was founded
1955 Teletype-setting used for newspapers
1956 Chinese List of Simplified Characters issued by State Council
1956 First commercial computer sold with a moving-head ‘hard disk drive’, the 305 RAMAC by IBM
1956 ‘Artificial Intelligence’ term coined by John McCarthy at MIT
1957 COMIT string processing programming language by Victor Yngve and collaborators at MIT
1957 Univers typeface family by Adrian Frutiger
1957 The term ‘initialism’ coined, a written word formed from the first letters of other words in a name or phrase. NATO, where the letters are sounded as a word are regarded as acronyms. FBI, where the letters sound as letters, are initial-words or initialisms
1957 Dye-Sublimation printing by Noël de Plasse at Sublistatis SA
1957 Helvetica typeface family by Max Miedinger
1958 The Uses Of Argument by Stephen Toulmin introduces the argumentation diagram
1958 Lisp programming language designed by John McCarthy at MIT and developed by Steve Russell, Timothy P. Hart, and Mike Levin
1958 Integrated Circuit (IC) by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments
ca 1958 Speed reading by Evelyn Wood


1960s ‘Word Processing’ term invented by IBM
1960 PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) generalized computer-assisted instruction system by Donald Bitzer at the University of Illinois
1960 Colossal Typewriter by John McCarthy and Roland Silver at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN)
1960 Ted Nelson’s epiphany about interactive screens becoming universal, on-line publishing by individuals
1960 Suggestion for emoticon by Vladimir Nabokov
1960 Man-Computer Symbiosis by J.C.R. Licklider at BBN
1961 Selectric Typewriter by IBM with a ball print head instead of jamming bars, which could be easily replaced for different fonts and left the paper in place and moved the type ball instead
1961 Information Flow in Large Communication Nets by Leonard Kleinrock
1961 Synthesised Speech by John Larry Kelly, Jr and Louis Gerstman of Bell Labs
1961 Expensive Typewriter by Steve Piner and L. Peter Deutsch
1962 TECO (Text Editor & Corrector), both a character-oriented text editor/word processor and a programming language, by Dan Murphy
1962 the Western Union Telegraph Company established its Telex system in the United States (where the name Telex is a registered trademark)
1962 Highlighter Pen by Frank Honn
1962 Modern fibre-tipped Pen by Yukio Horie at the Tokyo Stationery Company
1962 Enciclopedia Mecánica by Ángela Ruiz Robles
1962 RUNOFF by Jerome H. Saltzer. Bob Morris and Doug McIlroy (text editor with pagination)
1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
1962 Spacewar! by Steve Russell in collaboration with Martin Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen
1962 Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework by Doug Engelbart at SRI
1963 Sketchpad (a.k.a. Robot Draftsman) software by Ivan Sutherland at MIT
1963 The ‘smiley face’ by Harvey Ball, emoticon precursor
1963 Augmentation Research Center by Doug Engelbart at SRI
1963 Transport font, a sans serif typeface first designed for road signs in the United Kingdom by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert
1963 TJ-2 (Type Justifying Program) by Peter Samson (first page layout program)
1963 ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) a character encoding standard for electronic communication developed from telegraph code
1963 ‘Hypertext’ word coined by Ted Nelson
1963 Computer Mouse and Chorded Keyset by Doug Engelbart
1964 ELIZA natural language-like processing computer program by Joseph Weizenbaum at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
1964 LDX (Long Distance Xerography) by Xerox Corporation, considered to be the first commercial fax machine
1964 Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan
1964 ASCII 7-bit standard
1964 TYPSET text formatting software used with the RUNOFF program
1965 TV-Edit, one of the first CRT-based display editors/word processors that was widely used by Brian Tolliver for the DEC PDP-1 computer
1965 Semi-Conductor based thermal printer by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments
1965 ‘Hypertext’ by Ted Nelson first in print, as well as first design (zipper lists)
1965 MAIL Command for MIT’s CTSS, proposed by Pat Crisman, Glenda Schroeder and Louis Pouzin, implemented by Tom Van Vleck and Noel Morris
1966 Object Oriented Programming by Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygard at the Norwegian Computing Center
1966 Computers and the Humanities, Journal founded by Joseph Raben at Queens College in the City University of New York
1967 HES (The Hypertext Editing System) co-designed at Brown University by Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam and Steve Carmody, as well as other student implementors, based in part on a spec Ted Nelson had written previously for Harcourt Brace
1967 The Quick-Draw Graphics System masters thesis by Jef Raskin
1967 Logo programming language designed by Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, Cynthia Solomon at Bolt, Beranek and Newman
1967 Newspapers use digital production processes and begin using computers for operations
1968 A ‘low-tack’, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive accidentally created by Dr. Spencer Silver at 3M which would eventually be marketed as Post-it® Note
1968 Doug Engelbart’s Seminal Demo of the NLS system at FJCC, including windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse & chorded keyset, word processing, dynamic file linking and revision control
1968 Dynabook Concept computer by Alan Kay
1968 Digi Grotesk, digital typeface by Rudolph Hell
