Little Bits of History

Not Rigid Airship

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 24, 2014
Broken airship

Broken airship

September 24, 1911: His Majesty’s Airship No. 1 doesn’t take off. Designed and built by Vickers, Sons and Maxim in Cumbria, England for the British Royal Navy, the ship was the first rigid airship built in the country. It was to compete with the dominance of the German airship program. The ship was called Mayfly by the noncommissioned naval crew assigned to her. Public records show her designation as HMA Hermione because the naval contingent was stationed at Barrow aboard HMS Hermione, the ship assigned as the airship’s tender. Her story began three years earlier when the Royal Navy decided to venture into rigid airships in response to Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s success.

It was decided the Navy could afford £35,000 for the venture but Vickers said they could build the ship for just £28,000, not including the gas-bags and outer covers, which the Admiralty would acquire through private contractors. Vickers would also build a construction shed at their own expense but they would then have a ten year monopoly on airship construction. This was similar to the deal they had brokered with the Crown for submarine construction. Vickers got the contract, but the ten year monopoly line item was refused.

Mayfly was intended to be an aerial scout. There were some differences in the designs between the British and German models. Mayfly was 66 feet longer than LZ 6 with 50% greater volume. The Zeppelins of the time had a useful load of 10,000 pounds and could fly at 37 mph. Vickers’s ship was intended to be moorable on water, carry radio equipment, and have a cruising speed of 46 mph while carrying a crew of 20 comfortably. The mooring was to be via a mast and the Mayfly was the first ship to have the mooring equipment in the nose of the ship. Experimental sections were built and wood seemed preferable for the frame, but the Navy wished it to be made entirely of metal and when duralumin became available, it became the method of choice.

Trials had been held and the airship had been in and out of the Cavendish Dock building. The crew had practiced maneuvers both with getting the ship out of the hanger and with handling in the air. Previous static trials had proved successful. On this day, the Mayfly was being moved from the shed as high winds were blowing. Just as the nose cleared the hangar door, a gust caused the ship to roll onto her beam end and break in two pieces. The crew abandoned ship and there were no fatalities as the wreck was returned to the shed the same day and never flown. Winston Churchill took over as First Lord of the Admiralty in October 1911 and preferred heavier-than-air aircraft. The airship idea was forever grounded.

Altogether, compared with other navies, the British aeroplane service has started very well… I have a less satisfactory account to give of airships. – Winston Churchill

The ‘May-fly’ broke three years ago, and nothing further has been done. In non-rigid airships, Germany has seventeen, and against that we have two very inferior ones and two on order, but we are not doing anything in this respect. – Bolton Eyres-Monsell

The mishap which destroyed theMay-fly, or the Won’t Fly, as it would be more accurate to call it, at Barrow, was a very serious set-back to the development of Admiralty policy in airships. – Winston Churchill

Two crews were used to look after the ship whilst out, as the work was new. They lived on board the airship and suffered no discomfort at all although no provision had been made for cooking or smoking on board. – from the Handbook for HMA No. 1

Also on this day: Powerful Serve; Best Backhand – In 1938, John Donald Budge became the first tennis player to win the Grand Slam of tennis.
Majestic 12 – In 1947, Harry S Truman did not form a secret society.
Devil’s Tower – In 1906, this landmark was declared a National Monument.
Byzantine - In 1180, Manuel I Komnenos died.

Firefox Comes Online

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 23, 2014
Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

September 23, 2002: The initial release of Mozilla Firefox takes place. The project was an experimental branch of the Mozilla project created by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt, and Blake Ross. It was their opinion that the “feature creep” of Netscape was compromising the browser. In order to combat this, they designed Firefox as a stand-alone browser. On April 3, 2002 an announcement from the Mozilla Organization told of their change of focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird, an email, news, and chat service. The project has undergone several name changes. Originally it was called Phoenix, then Firebird which was too close to the database software project. They added Mozilla to the front end on February 9, 2004 and the name became Mozilla Firefox or the single name, Firefox.

