From The Archives: A Timeline Of Technology

Chances are you’re reading this article beneath the glow of a lamp or overhead light. Your cell phone might be resting beside you, and in the background, perhaps, is the murmur of a TV. Over the course of the last century, technology has been rapidly interwoven into our modern culture. This last year, as the world navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, it increasingly took the limelight. Phone and video calls allowed friends and families to stay connected while in-person visits were put on pause. For many, classes and work went remote. But years ago, these tangible technologies that have since become a way of life were merely far-fetched ideas. From the first electric light to computers, internet, 3D printing, and virtual reality, learn how Gettysburg College made technological strides across the last century.

Old photo of Gettysburg student sitting at their desk with an electric light


The Class of 1907 financed the wiring of both dorms—Pennsylvania Hall, often referred to as “Old Dorm” at the time and South College or “New Dorm,” now known as McKnight Hall—for electric light to replace oil lamps.


The College radio station at the time, WWGC at AM 550, began broadcasting with a 20-watt transmitter reaching a seven-mile radius and playing a collection of 300 vinyl records.

Collage of black and white images from the college radio station


The library, which was Schmucker Library at the time, announced that a slide and microfilm projector would be available to students.

Man and woman leaning over to look at computer screens


Computers were installed in the basement of Glatfelter Hall.


First computer terminal

Through a grant awarded to the Central Pennsylvania Consortium, the College library received its first computer terminal, giving cataloging staff direct access to the Online Computer Library Center database.

Four people crowded around a computer in an office setting
Two scientists in front of a microscope

Electron microscope

Gettysburg College purchased an electron microscope with a grant from the Susquehanna Fund of Harrisburg.


Academic buildings, administrative buildings, and some residence halls were wired for internet.


All College students and employees were given the opportunity to sign up for an email account.


Wireless access points were installed across campus, which supported wireless internet connection.

Plaque on a wall that says Gettysburg Television


GBurg TV began live broadcasts.


The Innovation and Creativity Lab

The Innovation and Creativity Lab was developed by Vice President of Information Technology Rod Tosten ’85 and his IT team. The lab features 3D printers, a laser cutter, and a virtual reality system.

Person placing a remote control car on the floor
Students gathered around a table with a touchscreen computer interface

Anatomage Tables

The College received two Anatomage Tables as gifts from Ray Truex Jr. ’63, P’94 and Gail Seygal ’67.
This innovative technology allows students to virtually explore full-sized human and animal bodies in a way once accessible only through traditional cadaver dissection.


Zoom is introduced across campus to allow for remote meetings and classes.

by Molly Foster
Posted: 08/31/21