Little Bits of History

Lincoln Highway

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 31, 2015
Lincoln Highway route

Lincoln Highway route

October 31, 1913: The Lincoln Highway is formally dedicated. Carl Graham Fisher, an automotive entrepreneur from Indiana, conceived of the idea. It was America’s first transcontinental automobile roadway and the memorial to Lincoln predated the colossal building in Washington, D.C. by nine years. Inspired by the Good Roads Movement, founded in 1880 to help bicyclists have a surface on which to safely ride, the Lincoln Highway made it possible to travel from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco on decent roads. The original path cut across 13 states. The eastern terminus was in New York and then traveled through New Jersey Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and ended in California.

In 1912, railroads still dominated interstate travel in the US. But the car was an up and coming vehicle and roadways were needed. Initially, roads were haphazard affairs “maintained” by townships or counties in more urban areas. But rural roads were “maintained” by the farmers who had the property next to the road. Many states actually forbade any road construction projects and the federal government did not get into road building until 1921. In 1912 there were about 2.2 million miles of rural roads in the US and only 8.66% or under 200,000 miles were said to have “improved” surfaces which included gravel, stone, sand-clay, brick, shells, or oiled earth. Interstate roads were a luxury for the wealthy who could afford a car and had the time to drive long distances.

But as car sales increased and more people were able to afford them, a decent system of roads was becoming less luxurious and more of a necessity. Fisher (maker of the headlights in most cars of the time and principal investor in the Indianapolis Speedway) fought for better roads. Henry Ford, largest car manufacturer of the time did not invest in the project believing government should build the roads. But other big names including Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Woodrow Wilson did invest. The route was investigated by a number of cars which took 34 days to travel the awful present roads from Indianapolis to San Francisco. The drivers returned by train with a route selected.

The original route, which was to be as straight as possible to limit construction costs, covered 3,389 miles. It has been revamped and updated several times since it was finished in 1916. From New York to California could take 20 to 30 days and that was if one was able to maintain the breakneck speed of 18 mph for six hours each day. At the time, the trip was thought to cost about $5/person/day and that included food, gas, oil, and even “five or six meals in hotels”. The cost of car repairs would be extra. Gas stations were still rare, and so it was suggested that you fill up at every opportunity. The roadway took off and many of the towns along the route were able to profit greatly from increased traffic. An interactive map of all the improved routes is here. It is interactive, but you need to select “Points of interest” from the menu to see all the possibilities along old and new routes.

Everyone runs into naysayers, but if you love something enough and feel passionately enough, you just go on ahead, walk right round the person saying it, proceed down the road and don’t look back. – Jennifer Higdon

A good plan is like a road map: It shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. – H. Stanley Judd

We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over. – Ambrose Bierce

The open road is the school of doubt in which man learns faith in man. – Pico Iyer

Also on this day: “I’m just a patsy” – In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow, vowed to never return to the US.
Shooting Shooters – In 1912, the first gangster film was released by DW Griffith.
Hot, Hot, Hot – In 1923, a heat wave began in Marble Bar, Australia.
95 Theses – In 1517 Martin Luther posted his Disputation on the church door.
No Escape from Death – In 1926, Erik Weisz died.

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Tsar Bomba

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2015
Tsar Bomba

Tsar Bomba*

October 30, 1961: The most powerful nuclear weapon to detonate is set off. AN602 was a 60,000 pound thermonuclear bomb which was 26 feet in length and 6.9 feet in diameter. It had a 50 megaton TNT blast yield. This yield is approximately 1,350 times the combined power of the bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ten times the combined power of all the conventional explosives used during World War II. The energy released is about one quarter of the force of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa and is responsible for 10% of all the combined yield of nuclear tests to date. It was a three-stage H-bomb and used a fission bomb primary to compress a thermonuclear secondary – usual for H-bomb design. It then added energy from that explosion to compress a much larger additional thermonuclear stage.

