Little Bits of History

Wives Wanted

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2015
The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

March 1, 752 BC: Romulus celebrates victory. Romulus founded Rome, according to legend, in 753 BC. The conquerors began looking for wives and entered into negotiations with the Sabines, peoples already living in the area. The Sabines feared the emergence of a new and rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. During the festival of Neptune Equester, people from many other societies were engaged in a joyous celebration. Included with the Savines were Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates. The Romans were also invited to participate. At a signal given my Romulus, the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the men. They left with their prizes. The Rape of the Sabine Women tells the story of the event. However, the term “rape” comes from the Latin raptio and in this context means “abduction” rather than sexual violence.

Livy, the Roman who tells the story, claimed there was no sexual assault. However, there may have been a bit of seduction. Romulus was said to have spoken with each woman carried away and promised her many things if she were to accept a Roman as her husband. He also blamed the entire capture on the “pride of their fathers” who had refused their previous offers of marriage. The women were asked to accept the Romans as husbands and then they would be given free choice as well as civic and property rights. What the Romans were seeking were families and needed women to make the children they coveted. There was no promise from the men to help actually raise the children.

After the women were carried off, the king of the Caeninenses entered Roman territory with his army to retrieve them. Romulus and his men met them in battle where they killed the king and routed his army. Romulus then attacked Caenina and took it on the first assault. He returned to Rome and dedicated the first temple of Rome to Jupiter Feretrius. The spoils from the enemy king were offered as spolia opima (the armor, weapons, and other effects stripped from an opposing commander slain in single combat). According to legends, the celebration was held on this day.

Next the Antemnates attacked and were defeated and then the Crustumini attacked. They, too, were defeated. The Sabines finally declared war and were led into battle by king Titus Tatius. The Sabine king nearly captured Rome due to the treasonous actions of Tarpeia, daughter of the governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill. She opened the gates to the Sabines who took the citadel. The captured Sabine, now Roman, women intervened. They pled with their Sabine fathers and Roman husbands to stop the killing for the sake of the children. The battle ended and the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius and Romulus reigned jointly for the next five years.

A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal. – Anne Lamott

A happy marriage is still the greatest treasure within the gift of fortune. – Eden Phillpotts

Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them. – Sydney Smith

The difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in a seed catalogue and what comes up. – James Wharton

Also on this day: Peace Corps - In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Saint David – In 589, St. David of Wales died.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.
The Buckeye State – In 1803, Ohio became a state, but it took until 1953 for it to be official.
Time is Flexible - In 1700, a Swedish calendar went live.

Hey, Baby

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2015
Fanny Brice as Baby Snooks

Fanny Brice as Baby Snooks

February 29, 1936: Fanny Brice appears on Ziegfeld Follies of the Air with a new role. Fania Borach was born in New York City in 1891 and became an influential song model, comedian, singer, and actress (both theater and film). Her brother was also in show business and his stage name was Lew Brice. Fanny (sometimes spelled Fannie) dropped out of school in 1908 to work in a burlesque review and in 1910 joined Ziegfeld Follies. In 1921, she recorded “My Man” which became her signature song but she was also famous for “Second Hand Rose” which was also introduced in 1921. When she began working vaudeville, there was a child actress called Baby Peggy which she used as inspirations for her character, created on this day.

Brice was scheduled to appear on Follies and for a skit, Philip Rapp and David Freedman looked for inspiration in a public domain collection of sketches by Robert Jones Burdette, Chimes From a Jester’s Bells (1897). They adapted a piece about a child and his uncle. They changed the child from a boy to a girl and called the kid Snooks. Brice continued to play the role of Baby Snooks until her death in 1951 – first, on the Good News Show and then in 1940 on Maxwell House Coffee Time where Baby Snooks became a regular character. In the latter program, she co-starred with Frank Morgan (the wizard from The Wizard of Oz).

