Little Bits of History

April 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2017

1864: The Coinage Act of 1864 is passed. Due to this law, the United States Mint changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of a two-cent coin. The Director of the United States Mint designed the new coins and sent them to the Secretary of the Treasury for approval. Also included in the design for the two-cent piece was the phrase “In God We Trust” on the coin. It was the first time the phrase appeared. By March of 1865, the phrase was to be placed on all gold and silver coins that held an inscription. Finally, in 1956 In God We Trust replaced E Pluribus Unum as the national motto and it was printed on all money made by the US Mint.

The Coinage Act of 1792 was the first in the series of these acts and passed the US Congress on April 2, 1792. It created the US dollar as the country’s standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated coinage throughout the new country. The silver dollar was the basic unit rather than a paper version. A decimal system was enacted for partitioning the dollar into smaller units. It also pegged the value of the American dollar to the Spanish milled dollar which caused some issues with those holding silver at the time. By 1794 and 1795 the US dollar used a 0.900 fine standard while the Spanish dollar used 0.8924+ fine standard which meant that people bringing silver to the mint ended up with less money than they thought they had.

The last major Coinage Act of the US was passed in 1965. This eliminated silver from the dime and quarter or ten- and twenty-five-cent pieces respectively. It reduced the silver in the half dollar (and silver was eliminated entirely in 1970). There had been coin shortages due to silver’s increased demand in other industries as well as for coinage. This increased the price of silver dramatically and made the silver used in the coinage worth more than the coins themselves. It worked and the elimination of silver in the coins permitted enough of them to be minted to eliminate the shortage. The law also banned the minting of silver dollars but these were once again on the market in 1970.

E pluribus unam is Latin for “Out of many, one” and the 13-letter phrase was the traditional motto of the United States and appears on the Great Seal of the United States. It was adopted by the US Congress in 1782 and remained the motto for the country until 1956 when Congress passed H.J. Resolution 396 making In God We Trust the new motto. E pluribus unam was an understanding that from many states or colonies came one new nation. It can also mean a diverse pool of peoples from a wide variety of places came together to create a new country and is a nod to the melting pot theory of the United States. In God We Trust as a motto has been challenged in many lawsuits, unsuccessfully, as it does not endorse any specific religion.

The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. – Smedley Butler

As you know, low demand and high supply means a drop in value of anything, including the dollar. – Robert Kiyosaki

Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will. – Nelson Mandela

Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail. – Kinky Friedman


Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2015
Lenin reading Pravda

Lenin reading Pravda

April 22, 1912 (OS): Pravda becomes Lenin’s and the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. The Soviets were still using the old style calendar at the time, changing in 1918. The paper’s name translates into “Truth” and remains the political paper of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Though officially given this day as its birthday to coincide with Karl Marx’s birthday, it traces its origins back to 1903. It was founded by VA Kozhevnikov, a wealthy railway engineer, in Moscow during the buildup to the Russian Revolution of 1905. The original paper had no political agenda and was an outlet for the arts and literature as well as Moscovian social life. Many of the early writers became the editorial board and then part of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Kozhevnikov fell out with them and replaced them with a new editorial board supporting the Menshevik faction.

Spilka, another splinter group of the RSDLP, took over the paper and in 1908, Leon Trotsky was invited to edit the paper, which moved to Vienna in 1909. Now with a hard-line Bolshevik editorial board, Trotsky put the printing into a tabloid format and distanced the subject matter from inner party politics. A large following of Russian workers supported Pravda. In January 1912, a sixth conference of the RSDLP was held and the Menshevik faction was expelled. Lenin decided to make Pravda his mouthpiece and shifted the publishing site from Vienna to St. Petersburg with the first official paper coming out on this date.

Up to 42 different editors followed before a tsarist edict shut down the paper in July 1914. With the tsar overthrown in the February Revolution of 1917, the paper was once allowed to see print. When Joseph Stalin and others returned from exile in March, they took over the editorial board. Their outlook was far different from their predecessors and they supported the Provisional Government and the war effort. When Lenin returned to Russia on April 3 and condemned the Provisional Government, Pravda supported him. After the October Revolution of 1917, there were almost 100,000 copies of Pravda sold daily.

In 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin shut down the Communist Party and seized all of its property, including Pravda. The paper was sold and resold and in 1996 was once again held by the Communist Party. Today, the paper is politically aligned with Communism or the far-left. The three times a week broadsheet is published under the leadership of Boris Komotsky. It is owned by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and has a circulation of 100,300. They also maintain a web presence with an English version available online as well. Their print version is suffering hard times, like other papers around the world. They are still located at the same headquarters at Pravda Street where it once put out daily Soviet papers.