Firefox is a free and open-source browser. It was developed for use with Windows, Apple products, and Linux as well as a mobile version for Android. As all things technological, there have been several versions available during the last twelve years. The last stable release was on July 22, 2014 when version 31.0 was released. The last Beta release was on August 19, 2014 when 32.0 Beta began preview. The program uses a Gecko and SpiderMonkey engine and is written in a variety of computer languages. It is available in 79 languages. The size of the source code (uncompressed) is 510 MB. The size for use on Windows is 22 MB, OS X is 44 MB, Linux is 27-28 MB, while Android’s version is only 22 MB.

The first web browser was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee and was called WorldWideWeb but later named Nexus. The first graphical user interface available commonly was Erwise. Mosaic came on the scene in 1993 and made the web more accessible to the regular user. With this and the graphical options now available, the web became far more user friendly. Netscape, designed by the same person but now in his own company, came online in 1994. Microsoft responded with Internet Explorer in 1995 and the first browser war began with IE bundled with the Windows OS. IE usage peaked in 2002 when it held 95% of market share. Opera came out in 1996 and while clean and easy to use, it has never had much market acceptance. Safari by Apple released in 2003 and Chrome has came late to the party in 2008. Even so, it holds 45% of market share today.

While Firefox began life to stamp out feature creep, it is imperative that we can use our browsers effectively or we will just switch to a new, free browser. Firefox has the following features available in their latest version: tabbed browsing, spelling checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, Smart Bookmarks, a download manager, private browsing, and location-aware browsing based on a Google service. Extensions from third-party developers are also an option.

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. – Bill Gates

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society. – Noam Chomsky

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life. – Andrew Brown

The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting. – Dave Barry

Also on this day: I Shot the Sheriff – In 1980, Bob Marley played his last concert.
No Crash – In 1999, Qantas suffered its worst incident of the century.
40-40 Club – In 1988, Jose Canseco began the 40-40 Club.
Lost at Sea - In 1641, the Merchant Royal, a British merchant ship, sunk.

Ford Tough

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 22, 2014
President Ford immediately after shots were fired

President Ford immediately after shots were fired

September 22, 1975: An attempt to assassinate US President Gerald Ford takes place. Squeaky Fromme had just attempted to kill the President 17 days before. Rather than hide in safety, the President continued his normal routine. Sara Jane Kahn Moore was born in West Virginia in 1930. She entered nursing school and served in the Women’s Army Corps. She went on to become an accountant. She was divorced five times and had four children before she turned to revolutionary politics earlier in the year. She was obsessed with Patty Heart and her kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Randolph Hearst created People in Need to feed the poor as an attempt to appease the group holding his daughter. Moore was a bookkeeper for People in Need and an FBI informant when she became the second woman to attempt a presidential assassination.

Moore had been evaluated by the Secret Service earlier in the year and she was said to be no threat to the President. On September 21, 1975 she was picked up and released but not before police confiscated her .44 caliber revolver and 113 rounds of ammunition. On this day, she purchased a .38 caliber revolver but did not have time to test the gun. She was standing in the street outside the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She saw her target and took a shot. The sights on the gun were off and she narrowly missed the President. She again raised the gun to shoot, but before she could get a shot off, former Marine Oliver Sipple grabbed her arm and saved the President’s life. He also pulled Moore to the ground.

Moore was brought to trial and pled guilty to attempted assassination. She was sentenced to life in prison. In 1979, while at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, Moore escaped only to be recaptured hours later. She was returned to prison, but transferred to a more secure one. She served the remainder of her prison term at a women’s prison in Dubin, California where she worked as an accountant earning $1.25 per hour. On December 31, 2007, Moore was released from prison. She was 77 years old at the time. President Ford had died of natural causes on December 26, 2006. She remained under supervised parole for five years after her release.

Fromme was also sentenced to life in prison and eventually she, too, was at the women’s prison in Dublin, California. Fromme was transferred from there to the Alserson prison where she, too, escaped. She was attempted to get in contact with Charles Manson. She was captured two days later and then sent to Fort Worth, Texas. She was first eligible for parole in 1985 but did not pursue it. She was finally granted parole in July 2008 but was not released because of her prison. She was finally released from prison on August 14, 2009 and moved to New York.

