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Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!


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  • June 20 - Samuel F. B. Morse, receives a patent for the telegraph and a method for conveying messages over it. He developed a code of dots and dashes to represent each letter. Today, some people with disabilities use one or two switches and “Morse code” to type on a computer. [1] [2]


  • February 5 - John Dunlop - Dunlop invented the first practical pneumatic tire. His tire provided the foundation for the Dunlop Tire Company and served as the genesis for the modern tire industry. Pneumatic tires became the standard for bicycles, and today are often used on manual wheelchairs. [3] [4]
  • March 22 - Oberlin Smith - American Mechanical Engineer. Smith invented magnetic recording, the technology used today for audio and video recording and for computer disc drives. Magnetic recording is an important part of many AT devices.[5]


  1. Samuel F. B. Morse. Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse historic site. Accessed March 13, 2008.
  2. Improvement of the Mode of Communicating Information by Signals by the Application of Electro-Magnetism. U.S. Patent #1647. June 20, 1840.
  3. Wheel-Tire for Cycles. U.S. Patent #435,995.
  4. John Dunlop. National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  5. "Oberlin Smith." IEEE Virtual Museum. IEEE. 2008. Accessed on March 13, 2008.