In 1944, Baby Snooks got her own radio show, having proven how many listeners would turn in to listen to her antics. Hanley Stafford played Snooks’ father taking over the role from Alan Reed who had played Lancelot “Daddy” Higgins for the Follies. Lalive Brownell was given the role of Vera “Mommy” Higgins between Lois Corbet and Arlene Harris who took over in 1945. Also in that year, Leone Ledoux got the role of Snooks baby brother, Robespierre. Danny Thomas played the daydreaming postman, Jerry Dingle who imagined himself in far more glamorous careers – e.g. circus owner or railroad conductor.

In 1945, Brice became ill and missed several shows. Instead of cancelling the show or using a stand-in of some sort, top stars of the day appeared and searched for the missing child. Robert Benchley, Sydney Greenstreet, Kay Kyser, and Peter Lorre all made guest appearances. The popular show moved to Friday nights at 8 PM on CBS. Then in 1949, NBC took over broadcasting and moved the show to Tuesday at 8.30 PM. The Baby Snooks Show continued with NBC until May 22, 1951. Fanny Brice suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on May 29, 1951. She was 59. The show died with her.

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?

Being a funny person does an awful lot of things to you. You feel that you mustn’t get serious with people. They don’t expect it from you, and they don’t want to see it. You’re not entitled to be serious, you’re a clown.

I never liked the men I loved and never loved the men I liked.

Affectation is a very good word when someone does not wish to confess to what he would none the less like to believe of himself. – all from Fanny Brice

Also on this day: Hammerin’ Hank – In 1972, Hank Aaron signed with the Atlanta Braves for a record salary.
Leap Day – In 1584, the first Leap Day took place.
Child Labor Law – In 1916, a new minimum age for workers was passed in South Carolina.
Run For Office – In 1932, Bill Murray was on the cover of TIME magazine.
At the Shore - In 1916, Dinah Shore was born.

Diplomatic

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2015
US embassy in Rom

US embassy in Rom

February 28, 1867: The US breaks off diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Papal States and the US began consular relations under President George Washington and Pope Pius VI in 1797. Anti-Catholic feelings increased after Lincoln’s assassination. Mary Surratt, a Catholic, was convicted and hanged as a conspirator. She owned a boarding house where plots had been conceived to kidnap Lincoln. It was at her house where Dr. Mudd introduced her son to John Wilkes Booth. Although the kidnapping failed, the plot to kill Lincoln was eventually successful. Mary’s religion was another strike against the woman. Her son was given sanctuary in a Roman Catholic Church after he was accused as being an accessory. He fled to Italy and was made a Papal Zouave, part of the infantry whose mission is to defend Rome and the Papal States.

There had been other allegations of the Pope forbidding Protestant religious services held at the home of the American Minister in Rome, something that had taken place weekly. Legislations was passed under Ulysses S Grant which prevented any funding to US diplomatic missions to Rome. There were several times when US Presidents designated personal envoys to visit the Holy See in order to discuss international humanitarian and/or political issues. The first of these took place in 1933 when Postmaster General James Farley was sent overseas. He shared the ocean voyage with Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs maxim Litvinoff and they sailed on the Italian liner SS Conte Di Savoia. Farley met with Pope Pius XI and had dinner with Cardinal Pacelli (who became Pope in 1939).

Myron Charles Taylor served under Franklin D Roosevelt and Harry S Truman from 1939 to 1950. On October 20, 1951, Truman appointed General Mark W Clark to the US emissary to the Holy See but Senator Tom Connally (D-Texas) and Protestant groups complained, causing Clark to withdraw his nomination on January 13, 1952. Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan all appointed personal envoys to the Pope. Official prohibition lasted until the Lugar Act repealed it on September 22, 1983 and relations were re-established formally on January 10, 1984.

