Little Bits of History

John Quelch

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 30, 2014
Pirate flag?

Pirate flag?

June 30, 1704: John Quelch dies. He was born in London in 1666 and little is known about his early life. What causes him to be of interest is his death. John became a pirate in 1703 and was quite successful in his endeavors. His worth when captured was £10,000 or about £1.4 million or about $2.36 million today. It is assumed that piracy on the open seas is as old as trade crossing the open seas. The term comes from the Latin term pirata and the Greek word peirates or brigand. The word is related to peril. It is typically used as an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The word has been hijacked to mean the stealing of music or other intellectual property.

In July of 1703, Captain Daniel Plowman was given a license to privateer against the French and Spanish ships off the coast of Newfoundland and Arcadia by Joseph Dudley of Boston. John Quelch was Plowman’s lieutenant aboard the Charles. Before leaving Marblehead, Massachusetts the crew mutinied and locked the Captain in his cabin. They elected Quelch as captain and the ship headed south rather than north. Plowman was thrown overboard, but it is unclear whether or not he was dead before being evicted. The crew attacked Portuguese ships off the coast of Brazil even though England and Portugal were not at war. There is a legend stating the crew buried some of the haul on Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire.

When the ship returned to Marblehead ten months later, the crewman scattered after dividing the loot. Within a week, Quelch was in jail for his attack against Portuguese ships. This nation was not in his letter for privateering (legal piracy) and more importantly, Queen Anne and the King of Portugal had just become allies. Quelch and crew were taken to Boston to be tried. This was the first admiralty trial outside England and what one historian has called “the first case of judicial murder in America.” Trial under Admiralty Law is without a jury and was instituted after civil and criminal courts proved unable to stem the tide of increasing piracy.

There were 45 men who were known to be on the ship. There was nothing mentioned about the disposal, either dead or alive of the original Captain, Plowman. The men were tried for piracy and not murder. Five others beside Quelch were hanged on this day. Three men had turned Queen’s evidence and escaped persecution by that means. John Templeton was not even 14 years old yet and found to be a servant and not charged. There is some rumor that Quelch flew a pirate flag referred to as Old Roger by his crew and this is where we get the term Jolly Roger for a pirate flag. However, Quelch flew nothing more than the a privateer’s flag of St. George.

They should take care how they brought Money into New England to be Hanged for it. – John Quelch – last words

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. – Walt Disney

I don’t really know much about pirates, or pirate culture. I’d be a contrarian pirate. – Todd Barry

There’s very little admirable about being a pirate. There’s very little functional about a pirate. There’s very little real about a pirate. – Will Oldham

Also on this day: What Was That? – In 1908, the Tunguska event occurs.
Tight Rope – In 1859, Charles Blondin crossed the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
Brilliant – In 1905, Einstein published a paper.
Monkeying Around – In 1860, an Oxford debate on evolution is held.

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Reaching Hawaii

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 29, 2014
Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

June 29, 1927: The Bird of Paradise arrives in Hawaii. The plane was an Atlantic-Fokker C-2 and crewed by 1st Lt. Lester Maitland and 1st Lt. Albert Hegenberger. It was the first transpacific flight from the mainland to Hawaii. The hope to fly across the Pacific began in February 1919 at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. Members of the Air Service, forerunner of the Air Corps, included then 2nd Lt. Hegenberger, an MIT-trained aeronautical engineer. The purpose of the flight was to subject navigation instruments to a systematic test with unusual conditions. Traveling over 2,400 miles over water was a great test.

The Instrument Branch within the Air Service Engineering Division created new instrumentation including  compasses, airspeed meters, driftmeters, and sextants. They also upgraded maps. Hegenberger attended a flight school put on by the Navy in Pensacola, Florida where he learned about over-water flight. He flew over the Gulf of Mexico and practiced both dead reckoning and celestial navigation. The new instrumentation was essential not just for the military, but for civilian aviation as well. The men in Dayton collaborated with many outside groups to develop the best set of instruments not just for over water, but for all weather conditions and night navigation.