1968 The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth
1968 OCR-A monospaced typeface for Optical Character Recognition by 23 American type foundries
1968 OCR-B monospaced typeface by Adrian Frutiger for Monotype, following the European Computer Manufacturer’s Association standard
1968 Serial Impact Dot Matrix Printer by OKI
1968 SHRDLU natural language understanding computer program by Terry Winograd at MIT
1969 FRESS, inspired in part by HES and Engelbart’s NLS by Andy van Dam and his students at Brown University
1969 GML, leading to SGML by Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie at IBM
1969 Ed line editor/word processor for the Unix, developed in by Ken Thompson
1969 Vladamir Nabokov presents concept of emoticon/emoji to New York Times
1969 Structured Writing and Information Mapping by Robert E. Horn
1969 ARPANET based on concepts developed in parallel with work by Paul Baran, Donald Davies, Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence Roberts


1970s Gyricon Electronic Paper by Nick Sheridon at Xerox PARC
1970 Xerox PARC founded by Jacob E. Goldman of Xerox
1970 The Western Union Telegraph Company acquires TWX from AT&T
1970 IBIS (issue-based information system) conceptualised by Horst Rittel
1970 Journal by David A. Evans
1970 Bomber by Len Deighton, first published novel written with the aid of a commercial word processor, the IBM’s MT/ST (IBM 72 IV)
1970 Daisy Wheel Printing by Andrew Gabor at Diablo Data Systems allowing for proportional fonts
1971 New York Times article refers to “the brave new world of Word Processing”
1971 Laser Printer by Gary Starkweather at Xerox PARC
1971 File Transfer Protocol (FTP) by Abhay Bhushan
1971 Project Gutenberg by Michael S. Hart
1971 Email with @ by Ray Tomlinson
1971 PUB scriptable markup language. Brainchild of Les Earnest of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and implemented by Larry Tesler
1972 TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) founded by Prof Marianne McDonald at the University of California, Irvine, to create a comprehensive digital collection of all surviving Greek texts from antiquity to the present era
1972 C programming language by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson
1972 Xerox Star memo written by Butler Lampson, inspired by NLS
1973 Xerox Alto by Xerox PARC designed primarily by Charles P. Thacker
1973 Addison-Wesley replaces its mechanical typesetting technology with computerised typesetting
1973 Copy & Paste by Larry Tessler at Xerox PARC
1973 Click & Drag by Jeff Raskin at Xerox PARC
1973 Micral, first personal computer using a microprocessor by André Trương Trọng Thi, Réalisation d’Études Électroniques (R2E), (Orsay, France)
1973 Community Memory Bulletin Board precursor
1974 Omni-Font Optical Character Recognition System (OCR) Scanners by Ray Kurzweil at Kurzweil Computer Products
1974 Bravo word processor by Butler Lampson, Charles Simonyi at Xerox PARC. They would go on to produce Word
1974 Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson
1974 ‘Writing with light, writing on glass’ were the closing words of Wilfred A. Beeching’s Century of the Typewriter
1974 Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) an internet working protocol for sharing resources using packet switching among network nodes forming the foundation of the Internet (short for internet working)
1975 ZOG by Allen Newell, George G. Robertson, Donald McCracken and Robert Akscyn at Carnegie Mellon University
1975 Microsoft founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen
1975 MUSA Speech Synthesis systems (MUltichannel Speaking Automaton) project led by Giulio Modena
1975 Altair 8800 computer by Ed Roberts and Forrest M. Mims III
1975 Gypsy document preparation system/word processor by Larry Tesler, Timothy Mott, Butler Lampson, Charles Simonyi, with advice from Dan Swinehart and other colleagues
1975 Colossal Cave Adventure text adventure game by Will Crowther and later expanded by Don Woods
1976 Second edition of The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth, published by Addison-Wesley, which was typeset using phototypesetting which inspired him to develop TeX since he found the typesetting inferior to the original, Monotype typeset edition
1976 Frutiger series of typefaces by Adrian Frutiger
1976 Apple Computer (later Apple Inc.) founded Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne
1976 The Metanovel: Writing Stories by Computer by James Meehan
1976 Emacs (Editor MACroS) word processor by David A. Moon, Guy L. Steele Jr. and Richard M. Stallman, based on TECO
1976 vi word processor by Bill Joy (now Vim)
1976 PROMIS (Problem-Oriented Medical Information System) by Jan Schultz and Lawrence Weed the University of Vermont
1977 Apple II computer by Steve Wozniak at Apple
1977 DataLand developed at MIT
1977 Zork interactive fiction computer game by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling at MIT
1977 Inkjet Printing by Ichiro Endo at Canon
1977 Preliminary Description of TEX Memo by Donald Knuth
1977 Name/Finger protocol (provided status on a particular computer system or person at network sites) by Harrenstien
1978 Aspen Movie Map, the first hypermedia/interactive videodisc by Andy Lippman, Bob Mohl and Michael Naimark of the MIT Architecture Machine Group
1977 Personal computers as dynamic multimedia by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg
1978 Public dial-up BBS by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess
1978 TeX by Donald Knuth released as the first version which was used by others. Written in SAIL (Stanford Artificial Intelligence Language)