Did you know that there is no exact rhyme in the Russian language for the word ‘pravda’? Ponder and weigh this insufficiency in your mind. Doesn’t that just echo down the canyons of your soul? – Julian Barnes

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself. – Arthur Miller

That ephemeral sheet,… the newspaper, is the natural enemy of the book, as the whore is of the decent woman. – Edmond de Goncourt

I read the newspaper avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction. – Aneurin Bevan

Also on this day: One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000, the UK updates the phone system.
Earth Day – In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated.
Oklahoma Land Run – In 1889, land in Oklahoma was parceled out in a land run.
Remember the Alamo – In 1836, Santa Anna was captured.
Rolling Along – In 1823, a patent for roller skates was granted to Robert Tyres.

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Rolling Along

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2014
Robert John Tyers patent for roller skates

Robert John Tyers patent for roller skates

April 22, 1823: Robert John Tyers patents roller skates. He was a fruit seller from Piccadilly, London and called his invention Volitos. They were an “apparatus to be attached to boots … for the purpose of travelling or pleasure.” They used a series of five small wheels arranged in a single line and the developer demonstrated their use at the tennis court in Windmill Street. The first use of something akin to skates was in 1760 by Joseph Merlin in Belgium (perhaps). The paired four small boxwood wheeled skates were patented in 1863 by James L. Plimpton of New York. This became a far more popular style, at least for a time.

The early roller skates simply took the idea of ice skates and instead of having a blade to slide across the ice, used an arrangement of wheels to slide across a smooth surface. They were difficult to use as they did not steer well and stopping was a problem since they had no brakes. The improvement of a new type of wheel placement was shown when Plimpton arranged the wheels like those seen on a carriage which provided stability. Each pair of wheels was placed on its own axel and gave the wearer far more control with steering. The popularity of skating increased dramatically and this type of skate is still used today.

What started out as a game eventually became a competitive sport. Speed skating, racing on skates, and figure skating evolved. Roller Derby is a contact sport played on roller skates and developed in the 1930s. Roller hockey was developed in the 1990s and the game played with a ball rather than a puck became so successful that it made a brief appearance in the 1992 Olympics. By the end of the millennium, a study by The National Sporting Goods Association showed that 2.5 million people had played roller hockey. Roller skating itself was considered as an Olympic sport, but has not yet been included.

Roller Skating Rinks opened and allowed people a place to skate with a known flat surface. They formed their own association in 1937 as the craze for skating spread. They still offer classes to the public and help to educate the public on the benefits of skating. During the 1980s there was a disco dance craze that allowed skaters to bust a move to the tunes of the day. The health benefits of skating are put forth at the Roller Skating Association’s web page and include a total body workout which burns 350 calories per hour if covering 6 miles and 600 calories if skating at 10 mph. Inline skates (trade name Rollerblade) were first available commercially in 1987 and changed the whole game of skating.

Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I’d ice-skated before, because I’m Canadian and that’s what you do as a kid, but I’d never, ever been on quad skates. – Ellen Page

The Orioles’ Dick Hall comes off the mound like a drunk kangaroo on roller skates. – Joe Garagiola

I laugh at absurdity hardest, then stories, then observations, then bearded men on roller skates. – T. J. Miller

Also on this day: One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000, the UK updates the phone system.
Earth Day – In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated.
Oklahoma Land Run – In 1889, land in Oklahoma was parceled out in a land run.
Remember the Alamo – In 1836, Santa Anna was captured.

Earth Day

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2013
Earth Day  1970

Earth Day 1970

April 22, 1970: Earth Day is first celebrated. There are two spring dates set aside to honor our planet. The UN sponsors a date at the vernal equinox, a tradition founded by John McConnell. A second date, founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, is celebrated worldwide on April 22. Each year, people from around the world stop and look around, noticing the fragile system we call home. They give voice to environmental issues with outreach programs to include schools, churches, and all concerned inhabitants of Mother Earth.

Nelson was an environmentalist with a passion for preservation. He was responsible for keeping many open spaces throughout the US and after 18 years in the Senate, he became counselor of The Wilderness Society where he continued to embrace environmental issues. He was concerned with sustainable populations, clean air, and conservation techniques. He was Chairman for Earth Day XXV in 1995. His last Earth Day was celebrated with his grandson, planting a tree. He died in 2005 at the age of 89.

