According to Canon USA’s Chuck Westfall, the first Canon EOS camera was introduced 25 years ago. On 17 February 1987 the EOS 650 was announced by Canon USA.
50 million cameras and a transition to digital, and the EOS design is still doing pretty well! The features ushered in by the 650 - especially the autofocus motor and electric aperture control built into the lens - have gradually been adopted by most of the SLR industry since.
EOS was a hugely controversial system from the start, because Canon took the strategic decision of abandoning their old FD mount manual focus system with its introduction. They didn’t have to. They could’ve done what Pentax did with the introduction of the K-mount: keep compatibility with the older M42 screwmount by use of adapters. Or what Nikon did: adapt its existing lens mount to autofocus.
The move to EOS certainly angered a lot of old-time Canon FD users. But by taking this forward-looking gamble the company set a pretty impressive basis for years of future growth.