AN602 has another name, Tsar Bomba, meaning the Tsar of bombs. It was also sometimes called the Kuz’kina Mat or Kuzma’s mother which referred to Nikita Khrushchev’s vow that the USSR would show the US it’s power during the 1960 UN General Assembly. It was designed by Yulii Borisovich Khariton and his crew. Only one bomb was ever built and it was detonated in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago at Sukhoy Nos near the Barents Sea and close to the Arctic Ocean. Extra casings were made and they are now located in several different Russian museums.

There is some speculation that Tsar Bomba had several third stages rather than one single large one. The initial plans called for an even larger bomb with a 100 megaton yield but it was realized that the nuclear fallout would be too great and that the blast would be so enormous that the plane delivering the bomb would not have enough time to escape the blast range. Even with this size bomb, the nuclear fallout was limited by installing a lead tamper instead of a uranium-238 fusion tamper. This design meant that about 97% of the total energy resulted from fusion alone and so it was one of the “cleanest” nuclear bombs ever created and had a very low fallout level relative to the size of the blast.

A Tu-95V plane needed to be modified so it could deliver the bomb to the testing site. It was flown my Major Andrei Durnovtsev and flown from Kola Peninsula and accompanied by a Tu-16 observer plane, also modified. The second plane was also to collect air samples. Both planes were painted with a special reflective white paint in order to limit heat damage. Tsar Bomba detonated at 11.32 AM (Moscow time) on this date. It was dropped from an altitude of 6.5 miles and was designed to detonate 2.5 miles over the land surface using barometric sensors. The mushroom cloud was about 40 miles high and the fireball could be seen from 620 miles away. The heat from the explosion could have caused third degree burns to people 60 miles from ground zero, had there been any. Windows in Norway and Finland were broken by the shock waves.

One has to look out for engineers – they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. – Marcel Pagnol

When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb. – J. Robert Oppenheimer

The only use for an atomic bomb is to keep somebody else from using one. – George Wald

The 20th century was a test bed for big ideas – fascism, communism, the atomic bomb. – P. J. O’Rourke

Also on this day: “Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.
Transplant – In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the UK was performed.
Banquet of the Chestnuts – In 1501, Cesare Borgia threw a party.

* “Tsar Bomba Revised” by User:Croquant with modifications by User:Hex – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Black Tuesday

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 29, 2015
Crowds outside NYSE

Crowds outside NYSE

October 29, 1929: Wall Street trading leads to the day known as Black Tuesday. The crash began on October 24 and was the most devastating stock market crash in US history. It was also the beginning of the Great Depression affecting all Western industrialized countries. After World War I, the country was rejoicing in wealth, prosperity, and a new sense of freedom and the Roaring Twenties were a symbol of the newfound optimism. Many rural Americans decided to become urban Americans and the move to the cities created a labor pool which fueled growth. But with so many farmhands moving to the cities, the American farmer was left in crisis.

There was much talk about the excessive speculation in the stock market and on March 25, 1929 there was a mini crash after the Federal Reserve pointed out the dangers. Speculation in this sense means investing in risky transactions in the hopes of making large sums of money due to market fluctuations. On March 27, Charles Mitchell of National City Bank announced they would provide $25 million to stop the stock market’s slide. While it worked, at least temporarily, the US economy was in trouble with steel production down, housing markets in decline, and car sales slowing. Because easy credit had been available, many Americans were drowning in debt. Even with all these indicators, the market recovered and continued to climb throughout the summer with an increase of total value of 20% between June and September.

On September 20, the London Stock Exchange crashed and several top investors were jailed for fraud and forgery. In America, this made investors pause and in the days leading to the ultimate crash, the markets were extremely volatile. Adding to the fear was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act being debated in Congress which was to raise tariffs to a high not seen for over 100 years.  On Black Thursday, October 24, the market lost 11% of its value on opening due to very heavy trading. The tickers around the country couldn’t keep up with the rapidly dropping prices and so stocks were sold without knowing what the actual value was. Panic broke out on the trading floor. Richard Whitney, at the request of several bankers, went to the floor and began buying large blocks of blue chip stock in the hopes of stemming the panic. It worked and the market was only down 6.38 points for the day.

