Little Bits of History

All Wet All-Stars

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 31, 2012

1961 All-Star Game

July 31, 1961: Baseball’s All-Star Game ends in a tie. The game was played at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The game was played in front of 31,851 fans with Jim Bunning the starting pitcher for the American League and Bob Purkey the starting pitcher for the National League. The American League team scored on a home run hit by Rocky Colavito in the first inning and remained ahead until the score was tied in the sixth inning as Eddie Mathews crossed home plate. The game was called after nine innings because of a downpour. This was the first, and until 2002, the only All-Star Game to end in a tie.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is also called the “Midsummer Classic” and is played between players from the National League and the American League. The players are selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers. The game is usually played in mid-July, the halfway point of the baseball season. The game is usually played on a Tuesday, and both the Monday and Wednesday surrounding the big game are left unscheduled. The Monday and Wednesday surrounding the All-Star Game are the only two days of the year without a regular or pre-season game scheduled for any major professional sports leagues in the US.

The venue for the game changes with stadiums from the National and American Leagues alternating years. This system has twice been broken, first in 1951 when the Detroit Tigers hosted the game in conjunction with the city’s 250th birthday and again in 2007 when the San Francisco Giants were hosts. Since 2008, the American League hosts on the even numbered years with the National League having the odd numbered years. The games are not scheduled out past 2012. On July 10, 2012 the game was held at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2013, the game is scheduled to be played on July 16 at Citi Field in New York City, home of the Mets.

There are no special uniforms for the game with players wearing their normal team uniforms instead. Sometimes there is a uniform error, usually when a batter dons a different team’s batting helmet. After 82 All-Star Games played (two in 1959-1962) with the National League winning 42, the American League winning 38, and 2 ties. In 1961, the American League had Yogi Bera, Mickey Mangle, and Roger Maris as some of their biggest-name players. The National League had Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Willie Mays playing. The American League placed three pictures on the mound while the National League used four. There was no Most Valuable Player named that year, as the custom started in 1962.

No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined. – Paul Gallico

A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. – Earl Wilson

I don’t want to play golf.  When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it. – Rogers Hornsby

Say this much for big league baseball – it is beyond question the greatest conversation piece ever invented in America. – Bruce Catton

Also on this day:

Mount Fuji – In 781, Mount Fuji erupts for the first time in recorded history.
Who Knows? – In 1930, The Shadow came to radio.
First US Patent – In 1790, the first US patent was granted.

House of Burgesses

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 30, 2012

House of Burgesses in session

July 30, 1619: The House of Burgesses convenes for the first time. The representative assembly was the first such type meeting in the Americas. Jamestown, Virginia was the site for the first meeting of freemen. The Virginia Company ended its monopoly on land ownership with the thought that colonists would show greater initiative if they could have ownership of the resources. “Burgess” originally meant a “freeman” of a borough or burgh. The Virginia House of Burgesses was the elected lower house of the legislative assembly.

These elected officials were sometimes appointees rather than elected but did officially represent a municipality in the English House of Commons. Once the Virginia Company relinquished control, the settlers could own land outright rather than remaining sharecroppers. Sharecroppers work the land of the owner in return for a portion of the crops produced. In sharecropping, the landlord gets a percentage of the crop, so if the crop is meager, his share is less. There is also a crop fixed rent agreement where the landlord takes a fixed amount and the tenant gets the remainder. In a good year, the tenant receives a higher profit but in a meager year, the tenant may lose most or all of the crops grown.

The Virginia Colony was divided into four large corporations when it was established. The Company officials were governed by English Common Law. The governor had the final voice in legal matters within the colony. The Polish community in Jamestown controlled vital industries (tar and pitch making as well as glass blowing). These were essential commodities. With the establishment of the House of Burgesses, the Poles were excluded. They were outraged and launched the first recorded strike in the New World. The House extended the “rights of Englishmen” to the Poles.

The first session of the House of Burgesses, held on this day, didn’t accomplish much, but it did set a precedent. The colony would have some say in the governance of the land. The 22 members were forced to cut their initial gathering short due to an outbreak of malaria. The legislative body met for 150 years. In 1760, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee were discussing taxation without representation before the group. Lord Botetourt, then Governor of Virginia, called the group to his house and demanded they dissolve, as their speech was treasonous. The House was reformed in 1770, but the treasonous speeches did not end.