John McConnell began a push for a day to support stewardship of Earth in the late 1960s. He wrote a Declaration of Planetary Rights “concerning the rights of all people to Earth’s land, sea, minerals, oil and other natural resources.” While the opening line suggests the Earth is for humans, the text repeatedly implores us to remain conscious of conservation of precious resources. He wrote an Earth Day Proclamation for the United Nations in 1973 and it was signed by 36 dignitaries. McConnell also wrote the 77 Theses On the Care of the Earth. He addressed this work to those “who seek to do the things about ecology, economics and ethics that foster peaceful progress on our planet.”

The theme for Earth Day 2008 was “A Call for Climate.” In 2009, we celebrated “The Green Generation” and this year, the day coincides with the World People’s Conference on Climate Change. It is the International Year of Biodiversity. Nothing is without criticism. Earth Day, claimed Alex Steffen (advocate for bright green environmentalism) has come to symbolize the pessimistic, political thinking and portrays humans in a negative light. Arbor Day which was begun in the United States in 1872, he said, was a celebration of trees – something lost to the newer movement.

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

“I’m not an environmentalist. I’m an Earth warrior.” – Darryl Cherney

“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?” – Robert Redford

“I am the earth. You are the earth. The Earth is dying. You and I are murderers.” – Ymber Delecto

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Gaylord Nelson chose the date for his celebration of Mother Earth deliberately. He felt that college students were our greatest hope for a better future and he wanted to include as many of them as possible in the plan. The dates he selected were between April 19 and 25 because students were done with Spring Break and not yet into finals or graduation worries. The theme for Earth Day 2013 is The Face of Climate Change. Their mission statement is “Climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but the fact is that it’s already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places. These Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day. Fortunately, other Faces of Climate Change are multiplying too: those stepping up to do something about it. Together, we’ll personalize the massive challenge climate change presents by telling the world these stories through images shown at thousands of Earth Day events around the world.”

Also on this day: One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000 the UK updates the phone system.
Oklahoma Land Run – In 1889, land in Oklahoma was parceled out in a land run.
Remember the Alamo – In 1836, Santa Anna was captured.

Remember the Alamo

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2012

Antonia de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron

April 22, 1836: The Texas forces under Sam Houston capture Santa Anna. Antonia de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron was a Mexican political leader, on and off president of Mexico, and General leading the troops against the Texans fighting a war of Independence. Texas was under Mexican control when hostilities broke out on October 2, 1835. The American settlers were not happy with the Mexican rule of Coahuila y Tejas. The Siete Leyes (Seven Laws) of 1835 saw Santa Anna (then President) abolishing the Constitution of 1824, a representative government offering the ruled a voice in their leadership.

The Seven Laws were unpopular throughout Mexico and several of the United Mexican States resorted to violence. The Battle of Gonzales began the Texans’ War of Independence. By March 2, 1836, Texas had declared itself independent of Mexican rule. On March 6, the Battle of El Alamo (from the Mexican perspective) was ended with the Texans suffering a crushing defeat. The Alamo was taken and every American rebel was killed. Even the Texans who had surrendered were killed as the order came to take no prisoners. Davy Crockett and James Bowie both died in the attack. The Goliad Massacre (March 27) also resulted in 350 Texans killed.

The battle of San Jacinto was fought on April 21. General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican forces numbering 1,360. The 910 Texans were waiting for Santa Anna’s troops to attack. Instead of allowing them to rest, the Texans took the lead and attacked with an outflanking maneuver interrupting the Mexicans taking their afternoon siesta (with no guards posted). At 4:30 PM, Vince’s Bridge was burned and the Texans silently advanced through the woods and surprised Santa Anna’s troops. There were only nine Texans killed with 23 more wounded. The Mexican forces had 630 killed, 208 wounded, and 730 captured.

Santa Anna escaped and was found hiding in a marsh, wearing a dragoon private’s uniform on this date. He was taken to acting Texas President, David G. Burnet and eventually the Treaties of Velasco were signed by both men. Santa Anna was held for months before being transported back to Mexico. The new government there failed to recognize the treaty signed by their ex-President. There were two treaties, one formal with ten points, and a second secret treaty with seven points. Eventually a pact was reached later in the year marking the border between the two combatants at the Rio Grande.

Texas, to be respected must be polite. Santa Anna living, can be of incalculable benefit to Texas; Santa Anna dead, would just be another dead Mexican. – Sam Houston

When a general is given command of an army and everything that is necessary is furnished to him and placed at his disposal, he should be held strictly responsible if he departs from the established rules of war. The government has said, and with truth, that all the resources at its command were placed at my disposal in this campaign, but these being so few, could it have given me many? – Santa Anna

History does not teach fatalism. There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads. – Charles de Gaulle

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. – Harry Emerson Fosdick

Also on this day:

One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000 the UK updates the phone system.
Earth Day – In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated.
Oklahoma Land Run – In 1889, land in Oklahoma was parceled out in a land run.