The rally continued on Friday and the markets were then open for half days on Saturdays and that too, saw the markets rise. But the weekend papers had stories about what was happening on the floor of Wall Street and on Monday many investors with margin calls decided to get out of the market altogether. The market dropped 13% on Monday. On this day, with panic selling at a fever pitch and no buyers to pick up even the inexpensive stocks, the market dropped another 12%. While a few financial giants attempted to stem the tide, the public lost confidence in the stock market and the value of the markets were down $30 billion dollars over the two days.

One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute. – William Feather

The difference between playing the stock market and the horses is that one of the horses must win. – Joey Adams

If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice. – Norman Ralph Augustine

You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets. – Peter Lynch

Also on this day: Ali, the Greatest – In 1960, Cassius Clay, later to be known as Muhammad Ali, had his first professional fight.
Seeing Red – In 1863, the International Red Cross got its start.
You’re in the Army Now – In 1940, the first peacetime draft in the US was instituted.
Raleigh – In 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was executed.
Serial Killer – In 1901, Jane Toppan was arrested.



Ticker Tape

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 28, 2015
Apollo 11 ticker tape parade

Apollo 11 ticker tape parade

October 28, 1886: New York City is the site of the first ticker tape parade. President Grover Cleveland was in the city to dedicate the Statue of Liberty and the citizens were spontaneously exuberant. Cleveland, the former Governor of New York, presided over the event which began with a parade. Estimates of the number of watchers ranges from several hundred thousand up to a million. Cleveland led the parade and then stood in a reviewing stand to see bands and marchers who had come from all across America. Excited witnesses threw what at the time was actual ticker tape down onto those passing on the streets below. Ticker tape machines produced streams of paper which had stock market quotes printed on them.

Today, the parades no longer use actual ticker tape but they remain associated with New York City. Instead of the no longer available ticker tape (the machines went out of use in 1970 as they had become obsolete with the advances in technology), confetti and shredded paper are the materials of choice to rain down on the triumphal parade below. The office buildings are still able to toss enough paper from their windows that is seems a snowstorm has taken over the city as the celebration in the street passes by. Since 1886, there have been many sanctioned parades with the following parade (now a sanctioned event) held on the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as first POTUS on April 29, 1889. Only one more parade was held in the 1800s.

The next parade came in 1910 when Theodore Roosevelt returned from an African safari. There were 27 parades during the 1920s with seven each held in 1926 and 1928. Seventeen parades were held in the 1930s and 22 more in the 1940s even though none were held between 1940 and 1945. During the 1950s there were 61 parades including one of the two longest ticker tape parades ever held. Douglas MacArthur’s parade in 1951 was a huge honor as was the one for John Glenn, held in 1962 – one of 32 parades for that decade. After the peak of parades in the 1950s, they tapered off to just an occasional event with the last one held in July of this year to honor the United States women’s national soccer team winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Richard Byrd is the person who has been honored the most with three parades held for him. Nine other people have had two parades held in their honor. Most of them have been Americans, but Charles de Gaulle, Haile Selassie, and Alicde De Gasperi have also been honored twice. The women’s soccer team have been the only not-local sport team to be honored. The New York Yankees have had nine parades held for them, the most of any particular entity. The area of New York where the honorees are covered in paper is called the “Canyon of Heroes” and lies in the section of the city at the lower end of Broadway and runs through the Financial District – hence the original ticker tape.

A parade is the worst form of transportation known to man. – Walt Kelly

We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president. – Eleanor Roosevelt

There is nothing like a parade to elicit the proper respect for the military from the populace. – Irving Kristol

Also on this day: Higher Education – In 1538, the first university in the New World was established.
The Two Sisters – In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.
Volstead Act – In 1919, Prohibition passed over President Wilson’s veto.
Gateway – In 1965, the Gateway Arch was completed.
Stopping Malaria – In 1948, Paul Muller received a Nobel Prize.