Nothing is so galling to a people, not broken in from the birth, as a paternal or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read and say and eat and drink and wear. – Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. – Benjamin Franklin 1759

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. – Thomas Jefferson

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of government is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of government, not the increase of it. – Woodrow Wilson

Also on this day:

Where Did He Go? – In 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappears.
Follow the Money – In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law.
Exterminated – In 2003, the last old style Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

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USS Forrestal

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 29, 2012

USS Forrestal on fire

July 29, 1967: The USS Forrestal catches fire. The ship was named for James Forrestal, the first US Secretary of Defense. USS Forrestal is an aircraft carrier and was launched on December 11, 1954. The new class of aircraft carrier, also called Forrestal, replaced the Shinaro (a Japanese carrier during World War II) as the largest aircraft carrier built to date. She was the first to support jet aircraft. Her nickname was The FID, for First in Defense, referring to her namesake. She was also the landing site for a C-130 in 1963 making her the largest ship having the largest plane with a full stop landing.

The ship had sailed from Norfolk, Virginia in early June. She first stopped near Brazil and then sailed around the horn of Africa. Forrestal stopped in the Philippines before sailing to “Yankee Station” in the Gulf of Tonkin, along the coast of Vietnam. For four days, Air Wing 17 carried out about 150 missions from the Gulf to targets in North Vietnam. There was a shortage of 1,000 pound bombs and so Composition B bombs (an older type of bomb) were used. Rather than using the Composition H6 bombs which could stand higher heats, the older ammo was being onloaded from the USS Diamond Head.

Preparations for the second strike of the day were underway at 10:50 local time. There was an electrical power surge as power was switched from external to internal on an F-4 Phantom II. That surge caused an unguided 5-inch Mk-32 “Zuni” rocket to fire. The rocket flew across the flight deck and struck an external fuel tank on an A-4 Skyhawk waiting to launch. The tank did not explode but tore the wing off the plane. Sparks caused an immediate flash fire to start due to escaping jet fuel igniting. Nearby external fuel tanks overheated and ruptured. Two 1,000 pound bombs were dislodged and sat amidst the flames.

Nine bomb explosions occurred on the flight deck, eight of them by Composition B type bombs. Large holes were torn in the flight deck. Not only was the ship damaged, but planes and armament were jettisoned to halt more explosions. Twenty-one aircraft sustained enough damage to be stricken from the naval inventory. They lost seven F-4 Phantom IIs and eleven A-4E Skyhawks as well as three RA-5 Vigilantes. The ship was repaired at the cost of $72 million (not including the cost of the aircraft) which is about $467 million today. The even greater cost was to the personnel. There were 134 sailors killed along with another 161 injured.

In principal, having carrier capability is desirable and ditto for nuclear propulsion. An aircraft carrier is all about presence and adds to the navy’s capability. – Uday Bhaskar

Maverick: [to Cougar and Merlin while up in the air] Any of you boys seen an aircraft-carrier around here? – from the movie, Top Gun

It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. – Hunter S. Thompson

There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating. – Alfred Hitchcock

Also on this day:

Arc de Triomphe – In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated.
Irish Unrest – In 1848, the English put down a revolt by the Irish at Tipperary.
I Spy – In 1864, Isabella Boyd was captured.

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B-17 Flying Fortress

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 28, 2012


July 28, 1935: Model 299 is taken up for its first test flight. On August 8, 1934 the US Army Air Corps enjoined private manufacturers to create a replacement for the Martin B-10. The new planes were to carry a “useful bombload” at an altitude of 10,000 feet. The planes must be able to fly for ten hours with a top speed of 200 mph. It would be useful if the planes had a range of 2,000 miles and could hit speeds of 250 mph, but these were not requirements. Douglas, Martin, and Boeing brought their planes to a “fly off” held at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

Boeing brought their prototype B-17, designed by a team led by E. Gifford Emery and Edward Curtis Wells. The plane was built at Boeing’s expense and was a cross between a Boeing XB-15 and the Boeing 247. It could hold 4,800 pounds of bombs on two racks behind the cockpit and was also armed with five 0.30 inch machine guns. It was powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-1690 engines giving the plane 750 horsepower. First flown on this day, Seattle Times reporter Richard Williams called the plane a “Flying Fortress.” Boeing loved the name and actually had it trademarked.