The post was then raised to Ambassador and William A Wilson was the first of these and confirmed on March 7, 1984. Wilson had been Reagan’s personal envoy since 1981. The Holy See named Archbishop Pio Laghi as the first Apostolic Nuncio (equivalent to an ambassador). He had been Pope John Paul II’s apostolic delegate to the Catholic Church in the US since 1980. Today, Ken Hackett is the Ambassador at the US Embassy in the Villa Domiziana in Rome. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano is the diplomat in Washington, D.C. President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI met in 2009 and the President also met Pope Francis in 2014 while in Rome.

When people ask where I studied to be an ambassador, I say my neighborhood and my school. I’ve tried to tell my kids that you don’t wait until you’re in high school or college to start dealing with problems of people being different. The younger you start, the better. – Andrew Young

An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle. – Walter Bagehot

I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog. – Joichi Ito

An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie and intrigue for the benefit of his country. – Henry Wotton

Also on this day: Dord – In 1939, the unknown word DORD was found in Webster’s Dictionary.
B&O Railroad – In 1827, a law was passed to form the B&O Railroad.
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen – In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H was televised.
Betrayal – In 1844, an explosion aboard the USS Princeton shocked the nation.
228  - In 1947, a massacre took place in Taiwan.

Making a Run For It

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 27, 2015
Abraham Lincoln  at Cooper Union in New York City

Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union in New York City

February 27, 1860: Abraham Lincoln speaks at Cooper Union in New York City. The Illinois lawyer has already served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834-1842 and as a member of the US House of Representatives from Illinois’ 7th District from 1847-1849. During the 1830s, Lincoln was a Whig Party leader and it was as a Whig that he went to Congress. He promoted a rapid modernization of the economy through banks, tariffs, and railroads. His opposition to the Mexican-American War was unpopular and he did not run for a second term. He left politics and returned to his law practice in Springfield. He helped to build up the new Republican party in 1854. He lost his bid for a US Senate seat when he was unable to beat Democrat Stephen A Douglas in that race.

As he made his bid for President of the United States, he held his ground on the non-expansion of slavery. He was not yet the Republican nominee since the convention was not held until May. The speech he gave on this day is considered by some to be one of his most important speeches and they argue it may have been responsible for his gaining the nomination. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was established in 1859 at Cooper Square in the East Village of Manhattan. The founder of the school believed education should be accessible to all who qualify regardless of their race, religion, sex, or wealth/social status. In that regard, it was the perfect venue for Lincoln’s speech.

It is one of Lincoln’s longest speeches and runs to more than 7,000 words. (The Gettysburg address is 268 words.) There are not many quotes remembered from this speech but because it was so carefully researched and crafted, and because of the forceful argument Lincoln put forth, it was very effective. The write up in the New York Tribune stated it was “one of the most happiest and most convincing political arguments ever made in this City … No man ever made such an impression on his first appeal to a New-York audience.”

The speech was broken into three basic parts with each building to the conclusion. In the first part, Lincoln spoke of the Founding Fathers and the legal positions they supported on the question of slavery in the territories. This was a special response and clarification to Stephen Douglas’s position from the lost Senate seat race. The second part addressed voters in the Southern states and clarified issued between Republicans and Democrats and argued the Republican Party’s position was the conservative one. The last section addressed Republicans. He advised fellow Republicans to use level-headed thinking and cool actions rather than passionate outbursts. The speech worked.

If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that “our fathers who framed the Government under which we live” were of the same opinion – thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument.

Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes.

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not “distinctly and expressly affirmed” in it.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. – Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union speech

Also on this day: Party in New Orleans! – In 1827, Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans for the first time.
Andersonville - In 1864, the Confederacy’s POW camp at Andersonville opened.
The Lord and the Luddites – In 1812, George Gordon Byron spoke out in the House of Lords.
Suffrage - In 1922, Leser V. Garnett was decided by the US Supreme Court.
Carbon Fourteen – In 1940, the carbon isotope was discovered.