1978 American Mathematical Society Gibbs Lecture by Donald Knuth, Mathematical Typography; published in the Bulletin (New Series) of the American Mathematical Society, volume 1, 1979, pp. 337-372
1978 Vancouver Citation Style (author number), as a part of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URMs)
1978 QuarkXPress desktop publishing software by Quark
1978 Earliest documented electronic Spam (although the term had not yet been coined) by Gary Thuerk
1978 LISA computer by Apple design starts, with a requirement for proportional fonts
1978 Speak & Spell by Texas Instruments
1978 Highlighters with fluorescent colours by Dennison Company
1978 Wordstar word processor by Rob Barnaby
1979 WordPerfect word processor by Bruce Bastian and Alan Ashton at Brigham Young University
1979 Hayes Modem by Dennis C. Hayes and Dale Heatherington
1979 Metafont by Donald Knuth
1979 -) proposed by Kevin Mackenzie as a joke-marker precursor emoticon
1979 Architext by Genette, Gerard. Hypertext as based on a hypotekst
1979 EasyWriter for Apple II by John Draper
1979 TV-EDIT word processor was used by Douglas Hofstadter to write ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’
1979 Macintosh Project started by Jef Raskin and included Brian Howard, Marc LeBrun, Burrell Smith, Joanna Hoffman, and Bud Tribble. Named for Raskin’s favourite apple, the succulent McIntosh. He changed the spelling of the name to avoid potential conflict with the audio equipment manufacturer named McIntosh
1979 Post-Its® by 3M sold commercially
1979 Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC, organized by Jef Raskin, as part of an investment agreement


1980s SPAM used as a term to describe users on BBSs and MUDs who repeat it a huge number of times to scroll other users’ text off the screen. It later came to be used on Usenet to mean excessive multiple postings
1980s Telex usage goes into decline as fax machines grow in popularity
1980 ZX80 by Sinclair
1980 Smalltalk designed by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg and developed by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg, Ted Kaehler, Diana Merry, Scott Wallace, Peter Deutsch at the Learning Research Group of Xerox PARC
1980 PC by IBM
1980 Imagen founded by Les Earnest, sold to QMS in 1987
1980 Floppy Disks become prevalent for personal computers
1980 Vydec1800 Series Word Processor by Exxon
1980 ENQUIRE proposed by Tim Berners-Lee
1980 USENET by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis
1982–3 The Encyclopaedia Project by Alan Kay, Charles Van Doren, Brenda Laurel, Steve Weyer and Bob Stein at Atari Research Group
1981 Movie Manual by David Backer at the MIT Architecture Machine Group
1981 Raskin leaves the Macintosh project and Steve Jobs takes over
1981 BITNET, EARN and NetNorth network university IBM mainframes, allowing text (mail, files, chat) to be shared by non-Arpanet institutions
1981 TPS (Technical Publishing Software) by David Boucher at Interleaf, allowed authors to write text and create graphics WYSIWYG
1981 First major use of Information Murals in Organizations by David Sibbet
1982 Guide by Peter J. Brown at Canterbury University
1982 Adobe founded by John Warnock and Charles Geschke
1982 First ASCII emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 by Scott Fahlman at Carnegie Mellon University
1982 CD-ROM by Denon
1982 Tron movie released, the first movie written on a computer, an Alto at PARC. Written by Bonnie MacBird based on inspiration by Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib with consultation from Alan Kay, whom Bonnie would later marry
1982 TeX82, a new version of TeX, rewritten from scratch, renaming the original TeX TeX78
1983 Viewtron by AT&T and Knight Ridder
1983 MILNET physically separated from ARPANET
1983 ThinkTank outliner for Apple II
1983 ARPANET switches to TCP/IP
1983 Lisa by Ken Rothmuller, replaced by John Couch with contributions from Trip Hawkins, Jef Raskin and Steve Jobs, at Apple
1983 Word word processor for DOS by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie for Xenix (Unix OS) and MS-DOS, at Microsoft. Originally called ‘Multi-Tool Word’
1983 KMS (Knowledge Management System), a descendant of ZOG by Don McCracken and Rob Akscyn at Knowledge Systems (a spinoff from the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University)
1983 Hyperties by Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland
1983 Multi-Tool Notepad word processor by Richard Brodie at Microsoft
1983 ‘1984’ Macintosh Television Commercial by Apple
1984 Literate Programming introduced by Donald Knuth, and approach to treat a program as literature understandable to human beings. Implemented at Stanford University as a part of research on algorithms and digital typography under the name WEB
1984 Macintosh launched. In addition to the original contributors, the team also included Bill Atkinson Chris Espinosa, Joanna Hoffman, George Crow, Bruce Horn, Jerry Manock, Susan Kare, Andy Hertzfeld, and Daniel Kottke
1984 MacWrite word processor included with Macintosh, by Randy Wigginton, Don Breuner and Ed Ruder of Encore Systems for Apple. Also known as ‘Macintosh WP’ (Word Processor) and ‘MacAuthor’ before release
1984 The Print Shop designed by David Balsam and programmed by Martin Kahn at Brøderbund
1984 Metafont by Donald Knuth updated to a version still in use at the time of writing this book
1984 FidoNet bulletin board system software by Tom Jennings
1984 LaserWriter printer by Apple
1984 ‘Cyberspace’ term coined by William Gibson in Neuromancer
1984 Organizer by David Potter at Psion