On August 20, the plane flew from Seattle to Wright Field in nine hours and three minutes with an average speed of 235 mph, much faster than the competition. Boeing’s entry outperformed the other two entrants, both of which were twin-engine planes. Top brass was impressed and even before the end of the competition, they suggested buying 65 planes. On October 30, Major Ployer Peter Hill and Les Tower took the plane up. They forgot to disengage the “gust lock” and as they climbed, the plane stalled and crashed, killing both men. The 65 plane order was cancelled.

Even so, the Air Force was impressed with the plane. With some modifications, a YB-17 was ordered and 13 were produced by December 1936. None were shipped in 1937 and only 1 went out in 1938. In 1939, 39 were produced and 38 more were made in 1940. Each year saw a bit of development and each set of planes was given a bit different designation. In 1941, there were 42 B-17D planes and 512 B-17E planes produced. The next year saw over 3,400 planes produced. Before they went out of production, 12,731 B-17 planes were made, including the first – Model 299.

Why, it’s a flying fortress! – Richard Williams, reporter for the Seattle Times, upon seeing a B-17

She was a Stradivarius of an airplane… – Colonel Robert Morgan, pilot of the Memphis Belle

The plane can be cut and slashed almost to pieces by enemy fire and bring its crew home. –  Wally Hoffman, B-17 Pilot, 8th Air Force

The mightiest ever built. – Description of a B-17 by a member of the 8th Army Air Force

Also on this day:

Dusting for Prints – In 1858, fingerprints are first used – sorta.
Motormouth – In 1958, Lord Jellico spoke for the first time in 19 years.
Plane Flies into Building in New York – In 1945, the Empire State Building was hit by a plane.

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Olympic Bomb

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2012

Eric Robert Rudolph

July 27, 1996: A pipe bomb explodes. Olympic Games are awarded to cities around the world. There are summer and winter games to be hosted. The 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Part of the city’s preparations for the event was to build the complex needed to host the world’s best athletes. Part of the building included the Centennial Olympic Park as the “town square” of the Olympics. The square was used as a meeting place and as a venue for entertainment of the crowds not actively watching sporting events.

On this night, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack were playing for thousands of spectators. At some point after midnight, a US military ALICE pack or field pack was planted under a bench near the sound tower. It contained three pipe bombs surrounded by nails and with a steel plate as a directional device. The bombs were made of nitroglycerine dynamite and used an alarm clock and Rubbermaid containers. The bag was found by security guard Richard Jewell who immediately alerted others. The area was being cleared when the bomb exploded at 1:20 AM. Fortunately, it had tipped over and there was less damage than might have occurred. Alice Hawthorne was killed when she was struck in the head with a nail. Turkish cameraman Melih Uzonyol died of a heart attack as he raced toward the scene to report on it.

President Bill Clinton claimed it was an “evil act of terror” and vowed to catch the perpetrator. Jewell was named as a person of interest and was tried and found guilty in the press. He was harassed and followed about during his daily life. He was also investigated by the FBI who found him innocent. He was eventually exonerated and sued NBC News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Piedmont College (his former employer). He won his cases but saw little financial gain with most of the money going to lawyers or taxes.

There were no further suspects. In the following year, two more bombings of a similar nature took place around Atlanta. One was an abortion clinic and the second was a lesbian nightclub. When another abortion clinic was bombed, critical evidence came to light. Finally Eric Robert Rudolph was named as a suspect, but he had fled to the Appalachian Mountains. On May 5, 1998 he was listed as one of America’s ten most wanted. He was finally arrested on May 31, 2003 in Murphy, North Carolina. On April 8, 2005 he pled guilty to all four bombings.