Not Again

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 26, 2015
HMHS Britannic

HMHS Britannic

February 26, 1914: HMHS Britannic is launched. She was the third and largest of the Olympic class ships of the White Star Line. The other two ships were the RMS Olympic and the RMS Titanic. Britannic was also supposed to be a transatlantic passenger ship, but like the others, fate was against her. She was laid down on November 30, 1911. She was launched on this day, just five months before World War I began. After the loss of the Titanic, changes were made in the design of the other two ships. Olympic’s changes were refitted, but with the Britannic, the changes were made prior to launching. This would make the ships less likely to suffer the same fate as the Titanic.

The ship was laid up at Harland and Wolff in Belfast – her builders – for many months after launch. When War was proclaimed, all shipyards with Admiralty contracts were given a priority which meant all civil contracts, including that for Britannic, were slowed. The government took over a large number of ships and armed them as merchant cruisers or for troop transport. The large luxury liners were not taken for military use since the smaller ships were easier to operate. White Star brought the Olympic in from service in November 1914 until the danger passed.

The need for increased tonnage became critical as operations extended farther afield. In May 1915, Britannic completed mooring trials and was prepared for emergency entrance into service. During that same month, the RMS Lusitania was lost at sea, the first major loss of a civilian ocean ship. In June, the British Admiralty began to use passenger liners as troop transports. As more soldiers were placed and the casualty numbers increased, a need for large hospital ships also grew. They were to be used for treatment centers and as evacuation transport. The Britannic was requisitioned as a hospital ship on November 13, 1915 and repainted white with a large red cross and a horizontal green stripe. She was renamed HMHS, His Majesty’s Hospital Ship and placed under command of Captain Charles Bartlett.

Britannic completed five successful trips to the Middle Eastern theater and back to the UK transporting sick and wounded. On November 12, 1916 she left Southampton for his sixth trip to the Mediterranean Sea. She made her first stop safely and waited for a storm to pass. She reentered the Med with 1,066 people aboard. At 8.12 AM on November 21, 1916, an explosion shook the ship. It is unknown whether it was an underwater mine or a torpedo. It was at first hoped the ship could be saved, but an evacuation was soon called for. People were being placed in lifeboats and at 8.35 AM, the captain gave the order to abandon ship. Bartlett gave the final whistle blow at 9.00 AM as a warning to the ship’s engineers. He was then swept overboard. The ship sunk at 9.07 AM, the largest ship lost in the War. Unlike the Titanic, only 30 people lost their lives.

You mustn’t be afraid of death. When this ship sailed, death sailed on her. – Charles Larkworthy

But all the love in the world won’t save a sinking ship. You have to either bail or jump overboard. – Sarah Dessen

I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they’re the first to be rescued off sinking ships. – Gilda Radner

Often undecided whether to desert a sinking ship for one that might not float, he would make up his mind to sit on the wharf for a day. – Max Aitken

Also on this day: Waist Overalls – In 1829, Levi Strauss was born.
Grand Canyon – In 1919, Grand Canyon National Park was established.
WorldWideWeb Browser – In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee introduced his WorldWideWeb browser, the first stable web browser.
World Trade Center – In 1993, the WTC was bombed.
Colored Movies - In 1909, Kinemacolor was first shown to the public.

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Pyrrhic Victory

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 25, 2015
Pilėnai Castle site

Pilėnai Castle site

February 25, 1336: Pilėnai Castle falls. The castle was located in Lithuania, the last remaining pagan country in Europe. Duke Margiris held his fortress against the Teutonic Knights siege for as long as he could. When it became evident the castle would fall to the much larger force outside, the people within made a momentous decision. Rather than submit to the Knights and allow them the profits of the booty within the walls, they rebelled. They first burned all their possessions and set the castle on fire. Then all the men, women, and children committed mass suicide. Chronicles mention there were 4,000 men defending the castle. The Teutonic Order was left with a pyrrhic victory.