1984 PostScript by John Warnock, Charles Geschke, Doug Brotz, Ed Taft and Bill Paxton at Adobe, influenced by Interpress, developed at Xerox PARC
1984 MacroMind founded by Marc Canter, Jay Fenton and Mark Stephen Pierce
1984 PC Jr desktop computer by IBM
1984 Notecards by Randall Trigg, Frank Halasz and Thomas Moran at Xerox PARC
1984 Highlighted Selectable Link by Ben Shneiderman and Dan Ostroff at University of Maryland
1984 TIES by Ben Shneiderman at University of Maryland
1984 LaserJet by HP
1984 Text Messaging / SMS (short message service) developed by Franco-German GSM cooperation by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert
1984 Filevision by Telos
1984 LaTeX by Leslie Lamport who was writing a book and needed macros for TeX, resulting in ‘Lamport’s TeX’ (‘LaTeX’)
1984 Zoomracks for Atari by Paul Heckel
1985 Symbolics Document Examiner by Janet Walker
1985 Guide, commercial edition, by OWL (Office Workstations Ltd)
1985 Pagemaker desktop publishing software by Aldus, bought by Adobe in 1994
1985 StarWriter word processor by Marco Börries at Star Division
1985 Intermedia by Norman Meyrowitz and others at Brown University
1985 Windows operating system spearheaded by Bill Gates at Microsoft
1985 Write word processor by Microsoft, included with Windows
1985 Word word processor by Microsoft ported to Macintosh
1985 Amiga computer by Commodore
1985 Emacs General Public License by Richard Stallman, the first copyleft license
1985 TRICKLE by Turgut Kalfaoglu at Ege University, İzmir; BITNET-to-Internet gateway allows sharing of text and programs between two disparate networks
1986 Guide by Peter J. Brown at the University of Kent, marketed by OWL
1986 Harvard Graphics desktop business application by Software Publishing Corporation
1986 Texinfo GNU Documentation System by Richard Stallman and Bob Chassell, developed by Brian Fox and Karl Berry
1986 FrameMaker document/word processor by Frame Technology. Developed by Charles ‘Nick’ Corfield based on an idea from Ben Meiry and commercialised with Steve Kirsch. Bought by Adobe 1995
1986 Hyperties commercial version by Cognetics Corporation
1986 Solid Ink Printing by Tektronix
1986 SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), ISO 8879
1986 Uncle Roger by Judy Malloy released on Art Com Electronic Network on The Well
1987 PowerPoint presentation software created by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin at Forethought Inc., bought by Microsoft same year and released as a Microsoft product 1989
1987 MacroMind Director multimedia authoring by MacroMind
1987 V.I.P. (Visual Interactive Programming) by Dominique Lienart at Mainstay Inc
1987 Storyspace by Jay David Bolter & Michael Joyce, maintained and distributed by Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Systems
1987 Afternoon a story, by Michael Joyce, first digital hypertext narrative
1987 Unicode by Joe Becker from Xerox with Lee Collins and Mark Davis from Apple
1987 Franklin Spelling Ace by Franklin Electronic Publishers
1987 Canon Cat by Jef Raskin at Canon Inc
1987 Apple Knowledge Navigator visionary concept video initiated by John Sculley, sponsored by Bud Colligan, written and creatively developed by Hugh Dubberly and Doris Mitsch with input from Mike Liebhold and advice from Alan Kay, inspired by the MIT Media Lab, with product design by Gavin Ivester and Adam Grosser at Apple
1987 TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) ‘Poughkeepsie Principles’: text encoding guidelines for Humanities texts
1987 HyperCard by Bill Atkinson at Apple
1987 Amanda Goodenough’s children’s point and click stories in Hypercard published by Voyager
1987 Hypertext’87 First ACM conference on hypertext
1988 Microcosm by Wendy Hall, Andrew Fountain, Hugh Davis and Ian Heath
1988 NeXT Cube by NeXT
1988 IRC by Jarkko Oikarinen
1988 Think’n Time (Visual outliner with dates) by Benoit Schillings & Alain Marsily at Mainstay Inc
1988 # (hash) and & (ampersand) used in IRC to label groups and topics (RFC 1459)
1988 Wolfram Mathematica by Stephen Wolfram
1988 Hypertext edition of Communications of the ACM using Hyperties by Ben Shneiderman
1988 Idex by William Nisen of Owl, based on Guide
1988 Hypertext Hands-On! by Ben Shneiderman and Greg Kearsley, first commercial electronic book
1988 Reflections on NoteCards: seven issues for the next generation of hypermedia systems by Frank,G. Halasz
1988 Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) by J. Romkey
1988 Breadcrumb Trail navigation metaphor in Hypergate by Mark Bernstein
1989 GRiDPad 1900, the first commercial tablet by GRiD Systems Corporation
1989 Robert Winter’s CD Companion to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, published by Voyager, the first viable commercial CD-ROM
1989 Markup (Visual document annotations with markup signs – Groupware) by Dominique Lienart & all at Mainstay Inc
1989 SuperCard by Bill Appleton at Silicon Beach Software
1989 gIBIS by Jeff Conklin and Michael Begeman, commercialised in the 1990s as CM/1 and QuestMap
1989 Bidirectional Email-to-Fax Gateway hosted by UCC
1989 Word for Windows word processor by Microsoft
1989 Mapping Hypertext: Analysis, Linkage, and Display of Knowledge for the Next Generation of On-Line Text and
Graphics by Robert E. Horn
1989 Information Management: A Proposal by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. World Wide Web protocols published on USENET in alt.hypertext


1990s T9 invented by Martin King and Cliff Kushler, co-founders of Tegic
1990s Compendium by Al Selvin and Maarten Sierhuis
1990 Donald Knuth releases TeX 3.0, rewritten to handle 8-bit fonts
