This Day In History : August 12

1981 United States

The IBM Personal Computer is released

The IBM Personal Computer (IBM PC), model 5150, was released on August 12, 1981. The IBM PC featured an Intel 8088 processor, 16 KB of RAM (expandable to 640 KB), and used MS-DOS as its operating system. Its open architecture and the use of off-the-shelf components allowed for extensive third-party development of hardware and software, which contributed to the rapid expansion of the personal computer market and established IBM as a dominant player in the industry.

Also on This Day in History August 12

Discover what happened on August 12 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, August 12
  • 1919 Vikram Sarabhai

    Indian physicist who was the father of the Indian space program

  • 1759 Thomas Andrew Knight

    British horticulturalist who initiated the field of fruit breeding

  • 1887 Erwin Schrödinger

    Austrian physicist and Nobel Laureate (wave mechanics)

  • 1897 Otto Struve

    Russian-American astronomer (discoveries in stellar spectroscopy at Yerkes observatory)

  • 1919 Margaret Burbidge

    British-American astronomer and educator (faint object spectrograph of the Hubble Space)

Deaths on This Day, August 12
  • 1964 Ian Fleming

    English spy, journalist, and author who wrote the James Bond novels

  • 1996 Viktor Ambartsumian

    Russian astronomer (Stalin Prize 1946, 50)

  • 1914 John Philip Holland

    Irish engineer and father of the modern submarine

  • 1900 James Edward Keeler

    American astronomer (rings of Saturn)

  • 1848 George Stephenson

    English engineer known as the "Father of Railways" (Locomotion No. 1, Standard Gauge)


The Hawaiian flag lowered and replaced

The Hawaiian flag was lowered and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty to the United States on August 12, 1898.

Echo 1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite is launched

Echo 1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite, was launched on August 12, 1960. This satellite was a passive communications reflector, essentially a large metallic balloon that reflected radio signals from one point on Earth to another. Echo 1A played a crucial role in the development of satellite communications by demonstrating that signals could be bounced off a satellite to extend communication distances.

British surgeon Joseph Lister performs 1st antiseptic surgery using carbonic spray on instruments and bandages

On August 12, 1865, British surgeon Joseph Lister performed the first antiseptic surgery using carbolic acid (phenol) spray on instruments and bandages. Lister's pioneering use of antiseptic techniques was inspired by Louis Pasteur's germ theory of disease, and his methods drastically reduced post-operative infections.

Henry Ford's company builds the first Model T car

On August 12, 1908, Henry Ford's company built the first Model T car at the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan. The Model T, also known as the "Tin Lizzie," was the first affordable automobile, making car ownership accessible to the average American. Its introduction revolutionized the automotive industry and significantly contributed to the development of assembly line production, which drastically reduced manufacturing costs and time.
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