A historical overview is presented of the experimental development of ever shorter laser pulses from 1960 to the present. Already in the early sixties nanosecond pulses were achieved and the entry into the picosecond domain was reached in the late sixties with a neodymium glass laser. First sub-picosecond pulses were accomplished in 1974 with a broad gain dye-laser medium in combination with a saturable dye-absorber film. A true revolution in femtosecond generation occured with a titanium-aluminium oxide laser crystal. Non-linear effects are essential not only in the generation of picosecond and femtosecond pulses, but also in their measurement and evaluation. In this talk the development from the millisecond to the attoseconds within the last 50 years will be reviewed.