Happy Presidents’ Day! In honor of the day, and of the men who have held that title, here are some fun Presidential Technology Facts, in chronological order (many courtesy of whitehousehistory.org)…
1833: Andrew Jackson becomes the first president to ride on a locomotive.
1877: Rutherford B. Hayes is president when the White House receives a telephone and a typewriter. Clearly he was a “gadget guy.”
Coincidentally, Hayes modems, which let computers communicate over telephone lines, were not named after Rutherford, but after inventor Dennis Hayes (no relation), who founded Hayes Microcomputer Products in 1981.
1891: Benjamin Harrison is president when electricity is installed in the White House (Although he refused to touch the switches for fear of shock).
1899: William McKinley becomes the first president to ride in an automobile. He rides in a Stanley Steamer driven by Stanley Motor Carriage Co. co-founder Freelan O. Stanley.
1902: Theodore Roosevelt is the first president to use an automobile–and an electric one, at that!–on official government business.
Teddy would also be the first president to fly in an airplane.
1915: Woodrow Wilson is the first president to watch a movie in the White House (infamously, that film is Birth of a Nation).
1922: Warren G. Harding becomes the first president to be heard on the radio.
1947: Harry S. Truman becomes the first president to have a speech broadcast on television.
1994: Bill Clinton‘s White House launches its first website.
1998: Clinton becomes the first president to send an email:
2009: Barack Obama, an avid Blackberry user (remember those?) is allowed to keep his smartphone after his inauguration, becoming the first president with his own cellphone.
Those were just some quick facts. I’ll be back next week with more on technology, and I promise: less on presidents. ◼︎