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For the past thirty or so years QSOs have played a dominant role in extragalactic research and have provided prime targets for the large optical telescopes which have come into operation during this period. Because of their high intrinsic luminosity they provide the best tools that we have available for probing the structure, early history, and evolution of the universe. Bright examples are particularly valuable as probes of the intervening gas clouds and galaxies and for such fundamental investigations as the temperature of the microwave background and deuterium abundance at early epochs. The success of these investigations has depended on the discovery of these rare objects at higher and higher redshifts. This talk reviews the history of these surveys from the recognition of the nature of 3c273 to the latest large scale surveys which have extended our horizons out to redshifts greater than 5.
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