Amstel River

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 27, 2015
Amsterdam from the air*

Amsterdam from the air*

October 27, 1275: An official document with this date remains and is the first time the word Aemstelredamme (Amsterdam) is used. There had been terrible floods in 1170 and 1173 so the locals built a bridge over a the river Amstel. They also built a dam across the river which gives rise to the name of the village. The document in question gave residents of the village exemption from paying the toll to cross the bridge and was granted in the County of Holland by Count Floris V. The inhabitants not only were permitted to cross their local bridge without paying, but also any toll bridges throughout the County. They could also use the locks without charge. The people who were exempted were the “people living near Amestelledamme. By 1327 the name had changed to Aemsterdam.

Today, Amsterdam is both the capital city and the most populous city in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is mandated as the capital via the Constitution of the Netherlands but the Dutch government actually works out of The Hague. The city grew up from the small fishing village which survived flooding and built the dam across the river in the 12th century. During the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, It was one of the most important ports in the world. It was during this time the city became a center for both finance and diamonds. It was also during this time that the feature of the city which is most recognizable was constructed.

City planning during the 1600s called for a method to control the waters as well as house a growing population. The plan called for four main concentric half-circles along with bridges to span them. They were to have their ends resting in the IJ Bay. Three of the canals were developed for residential purposes. The Herengracht or ‘’Patricians’ Canal’’, Keizersgracht or ‘’Emperor’s Canal’’, and Prinsengracht or ‘’Prince’s Canal’’ were for the growing number of immigrants. The Singelgracht was the fourth and outer canal and was used for both defense and water management. The Jordaan quarter was planned to facilitate the transportation of goods. There are over 60 miles of canals and about 90 islands created by the surrounding water. To ease movement, there were about 1,500 bridges. The Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. There are over 4.6 million international visitors and 16 million day visitors who come each year. The city has many museums, including one for Van Gogh and another for Rembrandt. The Anne Frank House is there, as is the Hermitage Amsterdam. There are many historic buildings including awe-inspiring churches from Oude Kerk (1306) to more modern edifices. There are concert halls, diamond factories, open air markets, and breweries. There are also several red-light districts within the city which were designed areas for legalized prostitution and are huge tourist attractions. Today, the Mayor of the city is Eberhard van der Laan.

Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from fleecing the tourist. – Julie Burchill

My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them. – Terry Pratchett

I think Amsterdam is to Holland what New York is to America in a sense. It’s a metropolis, so it’s representative of Holland, but only a part of it – you know, it’s more extreme, there’s more happening, it’s more liberal and more daring than the countryside in Holland is. – Anton Corbijn

Amsterdam was a great surprise to me. I had always thought of Venice as the city of canals; it had never entered my mind that I should find similar conditions in a Dutch town. – James Weldon Johnson

Also on this day: Fancy Dry Goods Store – In 1858, Macy opened his first NYC store.
Underground – In 1904, the first section of the New York City subway opened.
Paris Riots – In 2005, riots broke out in Paris.
Single – In 1936, Wallis Simpson was divorced.
Sacrificial Lamb – In 1553, Michael Servetus was burned at the stake.



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Last of the Line

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 26, 2015
Ali Maow Maalin in 1977

Ali Maow Maalin in 1977*

October 26, 1977: Ali Maow Maalin gets sicker. He was born in 1954 in Merca, Somalia. He worked there at the regional hospital as a cook. He also was an occasional vaccinator for a WHO smallpox eradication team. He had not been successfully vaccinated even though it was a mandatory policy at his place of employment. According to CDC epidemiologists, he had been vaccinated, but the vaccine did not take effect and he was unprotected. Other sources state that he had never been vaccinated at all. Maalin himself denied having received the shot stating it looked like it hurt and he therefore avoided it.