To help with funding, Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell supported the use of air shows, flight demonstrations, and encouraged setting aviation records. One of the participants in these events was 1st Lt. Maitland who had been stationed in Hawaii for two years beginning in 1919. Maitland asked to be part of the transpacific crew for a two-engined Martin NBS-1 bomber’s flight. The request was denied. Even with proper instrumentation, the plane itself needed upgrading. The Fokker was that upgrade. It survived flying several endurance missions and set a record of 36 hours aloft (and seven other world records). This was the plane used for the first non-stop transcontinental flight, about the same distance as a transpacific flight.

After more testing of the plane and the crew, it was deemed possible and on Tuesday, June 28, 1927, with favorable weather and thermos full of soup, some chicken sandwiches, and coffee, Maitland and Hegenberger boarded the Bird of Paradise bringing with them water and chocolate bars. The three motors started without problem and at 7.09 AM local time, they took off. They became airborne at 93 mph and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 feet. They were escorted by other Army aircraft as they passed the Golden Gate Bridge. Cruising speed was 108 mph and a compass failed shortly after takeoff. There were many difficulties with the actual navigation and ships along the way offered some help. At sunset, they climbed to 10,000 feet to tope the clouds and navigated by the stars. About 19 hours into the flight, the middle engine failed but after dropping altitude and melting ice accumulation it started up again.  After 25 hours and 50 minutes, the Bird of Paradise landed safely at 6.29 AM, local time.

A month after Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris…(Maitland and Hegenberger)…flew…some 2,400 miles (3,900 km) from Oakland [CA] to a landfall on the island of Kauai, then to a safe landing on Oahu.

The flight…tested not only the reliability of the machine, but the navigational skill and the stamina of the two officers as well, for had they strayed even three-and-a-half degrees off course, they would have missed Kauai and vanished over the ocean. – from the official history of the United States Air Force

The flight is unquestionably one of the very greatest aerial accomplishments ever made. – Trubee Davison

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Also on this day: I Love You Lighthouse – In 1860, the last stone to the I Love You lighthouse was placed.
Sound Recording – In 1888, a wax cylinder was used to record music.
Pygmy Mammoth – In 1994, the first near-complete pygmy mammoth fossil was found.
Globe Gone – In 1613, the London theater burned down.

Battle of Sullivan’s Island

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 28, 2014
Battle of Sullivan’s Island

Battle of Sullivan’s Island

June 28, 1776: The first decisive American victory takes place during the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Sullivan’s Island found the army of South Carolina under William Moultrie facing attack by Great Britain under Peter Parker and Henry Clinton. Fort Sullivan housed 435 militia and had 31 artillery pieces. Also fighting for the Americans were 3 shore batteries and over 6,000 regulars and militia. The British had 2,200 infantry, 2 fourth-rates (a British ship holding between 46 to 60 guns), 6 frigates, and one bomb vessel. Sullivan’s Island is located at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, one of the most important harbors of early American life. This Battle is sometimes also referred to as the First Siege of Charleston since there was a more successful siege in 1780.

The British had planned an earlier expedition to quell the rebellious southern colonies but it was delayed by logistical concerns and bad weather. The expedition finally reached American waters off the coast of North Carolina in May 1776. The conditions there were not in favor of the British, so General Clinton and Admiral Parker decided to act against Charleston, instead. They arrived in early June and landed on Long Island which was near Sullivan’s Island where Colonel Moultrie was in command of a partially constructed fort. Land assault from one island to the next was impossible since the water between the two was too deep to wade and the American defenses made an amphibious landing untenable. The sandy soil and palmetto log construction of the fort made bombardment ineffective.

In 1775 when the Revolutionary War began, Charleston was a center of commerce in the colonies. The citizens banded together in solidarity against their British tax assessors. When word of the Battles of Lexington and Concord reached Charleston, militia recruitment increased. Throughout 1775 and 1776, fresh recruits from the backcountry, also known as the low country because of the marshy conditions, came to the city to enlist. The city’s manufacturers and tradesmen also prepared for war by turning raw material into war goods, useful for the upcoming confrontations. While most of the fighting was taking place around the Siege of Boston, the British thought to capture lands in the South to give them a better base to work from.

Around 9 AM on this day, a British ship fired a gun, signaling their readiness to engage. In less than an hour, nine ships had arrayed themselves in positions facing the fort and as they reached position and dropped anchor, they began to fire. Moultrie’s men had a limited supply of gunpowder and so had to judiciously pace their shots. They took time and made sure that each shot counted and their guns, according to a British observer, were “exceedingly well directed”. During maneuvers, three British ships were grounded on a sandbar and taken out of action. Moultrie concentrated attacks on the two large man-of-war ships and managed to destroy most of the rigging. As their gunpowder ran low, supplies were shipped in from the mainland so they could continue. The British were driven off and Charleston was safe – for a time.