I do regret I didn’t succeed, and allow the winds of change to start. I wish I had killed him. I did it to create chaos.

I didn’t want to kill anybody, but there comes a point when the only way you can make a statement is to pick up a gun.

The government had declared war on the left. Nixon’s appointment of Ford as Vice President and his resignation making Ford President seemed to be a continuing assault on America.

I know now that I was wrong to try. Thank God I didn’t succeed. People kept saying he would have to die before I could be released, and I did not want my release from prison to be dependent on somebody, on something happening to somebody else, so I wanted him to live to be 100. (2007) – all from Sara Jane Moore

Also on this day: Manassa Mauler v. The Fighting Marine – In 1927, “The Long Count” fight takes place.
Regrets – In 1776, Nathan Hale was executed as a spy.
Tevye’s Family – In 1964, Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway.
Movies - In 1910, the Duke of York’s Picture House opened.

Dead Poet’s Society

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 21, 2014


September 21, 19 BC: Virgil dies. The poet’s official name was Publius Vergilius Maro. We know of his life via a lot biography by Varius which got incorporated into works written later by Suetonius, Servius, and Donatus. Because of the imprecise nature of the writings, Virgil’s true biographical information is somewhat problematic. According to tradition, he was born in the village of Andes, in Cisalpine Gaul on October 15, 70 BC. There is a suggestion of Etruscan, Umbrian, or possibly Celtic roots. It is said he was from humble beginnings, but modern scholars feel he was instead from an equestrian landowning family who could afford to educate their son. He attended several schools and briefly considered careers in rhetoric or the law before turning to poetry.

The poet is known for three major Latin works – the Eclogues or Bucolics, the Georgics, and his most famous work, the Aeneid. The first of these is a group of ten poems modeled on the Greek poet’s Theocritus’s method of hexameter poetry. Some believed it was autobiographical and written after the loss of his lands after the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. Today, this seems to be unsupported inference. The Georgics was published later. The superficial meaning of the work is how to run a farm and each of the four books tackles one area of land management or animal husbandry. The entire book is influenced by the political times and the power struggles between Augustus and Antony.

The Aeneid is considered to be Virgil’s finest work and one of the most important poems in western literature. The epic poem, based on the Iliad and the Odyssey, has 12 books written in dactylic hexameter verse which is a rhyming scheme used by classic poets based on six feet with stress given to specific syllables. In the Aeneid, a warrior fled from the sacking of Troy and came to Italy. Eventually, after six books rather akin to the adventures in the Odyssey, we come to the founding of Rome. The final six books are more connected to the Iliad. Virgil worked on the epic poem for the last eleven years of his life. He traveled to Greece in 19 BC in order to work on revisions for his poem. He met Augustus in Athens and returned home.

On the return trip, he got ill and died on this day. He had left instructions that this final work be burned. Augustus insisted that it be published with as little alteration as possible. Lucius Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca were his literary executors and they followed the orders of the Emperor rather than of their client. There are few obvious errors other than a few lines which do not carry the hexameter rhythm. While Virgil was impressed by and followed in the footsteps of Homer, his own work was also later appreciated. Dante honored the influence by having Virgil guide us through hell and purgatory in his own Divine Comedy.

They succeed, because they think they can.

Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance.

It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be.

Myself acquainted with misfortune, I learn to help the unfortunate. – all from Virgil

Also on this day: Yes, Virginia – In 1897, Virginia finds out there is a Santa Clause.
Got Milk? – In 1995, the Miracle of the Milk began in India.
Monday Night Changes – In 1970, Monday Night Football premiered.
Ablaze - In 1776, New York City was on fire.

