Customised search for historical information

18 July 2012

On this day in history: Intel founded, 1968

In the late '60s, the chemist and physicist, Dr. Gordon E. Moore, and the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, Robert N. Noyce departed Fairchild Semiconductor to set up their own company: initially NM Electronics but soon renamed Integrated Electronics Corporation, or Intel for short. Since Intelco was already used as a trademark by an hotel chain, Moore and Noyce had to buy the rights to the name in order to trade as Intel.

With money raised by the venture capitalist Arthur Rock, who became Intel's first chairman, Moore and Noyce founded their new company on 18th July 1968, based in Santa Clara, California, which was at the centre of the are soon to be known as Silicon Valley. At the outset, Intel focused on the production of semiconductors, particularly Static Random Access Memory chips for use in computers.

Dr. Gordon E. Moore and Robert N. Noyce in 1974

When the personal computing boom started, Intel were well placed to make the most of it, inventing the x86 line of computer processors, which IBM used in their PCs. Today Intel are the major manufacturer of semiconductors in the world producing a range of computing devices.

The corporate history of the company is available on their Intel Museum Worldwide site.

Related posts
Nintendo founded: 22nd September 1889
Apple Macintosh went on sale: 24th January 1984

17 July 2012

On this day in history: King George V changed his family name, 1917

Three years into the Great War, anti-German feeling was running high in Britain. To appeal to nationalist sentiment King George V decided to change the name of the British royal house to the House of Windsor from the Germanic sounding House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which had been the house of the royal family since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The new, quintessentially English, name is that of a town to the west of London with a long history of royal connections not least because of the castle there, which is one of the royal residences.

So, on 17th July 1917, George V issued an Order-in-Council that decreed that everyone descended from Queen Victoria would change surname to Windsor, excluding any married women and their children (and those who were on the German side - not least his cousin, the German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II - who were to be ostracized). Furthermore, he also relinquished all of his German titles and those of the members of the newly renamed House of Windsor. Many of George's male relatives who lost German aristocratic titles received British peerages in compensation, thus his cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg, became 1st Marquess of Milford Haven and took the surname Mountbatten, which is an Anglicisation of Battenberg.

The text of the King's proclamation is available on the Heraldica website.

Related posts
Scottish monarch crowned King of England: 25th July 1603
Coronation of William IV: 8th September 1831
Queen Victoria`s first train journey: 13th June 1842

16 July 2012

On this day in history: First European banknotes, 1661

In November 1656, King Karl X Gustav of Sweden signed two charters creating two private banks under the directorship of Johan Palmstruch, a trade commissioner born in Riga. Palmstruch modeled the banks on those of Amsterdam where he had become a burgher. One bank offered clients a facility to deposit money and issue cheques; the other offered loans financed by short term giro deposits.

In 1660 the copper content of Swedish coins was reduced prompting many of the banks' customers to demand their older coins, which were now worth more as scrap metal than as currency. Since the money had already been lent out, the bank did not have enough coinage to fulfill these requests. Faced with this liquidity problem, Palmstruch's solution was to issue Europe's first banknotes that could be used as currency and exchanged for their value in coinage.

On 16th July 1661, Stockholms Banco issued the first set of Kreditivsedlar ('credit paper') in round denominations - 5, 25, 100 and 1000 kopparmynt. This financial innovation brought new pitfalls. The bank issued too many notes reducing their purchase value and leading to a flood of people wanting to exchange their notes for coins; however, the bank did not have sufficient coins to meet demand. The bank had no novel solution to this new liquidity problem, as a result it was liquidated in 1667.

Charged with irresponsible book-keeping Palmstruch was stripped of his title and sentenced to either death or exile. After the Swedish government reprieved the death sentence Palmstruch (now called Wittmacher) served a two-year prison sentence and died a year after his release.

Related posts
First banknotes issued in America: 3rd February 1690
The United States Mint established: 2nd April 1792
U.S. Congress authorised Two-Cent coin: 22nd April 1864