Always. Ye don’t win with defense–ye only hold the other feller off, or wear him down. Attack and have done with it! – Tamora Pierce

If you suffer an attack your best ally is to keep calm. – Michelangelo Saez

Is there any instinct more deeply implanted in the heart of man than the pride of protection, a protection which is constantly exerted for a fragile and defenceless creature? – Honoré de Balzac

Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength. – Sun Tzu

Also on this day: The Kelly Gang – In 1880, Ned Kelly was captured.
Going Home – In 2000, Elián González was sent back to Cuba.
Conformation Dog Show – In 1859, the first show was held.
Boxed In – In 1948, Dick Turpin won his boxing match.

High Score

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 27, 2014
AEJ Collins

AEJ Collins

June 27, 1899: AEJ Collins scores 628 runs not out in cricket. This is the highest ever recorded score in the game. Collins was 13 years old at the time and the score was accumulated over four days. He was born in India, where his father served as a judge in the Indian Civil Service. Both parents had died before he started school at Clifton College in September 1897. He played both rugby and cricket and received a bronze medal for boxing at the public school tournament in 1901. Collins was playing for Clarke’s House against North Town House and the teams were playing on an outfield which has since been renamed Collins Piece. The field was rough and in an unusual shape with a narrow field. Because of the oddity of field shape, the three short boundaries only counted for two runs.

The match began on Thursday, June 22 because there was a holiday while the college team played an annual match against Old Cliftonians nearby. Collins won the toss and chose to bat first with the game starting around 3.30 PM. When play ended at 6 PM, he had scored 200 runs. School lessons permitted another 2.5 hours of play on Friday and news of the boy’s achievement had reached the college audience who abandoned the older boys to watch young Collins. He ended the day with a score of 509 although it was misreported in the papers as 510 and his name was listed as AEG Collins. The play resumed on Monday during the lunch hour and he ended with a score of 598. On Tuesday, June 27, the school authorities permitted a longer playing time to attempt to finish the match. Play ended with Collins scoring 628 – 1 six, 4 fives, 31 fours, 33 threes, 146 twos, and 87 singles.

Despite all this, Collins never played professional sports. Instead he chose an army career and passed entrance exams to the Royal Military Academy which he entered in September 1901. He represented the Academy in both rugby and cricket and scored a century for them as well. He joined the British Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1904. He continued to play sports for the military but never played first-class cricket. He was sent to France when World War I broke out and was killed in action on November 11, 1914 at the First Battle of Ypres having attained the rank of Captain.

Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams, each with 11 players. A rectangular 22-yard long pitch lies in the center of the field. Each team takes turn to bat and attempt to score runs while the other team fields. The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman who attempts to hit the ball away from the fielders so he can run to the other end of the pitch – which is counted as a run – without getting run out. Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until ten batsmen are out. There is always one “not out” batsman as the last one has no partner to bat with. The game has been played in England since the 16th century and she brought it to many of her colonies. In the mid 1800s, the first international match was held.

I hate losing and cricket being my first love, once I enter the ground it’s a different zone altogether and that hunger for winning is always there. – Sachin Tendulkar

To me, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Sport is all about playing and competing. Whatever you do in cricket and in sport, enjoy it, be positive and try to win. – Ian Botham

To me, cricket is a simple game. Keep it simple and just go out and play. – Shane Warne

I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either. – Harold Pinter

Also on this day: The Oscar of the Children’s Library – In 1922, the Newbery Medal was first awarded.
Collinswood – In 1966, Dark Shadows premiered.
ATM – In 1867. the world’s first ATM was installed.
Helen Keller –  In 1880, Helen was born.

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Fast France

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 26, 2014


June 26, 1906: The first Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France begins. Commonly called the 1906 French Grand Prix, it was a motor race held for two days on closed public roads outside the city of Le Mans. It was organized by the Automobile Club of France (ACF) at the urging of the French automotive industry. It was hoped that it would compliment the Gordon Bennett races which limited each competing country’s number of entries regardless of the size of its industry. France had the largest automobile industry in Europe at the time and opted to not limit the number of entries by any country.

