If you want to be a pilot, you'll relay heavily on air traffic control. Therefore, the following history will be of interest to you....how air traffic control started. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration this years celebrates 75 years in operation:
In the U.S., controlling aircraft started with bonfires... those fires and torches guided pilots who flew from grass runways to other grass air strips. They were delivering something very important -- the mail. Later, those bonfires and torches became beacons, which were land-based "lighthouses" that guided the next generation of pilots. Those beacons then became radar towers, which helped another generation of pilots find airports.
In 1926, the U.S. put in place air traffic rules that gave basic instructions to pilots, as well as estabishing aircraft standards and navigation aids. During the next two decades there was immense technological advances in radio navigation aids and avionics -- as well as in the manufacturing of aircraft.
Air traffic increased in the U.S. in the 1930s, which necessitated managing aircraft both in the sky and at airports. So the first airway traffic control center opening in Newark, New Jersey back in 1935, quickly followed by centers in Chicago, Illinois, and Cleveland, Ohio. The controllers tracked aircraft positions using only maps and blackboards. At that time, they had no way of communicating with pilots, though they were in communication with airport radio operators and airline dispatchers.
The biggest impact came in the 1950s when controllers first started using radar to separate aircraft. Now controllers could track aircraft on radar screens, with the first air surveillance radar installed in 1956 in Indianapolis, Indiana.