Milestone-Proposal:Interactive Video Games

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Docket #:2013-15

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s fields of interest? (e.g. “the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences” – from the IEEE Constitution) Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an Electrical Engineering Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Interactive Video Games, 1966

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

The "Brown Box" console, developed at Sanders Associates - later BAE Systems - between 1966 and 1968, was the first interactive video game system to use an ordinary home television set. This groundbreaking device and the production-engineered version Magnavox Odyssey game system (1972) spawned the commercialization of interactive console video games, which became a multi-billion dollar industry.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

New Hampshire

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: New Hampshire Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: New Hampshire Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: New Hampshire Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

95 Canal St., Nashua, New Hampshire 03064

GPS coordinates to be determined

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The achivement was developed in a small room opposite the 5th floor elevator at the intended site in 1967 and 1968.

The intended site was formerly the historic Jackson Mills building. In 1826, Charles C. Haven constructed Indian Head Co. mill to manufacture woolen goods. In June 1830, Indian Head Co. was incorporated under the new Jackson Co. The Jackson Co. and its 1,200 operatives merged with Nashua Manufacturing Co. in 1916 before being sold to Textron, Inc. in 1945. The Jackson Co. was the last mill to close in December 1951. In 1952, the buildings became home to Sanders Associates, and later to BAE Systems.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

The milestone plaque will be mounted on the left pillar (outside) that leads into the front employee/visitor lobby of BAE Systems.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The site is accessible from the visitor parking area. Visitors will not have to go through BAE Systems Security to visit the plaque.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

BAE Systems

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

Baer started development of the "Brown Box" console video game system and several other prototypes in 1966 for the defense-electronics company Sanders Associates in Nashua, New Hampshire (now part of BAE Systems). In 1971, it was licensed to Magnavox, and after being renamed Magnavox Odyssey, the console was released to the public in 1972. For a time it was Sanders' most profitable line. Baer's groundbreaking and pioneering work spawned the commercialization of interactive video games.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

Baer developed his work in a military contractor environment.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

The Brown Box prototype/Magnavox Odyssey was the first home video game console.

References to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article.

Videogames: In the Beginning by Ralph H. Baer (2005)

Television Games: Their past, Present and Future, Gametronics Proceedings, January 1977, pp. 7-30

IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, November 1977, p. 496

The Golden Age of Video Games: The Birth of a Multi-billion Dollar Industry by Roberto Dillon (2011)

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Images can be found at Copyright held by Ralph H. Baer.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator" .