Today in TIME Tech History: New York to Chicago in Six Hours (1928), Retail Antitheft Tags (1984), CDs vs. DAT (1990) and More

Let’s hop in the TIME Wayback Machine to see which notable tech-related stories were published on December 31 between 1923 and today.

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Let’s hop in the TIME Wayback Machine to see which notable tech-related stories were published on December 31 between 1923 and today.

If you’re a TIME subscriber, you can click each headline to read the entire story.

AERONAUTICS: Big Plane (Dec. 31, 1928):

Peculiar was the big duralumin plane delivered at the Newark, N. J., Field last week for testing. Its 46-ft. fuselage is 11 ft. wide, almost twice the ordinary width. Its nose encloses two water-cooled V-type, 662-h. p. engines. The fuselage has room in an 11 ft. by 17 ft. space for 20 passengers, and back of that, place for 1,000 Ibs. baggage. Wing spread is 89 ft., load capacity 7½ tons, cruising speed 150 m. p. h., high speed 175 m. p. h. It was secretly built for P. W. Chapman of Sky Lines, Inc., to carry passengers between New York and Chicago in six hours or less.

Science: Wilkins’ Discovery (Dec. 31, 1928):

Captain Sir George Hubert Wilkins with his airplane pilot Lieutenant Carl Ben Eielson, last week, discovered that Graham Land is separate from the Antarctic continent…

A collateral marvel of their work was the speed with which their news reached the world. As soon as they relanded at Deception Island, Captain Wilkins sent a long news despatch from the whaler Hektoria, which is standing by him. The despatch went 7,500 miles by short wireless wave to the office of the San Francisco Examiner, one of the Hearst papers financing his expedition. The Examiner and its sister papers made adequate and proper ado about their exclusive news.

Then press and science joined in mutual courtesy. The New York Times, which is supporting Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd’s Antarctic expedition, wirelessed him Captain Wilkins’ achievement. The message went 10,000 miles to the Ross sea where Commander Byrd, last week, was ice-locked on his City of New York. He rewired the Times an invitation to Captain Wilkins: “Hearty congratulations on your splendid flight. Don’t forget you will find a warm welcome if you fly to our base.” This message the Times forwarded by land telegraph to the Examiner in San Francisco, 3,000 miles across this continent; the Examiner pushed it by wireless the 7,500 miles to Captain Wilkins. So it went a 20,500-mile triangle although the two explorers were only 2,000 miles apart.

Light Fingers (Dec. 31, 1984):

Stores are paying more attention than ever to light-fingered crime. Spending for antitheft devices has gone up about 18% in the past year. The most popular anti-crime item is a plastic tag about the size of a pocket comb that stores are putting on everything from dresses to fur coats. The tags, which can be conveniently removed only by a special tool, set off an alarm when they pass through a sensing device that is usually located at exits. Criminals frequently try to cover up the tags with aluminum foil to fool the detection machines, or even bite off the devices. Sensormatic of Boca Raton, Fla., has some 200 million tags in 40,000 detection systems in stores around the world. Shops originally hid the tags inside each piece of merchandise, but the devices were so successful that too many criminals were being caught. Retailers now generally pin them on the outside of garments so that they will just deter would-be thieves.

Technology: Most of Science & Technology (Dec. 31, 1990):

Best Reason to Overhaul the Stereo System – Again: The long-awaited digital audio tape recorder has finally arrived in U.S. stores. Will DAT — which makes crisp, noise-free tapes — replace CDs? Will erasable CDs do the same to DAT? Whatever happens, audio stores will always tell people their stereos are just not good enough.

The Web We Weave (Dec. 31, 1999):

Today we are more than ever slaves of technology, tethered to computers and cell phones and beepers. Meanwhile, we have to cope with unprecedented change. Things are riding us faster and faster.

And the more tethered we become, the faster things change, because the tethers are plugging people into the very social collaboration that drives the change. Science, technology, music, politics–flux in all these realms is hastened by the new electronic synergy. The Internet and allied technologies make us neurons in a vast social brain, a brain that keeps enticing us into making it bigger, stronger, faster.

The Year In Science And Technology (Dec. 31, 2000):

It was a great year for cracking codes, man’s and nature’s alike. The scientific high point of the year–if not of all intellectual history–was the decoding of human DNA, announced with much fanfare at the White House in late June by two scientists, J. Craig Venter and Francis Collins, whose agreement to share the credit and a podium was all the more remarkable because they can hardly stand to breathe the same air. Passions were no less intense on the Internet, where the music industry fought a rear-guard action against the forces–and free music–unleashed by an 18-year-old named Shawn Fanning and a piece of computer code he called Napster.

More tech history here…