In August 1977 there was an outbreak of smallpox in a Somalian group of about 20 families of nomads. Between August and October, eight children developed symptoms of the disease and on October 12, two children were discovered with the disease in a small settlement of Kurtunawarey – about 55 miles inland from Merca. Officials drove there to contain the outbreak and 23-year-old Maalin served as a guide. It is believed that it was during this trip that he became infected with the virus. On October 14, Habiba Nur Ali (6) died of smallpox, the last person to die naturally from the disease. By October 18, WHO workers successfully contained the outbreak among the nomadic group but they did not list Maalin as a contact.

On October 22, he began to feel bad and presented with a fever and headache. Malaria treatment was begun. On this day, the telltale rash appeared but yet it was ignored. Since he worked in the hospital, it was assumed he had been vaccinated against smallpox and so he was diagnosed with chickenpox and sent home. Over the next few days, his symptoms grew worse but he did not want to be isolated and so failed to report his distress to authorities. On October 30, a male nurse colleague reported him. It may not have been altruism, but rather the reward of 200 Somali shillings (about $35). Maalin was taken to isolation camp and diagnosed with smallpox, the last person to ever be diagnosed with naturally occurring smallpox. He did not suffer any complications and was discharged in November.

Donald Henderson had directed the WHO eradication program from 1967 to 1976. When he looked at the Maalin case, he was appalled. Maalin had been a popular young man and was visited by many relatives and friends before he was finally put in isolation. While he had been hospitalized with the initial fever, he had been permitted to walk freely throughout the hospital and interacted with many patients. There had been 91 people who had had face-to-face contact with Maalin and 12 of them were unvaccinated. All contacts were monitored for the following six weeks and face-to-face contacts were vaccinated. Merca Hospital was closed to new patients and all staff were vaccinated. No one was discharged. A total of 54,777 people were vaccinated in the two weeks following Maalin’s isolation. The program was effective and smallpox has been wiped out. Maalin died in 2013 at the age of 58.

I was scared of being vaccinated then. It looked like the shot hurt. – Ali Maow Maalin

Now when I meet parents who refuse to give their children the polio vaccine, I tell them my story. I tell them how important these vaccines are. I tell them not to do something foolish like me. – Ali Maow Maalin

Somalia was the last country with smallpox. I wanted to help ensure that we would not be the last place with polio too. – Ali Maow Maalin, explaining why he volunteered to help eradicate polio

A classic one in depicting omissions and mistakes in program operations. – Donald Henderson, describing this case

Also on this day: Tombstone, Arizona – In 1881, the gunfight at the OK Corral took place.
Whoa! – In 1861, Pony Express service officially ended.
Cloud of Death – In 1948, Donora, Pennsylvania was shrouded in a toxic fog.
Outnumbered – In 1597, the Battle of Myeongnyang was fought.
Baby Fae – In 1984, the baby was given a baboon’s heart.

* “Ali Maow Maalin (1977)en” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Primrose Path to Hell

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 25, 2015
Francis Joseph Beckman*

Francis Joseph Beckman*

October 25, 1938: Francis Joseph Beckman speaks to the National Council of Catholic Women. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1875 and entered the Seminary in Cincinnati and then studied in Belgium and in Rome. He was ordained a priest on June 20, 1902. He then received a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (1907) and later a Doctor of Sacred Theology (1908) from the pontifical school in Rome. The first of those degrees is comparable to a Masters Degree. He returned to Cincinnati and taught at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, was a rector at the church, and worked for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. On December 23, 1923 he was appointed as Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska by Pope Pius XI. On January 17, 1930, the Pope appointed Beckman as Archbishop of Dubuque (Iowa).

