Digital inventions since the last Coronation

It has been an incredible 70 years since the last coronation in England, with that of course being the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953. On Saturday 6th May this year, we welcome a new monarch onto the throne with the Coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the new King and Queen Consort. As the world prepares for this historic event, we’re reflecting on the inventions that have shaped our country in the past 70 years.

1962: Cassette tapes

The way we listen to music has changed a significant amount in the past 70 years. Pre-1960s, vinyl was the common method of choice. 1962 saw the first cassette tape released by Philips. This was revolutionary in that not only could you listen to your favourite songs but also create your own collection—thereby introducing the era of mixtapes.

Skip forward to 1997 when things changed again with the invention of the first MP3 Player, allowing people to listen to their selection of hand-picked songs on the move.

Compared with the streaming platforms we use today, the memory of rewinding the cogs of a cassette tape with the end of a pencil seems unfeasibly distant.

1974: The first personal computer (PC)

If you’ve seen the film The Imitation Game, you’ll know that computers in their original form have been around since the Second World War, with the first 'computer' recognised in 1942.

The less gargantuan home computers and laptops we know today, however, actually came about in the 70s with the first personal computer being the ‘Altair’, invented by a small firm called MITS. With the exception of enthusiasts and hobbyists, without the internet, they were not of too much use with their main purpose involving creating and storing files. Later models included the Commodore C64 in 1982, and Nintendo entertainment systems in the eighties, followed by the UK release of the first handheld gaming computer Nintendo Gameboy in 1990.

1985: The first mobile phone call

The first mobile phone call in the UK took place on New Year's Eve 1985. Son of the former Vodafone Chairman, Micheal Harrison called his father over the newly established Vodafone network.

Unsurprisingly the VM1 model used to make this call looked a little different from the phones we have today and a lot more cumbersome, weighing in at a huge 11lb. It was not until 1992 that the first text message was sent, also via the Vodafone network.

1989: The World Wide Web

Though the internet (as a network connection) was established in the early 80s, it was in 1989 that British scientist Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web—the series of web pages that we as users encounter when browsing online.

The very first website went public in 1991, and only 22 years later there are over 1.9 billion websites and counting.

Popular searches

And how the search landscape has changed since those early days. Remember the practical searches on Microsoft Encarta in the 90s, before Google became inundated with less educational intent, with millions of users of all ages taking to the internet to find photos, facts, answers and directions.

'Chuck Norris', 'sudoku', 'the Simpsons' and 'World Cup' are some of the most popular search terms of the last 20 years. Do you know what the most searched term IN THE WORLD was last year? 'Wordle'.

2007: The first iPhone

From the mobile phone evolved of course the smartphone, and with everyone seemingly owning one nowadays, it’s hard to believe that they have only existed this side of the millennium.

Various smartphone-like products emerged in the 90s, but it was the Apple iPhone that truly revolutionized the world of smartphones, introducing its first model in 2007. Since then they have continued to evolve with new features from Touch ID (using your thumbprint to unlock your phone), Face ID and even voice recognition.

Other notable inventions

The inventions we’ve listed have certainly played their part in shaping the world we live in today, but they only scratch the surface of the innovations that have emerged in recent years. It would be wrong for us not to mention the other milestone inventions that did not exist 50 years ago, including ATMs, electric cars, MRI scanners, GPS, digital cameras, smart speakers, e-readers and not forgetting the ever-popular air fryers.

What else has changed?

It’s not just inventions that have changed the UK as we know it. The past 70 years have seen an impressive list of historical milestones. 

  • The UK population has grown by over 10 million, currently standing at 67,736,802
  • In 2012 London hosted the Olympics, becoming the first modern city to host the games three times
  • In 1991 aged just 27, Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut to enter space
  • In May 1968, the tenth heart transplant in the world took place in the UK
  • As of 2019, it was declared that Britain generates more electricity from zero-carbon sources than from fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution

It’s clear that the world has changed an enormous amount in the 70 years since the last coronation, and we’re sure it will continue to do so! Here at Audley, we’re excited to tune in on May 6th and enjoy the celebrations over the bank holiday weekend.

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