The course was 64.11 miles long with the circuit going over mostly dust roads sealed with tar. Six laps were to be completed each day by each driver for a combined 769.36 miles driven. The race lasted for more than twelve hours and was won by Ferenc Szisz from Hungary. He was driving for the Renault team. Coming in second was Felice Nazzaro of Italy who was driving a FIAT and third place was won by Albert Clement of France driving a Clement-Bayard. The fastest lap of the race was driven by Paul Baras, also of France but driving a Brasier, who completed the first lap of 64.11 miles in 52:25:4. He held onto the lead for three laps when Szisz took the lead and held onto it for the rest of the race.

Hot conditions melted the road tar and dust was kicked up by the speeding cars and hit the drivers of following cars with the plume of dirt often blinding them and making driving even more dangerous. Several tires were punctured and Michelin had introduced a detachable rim with a tire already in place which could be quickly swapped, which saved a great deal of time. This allowed for Nazzaro to pass Clement on the second day since the FIAT used the tires and Clement’s card did not. The Renault victory led to an increase in sales of the French car in the years following the race. The success of the race prompted a repeat the next year and incited the Germans to create their own German Grand Prix in 1907.

Many other nations joined in the fun of the endurance road race between 1906 and 1949. By the end of World War II, only four races of Grand Prix caliber were held. They restructured in 1947 and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) was formed. Beginning in 1950, the FIA would link several national Formula One Grands Prix to create a world championship for drivers. A points system was developed and seven races were granted championship status. The first World Championship race was held at Silverstone in the United Kingdom. Ferrari appeared in the second World Championship race and is the only manufacturer to compete throughout the entire history of the event and is still competing in 2014.

Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines. – Enzo Ferrari

It is amazing how may drivers, even at the Formula One Level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down. – Mario Andretti

To achieve anything in this game you must be prepare to dabble in the boundary of disaster. – Sterling Moss

Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you. – Jeremy Clarkson

Also on this day: Helicopters – In 1934, the FW-61 helicopter is flown for the first time.
Cyclone – In 1927, Coney Island opened a new ride.
Pied Piper – In 1284, a piper led 130 children out of Hamelin.
CN Tower – In 1976, the Ontario tower opened to the public.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 25, 2014
William Martin and Bernon Mitchell

William Martin and Bernon Mitchell

June 25, 1960: William Martin and Bernon Mitchell go on vacation to Mexico. Martin was born in 1931 in Georgia but his family moved to Washington soon after. He earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1947. He enlisted in the US Navy and served from 1951 to 1954 working as a cryptologist with the Naval Security Group in Japan. Mitchell was born in 1929 in California and enlisted in the Navy after one year of college. His years of service were also 1951 to 1954 and he, too served in Japan with the Naval Security Group as a cryptologist. He stayed an extra year in Japan and worked with the Army Security Agency and when back stateside, he graduation from Stanford University.

The two men became friends while in Japan and both were hired by the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1957. They were disturbed by what they learned of American surveillance which included incursions into foreign airspace. They realized that Congress was unaware of NSA-sponsored flights. In violation of NSA rules, they approached Ohio Congressman Wayne Hays in February 1959 after he expressed frustration with the information he was receiving from the NSA. The two men visited Cuba in December 1959 without notifying their superiors, breaking another rule.

On this day, the two left for a vacation in Mexico and never returned. Instead, they traveled to Havana and from there sailed on a Russian freighter to the USSR. On September 6, 1960, the two men appeared at a joint news conference at the House of Journalists in Moscow and announced they were requesting asylum and Soviet citizenship. They announced their dissatisfaction with information gathering especially with invasion of airspace. Both were appalled by US first-strike capabilities for nuclear war and refusal to disarm. America’s response was to deny all allegations and to brand both men as sexual deviants (homosexuals).

Mitchell was happy, apparently, with his choice to defect to Russia and not much is known of him except that he died in St. Petersburg in 2001. Martin changed his name and continued his studies at Leningrad University. He married a Soviet woman whom he divorced in 1963. He later told a Russian newspaper that his defection was “foolhardy” and attempted to repatriate several times. He spoke with Donald Duffy (VP of the Kaiser Foundation) and Benny Goodman (musician) asking for help to return to the US. In 1979 he approached the American Consulate about coming home causing his case to be reexamined. He was stripped of his American citizenship. He was denied permission to immigrate and was also denied a tourist visa. Martin eventually got as far as Mexico where he died of cancer in 1987.

Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom. – Tommy Douglas

But I think the real tension lies in the relationship between what you might call the pursuer and his quarry, whether it’s the writer or the spy. – John le Carre

My notion of the KGB came from romantic spy stories. I was a pure and utterly successful product of Soviet patriotic education. – Vladimir Putin

Today’s difference between Russia and the United States is that in Russia everybody takes everybody else for a spy, and in the United States everybody takes everybody else for a criminal. – Friedrich Durrenmatt

Also on this day: Great Star of Africa – In 1905, The Cullinan diamond was discovered.
The End – In 1906, a bizarre love triangle ended badly.
Last Stand – In 1876, Custer was defeated at Little Bighorn.
Lady Doctor Elena – In 1678, Elena earned the first PhD awarded to a woman.

All Four Engines Cut Out

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 24, 2014
British Airways Flight 9

British Airways Flight 9

June 24, 1982: British Airways Flight 9 loses all engines. The event is also known as the Jakarta incident. The flight originated in London and was to end in Auckland with stops in Bombay, Madras, Kuala Lumpur, Perth, and Melbourne. The 747-256B plane was named the City of Edinburgh and there were 248 passengers and fifteen crew aboard. The flight was passing by Java and problems developed. Fresh crew had come aboard in Kuala Lumpur but most of the passengers had been aboard the plane since London. Mount Galunggung, about 110 miles southeast of Jakarta, is an active stratovolcano and had erupted earlier in the day.

At about 8:40 PM local time, the plane was flying over the Indian Ocean, south of Java. Captain Eric Moody (41) was in the lavatory when things started to go horribly wrong. Senior First Officer Roger Greaves (32) and Senior Engineer Officer Barry Townley-Freeman (40) were in charge when they noticed an odd effect on the windscreen similar to St. Elmo’s fire. Moody returned to the controls and weather radar showed clear skies. Regardless, the crew turned on the engine anti-ice and the passenger seatbelt sign. Smoke began to accumulate in the passenger cabin and it smelled of sulphur. Passengers at the window seats noticed the engines were unusually bright with a strobe effect.

At 8:42 PM, engine four flamed out and the crew performed a shutdown drill to cut off fuel supply and arm fire extinguishers. Less than a minute later, engine two also surged and flamed out. Within just seconds, both of the remaining engines flamed out as well. The glide ratio of a 747 is about 15:1 meaning it can glide forward 15 kilometers for every kilometer it drops. The plane should have been able to glide for 23 minutes and cover 91 nautical miles since it had been cruising at 37,000 feet. At 8:44 PM, Greaves declared an emergency to local air traffic control, stating all four engines had gone out. It was misinterpreted to mean ONLY engine four had gone out. Another plane helped correct the misunderstanding, but the engineless plane could not be located on radar screens by Air Traffic Control.

Because of high mountains, an altitude of at least 11,500 feet must be maintained to cross over the coast and land at Jakarta. The plane might be too low. If so, they would attempt an ocean landing. The crew began restart drills unsuccessfully. Pressure in the cabin fell and oxygen masks dropped but Greaves mask malfunctioned. Moody dropped the plane to get enough air pressure to breathe. They were going to have to ditch in the ocean, something never before done in a 747. At 8:56 PM, they got engine four running and Moody could slow descent and when engine three came back online, they could climb slowing. Engines one and two were restarted and the plane was successfully landed at Jakarta. It was found that flying through volcanic ash not only stopped the engines, but ruined them and did much damage to the external portion of the plane including darkening the windshield which meant the landing was done blind and with faulty instrumentation. A second incident thirteen days later helped aviation experts understand the dangers of airborne ash.