1990 MarcoPolo (Visual Document Management – Groupware) by Benoit Schillings & Alain Marsily at Mainstay Inc
1990 Archie, a tool for indexing FTP archives, considered to be the first Internet search engine, by Alan Emtage and Bill Heelan at McGill University/Concordia University in Montreal
1990 Python programming language by Guido van Rossum
1990 The SGML Handbook by Charles F. Goldfarb
1990 Designing Hypermedia for Learning by David H. Jonassen and Heinz Mandl (editors) in which updated conference proceedings are annotated by the authors with typed hypertext links in the margins connecting passages between the articles
1991 Gopher protocol by the University of Minnesota (initial version of the protocol appeared in 1991, codified in 1993 as a RFC 1436)
1991 Seven Issues: Revisited Hypertext ‘91 Closing Plenary by Frank G. Halasz at Xerox Corporation
1991 World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee becomes the first global hypertext system
1991 DocBook DTD by HaL Computer Systems and O’Reilly & Associates
1991 Camelot Project started as in at Adobe, later to become PDF
1991 PowerBook Laptops by Apple
1991 Aquanet by Catherine C. Marshall, Frank G. Halasz, Russell A. Rogers and William C. Janssen Jr.
1991 Visual Basic programming language by Microsoft
1991 Java programming language project launched by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan and Patrick Naughton. Originally called Oak, then Green, and finally Java
1991 Instant Update by ON Technology
1991 HTML by Tim Berners-Lee, influenced by SGMLguid, an in-house markup language at CERN
1991 TLH (Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae, now known as CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts) founded at University College Cork, Ireland by Prof Marianne McDonald from the University of California, Irvine, to create a comprehensive digital collection of all surviving Irish texts from antiquity to the present era — the first corpus in Early Irish to be published on the World-Wide Web.
1991 Expanded Books Project by The Voyager Company
1991 TeachText by Apple, included with System 7
1992 First Text Message (SMS) is sent by Neil Papworth reading: “Merry Christmas” to Richard Jarvis at Vodafone
1992 Veronica a search engine system for the Gopher protocol by Steven Foster and Fred Barrie at the University of Nevada, Reno
1992 Lynx internet web browser by Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe, and Charles Rezac at the University of Kansas
1992 Frontier by Dave Winer at UserLand Software released on Mac
1992 OpenDoc by Kurt Piersol and Jed Harris at Apple. First code named ‘Exemplar’, then ‘Jedi’ and ‘Amber’
1992 Palm Computing founded by Jeff Hawkins
1992 The End of Books By Robert Coover, Hypertext fiction cover story in the New York Times Book Review
1992 Before Writing by Denise Schmandt-Besserat
1992 Portable Document Format (PDF) by Adobe
1992 BBEdit word processing software by Rich Siegel at Bare Bones Software
1993 Mosaic web browser by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina at NCSA massively popularises the web
1993 Microsoft Word word processor celebrates its 10th anniversary with 10 million Word users
1993 Encarta multimedia encyclopedia by Microsoft
1993 Hypermedia Encyclopedias sell more copies than print encyclopedias
1993 Newton MessagePad PDA by Steve Sakoman, Steve Capps, Larry Tesler, Michael Culbert, Michael Tchao and others at Apple under John Sculley
1993 Early Blog by Rob Palmer
1993 Open Agent Architecture (OAA) delegated agent framework by Adam Cheyer et al. at SRI International
1993 Georgia typeface designed by Matthew Carter and hinted by Tom Rickner for Microsoft
1993 Searching for the Missing Link: Discovering Implicit Structure in Spatial Hypertext by Catherine C. Marshall and Frank Shipman. First occurrence of Spatial Hypertext in print
1993 AppleScript launched with System 7 by Apple
1994 PDF made freely available
1994 blog by Justin Hall, before the term would be used
1994 TrueType Open by Microsoft
1994 Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) enabled internet communications between two routers directly by W. Simpson
1994 Netscape Navigator web browser by Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen at Netscape Communications Corp
1994 Scripting News by Dave Winer
1994 Yahoo! founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo
1994 Amazon founded by Jeff Bezos
1994 Semantic Web vision presented by Tim Berners-Lee at the first World Wide Web Conference
1994 QR Code System by the Japanese company Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota
1994 World Wide Web Consortium founded
1994 PageMill HTML authoring by Seneca Inc., bought by Adobe one year later, discontinued 2000
1994 VIKI: Spatial Hypertext Supporting Emergent Structure by Catherine C. Marshall, Frank M. Shipman III, James H. Coombs
1994 A Subversive Proposal by Stevan Harnad at the University of Southampton
1995 WordPad word processor by Microsoft is included in Windows 95, replacing Write
1995 Netscape goes public and gains market value of almost $3B on first day of stock market trading
1995 The World Wide Web Handbook by Peter Flynn, first comprehensive book on HTML
1995 Ruby scripting langauge by Yukihiro ‘Matz’ Matsumoto
1995 Windows 95 operating system by Microsoft
1995 WikiWikiWeb, the first wiki, by Ward Cunningham
1995 Java public release by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (since been acquired by Oracle), the first programming language to use Unicode for all text
1995 JavaScript by Brendan Eich at Netscape (orignally called Mocha, then LiveScript and later JavaScript)
