The first appearance of BBS
The creator of the first Bulletin Board system with a public dial-up system was Ward Christensen. He was the father and the founder of this great idea that made connecting with people easier for all of us.
It all began as he was snowed in during the Great Blizzard of 1978 that occurred in Chicago. Christensen had his fellow hobby enthusiast with him so they started their preliminary work on the CBBS or Computerized Bulletin Board System. CBBS was uploaded online in 1978 on 16th of February in Illinois, Chicago. With 110 and 300 modems that were effective during 1970’s BBS was pretty much slow. The speed increased as the improving of modems occurred. The 1200 bit per second modems that were popular in 1980’s led to increasing in popularity of modems making companies more focused on targeted speed of the modem.
The information that was displayed was usually constructed of ASCII texts or even ANSI art. Some BBS make experiments by introducing higher resolutions of visual formats like the Remote Imaging Protocol that didn’t get much fame. The usage of higher resolution visuals implied that faster modems were required to process the information in time to present it to the screen.
Due to increased popularity of BBS, during the 1990’s the BBS industry created not less than three magazines that were updated every month. This was a big step for the evolution BBS. The three mentioned magazines were Boardwatch, BBs Magazine, and Chips ‘n Bits magazine that was popular in Australia and Asia. The main goal of these magazines was to present its viewers with software and technological breakthroughs and people responsible for their creation. It also provided a list of BBS in the U.S. and worldwide.
If FidoNetNodelist sources are true and precise the Bulletin Board Systems reached their peak in 1996. Accidentally this was the same time when World Wide Web unexpectedly became mainstream.
BBS popularity faded after this, with more advanced software systems started to appear online used for connectivity. Some larger BBS commercials, like ExecPC BBS, transformed into actual providers of internet services. There is a great website called textfiles.com that acts as a database of BBS history, containing all the details in the rise and fall of this once most popular software.
There is a DVD BBS: The Documentary that is produced by Jason Scott, the creator of text files website. Over the course of 20 years, there were more than 100 000 of BBSs that existed and that were used only on the territory of North America. So the number of actual BBSs is way higher than 100 000. It is estimated that from the time they appeared until the eventual disappearance of this software systems, there were more than 580 000 Bulletin Board Systems around the world. This is of course not the official number as for the sake of rising the popularity at that time of the BBS the actual number had to be smaller.