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Walk This Way

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 20, 2014
Walking Purchase historical marker

Walking Purchase historical marker

September 20, 1737: The Walking Purchase walk ends. Also known as the Walking Treaty, or if you prefer, the land swindle. It was an agreement between the Penn family and the Lenape tribe (also know at the Delaware). William Penn’s heirs, John and Thomas Penn, claimed they were in possession of a deed from the 1680s in which the Lenape agreed to sell a tract of land beginning at the junction of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River where modern Easton, Pennsylvania is and which would go as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half. This document may have been unsigned, unratified, or even forged. Land was being sold in the Lehigh Valley despite the fact the Lenape still lived there.

According to popular accounts, the Lenape assumed the greatest distance a man could cover in just 1.5 days was about 40 miles. According to these same accounts, Provisional Secretary James Logan hired three of the fastest runners of the day to cover the distance on prepared trails. Of the three men chosen, only one finished – Edward Marshall. The distance the runners covered was supervised by the Sheriff of Bucks County, Timothy Smith. The walk began on September 19 and finished on this day with Marshall having reached a spot 70 miles distant near present day Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Smith then drew a perpendicular line on a map back toward the northeast and claimed all the land between these lines to be sold.

There were 1,200,000 acres included within the lines which is about the size of Rhode Island. There are seven present-day Pennsylvania counties located there. The Lenape appealed to the Iroquois confederacy to help with the situation but the Iroquois opted to stand aside, protecting their own interests in the political landscape of the times. The Lenape were forced to vacate even as their leaders protested the arrangement. The natives were forced to move as far afield as the Ohio Country regions. Their trust in the Pennsylvania government was forever lost.

In 2004, the Delaware Nation filed a suit against Pennsylvania in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking 314 acres included in the Walking Purchase to be returned. This was known as Tatamy’s Place. The court granted Pennsylvania’s motion to dismiss. Although the court found it might have been fraudulent, the Treaty was completed prior to the first Indian Nonintercourse Act in 1790 and so it did not have relevance to this case. The case was pushed higher through the system in the ensuing years without any progress. The case has been dismissed up to the level the US Supreme Court.

The Delaware Nation claims in its appeal that the King of England-not Thomas Penn-was the sovereign over the territory that included Tatamy’s Place. Therefore, Thomas Penn could not extinguish aboriginal title via the Walking Purchase and, consequently, the Delaware Nation maintains a right of occupancy and use. – from the Third Circuit case

Penn’s government and practices apparently differed sharply from the Puritan-led governments of the other American colonies. The most striking difference was Penn’s ability to cultivate a positive relationship based on mutual respect with the Native Americans inhabiting the province. – from the 2004 District Court

Penn’s sons were less interested than their father in cultivating a friendship with the Lenni Lenape. – from the 2004 District Court

The Lenni Lenape Chiefs trusted that the “white men” would take a leisurely walk through the tangled Pennsylvanian forests along the Delaware. – from the 2004 District Court

Also on this day: Cannes Film Festival – In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival is held.
Girl’s Night – In 1973, Billy Jean King won the “War of the Sexes” against Bobby Riggs.
QE2 – In 1967, the British cruise ship was launched.
Across the Deep Blue Sea – In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan began his journey around the world.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2014
George Washington’s Farewell Address

George Washington’s Farewell Address

September 19, 1796: George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed as an open letter to the public. Washington published the letter late in his second term before he retired to his home, Mount Vernon. The letter was published in the American Daily Advertiser on this day under the title “The Address of George Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States.” Newspapers across the country reprinted the letter for others to share and it was also put out in pamphlet form. Since the title was a bit over the top, it was later changed to “Farewell Address”. This was Washington’s farewell after twenty years of service to the new nation.

The first draft was written in 1792 with the help of James Madison. Washington had hoped to serve only one term and then finally get to retire. As he ran for a second term, the letter was put aside. He opted to run for a second term when it was pointed out that party politics would tear the country apart without his adept leadership counteracting the divisive nature of the two parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. This disunity, along with troubling foreign affairs, led Washington away from retirement and into the ring for a second term as President.

Four years later, Alexander Hamilton helped Washington prepare a revision to the original draft. Washington looked at the emerging political landscape and how far the young country had come in a short time. His support of the Constitution was also mentioned. He defended his actions of the prior eight years and advised the nation and the population on how to proceed. Washington was exhausted. He was an old man of 64 at the time of the letter’s publication and it was two months before the Electoral College would announce the new leader of the country, John Adams.

