A Must-See Collection of the World’s First Things

Have you ever seen any of these world's firsts?

This is a collection of the world’s first things. From the world’s first X-ray to the first ever photo uploaded to the Internet, join us as we take a look at 10 things that did it first.

10. First Novel

This is the world's first novel - a tale of Genji

Don Quixote is often considered to be the first novel, published in 1605. But The Tale of Genji, written by Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in 1025 came some six hundred years before. It was first written on paper in the Orihon style, which is an accordian-like book which is made of one long strip of paper.

9. First website

This is the first ever website.

The very first website available to the public was built by CERN in 1990 in a very early version of the internet. It introduced the world to the World Wide Web and was mostly an introduction on what the internet was. CERN took it down in 1993, but it was restored ten years later when people realised it was such an important cultural artefact. You can view the restored website here.

8. First Computer

This is the world's first computer.

The world’s first computer was developed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert between 1943 and 1946. It was named the ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer and was contracted and funded by the US Army. The ENIAC weighed over 27 tonnes, was thirty metres long and had no internal memory. Memory could be stored externally by using an IBM punch card system.

7. First X-ray

The world's first X-Ray.

The first x-ray was taken by German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895. He was experimenting with an electron-discharge tube when he noticed that things in the lab were glowing when exposed to it. He held a piece of lead in front of the tube and found that he could see through his hand. After figuring out how to best capture an image, he got his wife Anna to pose for the x-ray. The first x-rays took 90 minutes to capture correctly, a stark contrast to the split second modern x-rays take.

6. First photo

This is the world's first photograph.

The oldest surviving photograph View from the Window at Le Gras is also thought to be the first. It was taken in either 1826 or 27 by Nicéphore Niépce from a window of his house and looks out onto his estate. Because of the angles of the light, it’s thought that the image was exposed for eight hours, but some researchers say it could have been several days. The image was taken on a camera obscura onto a pewter plate coated in bitumen.


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