We will spare no effort to find out who was responsible for this murderous act. We will track them down. We will bring them to justice. – Bill Clinton

In the summer of 1996, the world converged upon Atlanta for the Olympic Games. Under the protection and auspices of the regime in Washington millions of people came to celebrate the ideals of global socialism. Multinational corporations spent billions of dollars, and Washington organized an army of security to protect these best of all games. – Eric Robert Rudolph

Even though the conception and purpose of the so-called Olympic movement is to promote the values of global socialism, as perfectly expressed in the song Imagine by John Lennon, which was the theme of the 1996 Games even though the purpose of the Olympics is to promote these despicable ideals, the purpose of the attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand. . – Eric Robert Rudolph

The plan was to force the cancellation of the Games, or at least create a state of insecurity to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money invested. . – Eric Robert Rudolph

Also on this day:

What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 26, 2012

Federal Bureau of Investigation seal

July 26, 1908: The Bureau of Investigation (BOI or BI) is formed. In 1886 the case of Wabash, St. Louis, & Pacific Railway Company v. Illinois was decided by the Supreme Court. They passed down the decision giving states no power to regulate interstate commerce. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 made it a federal responsibility to control commerce between state entities. The Justice Department hired a few men to investigate and enforce the law. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte got cooperation from other federal agencies such as the Secret Service. However, staffing shortages remained.

Bonaparte began a separate investigative team – the Bureau of Investigation and staffed it with special agents. Twelve men from the Secret Service became the first BOI agents. The Mann Act was passed in 1910 and was concerned with “White Slave Traffic” or prostitutes being forced to work against their wills and transported across state lines for “immoral acts”. The law was written in ambiguous language and was used to discredit many men who were simply in the company of the “wrong women” and harassed. However, the BOI’s first task was to survey houses of prostitution.

In 1932 the BOI was renamed to the United States Bureau of Investigation and the following year it was linked to the Bureau of Prohibition and renamed the Division of Investigation (DOI). The entity finally became independent of the Department of Justice in 1935 and was granted one more name change to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The director of the BOI followed along with all the name changes. J. Edgar Hoover was the first FBI Director and served for 48 years in total, across all the different nomenclatures. After his death, tenure was reduced to a maximum of ten years.

Today, the FBI is an agency of the US Department of Justice serving as both a federal criminal investigative body and internal intelligence agency. They have jurisdiction concerning more than 200 categories of federal crimes. Their office is headquartered in the spectacularly ugly J. Edgar Hoover building located in Washington, DC. They also have 56 field offices and more than 400 resident agencies in the US and over 50 international offices. They have 35,437 employees and a $7.9 billion budget (2011 figure).

We are a fact-gathering organization only. We don’t clear anybody. We don’t condemn anybody.

Just the minute the FBI begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo.

The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.

Truth telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: every single one was a liar. – all from J. Edgar Hoover

Also on this day:

The Polite Bandit – In 1875, a strange, but polite, man commits his first robbery
First Railway – In 1803, Surrey Iron Railway opened.
As the Worm Turns – In 1989, Robert Morris was indicted.

SS Andrea Doria

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 25, 2012

SS Andrea Doria sinking

July 25, 1956: Just south of Nantucket Island, two ocean liners collide. Nantucket is an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The SS Andrea Doria was an Italian Line ship out of Genoa, Italy. She was launched on June 16, 1951 with her maiden voyage beginning on January 14, 1953. She was the flagship, a beacon of national pride as Italy began to rebuild after World War II ended. She was Italy’s largest, fastest, and safest ship.

The area around Nantucket Island is famous for fogbanks. On this particular night, the Andrea Doria had been sailing through a thick fog for quite some time. In accordance with safety procedures, her speed was cut back to 21.8 knots (40.4 mph). Her captain, Piero Calamai, activated the fog-warning whistle and closed all watertight doors, protecting the 1,134 passengers and 572 crew members. The ship had left Italy on July 17 and was scheduled to reach New York the following day.

The MS Stockholm, also called MS Athena, was a Swedish ship built in 1948 and part of the Swedish American Line. After a refit in 1953, the ship was able to carry 548 people. Stockholm left New York about midday and was heading east toward Gothenburg, Sweden. Captain Harry Gunnar Nordenson had left the bridge to Third Officer Johan-Ernst Carstens-Johannsen. The ocean was clear as the ship headed toward the fogbank travelling at 18 knots or 33 mph.