The Teutonic Knights formed at the end of the 1100s in Acre, in the Levant. When Christian forces in the Middle East fell, the Knights moved to Transylvania in 1211 to help with defense of borders. The Kingdom of Hungary was under attack from the Kipchaks. While originally being helpful, by 1225, they were expelled by King Andrew II of Hungary because they attempted to place themselves under Papal sovereignty rather than pledging loyalty to the King. Five years later, with the Golden Bull of Rimini in hand, they began the Prussian Crusade and formed a joint invasion of Prussia with intent to Christianize the Baltic Old Prussians.

The Knights were led by Grand Master Hermann von Salza with the aid of Duke Konrad I of Masovia but the Knights quickly reneged against a Polish prince who helped them. Instead of collaborating, they took control of the Chełmno Land and created an independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. They continued to add lands to their territory and conquered Livonia, too. The Kings of Poland accused the Knights of holding lands rightfully belonging to the secular kings. The Knights did not withdraw. Instead, they simply changed their focus. Rather than trying to Christianize Lithuania, they attacked many Christian neighbors to expand their base of control. With more lands, their wealth increased and they were able to hire more mercenaries and the cycle continued.

Lithuania’s first contact with the Christian religion predated the formation of the Duchy of Lithuania. The first meeting with Lithuania was recorded in 1009 and took place when Roman Catholic missionaries came to the area and baptized several rulers of the Baltic tribe of Yotvingians. The Lithuanians has more contact with the Kievan Rus who had adopted the Eastern Orthodox version of Christianity. Christian influence became evident in the 11th and 12th centuries when Christian names began to appear. Still the majority of the people were pagan. With Christianity knocking on her borders, Lithuania needed to adopt a state religion. While rulers were swayed by the political exigencies of one religion or another, East vs. West, the populace remained pagan. Official Christianization took place in 1387.

There’s something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt. – Mignon McLaughlin

It is doubtless true that religion has been the world’s psychiatrist throughout the centuries. – Karl Menninger

All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. – Cathy Ladman

God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? – Martin Buber

Also on this day: “Do you feel lucky?” – In 1836, Samuel Colt received a patent for his new revolver.
Gas Tax – In 1919, the first gas tax in the US was instituted.
Cut Off – In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.
Battle Stations – In 1942, Los Angeles was under fire.
Sea Change - In 1933, the USS Ranger was launched.

Early School Shooting

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 24, 2015
Tyrone Mitchell

Tyrone Mitchell

February 24, 1984: Tyrone Mitchell goes on a shooting spree. Mitchell was born in Montgomery County, Alabama in 1955. The family moved to South Central Los Angeles and the house he grew up in was razed in order to build the 49th Street Elementary School. Mitchell and his family were members of Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple. Most of his family followed Jones to Jonestown in Guyana. In the mass murder-suicide that took place there, Mitchell’s parents, four sisters, and brother died. According to Mitchell’s fiancée, Marylou Hill, he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the deaths at Jonestown on November 18, 1978. Mitchell had been in town and not at the compound when the rest of his family drank the Kool-Aid.

Mitchell returned to South Central Los Angeles and rented a white Victorian house at 730 East 50th Street. He and Hill lived just 50 feet away from the school that now stood where his childhood home had once been. The house looked over the entire playground. Mitchell had a reputation in the area as a troubled man who had issues with narcotics, especially PCP. Hill denied he had “a problem” with the drug. On December 5, 1979 Mitchell argued with his landlord and uncle Willie Lee Mitchell, about who would light the pilot light on water heater. Tyrone fired three shots from a .30-caliber rifle into the air. When police arrived, he was arrested. He was fined $200 and put on two years’ probation.

Hill said Mitchell kept a high powered rifle in the house and often fired at passing airliners attempting to land at Los Angeles International Airport located five miles to the west. No one reported the shots out of fear of reprisals. On February 11, one of Mitchell’s uncles claimed Mitchell had pointed a machine gun at him but no arrest were made. On this day, at 2.23 PM, Mitchell fired into about 100 children from the 49th Street Elementary School as they came out onto the playground. He fired 39 rounds from an AR-15 rifle and 18 rounds from two shotguns. He was standing at a bay window just across the street from the school.