Beckman was instrumental in aiding Catholic entities which help the poor and disadvantaged to grow. The St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Holy Name Society, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Conference on Industrial Relations, and the Catholic Youth Organization all grew during his tenure. He had begun the Catholic Student’s Mission Crusade in Cincinnati and in 1935 their national convention was held in Dubuque. He was also a pacifist and in the years leading up to World War II, advocated for the US to hold a stance of neutrality. It was his opinion that the Soviets wished for the US to enter the war in order to weaken the country so they might be able to spread Communism here.

Archbishop Beckman began a campaign against the evils of swing music in 1938. Swing music stemmed from the jazz era. The new music style took off and peaked during the years of 1935 and 1946. Jazz had been highly regarded by most serious musicians around the world, including classical masters such as Stravinsky. Swing was seen as a “dance craze” and a degeneration of music. It was just a means to sell records to the masses so they might dance. And that is what Beckman spoke about on this day. Before the National Council, he proclaimed that swing music was going to ruin young people and send them down the “primrose path to Hell”. His attempts to rid the world of the genre were unsuccessful.

His own primrose path to Hell was brought on by his love of art. He had appreciated the Church’s culture while in Europe and began to collect fine art pieces. Beckman began to showcase his collection in a newly created museum at Columbia College. His collection was said to be worth $1.5 million. In 1936, he was introduced by Phillip Suetter to the idea of investing monies in gold mines. It is now thought he hoped to have more funds to buy more art. Instead, he signed promissory notes on behalf of the archdiocese and caused financial problems for the entity. Suetter was eventually arrested for fraud and Beckman and the Archdiocese were brought under investigation. The holders of the notes demanded payment and Beckman had to sell off most of his art collection to make good on the notes. He retired in November 1946 and moved back to Cincinnati. He died two years later at the age of 72.

A degenerated musical system… turned loose to gnaw away the moral fiber of young people. – Francis Beckman

Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation — then they called it ragtime, then blues — then jazz. Now, it’s swing. White folks, yo’all sho is a mess. – Louis Armstrong

Telling someone about what a symbol means is like telling someone how music should make them feel. – Dan Brown

Baptists never make love standing up. They’re afraid someone might see them and think they’re dancing. – Lewis Grizzard

Also on this day: Who Blinked? – In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis confrontation between Adlai Stevenson and Valerian Zorin took place.
George, George, George – In 1760, George III began his reign in England.
Nuke It – In 1955, microwave ovens became available for home use.
Fox River Grove – In 1995, a train hit a bus stopped at a red light.
St. Katherine Docks – In 1828, the London docks opened.

* “Francis J L Beckman” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –




Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 24, 2015
1911 Wright Glider

1911 Wright Glider

October 24, 1911: Orville Wright is able to fly for 9 minutes and 45 seconds. The Wright brothers, Wilber and Orville, began their foray into flight by making a kite in 1899. They flew the kite near their home in Dayton, Ohio. It had a wingspan of only 5 feet and was too small to carry anyone. They wanted to test their theory of wing-warping for roll control – an essential discovery making controlled flight possible. Their first Wright Glider able to carry a person was built in 1900. It was designed after Octave Chanute’s 1896 two surface glider. The wing airfoil was based on Otto Lilienthan’s tables of aerodynamic lift. This was a full size craft but it was first tested for flight on October 5, 1900 by flying it again as a kite, this time near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Wilbur went up in the first plane while men on the ground held tethered ropes. Eventually it was possible to make several test flights but the plane was abandoned when the brothers went back to Ohio and it was torn apart by storms and pieces salvaged for other uses. They built a second glider in 1901 and tested it at Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk. This glider had larger wings and the brothers were able to fly 50 to 100 times in free flights as well as many tethered flights as a kite between July 27 and August 17, 1901. During these flights, measurements of lift and drag led the brothers to believe that Lilienthal’s calculations were wrong.