The two ships approached each other at a combined speed of 40 knots or 74 mph. There was no radio communication between the two ships, but they did see each other on radar heading straight for each other. Each ship corrected, but in the worst possible manner. At 11:10 PM the Stockholm struck the Andrea Doria at a right angle amid ships. With an ice breaking prow, the smaller ship impaled the larger one and crashed through about 40 feet. As the two ships disengaged, the Stockholm cut a larger hole in the side of the Andrea Doria. Many passengers inside their staterooms were crushed. The Andrea Doria immediately listed to starboard and half the life boats were unavailable. Due to wonderful implementation of rescue workers, these initial impact fatalities were the only deaths attributed to the accident. 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued with only 46 perishing. The ship sunk the next day.

Every government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship’s captain has to avoid a shipwreck. – Guy de Maupassant

I love the ocean. Boats, not so much. – Jeff Goldblum

The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea. – Ovid

Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent. – H. P. Lovecraft

Also on this day:

Oh Joy! Louise – In 1978, Louise Joy Brown is born.
TP – in 1871, a patent was granted for perforated toilet paper.
Free Press – In 1925, TASS is established.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 24, 2012

SS Eastland capsizes

July 24, 1915: The SS Eastland capsizes and kills 848 of those aboard. The ship was commissioned by the Michigan Steamship Company and built by the Jenks Ship Building Company. She was completed in 1903. It was immediately apparently there were some design flaws. The ship was top heavy and listed, especially if too many passengers were congregating on one side of the craft. By offsetting weights, the problem could be fixed temporarily. The ship was used for touring Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago, Illinois.

In 1915, in response to the terrible loss of life after the RMS Titanic sunk, the Seaman’s Act was passed by the federal government. This demanded all ships be retrofitted with enough lifeboats to rescue all passengers aboard. Ironically, this may have helped cause the horrible disaster that befell the ship on this date. The extra lifeboats added to the already top heavy ship’s listing problems.

Three ships were chartered to take employees from Western Electric’s Hawthorne Works plant (in Cicero, Illinois) to a picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. Many of these workers were not able to take private holidays or vacations, due to their impoverished condition. A large number of the passengers were immigrants. Although there were restrictions to how many passengers the SS Eastland could carry, the people crowded aboard to have their special holiday picnic. It was docked between Clark and LaSalle Streets on the Chicago River.

Boarding began at 6:30 and by 7:10 there were 2,752 passengers aboard, the maximum allowed. The ship was packed. The ship was beginning to list and the crew attempted to rebalance the craft by allowing water in to create ballast. The crowd was gathering on the side of the ship opposite the docks. There was a canoe race passing by the port side. At 7:28 the ship lurched and then completely rolled over on its side.

The ship was close to land and the water was only 20 feet deep. It was a hot, muggy day and many people had already moved below decks into the relative coolness. As a result, hundreds were trapped inside the ship during the sudden rollover. Many of the interior decorations shifted and trapped passengers. Although there was an instant attempt at rescue, 844 passengers and four crew members perished.

And then movement caught my eye. I looked across the river. As I watched in disoriented stupefaction a steamer large as an ocean liner slowly turned over on its side as though it were a whale going to take a nap. I didn’t believe a huge steamer had done this before my eyes, lashed to a dock, in perfectly calm water, in excellent weather, with no explosion, no fire, nothing. I thought I had gone crazy. – Jack Woodford

The only aspect of our travels that is interesting to others is disaster. – Martha Gellman

Meet success like a gentleman and disaster like a man. – Frederick Edwin Smith

The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner. – Joe Paterno

Also on this day:

The Manly Peak – In 1911, Machu Picchu was found – again.
Tennessee – In 1866, the first seceded state is admitted back to the Union.
Oh, Henry – In 1901, William Porter was released from prison.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 23, 2012


July 23, 1962: The first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program is broadcast. Telstar was a series of communications satellites. Telstar I was launched July 10, 1962 and operated until February 21, 1963. The second Telstar was sent up on May 7, 1963 and operated until May 16, 1965. The two Telstars were nearly identical and roughly spherical in shape. Telstar 1 relayed the first television pictures as well as telephone calls and fax images through space.