After the shooting stopped, police surrounded the house. Hill wanted to speak to Mitchell but police feared she would become a hostage. Just before 6 PM, after firing at least 16 canisters of tear gas into the house, a SWAT team entered and eventually found Mitchell upstairs, dead from a single 12 gauge shotgun wound to the head. Shala Eubanks, 10, died from injuries sustained later on this day. Carlos Lopez, 24, a jogger passing by at the wrong time, died on April 13 from injuries sustained. Anna Gonzales, 8, was seriously injured but survived. Iran Macias, 10, was also admitted to the hospital. Ten others were treated and released for various wounds. Mitchell’s motives remain unclear. Post-mortem toxicology studies found no narcotics in his blood stream. He did have a small amount of alcohol, but less than a third of the legal limit.

We pulled the kids, injured or not, into the ambulance. We just wanted to get them safe. We didn’t know what could happen. – Los Angeles Fire Department paramedic Jack Frye

The teachers were trying to get the kids out of the yard, to get them away from the school. The shooting was going on all the time. It just kept coming: Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! – Dessi McClain, neighbor

The kids were screaming, but they were quickly brought into the school building by adults in the yard. When I first heard shooting I didn’t know what was going on. Then I saw dozens of kids down on the ground, but most of them weren’t hurt, they were just trying to hide. – Bea Ransome, the school’s office manager

I’m scared to go back to school. I don’t want to see the school. I’ll get bad memories. – Iran Marcias, weeks after the event

Also on this day: Smile – In 1938, DuPont created a nylon-bristle toothbrush.
Opera – In 1607, the first opera premiered.
Murder, She Wrote – In 1981, Jean Harris was convicted of murder.
Religious Persecution – In 303, the new sect, Christians, were the subject of a Roman edict.
Just Peachy - In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached.

Boy Wonder

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 23, 2015
Charles M Hall

Charles M Hall

February 23, 1886: Charles M Hall, separates aluminum from its ore. Hall was born in Ohio in 1863 after his missionary parents were forced to return from overseas service due to the US Civil War. His mother taught him to read early and by age six he was using his father’s 1840s college chemistry book as a reader. He began public school at age eight and quickly progressed. He carried out scientific experiments in family’s shed. At the age of 16 he enrolled at Oberlin College. There he met professor Frank Fanning Jewett who was interested in aluminum extraction. Hall’s initial experiments with aluminum were in 1881. He worked on the problem, once again using the family shed as a laboratory.

Hall was forced to fabricate most of his own equipment for his studies. One of his sisters, Julia Brainerd Hall, helped him with his research. They eventually found a process to produce aluminum cheaply by running an electric current through a bath of alumina dissolved in cryolite. Hall filed for his first patent on July 9, 1886. The process was discovered at nearly the same time by Frenchman Paul Héroult and has come to be called the Hall-Héroult process. Hall sought out financial backing in Pittsburgh via metallurgist Alfred E Hunt. They formed the Reduction Company of Pittsburgh and opened the first large-scale aluminum production plant. The company changed names, first to Aluminum Company of America and then to Alcoa.

The Hall-Héroult process was so effective, it reduced the price of aluminum by a factor of 200, making it an affordable alternative for many uses. The apex of the Washington Monument was made of aluminum and at the time of its construction (1884), it was as valuable a metal as silver. In 1900, about 8,000 tons of aluminum were produced. Today, more aluminum is produced than all other non-ferrous metals combined. Aluminum was the first metal to attain widespread use since the prehistoric discovery of iron. Hall is considered to be the originator of the American spelling of aluminium, the British spelling, when he made a misspelling in a handbill. Aluminum makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. The ability to extract if cheaply from the ore was the problem.