Washington was able to retire in March 1797 and returned to his home in Virginia. He spent the last three years of his life immersed in his plantation and other business interests which included a distillery which produced its first run in February 1797. His estate was worth nearly a $1 million in 1799 dollars or about $19.3 million in today’s dollars. However, Washington was land poor. His holdings didn’t earn much money and squatters on his property refused to pay rent, feeling he was rich enough and didn’t need their money. By July 4, 1798 with war with Britain looking like a distinct possibility, Washington came out of retirement to become Commander-in-chief of the US armies, a position he held for seventeen months until his death. He was 67 years old and had been inspecting his plantation on horseback. He was cold and wet and became ill. Physicians were called and bloodletting was the choice of treatment. Three doctors helped bleed the Father of Our Country to death.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. – all from George Washington

Also on this day: Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.
Sportsman of the Year - In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.
Equal Rights – In 1893, women got the right to vote in New Zealand.

Hull House

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 18, 2014
Hull House

Hull House 

September 18, 1889: Hull House opens. It was a settlement house, part of the settlement movement of social reforms which took place from the 1880s to the 1920s. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr opened their house on the Near West Side of Chicago, Illinois and named it after the home’s first owner. They modeled the enterprise on Toynbee Hall which opened in 1885 in the East End of London. The women’s movement of the late 19th century promoted education, autonomy, and women’s ability to take on jobs which were thought to be “men’s work”. Organizations of women formed a sisterhood and college educated women took their cause to the working class and poor neighborhoods to help their sisters rise from the oppressed social norms.

From the beginning, Hull House was a place for educated women, often single, to pass on their knowledge and give other women opportunities to earn their way in the outside world. Many of the people around Hull House were recent European immigrants. The college women gave classes on literature, history, art, and domestic activities such as sewing along with a host of other topics. Hull House offered free concerts as well as free lectures on current issues. These were open to everyone. They operated clubs for both adults and children.

Throughout the first twenty years of the House’s existence, thousands of immigrants from the area were served. Many of the female residents of the house went on to become prominent and influential reformers in their own right. They offered medical assistance to battered women and children, nursed the sick, and did their best by residents even if a doctor was unavailable. Helping the unfortunate led the leaders to advocate for legislative reforms. They lobbied for betterment in the area of child labor, women’s suffrage, healthcare reform, and immigration policy. There are those who claim the Hull House is the seed from which today’s Social Welfare programs stemmed.

By 1911, Hull House had grown to 13 buildings and the next year the complex added a summer camp, the Bowen Country Club. The idea spread and by 1920, there were 500 settlement houses across the nation. In Chicago, the original house underwent near continual modifications, renovations, and improvements. The original building and one other still exist today. On June 23, 1965, it was made a National Historic Landmark and on June 12, 1974, Hull House was designated a Chicago Landmark. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places as well. Today, it is overseen by the University of Illinois at Chicago. They no longer minister to the poor, but the building remains open as a museum.

Passive righteousness tells us that God does not need our good works. Active righteousness tells us that our neighbor does. The aim and direction of good works are horizontal, not vertical. – Tullian Tchividjian

It is a common assumption that a person’s good works will get them into Heaven. – Monica Johnson

In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress. – Leonard Cohen

Most of us want to have enough… good works to get into heaven, but enough bad works to be fun. – Rick Warren

Also on this day: Capitol Building – In 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone for the Capitol Building.
High Class – In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and partner opened a new store.
All the News That’s Fit to Print – In 1851, The New York Times first went on sale.
Old Faithful – In 1870, the geyser was named by an expeditionary force.

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Freedom Becomes Her

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 17, 2014
Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

September 17, 1849: Harriet is free. Araminta Ross was born around March 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her parents were slaves with her mother owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and her father owned by Anthony Thompson who would later become Mary’s second husband. Slaves births were not a matter of record and the exact date of “Minty’s” birth is unknown. Minty’s grandmother, Modesty, got to the US via a slave ship and during her childhood, Minty was told she was of Ashanti lineage coming from the area of Ghana today. Minty’s mother was the cook for the Brodess family while her father managed timber work on the Thompson plantation. The slaves married and according to court records had nine children together between 1811 and 1832.

