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8 LED Milestones

Hear from our experts on Everything LED Lighting

While the most common use of LEDs today is overhead lighting, light emitting diodes got their start in the calculator and watch market! If you’ve ever used a Texas Instruments graphing calculator, you have LEDs to thank! To learn more about the evolution of LEDs, dive into the major LED milestones below!

The First Red LED Light 

The first LED light being red was not made by choice, but rather by nature. The chemical combination used to make the first LED created a natural red light. Many indicator lights today remain red due to this discovery.

The LED Pocket Calculator 

Before the invention of laptops, computers and smartphones, many people carried small pocket calculators to figure out tip percentages or solve more complicated math problems on the spot. By 1971, Mostek released the first LED-powered calculator, which was sold for $400. This piece of technology was soon followed by the Texas Instruments model, which soon became a household name and must have calculator for students.

LED Watch Milestone

Wristwatches today are more of a fashion over function accessory. Now we look at our phones and computer screens for the time of day. Before we became dependent on such technology, watches were much more function over fashion. Shortly after LED calculators hit the market, LED-powered wristwatches followed. As this was the first uses of LEDs in such a small package, most watches sold for around $2,000 at the time.

Fun fact: after the 1975 invention of the LED calculator wristwatch, teachers began asking students to show their work on math examinations!

The LED Flat Panel TV Screen 

By 1977, just two years after the LED calculator watch hit the market, James P. Mitchell created the first LED display screen. This new development quickly received recognition from NASA and international business representatives.

The LED Light Source 

Before the 1990s, LEDs used in up-and-coming technologies were still registering on the red spectrum. After hard work and diligent research, the blue LED light was created. By 1993, LED lights already replaced many incandescent bulbs in the flashlight market, as they took less energy to power and lasted much longer.

The Optical LED Mouse 

Before the invention of the optical computer mouse, many people used a mouse with a small ball to direct the arrow on their screen. However, the ball often got stuck and became problematic. By 1999, those frustrations came to an end with Microsoft’s optical mouse. Now, instead of using a mousepad, the technology allows users to move their mouse across any flat surface thank to the use of a red LED light as opposed to a small, temperamental ball.

The Flatscreen LED Television 

CFL-lit TV screens have become less and less common over the course of 15 years as LED backlit screens become more popular. With less energy needed to power the TV and a brighter screen and better color contrast, it is easy to see why LED screens are now preferred when purchasing a new TV.

LED City Lighting

LEDs are no longer just taking over home and business, but entire cities. New Year’s Eve in Times Square comes to a climax with the dropping of the LED-lit ball, incandescent streetlights are being changed out for LEDs, even city Christmas lights and displays are powered by LED lights!

If you are interested in learning more about LED milestones and innovations, check out our blog on the history of LEDs!

To learn more about how you can utilize LEDs in your home or business, give us a call today at (319)-519-0039 or shoot us an email!

Posted in LED Lighting Basics