The 1902 Wright Glider was their third glider and the first to have yaw control by having a rear rudder under the pilot’s control. Their wing design was perfected during the winter using their homemade wind tunnel. They were able to fly with true control between September 19 and October 24, 1902 and their longest glide lasted for 26 seconds and went 622.5 feet. They put their craft into storage. The wingspan was 32 feet, 1 inch and had an area of 305 square feet. The craft, empty, weighed 117 pounds. They returned to North Carolina in 1908 to test their new Flyer III and found that the storage shed and the glider inside had been destroyed by storms.

In 1911, Orville Wright returned to Kill Devil Hill along with Alec Ogilvie. They hoped to test an automatic control system for the glider but did not invite reporters to witness their attempts. The glider was taken up on this day using a design which is considered now to be a conventional tailplane. The pilot was seated with hand controls rather than lying prone in a cradle. Winds that day were about 40 mph and the plane was able to fly much longer. The previous record had been 1 minute and 12 second so the nearly ten minute flight was quite remarkable. In fact, the record stood for ten years.

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance. – Orville Wright

I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years. – Wilbur Wright

The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who … looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air.  – Wilbur Wright

It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill. – Wilbur Wright

Also on this day: Nedelin Catastrophe – In 1960, a Soviet Union ICBM exploded on the launchpad.
Notre Dame – In 1260, the cathedral was dedicated.
Terror Along the Beltway – In 2002, the Beltway Sniper was arrested.
Earth – In 1946, the first picture of Earth from outer space was taken.
Thar She Goes – In 1901, Annie Taylor celebrated her birthday.



Messing with the Mob

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 23, 2015
Dutch Schultz

Dutch Schultz

October 23, 1935: At 10.15 PM, the Palace Chophouse in Newark, New Jersey is invaded. Arthur Simon Flegenheimer was born in New York City in 1901. He was Jewish and born to German immigrants parents. The father abandoned the family before Arthur was ten although he tried to change the story, saying his father had died. Arthur dropped out school in the 8th grade to help support his family. He took small jobs in the neighborhood and eventually these led him to work in a nightclub owned by a minor mobster. Soon Arthur was robbing craps games and eventually turned to burglary. At age 18, he was arrested and incarcerated. He managed to escape but was recaptured.

After he was paroled, he began to work for Schultz Trucking and when asked what his name was, gave it as Dutch (a corruption of Deutsch which means German) and soon became known as Dutch Schultz. With Prohibition, there was a new revenue stream to be controlled and Schultz Trucking began smuggling liquor and beer into New York City from Canada. Dutch got into an argument with the company and went to work with Italian competitors. Schultz moved up through the ranks in the mob and rose to a position of power. He got into more trouble with the law for tax evasion and Thomas Dewey brought him to trial twice for the crime. He asked for permission from the mob to kill Dewey and was denied. Schultz had also run afoul of Lucky Luciano. Schultz disregarded all advice and made an attempt on Dewey’s life which led to the order for his murder.

He was at Palace Chophouse which he used as headquarters and in the restroom when Charles Workman and Emanuel Weiss, two hitmen working for Louis Buchalter’s Murder, Inc. Workman entered the bathroom and shot Schultz with the bullet entering below his heart and exiting the small of his back. While this was going on, Weiss joined in and both hitmen fired at Schultz’s entourage. Otto Berman, Schultz’s accountant; Abe Landau, Schultz’s chief henchman; and Schultz’s bodyguard, Bernard “Lulu” Rosencrantz were all hit. Berman collapsed immediately. Landau’s carotid artery was severed but he still somehow managed to give chase. Weiss got to an escape car and fled, leaving Workman behind. Rosencrantz had been hit with 00 lead buckshot at point blank range.

Rosencrantz  called for an ambulance before losing consciousness. Since he and Landau were more seriously wounded, they were taken away first and a second ambulance came for Schultz and Berman. Berman died first, Laudau bled to death eight hours after the shooting. Schultz survived surgery, but died of peritonitis 22 hours after the incident at the age of 34. As his life was ending, he was babbling and everything was written down but no clues were found. Rosencrantz died seven hours later. Workman was found guilty of Schultz’s murder and was sent to Sing Sing. Weiss was electrocuted in 1944 for an unrelated murder.