1995 AltaVista founded by Paul Flaherty, Louis Monier, Michael Burrows and Jeffrey Black
1995 FutureSplash by FutureWave, sold to Macromedia in 1996 and renamed Flash
1996 Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos at the World Wide Web Consortium
1996 Palm OS PDAs including the Graffiti handwriting system
1996 Vaio laptop by Sony
1996 Cyberdog OpenDoc based Internet suite of applications by Apple
1996 OpenType by Microsoft joined by Adobe
1996 Anoto by Christer Fåhræus to provide digital pen capability to paper
1996 Hotmail email system by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, bought by Microsoft in 1997
1996 The Internet Archive by Brewster Kahle
1996 GoLive HTML authoring software by GoNet Communication, Inc., bought by Adobe 1999
1996 TextEdit word processor by Apple. Not meant for use, it was sample code
1996 Live word count by Keith Martin, demonstrated in the Wordless word processor, later appearing in Microsoft Word 98
1997 Emoji developed by Japanese mobile operators during the 1990s including SoftBank and Shigetaka Kurita for i-mode
1997 Meta Content Framework developed by Ramanathan V. Guha at Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group, leading to RDF
1997 OpenDoc by Apple cancelled
1997 Apple Data Detectors by Jim Miller, Thomas Bonura and others at Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, which would also lead on to LiveDoc
1997 Resource Description Framework (RDF) derived from W3C’s PICS, Dublin Core and from the Meta Content Framework (MCF) developed by Ramanathan V. Guha at Apple and Tim Bray at Netscape
1997 Dreamweaver HTML authoring software by Macromedia, bought by Adobe 2005
1997 Yandex by Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich
1997 Flash multimedia authoring and platform by Macromedia, later bought by Adobe
1997 ‘weblog’ term coined by Jorn Barger to describe a log of his internet activity
1997 Jabberwacky released online by Rollo Carpenter
1997 E-Paper by Barrett Comiskey, Joseph Jacobson and JD Albert at E Ink Corporation
1997 Newton PDA by Apple cancelled after Steve Jobs return
1997 Unistroke by David Goldberg at Xerox PARC
1997 9000i Communicator monile phone by Nokia, the first mobile phone with a full keyboard
1997 OpenType by Microsoft
1997 Liquid Mail email system by Frode Alexander Hegland featuring smart Views
1998 iMac desktop computer by Apple
1998 First blog published on an established news site by Jonathan Dube at The Charlotte Observer
1998 Can Computers Think? History and Status of the Debate. Seven posters. Industrial strength argumentation map by Robert E. Horn
1998 Open Diary blogging service by Bruce Ableson
1998 Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century Robert by E. Horn
1998 (possibly 1999) Fluid Links demo video at the ACM CHI conference by Polle T. Zellweger, Bay-Wei Chang, and Jock D. Mackinlay
1998 ‘SPAM’ in The New Oxford Dictionary of English
1998 Google founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin
1998 XML 1.0 becomes a W3C Recommendation
1998 Netscape goes open source with the name Mozilla
1998 XML-RPC text-based networking protocol between apps running across operating systems
1998 Frontier blog software by Dave Winer at UserLand Software released on Windows
1998 MathML by W3C
1998 @font-face by W3C
1998 AOL buys Netscape for $4 Billion
1999 Open eBook
1999 The short form, ‘blog’, was coined by Peter Merholz. Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used ‘blog’ as both a noun and verb and devised the term ‘blogger’ in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms
1999 LiveJournal blogging service by Brad Fitzpatrick at Danga Interactive
1999 Blogger blogging service by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan with significant coding by Paul Bausch and Matthew Haughey
1999 RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9) the first version of RSS, by Dan Libby and Ramanathan V. Guha at Netscape
1999 RSS 0.91 by Dave Winer at UserLand
1999 and
1999 Edit This Page by Dave Winer
1999 Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Larry Lessig
1999 Mac OS X operating system by Apple
1999 Ajax web development techniques for asynchronous web applications emerges
1999 ActiveText: A Method for Creating Dynamic and Interactive Texts by Jason E. Lewis and Alex Weyers at Interval Research Corporation
1999 Spatial Hypertext: An Alternative to Navigational and Semantic Links by Frank M. Shipman and Catherine C. Marshall
1999 Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) founded by Scott Rettberg, Robert Coover, and Jeff Ballowe


2000 Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software is made available online for free
2000 1 billion indexable pages on the Web, estimated by NEC-RI and Inktomi
2000 ClearType by Microsoft
2000 XML Linking Language (XLink) an XML markup language for creating internal and external links within XML documents, and associating metadata with those links, by Steven DeRose, Eve Maler, David Orchard and Bernard Trafford
2000 EPrints by Stevan Harnad, funded by Wendy Hall, supervised by Les Carr and implemented by Rob Tansley and others at the University of Southampton
2000 CoolType by Adobe
2000 ScholOnto by Simon Buckingham Shum, Enrico Motta and John Domingue at the Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University. This evolved over the next decade into ClaiMaker and Cohere with Victoria Uren, Gangmin Li, Anna De Liddo and Michelle Bachler
2000 Riding the Bullet by Stephen King, the first mass-market e-book for encrypted download
2000 EverNote founded by Stepan Pachikov
2001 ‘Chinese General Language and Character Law’ rolled out.