Hall continued to do research and was granted 22 US patents over his lifetime, most of them regarding aluminum production. He served on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees. He was vice-president of Alcoa until his death at age 51. He was unmarried and childless and left most of his money to charity. Today, Alcoa is headquartered in Lever House, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Klaus Kleinfeld is the chairman and CEO. They not only deal with aluminum but also include products made with titanium and nickel as well. Their operating income from 2014 was $1.2 billion with a revenue of $23 billion. They employ 60,000 people.

Aluminium’s sixty-year reign as the world’s most precious substance was glorious, but soon an American chemist ruined everything. – Sam Kean

Mr. Hall revealed that probably his chief ambition in life was to make some discovery which would be revolutionary with regard to the present conception of the constitution of matter and which would be of immense benefit to mankind. – Arthur V Davis

Consciously and subconsciously, he was still working on the problem of producing cheap aluminum. Hall was at heart . . . a tireless experimenter. – Julius Edwards

Alcoa’s lightweight aluminum helped revolutionize the automotive and aviation industries; aluminum foil eased the lives of housewives everywhere. Demand for Hall’s aluminum led to production soaring from 10,000 pounds in the company’s first year to 15 million by 1907. – Alcoa.com

Also on this day: The Rotary Club – In 1905, the Rotary Club was formed.
Cato Conspiracy – In 1820, the plot to kill British cabinet members was exposed.
Gutenberg Bible – In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was published.
ISO - In 1947, a new set of standards were adopted.
Tootsie - In 1896, the Tootsie Roll was introduced.

Bubble Boy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2015
David, the Bubble Boy in his containment unit

David, the Bubble Boy in his containment unit

February 22, 1984: David dies. David was born in Houston, Texas in 1971. He was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) which is a genetic disorder caused by a number of genetic mutations. People with SCID have curtailed development of T cells and B cells leaving the victim with a defective antibody response and susceptible to pathogens. David’s older brother had also had the disease and died at the age of seven months. His older sister was unaffected. His parents had been told after the death of his brother, that any future male children had a 50% of getting SCID. At the time, the only treatment available was to keep pathogens away from the patient until a successful bone transplant could take place.

David’s early life was spent mostly at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. A special sterilized cocoon bed was prepared and as soon as he was born, he was placed in the germ-free cocoon. He would spend most of his life in this type of environment and was known to the world as David, the Bubble Boy. Sterilized holy water was used to baptize the baby once he had entered the bubble. It was hoped his sister, Katherine, could be a bone marrow donor, but she was not an acceptable match and a bone marrow transplant was put on hold. Water, air, food, diapers, and clothes all had to be sterilized before they were permitted in the sterile chamber.

In order to sterilize all manner of items, they were placed in a chamber filled with heated (⁰F 140) ethylene oxide gas for four hours and then aerated for one to seven days. They were then safe for David to use. After the infant was placed in the bubble, he was touched only through special plastic gloves attached to the walls of the bubble. It was kept inflated by air compressors which made so much noise that communication with the boy was difficult. When he was three, a second bubble was built at his parents’ home and a transport chamber was also built. David was able to spend two to three weeks at a time at home. In an effort to make his life as normal as possible, he was provided a formal education and given access to television. He even had a playroom built in his hospital chamber.

NASA technology allowed for the building of a suit which permitted David to exit his bubble and walk out in the world. David did not like the suit and only used it seven times before he outgrew it and then refused to wear the replacement. Approximately $1.3 million was spent on caring for David during his lifetime. At age 12, David finally was able to receive a bone marrow transplant from his sister. Unfortunately, it contained traces of dormant Epstein-Barr virus which had been undetected in the screenings. David died 15 days after the transplant from Burkitt’s lymphoma. Charges of unethical medical practices were brought against three physicians who denied any wrongdoing. Ten years after his death, David’s full name was finally made public. David Phillip Vetter.

