13 Presidential Tech Firsts: From Running Water To UFOs

Today was President's Day in the US, the annual Monday in February when Americans close their banks and sleep in to honour their leaders. But who was the first early-adopter-in-chief to use a telephone? To ride in a car? To send an email? Here's a look back at which of the 43 US presidents have been on the forefront of technology.

In 1833, Andrew Jackson became the first commander-in-chief to ride a train, or -- as it was known at the time -- an Iron Horse.

Picture: NPR


Before Andrew Jackson running water installed the White House that same year, people had to haul the stuff in with buckets.

Picture: Shutterstock/Alexander Kirch


A ride in a steam-powered motor carriage made William Mckinley the first U.S. head of state to ride in a car in 1843. However, Teddy Roosevelt was the first prez to ride in a car while he was actually in office.

Picture: Wikipedia


John Quincy Adams had already completed his term as president, but he became the first to have his picture snapped in 1843 when he was serving in the House of Representatives. He looks utterly bewildered.

Picture: Mike Church


Though the telephone was invented while Ulysses S. Grant was in office, Rutherford B. Hayes was the first to have one installed in the White House.

Picture: Wikipedia Commons


In 1891, Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have the White House wired for electricity. But he was wary of the technology, and he and his wife were so scared of the switches that they just kept on using gas lights.

Picture: Shutterstock/Steve Collender


Because he was basically a superhero, Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ride in an aeroplane, at an air show in St. Louis in 1910.

Picture: NPS.gov

Woodrow Wilson screened the first movie in the White House in 1915. His choice? The Birth of a Nation, a hate-mongering tale that depicts the KKK as the saviours of the country. It also happens to be one of the most-banned films of all time.

Picture: Wikipedia


It seems odd, because he was born in 1924, but 39th president Jimmy Carter was actually the first president to be born in a hospital.

Picture: Wikipedia Commons


At the opening of the World's Fair in NYC in 1939, FDR became the first to appear on television, but only people in New York could see it. The first nationwide presidential address was given by Harry S. Truman in 1947.

Picture: Wikipedia


Jimmy Carter is perhaps the first and only president to claim having seen a UFO on the record.

Picture: Wikipedia

First campaign website: In 1996, Bill Clinton was the first president to use a website for his campaign. He was also the first to use Whitehouse.gov.

Picture: 4president.us


Bubba was also the first president to send an email. He sent it in March of 1993, and it was actually only one of two he sent during his eight years in office.

Picture: eBay


Top picture: Shutterstock/Lee Prince