2001 Tinderbox by Mark Bernstein, Eastgate Systems
2001 Semantic Web vision popularised in a Scientific American article by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila
2001 G4 Titanium PowerBook laptop computer by Apple
2001 The Wiki Way by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham
2001 Creative Commons by Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred
2001 Wikipedia online collaborative encyclopedia by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger at Nupedia
2001 Movable Type weblog publishing system by Benjamin Trott and Mena Grabowski Trott at Six Apart
2001 JSON by Douglas Crockford
2001 Douglas Adams’ speech about Virtual Graffiti held at the 3GSM World Congress
2002 Bibliotheca Alexandrina founded, the modern Library of Alexandria, with Ismail Serageldin as the founding director
2002 EPrints version 2 lead developer Christopher Gutteridge
2003 Android Inc founded by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White
2003 Friendster social media service Jonathan Abrams
2003 Myspace blogging and social media service by Brad Greenspan, Josh Berman and Tom Anderson at eUniverse
2003 Deep Love by Yoshi, first cell phone novel ( Japanese ‘Keitai Shousetsu’)
2003 The Legal Deposit Libraries Act widens the definition of what publishers should send to the libraries to include digital publications, pending further regulation
2003 WordPress blogging service by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little
2003 Blogger blogging service is bought by Google
2003 TypePad blogging service by BizLand, later Endurance International Group (EIG)
2003 Ulysses word processor by Max Seelemann and Marcus Fehn
2004 Facebook social media service by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes
2004 First hypertext format full length articles accepted at ACM’s Hypertext Conference with Twin media: hypertext structure under pressure by David Kolb awarded ‘Best Paper’
2004 First hypertext format article at ACM’s Document Engineering conference by James Blustein and Mona Noor
2004 Institute for the Future of the Book founded by Bob Stein
2004 Tag Cloud at Flickr, Technorati, WordPress Plugins and more
2004 Scala programming language by Martin Odersky
2005 Pages word processor by Apple
2005 Markdown by John Gruber collaboration with Aaron Swartz
2006 Time Person of the Year is ‘You’
2005 Writely by programmers Sam Schillace, Steve Newman and Claudia Carpenter at Upstartle
2006 Upstartle bought by Google
2006 Google Docs by Google
2006 Twitter social media service founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams at Twitter
2006 One Laptop Per Child by Nicholas Negroponte
2006 HyperScope Project by Doug Engelbart and Brad Neuberg, Eugene Kim, Jonathan Cheyer and Christina Engelbart
2006 Hyperwords Project by Frode Hegland, Fleur Klijnsma and Rob Smith
2006 Office Open XML by Microsoft
2006 The Semantic Web Revisited by Tim Berners-Lee, Nigel Shadbolt, and Wendy Hall, in IEEE Intelligent Systems
2006 Debategraph by Peter Baldwin and David Price
2006 Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark’s, the first networked book, produced by the Institute for the Future of the Book
2006 Dialogue Mapping: Creating Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems by Jeff Conklin
2007 Hashtag by Chris Messina (name by Stowe Boyd)
2007 iPhone by Apple Inc.