The great scandal of the Bubble Boy was that he was conceived for the bubble. The team that did this didn’t think through this very well. They didn’t consider what would happen if they didn’t find an immediate cure. They operated on the assumption that you could live to be 80 years old in a bubble, and that would be unfortunate but okay. – Raymond Lawrence

In 1978, although he was not quite eight years old, David had realized his life would be lonely, dull and short. His helplessness enraged him. Before he was born, his body had been donated to science. – Steve McVicker

The doctors – John Montgomery, Mary Ann South and Raphael Wilson – told the Vetters that should they choose to have another child, and should that child also have SCIDS, the newborn could be placed in an almost completely sterile isolator that would protect him from disease until a cure was found – which, the doctors thought, was only a matter of time. The project would be financed with federal research grants. – Steve McVicker

At the time, we were encouraged by everything we knew. If people didn’t take chances, none of us would be here. Columbus would have stayed in Spain and would have been selling tortillas, because he was warned he would sail off the edge of the earth. – John Montgomery

Also on this day: Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Hello, Dolly – In 1997, the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep.
Grady the Cow – In 1949, a cow got stuck in a silo and made national news.
The White Rose – In 1943, three young adults were executed.
Florida - In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty was signed.

Pen vs. Sword

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 21, 2015
Cherokee Phoenix, then and now

Cherokee Phoenix, then and now

February 21, 1828: The Cherokee Phoenix is first published. The initial issue was the first paper published in a Native American language. The newspaper was printed in both English and Cherokee. Published in New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, it continued printing until 1834. In the early 1800s, the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole) were living as autonomous nations in what is today called the American Deep South. The lands they occupied were valuable for farming and hunting and the new US government was being pressured into removing them so that whites could take over the lands.

The Cherokee were being pressured to move from Georgia to lands west of the Mississippi River. The General Council of the Cherokee Nation began the newspaper with the help of missionary Samuel Worcester, who cast the type for Cherokee syllabary (similar to an alphabet). Elias Boudinot was the first editor. He was a member of a prominent Cherokee Nation family born in 1802 as Gallegina Uwati and also known as Buck Watie. He was educated at a missionary school in Connecticut and came to believe in acculturation as a means to assure Cherokee survival. The paper planned to showcase Cherokee achievements as well as build unity within the Nation.

The first issue was four pages, each with five columns. Translation between Cherokee and English was slow, so at first they would only print three columns in Cherokee each week. This first issue contained praise for the creation of the syllabary by Sequoyah as well as an editorial by Boudinot criticizing white settlers coveting Cherokee lands. The idea of Tribal removal gained speed and so the paper arranged a fund-raising publicity tour. New subscribers were attracted from all areas of the US and Europe. Eventually the paper went to a completely English publication in order to attract a wider readership. The paper was renamed in 1829 as the Cherokee Phoenix and Indians’ Advocate.

Boudinot believed removal was inevitable and felt protection by treaty would be beneficial. He was not in the majority of Cherokee citizens. He was removed from his post as editor. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed with the help of Andrew Jackson. The Cherokee were put into forced marches and between 2,000 and 6,000 of the 16,543 displaced Cherokee died of exposure, disease, or starvation while traveling what came to be known as the Trail of Tears. Boudinot had championed the Treaty of New Echota of 1835 but John Ross, Principal Chief would not sign it. Boudinot’s wife died in 1836 and he and his children moved to Indian Territory after her death. He and three other Treaty Party leaders were assassinated in June 1839 by the National Party, followers of Ross.

News is history shot on the wing. – Gene Fowler

The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring. – Warren Chappell

In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled. – Paul Eldridge

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not. – Henry Fielding

Also on this day: The Washington Monument – In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.
Karl Marx - In 1848, The Communist Manifesto was published.
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz – In 1931, Miles Laboratories introduced Alka-Seltzer to the world.
Incas - In 1918, the last Carolina Parakeet died.
Candid Camera - In 1947, Edwin Land demonstrated a new type of camera.

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