I don’t believe it—all four engines have failed! – Barry Townley-Freeman

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress. – Captain Eric Moody

Ma. In trouble. Plane going down. Will do best for boys. We love you. Sorry. Pa XXX – note from distressed passenger, Charles Capewell

It got really, really hot. You were perspiring, drenched in sweat. The acrid smoke filling the cabin was at the back of your throat, up your nose, in your eyes – your eyes were running. – chief steward, Graham Skinner

Also on this day: The Cynic – In 1842, Ambrose Bierce was born.
UFO – In 1947, Kenneth Arnold saw something strange in the sky.
Victory Parade – In 1945, a parade was held in Moscow.
Dance Fever – In 1374, St. John’s Dance broke out in Germany.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 23, 2014




June 23, 1953: US patent 2,642,679 is granted to Frank Zamboni. Frank was born in Eureka, Utah in 1901. The Italian immigrant family purchased a farm in Idaho, where Frank grew up. The family moved again to Los Angeles in 1920. Frank attended a trade school in Chicago and he and his younger brother, Lawrence, opened an electrical supply shop in 1922 back in the Los Angeles suburbs. Five years later, the brothers added an ice-making plant to their business and began supplying blocks of ice, which they continued to find profitable until 1939 when the need was dropping and another way to earn a living using their knowledge of ice and refrigeration was needed.

They opened an ice rink. The rink was popular because Frank had figured out a way to keep the ice from rippling due to the pipes used to keep the rink frozen. The rink is still in operation and still owned by the Zamboni family. Keeping the ice smooth was a laborious process. Three to four workers would have to scrape, wash, and then squeegee the ice. Then a thin layer of water would be added for a new layer of smooth, fresh ice. Between 1942 and 1947, Frank tried, unsuccessfully, to automate the process using a vehicle which could resurface the ice quickly.

In 1947, Frank used a machine that would shave, wash, and squeegee the ice and it was mounted on an army surplus vehicle chassis. It was powered by a Jeep engine and transmission. The blade would shave the ice and a conveyer belt would load the shavings into a tank. Unfortunately, the blade was deficient and the handling was a problem. By 1949 The Model A Zomboni Ice-Resurfacer was a functional piece of equipment. Although it originally had four wheel drive, this was abandoned for front wheel drive for better handling. Other improvements were added, but it was still not very aesthetically pleasing. One wit said it looked like the offspring of a field tractor and a warehouse crate. But it worked.

Increasingly better models were built, each with the next letter designation. Finally, on this day, a patent was granted. That didn’t stop the improvements from coming and a major shift came in 1964 which meant the shaved ice was moved away differently, allowing for disposal without the driver having to shovel out the holding tank. This has been the industry standard ever since. Frank J. Zamboni & Co. have taken a hard line on protecting their trademark. They have pursued the integrity of their company name and not permitted Zamboni to by synonymous with ice resurfacers. They received a registered trademark for their name on August 15, 2000. Frank was awarded 15 patents mostly on ice resurfacing equipment. He died in 1988 at the age of 87, but his company lives on with Richard Zamboni running the show.

There are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire and a Zamboni clearing the ice. – Charlie Brown

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like ice hockey, but it’s a frustrating game to watch. It’s hard to keep your eyes on both the puck and the players and too much time passes between scoring in hockey. There are usually more fights than there are points. – Andy Rooney

Figure skating is theatrical. It’s artistic. It’s elegant. It’s extremely athletic. And there’s a very specific audience for that. – Johnny Weir

Also on this day: Mutiny on the Discovery – In 1611, Henry Hudson’s crew mutinies.
Clackity clack – In 1868, an improved typewriter was patented.
Lorena and John – In 1993, domestic violence made the world headlines.
Banff – In 1887, the Rocky Mountains Park Act of Canada was passed.

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In the House

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 22, 2014
Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei

June 22, 1633: Galileo Galilei is handed his sentence from the Inquisition. The Galileo affair was a sequence of events beginning in 1610 when Galileo and the Catholic Church were in disagreement. Galileo supported Copernican astronomy and heliocentrism. He also supported secular philosophers while disagreeing with Aristotelianism. In 1610 Galileo published Starry Messenger in which he described what he had seen through his telescope. He had witnessed the phases of Venus and some of the moons of Jupiter. With these observations in hand, he promoted the Copernican theory of a heliocentric system which had been put forth in 1543. This displeased the Church and in 1616 the Inquisition proclaimed heliocentrism heretical.

Galileo proposed a theory of tides in that same year which were evidence of the motion of the Earth. He went on to propose a theory on comets in 1619. In 1632, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published and implicitly defended the theory stating the Sun was the center around which the Earth turned. The book, published in Italian, was a best seller and was dedicated to Galileo’s patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Inquisition was faced with the growing popularity of a system of thought they had declared heretical and Galileo came under investigation.