2007 Kindle by Amazon
2007 Scrivener for macOS by Keith Blount at Literature & Latte
2007 EPUB by IDPF
2008 MacBook Air by Apple
2008 Last Stable Build of Netscape Navigator
2009 Like Button by Facebook
2009 Webfonts by Typekit
2009 OmmWriter by Herraiz Soto & Co
2009 iPhone Copy & Paste by Apple
2009 Twine open-source tool for authoring interactive fiction by created by Chris Klimas
2009 Worst year in decades as far as advertising revenues for newspapers and newspapers begin moving online


2010 Thumbs Up Emoji
2010 Retina Display by Apple
2010 iA Writer word processor by Oliver Reichenstein
2010 iPad tablet by Apple
2010 Swift programming language development by Chris Lattner, with the eventual collaboration of many other programmers at Apple
2010 Siri developed by Dag Kittlaus, Tom Gruber, and Adam Cheyer, bought by Apple
2010 Emoji ratified as part of Unicode 6.0
2011 iMessage by Apple
2011 ByWord word processor by Metaclassy
2011 Scrivener word processor for Windows by Keith Blount at Literature & Latte
2011 Annual Future Of Text Symposium by Frode Alexander Hegland launched
2011 Liquid text utility by Frode Alexander Hegland at The Liquid Information Company
2011 Siri personal digital assistant released as part of the iPhone 4S by Apple
2011 Swype by Cliff Kushler allying users to drag their fingers on a virtual keyboard to connect the dots between letters
2011 ClaiMaker by Gangmin Li, Victoria Uren, Enrico Motta, Simon Buckingham Shum and John Domingue
2012 Knowledge Graph by Emily Moxley, Google’s lead product manager, at Google
2012 Muse by Adobe
2012 The Web-Extended Mind by Paul Smart
2012 Inventing on Principle presentation by Bret Victor
2012 Google Now Assistant launched by Google
2012 Medium online social publishing platform by Evan Williams
2012 LiquidText by Craig Tashman
2012 Outlook by Microsoft replaces Hotmail
2013 Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations further define the digital elements of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act and lead to large-scale on-going transfer of e-journals and e-books to the legal deposit libraries for posterity
2013 Distant Reading by Franco Moretti
2013 First Full-Scale Harvest of the UK Domain by the UK Web Archive, using the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations
2013 Ulysses III (major rewrite) by Max Seelemann and Marcus Fehn
2014 Xanadu by Ted Nelson
2014 Alexa assistant released by Amazon
2014 Cortana assistant released by Microsoft
2014 Framtidsbiblioteket (The Future Library project) launched, a public artwork that aims to collect an original work by a popular writer every year from 2014 to 2114
2014 Author reboot by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company with coding by Jacob Hazelgrove
2014 Most up to date version of TeX is 3.14159265 as of the publication of this book
2014 Swift programming language launched at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)
2014 Author iOS by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company
2014 Augmented Writing by Textio
2015 Notion by Ivan Zhao at Notion Labs
2015 Watch by Apple
2015 Hamilton musical, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, makes it Broadway debut, highlighting the beauty and power of the written word, with an opening line stating that Hamilton “put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain”
2016 Reactions, also-called Tapback, for iMessage by Apple
2016 Universal Clipboard by Apple
2016 Viv Labs, developed by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, acquired by Samsung
2016 Notion founded by Ivan Zhao and Simon Last
2017 Roam Research founded by Conor White-Sullivan
2017 Web Annotations Standardised by the W3C Web Annotation Working Group
2018 Bixby Marketplace, an open assistant ecosystem based on Viv Labs Technology, launched by Samsung
2018 GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer ) released by OpenAI
2019 GPT-2 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 2) released by OpenAI
2019 Reader PDF viewer with Visual-Meta support by Frode Alexander Hegland at The Liquid Information Company with coding by Jacob Hazelgrove


2020 Muse by Adobe discontinued
2020 Flash by Adobe discontinued
2020 iPad Keyboard with Trackpad by Apple
2020 Adobe Liquid Mode for Easier PDF Viewing on Mobile Devices powered by Sensei Machine Learning
2020 GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) released by OpenAI
2022 Meta Quest released
2022 The Future of Text volume 3 published


2023 (Jan 1), Adobe Type 1 (Postscript) fonts reach end of life; no further support in Adobe products (other software unaffected)
unknown The “absolutely final change (to be made after my death)” of TeX will be to change the version number to π, at which point all remaining bugs will become features. Likewise, versions of Metafont after 2.0 asymptotically approach e (currently at 2.7182818), and a similar change will be applied after Knuth’s death.
unknown All the pioneers of digital text will die, leaving it to future generations to rediscover and hopefully improve upon how we interact with our textual knowledge, and each other.
unknown You will read this. What will you do with what you have learnt in this book, what will you think of the way we saw text in 2022, how do you think the way we present and interact with text can be improved?

Contributors to the Timeline

Frode Hegland and Mark Anderson editors, with Peter Flynn, Mark Bernstein, Bernard Vatant, Bob Horn, Jonathan Finn, Niels Ole Finnemann and more. Thank you.

We understand that this will never be, nor aims to be, a complete and accurate history of text. There will be errors in omission, facts and dates will only be solid for the most recent events. The timeline format is ill suited for non-sharply delineated periods of time so we have tried to address that with language, such as liberal use of ‘ca’ and date ranges. The history of ideas is especially fraught and there will be issues we have not even thought about. What this aims to be however, is a useful guide for at least some of the major events and sequences which has brought us where we are, and which may help guide us to where we want to be with text.


This timeline is also available in PDF.

Since the format is so simple we aim that it should at least be useful to students to get a lay of the temporal land.In the Future Text Lab we are looking at how to incorporate timeline information into concepts so this timeline is also available as a JOSN file.


For any suggestions or issues, please email the editor Frode Alexander Hegland at and you will be credited as a Contributor in the next Edition. It would be great if you could use this format: Year (even if you have to use ‘ca’ or other terms) Event/thing by person at organisation (if applicable)