The satellites belonged to AT&T although they were built under an international agreement. AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office, and the French National PTT worked together to create the experimental communication satellite over the Atlantic Ocean. Bell Labs was a major contributor to the program and agreed to reimburse NASA $3 million for each of the two launches, regardless of the success. There were three main ground stations: Andover, Maine; Goonhilly Downs, England; and Pleumeur-Bodou, France.

John Robinson Pierce created the project while Rudy Komphner invented the traveling wave tube transponder, the basis for the new method of transmission. James M. Early designed the transistors and solar panels. The solar panels covered the exterior of the 170 pound satellite and produced about 14 watts of electrical power. Telstar was 34.5 inches in length, the size was determined by the payload of NASA’s Delta rocket which boosted it into space. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida it was the first privately sponsored space launch.

The rocket boosted the satellite into its elliptical orbit. Telstar circled the globe every 2 hours and 37 minutes and was inclined at a 45° angle to the equator. At its closest, it was about 625 miles from Earth, while at its furthest point it was about 3745 miles away. It was a non-geosynchronous orbit which meant it was only positioned over the Atlantic for about 20 minutes of each orbit. Huge ground antennas were needed to track for signals sent back to Earth. The system was first tested with a non-public transmission on July 11, 1962. At 3 PM EDT, the first publicly available broadcast was made and featured Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntley in New York and the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby in Brussels.

A monopoly on the means of communication may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of monopoly in the means of production. – Robert Anton Wilson

A world community can exist only with world communication, which means something more than extensive short-wave facilities scattered; about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas, and common ideals. – Robert M. Hutchins

Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow. – Rowan D. Williams

But I’m acutely aware that the possibility of fraud is even more prevalent in today’s world because of the Internet and cell phones and the opportunity for instant communication with strangers. – Armistead Maupin

Also on this day:

“Wanna see something really scary?” – In 1983, Vic Morrow and two children are killed on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
World War I – In 1914, Serbia ignored an ultimatum from Austria- Hungary.
Like Riding on Air – In 1888, John Dunlap patents a new tire.

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And They’re Off

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2012

Georges Bouton driving one of his cars

July 22, 1894: The first motorized racing event is held. The route was from Paris to Rouen – a distance of 80 miles. At the time, races of other sorts were used as a marketing gambit. The first race ever organized for an automobile was held on April 28, 1887 and ran from the Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne, a distance of about 1.25 miles. It was won by Georges Bouton who was the only entrant. Comte Jules-Albert de Dion was a passenger in the car. The sponsor was Le Vélocipède, a biking magazine.

On this day, a Paris newspaper called Le Petit Journal sponsored another race. De Dion was again in the race, but he was driving a steam-engine car. For a time, he and Bouton partnered to create the largest car manufacturing concern in the world. At this race, their car was pitted again Georges Peugeot, driving one of his own cars, René Panhard, driving his own car, and other more amateur builders. The car entrants had to meet the criteria of being “not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey.” There were 102 people who paid the 10 franc entry fee. There were 25 cars selected to run in the race.

De Dion won, but was disqualified due to the fact his car needed a stoker, or someone to add fuel to keep the engine hot enough to produce steam. He completed the race in 6 hours and 48 minutes. His average speed was almost 12 mph. Peugeot was only 3:30 behind him with a second Peugeot car driven by Doriot coming in third. Panhard came in fourth with a second car under his brand driven by Levassor coming in fifth. The win was handed to Peugeot.

De Dion was not only a car racing enthusiast. He was also a businessman and a publisher. In 1898 he founded the Mondial de l’Automobile (Paris Motor Show). He created his own paper when a rival rag wasn’t giving him enough advertising space. L’Auto, a daily sporting newspaper was begun in 1900 with the help of Edouard Michelin. When their circulation began to flag in 1903, the men created the Tour de France to help boost sales once again. De Dion also founded Le Nain Jaune (the yellow gnome), an every other week publication which “answered no particular need.” He died in 1946 at the age of 90.

Racing is a matter of spirit not strength. – Janet Guthrie

Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games. – Earnest Hemingway

To finish first, you must first finish. – Rick Mears

Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines. – Enzo Ferrari

Also on this day:

Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Cleaveland – In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio was named for the leader of the surveying party.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.

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