The offending book was originally called Dialogue on the Tides, but the Inquisition refused approval for this since tides were explained by the Earth’s movement and they insisted the Earth was immovable and the center of the universe. The title was changed. The book is presented as a series of discussions taking place over four days. The participants are two philosophers and a layman. One philosopher agrees with Copernicus, one with Ptolemy and Aristotle, and the layman is at first neutral. The discussions range over most of the science of the day and present rebuttals to traditional philosophers as well as observations which are inconsistent with the Ptolemaic model. Arguments for an elegant unified theory of the Heavens which proved the Earth was stationary were simply incorrect.

Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” since he refused to budge on his theory stating the Sun was stationary and Earth traveled around it. He was sentenced to formal imprisonment and was put under house arrest for the rest of his life. His Dialogue was banned and not announced, but enforced, was forbidding all future printing of any of his works including those he might write in the future. Although unable to publish, he continued to study science until his death on January 8 1642 at the age of 77. The ban on printing Galileo’s books was lifted in 1718. Several Popes since that time have praised his scientific work. Both Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein have called him the father of modern science.

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved. – all from Galileo Galilei

Also on this day: Deke – In 1844, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity is founded.
No Fun – In 1918, the worst circus train wreck took place.
Burn, Baby, Burn – In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire.
Sweden – In 1906, Sweden adopted a new/old national flag.

Burnin’ Down the House

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 21, 2014
Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique

Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique

June 21, 1734: Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique is executed. She was born around 1700 in Madeira in Portugal, one of the important nations plying the lucrative Atlantic slave trade. She was black and was sold to a Flemish man called either Nichus Block or Nicolas Bleeker. He brought her to the New World and she lived in New England before being sold again. This time, she was purchased by an important French businessman from Montreal. Francois Poulin de Francheville brought her north and after his death, she came under the ownership of his widow, Therese de Couagne. Slavery in New England and New France was mostly a domestic issues and not as in the rural South where slaves worked the fields on plantations.

Angélique worked in the Francheville home in Montreal and occasionally helped with the family’s small farm which produced supplies for Francheville’s trading expeditions. Angélique had three children while in Montreal, all dying before their first birthday. Listed as father was Jacques Cesar, a black slave from Madagascar owned by a neighbor of the Francheville family. Angélique became involved with a white indentured servant, Claude Thibault, also employed by the Franchevilles. While the new widow was taking care of business, she asked her brother-in-law to keep both slave and servant and the two tried to escape and flee to New England. They were captured and returned within two weeks. Thibault was imprisoned and released on April 8, 1734. Angélique went undisciplined for her escape attempt, probably because her mistress was getting ready to sell her since she couldn’t control her.

After his release from prison, Thibault returned to Francheville’s house to ask for back wages. He was paid, but told to never return. He also learned Angélique had been sold and would be moving to Quebec City. At 7 PM on April 10, 1734, the call went out that a fire was spreading. It was so intense, fire fighters could not approach. High winds helped to spread the fire which consumed 45 houses and the local hospital. Rumors started immediately blaming Angélique for starting the fires. She denied this but was brought to trial regardless. A warrant was also issued for Thibault, but he fled before being arrested.

There was no physical evidence presented against Angélique but everyone “knew” she had started the fire. There was no consensus of how and the prosecutor was near to asking for the use of torture to extract a confession. It was then a five year old testified she had seen Angélique carrying a shovelful of coals up to the attic of the house on the afternoon the fire started. Angélique was found guilty and she was tortured to get the confession of her guilt and find any accomplices. She admitted guilt, but denied any help. She was hung for her crime. Today, there is speculation that Angélique was indeed innocent while others believe she set the fire that destroyed most of Old Montreal.

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. – Malcolm X

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind. – William Shakespeare

All things truly wicked start from innocence. – Ernest Hemingway

Once you start asking questions, innocence is gone. – Mary Astor

Also on this day: Job Insecurity – In 1919, the Winnipeg Strike goes horribly wrong.
Manchester Baby – In 1948, the world’s first stored program computer worked.
SpaceShipOne – In 2004, the first privately funded ship makes it into space.
Long – In 1948, the first LP album was demonstrated.