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Taft on the phone (ca. 1908)

Library of Congress

When people talk about technology today, smartphones, social media, and self-driving cars come to mind, but technology does not need to be electronic or even modern. At its simplest, technology is defined as the application of scientific knowledge for a practical purpose. From the beginning of its construction in 1792 through the present day, White House occupants and staff have continually sought innovative technologies to improve living and working conditions inside the Executive Mansion. These enhancements ranged from running water in 1833, to electricity in 1891, and finally to email in 1992. Learn how the White House has adopted new technologies over the last two centuries.