As was common among slave families, children could be sold away from the parents. A tale told within the family may have influenced Minty and her daring. Her mother threatened Brodess’s son as he and a Georgia slave buyer approached the house to take a son away. Mama threatened them with death and they left without taking the boy. Minty was left in charge of many of her younger siblings while her mother worked in the big house. Brodess hired her out when she was five or six as a nursemaid to a baby. When the baby woke and cried, Minty was whipped. She carried the scars of these repeated beatings for the rest of her life. While still a child, she was beaten by masters and suffered a severe head wound which induced epileptic seizures, headaches, and visionary disturbances.

Because of her injuries, her value as a slave decreased. Around 1844, Minty married a free black man named John Tubman. Around that time, she also changed her name to Harriet – her mother’s name. The union was complicated because any children born to the couple would be slave, since status was conferred by the mother’s condition. In 1849, Harriet was ill once again and Brodess wanted to sell her but could not find a buyer for such shoddy wares. Harriet was incensed at the conditions she and her family were living under. She and two brothers escaped on this day, just days after Edward Brodess’s death (which made the family’s situation even more precarious).

The three slaves had been hired out to another family and so their runaway status was not immediately recognized by their owner, Eliza Brodess. She offered a $100 reward for each of their captures. The brothers returned and brought their sister with them but Harriet escaped again soon after. She became an advocate for freedom and began sneaking in and out of Maryland, using the Underground Railroad to spirit her family members to freedom. Finally free to choose her own way, she chose freedom for herself and others and worked as an abolitionist and humanitarian. During the Civil War, she worked as a Union spy and a nurse. She died in Auburn, New York in 1913 at the age of 91.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. – all from Harriet Tubman

Also on this day: His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I – In 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton proclaims himself Emperor of the US.
One Dam Thing – in 1930, construction began on Boulder Dam.
No Fear of Flying – In 1908, Orville Wright crashed his plane.
Animalcules - In 1683, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Royal Society.

GM Starts Here

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 16, 2014
General Motors Corporation

General Motors Corporation

September 16, 1908: The General Motors Corporation (GM) is founded. The company was founded by William C. Durant as a holding company. Initially, GM held only Buick Motor company, but it quickly added more than twenty more companies including Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Oakland (known today as Pontiac). The company was founded in Flint, Michigan when Durant signed a 15 year contract in Canada with exchange of 500,000 shares of Buick stock for 500,000 shares of McLaughlin stock. Durant’s business had been located in Flint where he opened in 1886, building carriages. By 1900 he was producing 100,000 carriages per year with plants in Michigan and Canada. He was also producing springs, axles, and other components being provided to the early automotive industry. Before 1900, there less than 8,000 cars in America.

The first company brought into the GM family was Oldsmobile which happened before the end of the year. In 1909, seven more brands were added including some truck manufacturers. Rapid Motor Vehicle, the predecessor to GMC Trucks produced the first truck able to conquer Pikes Peak and did so in 1909. More companies were added in 1910 and the company attempted to buy Ford but the deal fell through. Durant lost control of the company to a bankers trust and left the firm to begin again. He joined with Louis Chevrolet and co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company. With more stock trading, Durant moved back to head GM in 1916 and eventually Chevrolet joined the parent company, too.

In the next few years, GM went global with the acquisition of international brands. They also acquired Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System, the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company and its subsidiaries, as well as the Yellow Coach bus company. In the mid-1920s the headquarters moved from Flint to Detroit, Michigan. By the time the new building was dedicated as the General Motors Building in 1929, Alfred P. Sloan was president of the company. The building eventually became the Cadillac Place. In 1996, the Renaissance Center became headquarters. Buick Division headquarters remained in Flint until 1998 when it, too, moved to the Renaissance Center.