You can play jacks and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it.

I want harmony. Oh, mamma, mamma! Who give it to him? Who give it to him? Let me in the district -fire-factory that he was nowhere near.

Cut that out, we don’t owe a nickel; hold it; instead, hold it against him; I am a pretty good pretzler -Winifred- Department of Justice. I even got it from the department. Sir, please stop it. Say listen the last night! – all from Dutch Schultz as he incoherently talked before dying

Dutch Schultz did that murder just as casually as if he were picking his teeth. – Dixie Davis

Also on this day: Fore – In 1930, the first miniature golf tournament was held.
Bump! Boom! – In 1958, the Springhill mining disaster struck.
Poison Gas – In 2002, the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis began.
Schtroumpfs – In 1958, the Belgian comic strip debuted.
National Women’s Rights Convention – In 1850, the first convention was held.

* “Schultz dutch mug” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –



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Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 22, 2015
André-Jacques Garnerin's parachute

André-Jacques Garnerin’s parachute

October 22, 1797: The first descent using a parachute is successful. André-Jacques Garnerin was born in Paris in 1769. He was captured by the British during the Napoleonic Wars and turned over to the Austrians who held him in prison for three years. He was a student of ballooning pioneer Jacques Charles. Garnerin and his older brother were famous for their hot air balloon work. They regularly staged tests and shows of ballooning feats at Parc Monceau in Paris.

Garnerin began experimenting with parachutes and based his design on umbrellas. He used his silk parachute on this day at Parc Monceau. The parachute looked like a closed umbrella while ascending. There was a pole in the center of the 23 foot diameter cloth and a rope ran through a tube in the pole. The rope was connected to the hot air balloon.  Garnerin was in a basket attached to the bottom of the parachute. About 3,000 feet up in the air, he cut the rope connecting his parachute to the balloon. The balloon continued to rise and Garnerin and his parachute (and basket) floated to the ground. The basket swung violently while it fell and it bumped and scraped along the ground on impact. But Garnerin emerged uninjured.

The Garnerin brothers created a stir when they announced in 1798 that their next flight would include a woman. They had to go to officials to explain how the decreased air pressure was not going to harm the internal organs of their delicate passenger. There was a fear that the poor woman would lose consciousness and there was also the impropriety of her being aloft in such close quarters with – men. They were forbidden to take a woman up since she was ill equipped to understand the dangers inherent in the ascent. More meetings were held and the ruling was overturned. Citoyenne Henri and Garnerin made their trip on July 8, 1798 and flew about 19 miles without ill effect on the delicate passenger.

Garnerin was the Official Aeronaut of France and he and his wife made a trip to England in 1802 during the Peace of Amiens. They made a number of demonstration flights while visiting. On September 21, Garnerin rose from the Volunteer Ground in North Audley Street in Grosvenor Square and then made a parachute descent into a field near St. Pancras. Ballooning was a family affair. He often went up into the air with his brother. His wife was first his student and then married Garnerin. She was the first woman to parachute. His niece was also a trained balloonist, beginning to fly at age 15. Garnerin was struck by a wooden beam while making a balloon and died from his injuries in Paris on August 18, 1823. He was 54 years old.

Bold Garnerin went up / Which increased his Repute / And came safe to earth / In his Grand Parachute. – English ballad

The young citoyenne who will accompany me is delighted to see the day approach for the journey. I shall ascend with her from the Parc Monceau, some time during the next ten days. – André-Jacques Garnerin, advertising his upcoming flight with a woman

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute. – Gil Stern

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. – Maimonides

Also on this day: When the World Was New – In 4004 BC, the world was created – according to the math.
Where Is He? – In 1844, Jesus Christ did not return to Earth.
Pretty Boy – In 1934, Charles Floyd was killed.
No, Thanks – In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Shipwreck – In 1707, four ships sunk off the coast of England.