The Story of the Trojan Room Coffee Pot

A Timeline

Quentin Stafford-Fraser

Late 1991 A group of thirsty researchers including Paul Jardetzky and Quentin Stafford-Fraser point a camera at a coffee pot and write custom software to allow the image to be displayed on all their screens.
Feb 1992 Bob Metcalfe writes about XCoffee in CommWeek
Feb 1993 Marc Andreessen proposes that a new IMG tag be added to HTML to allow images to be embedded in web pages.
Mar 1993 Beta release of NCSA Mosaic 0.10 contains support for embedded images.
November 1993 Dan Gordon modifies original system to allow it to respond to web requests. With Martyn Johnson, he connects it to the web, and XCoffee is transformed into the first webcam.
  A huge amount of media coverage over the next few years. We start to keep a list but then lose track.
May 1995 Enough people ask about the story that we publish the Trojan Room Coffee Pot Biography.
1996? Hits on the Coffee Pot image pass one million. Journalist Steve Farrar points out that it has had more 'visitors' than King's College Chapel and is therefore the number one tourist attraction in East Anglia. More media coverage.
May? 1998 Hits on the Coffee Pot image pass 2 million
  Media start to describe pot as 'historical item' instead of 'novelty'.
April 2001 News spreads that the impending move of the Computer Lab means that camera will be switched off. Much media coverage including front page of both London Times and Washington Post.
July 2001 Article subtitled "When Convenience was the Mother of Invention" appears in the Communications of the ACM.
Aug 2001 Longest-serving pot is auctioned on eBay to raise money for coffee facilities in the new lab. Sold to Spiegel Online for £3350.
10.54 22 Aug 2001 Coffee pot camera finally switched off.

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