Today, GM produces vehicles in 37 countries under ten brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall, Wuling, Baojum, Jie Fang, and UzDaewoo. In 2009, they changed their name to General Motors Company. Tim Solso is chairman of the board while Mary Barra is CEO. Dan Ammann is president. They have four divisions with 23 subsidiaries in both transportation and financial services. They operate 397 facilities on six continents. They had a production output of 9,714,652 in 2013. Their revenue last year was $155.42 billion with an operating income of $4.919 billion and a net income of $5.346 billion. They have 219,000 people working for them.

The cars we drive say a lot about us. – Alexandra Paul

I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car’s headlights and tell you exactly which way it’s coming. – Mitch Hedberg

If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG. – Bill Gates

A car for every purse and purpose. – Alfred P. Sloan

Also on this day: It’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings – In 1966, The Metropolitan Opera House opens.
Hero – In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan saves twenty from a submerged bus.
Sublime Tenor – In 1930, Enrico Caruso last entered a recording studio.
Nancy - In 1961, a typhoon hit Osaka, Japan.

Doom Bar

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 15, 2014
HMS Whiting type of ship

HMS Whiting type of ship

September 15, 1816: HMS Whiting runs aground. The ship was built in 1811 by Thomas Kemp as a Baltimore pilot schooner and launched on December 11. At the time, she was named Arrow. On May 8, 1812, she was captured by the British navy under Orders in Council for trading with the French. The Americans felt the British had no reason to interfere with their trading agreements. Arrow was returning from Bordeaux fully loaded with brandy, champagne, silk, and other goods when overtaken by the 38-gun frigate, HMS Andromache who seized the ship and her cargo. One month later, the Orders in Council were repealed and on June 18, 1812, the US declared war on England. The British kept the ship and refitted her for their purposes.

Whiting was used to capture several ships during the War and one of them was another laden ship from Bordeaux, carrying the same types of goods. The Whiting was also one of ten ships involved in the Battle of Fort Peter which took place after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent but before the Senate had ratified it. On this day, the ship was closer to home with Lieutenant John Jackson in command. Now sailing from Plymouth around Land’s End to the Irish Sea, she was to find smugglers. She encountered a gale and so Jackson took the ship into the harbor at Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall. The wind dropped as she came around a point and the ship ran aground on the Doom Bar.

During the next high tide, Jackson attempted to float the ship off the sandbar, but it was taking on water and the project was abandoned. Over the next few days, the crew was taken ashore. A court martial board reprimanded Jackson for having attempted to enter the harbor without a pilot as well as failing to lighten the load before trying to float the ship off the bar. Jackson lost a year’s seniority. Five crew members had taken the opportunity to desert. Three were caught and punished with 50 lashes. The ship was sold but nothing happened. Today, there has been some interest in finding the wreckage, even with shifting sands a promising locality has been found but nothing has yet come of it.

Doom Bar is a moving sandbar at the mouth of the estuary of the River Camel where it meets the Celtic Sea on the north coast of Cornwall. It is a permanent sandbank and is composed mainly of marine sand continually being carried up from the seabed. It has been a known danger to shipping. When ships were powered by sail, they lost power and the ability to steer as they rounded the point and often were grounded. There have been over 600 beachings, capsizes, and wrecks documented on this sandbank since the beginning of the 1800s. Pilots would wait at Stepper Point and offer assistance to ships in need. According to local legend, the Doom Bar was created by the Mermaid of Padstow as a dying curse after being shot.

To reach a port we must set sail – / Sail, not tie at anchor / Sail, not drift. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

You can’t believe how bleeding scary the sea is! There’s, like, whales and storms and shit! They don’t bloody tell you that! – Libba Bray

I can’t control the wind but I can adjust the sail. – Ricky Skaggs

Keep your hand on the helm. – Matthew Goldman

Also on this day: I Feel the Need for Speed – In 1881, Ettore Bugatti is born.
What is That? – In 1916, tanks were first used in battle.
Railroads - In 1830, inter-city passenger rail travel began.
Life in a Vacuum – In 1947, RCA released a new vacuum tube.


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