Oklahoma Land Run

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2011

Oklahoma Land Run Map

April 22, 1889: At high noon, the Land Run of 1889 begins. This was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands which today is part of six counties in what is now the state of Oklahoma. There were two million acres of land available in what was considered some of the best unoccupied public lands in the United States. There were about 50,000 people awaiting their chance to claim land. The land had become available after the enactment of the Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889.  The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed for settlers to claim up to 160 acres each.

Some of those participating arrived early and hid out until the legal time to begin claims. They were then poised to snap up the choicest regions for themselves. These people became known as “sooners” and their claims were legally contested by those who were playing by the rules. The US Department of the Interior adjudicated. Those who had waited until the legal time to enter the area were called “boomers”. By the end of the day, both Oklahoma City and Guthrie were established with around 10,000 people living in each city.

In Oklahoma City, the boom was just beginning. The population doubled in the next decade. It had become the population and commercial hub for the new state. The city continued to grow through the Second World War. After the War, the population began to wane and by the 1970s, “white flight” overtook the city. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995 brought the city to the nation’s attention when 168 people died in the explosion. Today, Oklahoma City has a population of 580,000 and is once again a thriving metropolis and is the capital.

Guthrie originated as a railroad station in 1887. It was then called Deer Creek on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. The name was changed to Guthrie for John Guthrie of Topeka. A post office was added prior to the land run, and on this day, after the cannons announced it was safe to stake a claim, the town boomed. It became the territorial and then the state capital, but in June 1911 the latter designation went to OK City. With the move of the capital, the economic base for Guthrie was lost. Since it advanced slowly, much of the Victorian grandeur of the old city remains. Today, with a population under 10,000, Guthrie is a stop on the historical tourist route, having been named a national Historic Landmark in 1999.

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” – Mark Twain

“Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring.” – Mae West

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” – Tony Robbins

“You who live your lives in cities or among peaceful ways cannot always tell whether your friends are the kind who would go through fire for you. But on the Plains one’s friends have an opportunity to prove their mettle.” – Buffalo Bill

Also on this day:
One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000 the UK updates the phone system
Earth Day – In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated.

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One Ringy-Dingy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2010

British phone booth and Big Ben

April 22, 2000: The United Kingdom’s telephone services are updated with corresponding changes in telephone numbering systems. Because of the proliferation of phone lines and the need for more numbers to satisfy the demand, phone numbering was changed from a seven number to an eight number system as well as Code Area numbers being changed.

The world is shrinking because of instant communication. That communication is based on telephone systems. Many people have more than one phone number – land lines, cell phones, and even fax numbers. Businesses have many phone lines and fax numbers as well. Each telephone number needs to be individualized. As the demand for more lines increased, the scarcity of numbers became apparent.

Cell or mobile phones were first proposed in December 1947 by Bell Labs engineers Douglas H Ring and W. Rae Young. The technology went undeveloped until the 1960s when Bell Labs (Richard H. Frenkiel and Joel S. Engel) produced the electronics. However, prototypes were available in the 1950s but in very limited use. Motorola and Bell Labs joined forces to be filmed making calls to each other on the streets of New York City in 1973 in a media event. The first generation of mobile telephony was up and running. The second generation followed in the 1990s and we are now on the third or 3G. More than 2.5 billion people use cell phones today.

Increased need for phone numbers was an ongoing problem and the first migration to the new system was in 1995 when the UK implemented PhONEday changes which provided a pool of 9 billion numbers. Migration from the old to new system had taken place in stages, with this being the final stage. UK phone numbers changed on this date. Land lines were changed immediately and were no longer functional, while mobile phones in the UK worked for another year. Businesses were also granted some extension of time due to costs incurred [i.e. stationery, business cards, brochures and catalogs] by the changing system.

“Some one invented the telephone,
And interrupted a nation’s slumbers,
Ringing wrong but similar numbers.” – Ogden Nash

“TELESCOPE, n. A device having a relation to the eye similar to that of the telephone to the ear, enabling distant objects to plague us with a multitude of needless details. Luckily it is unprovided with a bell summoning us to the sacrifice.” – Ambrose Bierce

“The telephone book is full of facts, but it doesn’t contain a single idea.” – Mortimer Adler

“Tell me about yourself — your struggles, your dreams, your telephone number.” – Peter Arno

Also on this day, in 1970 Earth Day was first celebrated.