Little Bits of History

August 3

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2017

1914: The first air battle in history takes place. World War I officially began on July 28, 1914. A month before, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. The ensuing diplomatic crisis came to a head when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and called in international alliances to support their position. On July 25, Russia began to mobilize troops as Austria prepared for declaration of war. Germany demanded Russia pull back and this was refused. On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia. France and Belgium began to mobilize their own troops and Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium on this day. Britain then demanded Germany withdraw from neutral Belgium and this was ignored so Britain declared war on Germany on the next day.

Eugène Adrien Roland Georges Garros was a French aviator born in 1888. He came to Paris to study and in 1909 began his flying career when he took up a Damoiselle (Dragonfly) monoplane. The plane was noted for only being serviceable with a small lightweight pilot. Garros fit the bill. He received his French pilot’s license, number 147 in July 1910. He went on to fly larger planes and entered a number of European air races flying a Bleriot monoplane including when he came in second in a race called the Circuit of Europe, a flight from Paris to London and back to Paris in 1911. He set an altitude record of 12,960 feet in the fall of 1911 and had to retake it the next year after an Austrian aviator went higher.

On the first day of World War I, Garros flew his plane into a German Zeppelin dirigible flying above the German frontier and destroyed it and killed the two crewmembers. It is considered the first air battle in all of history. There was a problem with forward firing machine guns mounted on combat aircraft. Garros had a role in the development of an interrupter gear which allowed the gun to shoot through a propeller without harming the blades. He was shot down in 1915 and didn’t completely destroy his plane before Germans took it over, giving Fokker a chance to study his innovations for the gun/propeller set up. Garros was taken prisoner and escaped almost three years later. He was shot down and killed on October 5, 1918, just a month before the war ended.

World War I, the Great War, the War to end all Wars was one of the largest wars in history. During the four years, three months, and two weeks of fighting, over 70 million military personnel were mobilized, over 60 million of them Europeans. Over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilian died as a result of the war (these numbers include genocides perpetrated during wartime). These numbers do not take into account the over 21 million wounded and 7 million missing. Technology had made the killing machines far more deadly and trench warfare became a death trap for millions. The happiness at the ending of war was mitigated by the 1918 flu pandemic, exacerbated by the devastation and destruction of war as well as the global movement of people. This accounted for another 50 to 100 million deaths, about three to five percent of the world’s population.

European nations began World War I with a glamorous vision of war, only to be psychologically shattered by the realities of the trenches. The experience changed the way people referred to the glamour of battle; they treated it no longer as a positive quality but as a dangerous illusion. – Virginia Postrel

The stories from World War I are worse than anything I have ever read. – Kerry Greenwood

World War I broke out largely because of an arms race, and World War II because of the lack of an arms race. – Herman Kahn

The Anarchists set off World War I with a gunshot in Sarajevo – but they faded away. It wasn’t that the police drove them out of business. The ideology had nowhere to go except into permanent negativity. – Pete Hamill

 

Fine! Just Fine?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2015
Kenesaw Mountain Landis  and Rockefeller

Kenesaw Mountain Landis and John D. Rockefeller

August 3, 1907: Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis imposes a fine. President Theodore Roosevelt had appointed Landis as a Federal Judge two years earlier. He was appointed to the Northern District of Illinois. He sentenced Standard Oil Company of Indiana for breaking the Elkins Rebate Law – 1,903 times. The Elkins Act was passed in 1903 as an amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act. Prior to the Act, cattle and petroleum companies were able to secure rebates for moving their products between larger cities, something unavailable to the smaller businesses. The carriers needed the income from the larger businesses and would underbid each other in order to be able to secure the overall larger revenues from moving great amounts of product. This was seen as unfair to smaller businesses and the rebates were prevented which was supposed to make the prices for smaller businesses drop since they no longer needed to supplement the losses from the larger businesses. There was an insubstantial drop in carrier charges overall.

A suit was brought against Standard Oil for moving oil from Whiting, Indiana, to East St. Louis, Illinois, and from Chappell, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri. Between September 1, 1903 and March 1, 1905 the oil company had shipped 1,903 cars of oil after receiving concessions on price. There was a reduction of 441 counts as they were considered to not be involved. The company entered a plea of “Not Guilty.” The verdict came through as “Guilty” on all of the remaining 1,462 counts. Landis imposed the maximum fine on each count – $20,000. The total fine was $29,240,000 which was the largest fine ever placed on a company at the time. Standard Oil appealed and the case was reversed.

Landis was born in Ohio in 1866 and dropped out of school at the age of 15. He had several civil service jobs and at the age of 21, applied to become a lawyer. There were no educational requirements for the Indiana bar at the time. He became a lawyer and after little success, then decided to go to law school. He opened a private practice in Chicago which did better and moved from there to become the personal secretary of the US Secretary of State, Walter Gresham in 1893. When Gresham died two years later, he refused the offer of an ambassadorship. He served as a Federal Judge from 1905 to 1922. He was also the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death in 1944 at the age of 78. While this case was noted for its huge fine, he is best remembered for his handling of the Black Sox scandal and expelling eight Chicago White Sox players after they threw the 1919 World Series.

John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1889 as part of the Standard Oil trust. With the rise of the automobile, Indiana Standard was chosen to proved gasoline to consumers in 1911 and Standard Oil separated from the trust. Through mergers and acquisitions, the company became Amoco Corporation with headquarters in Chicago. In 1998 the company merged with British Petroleum and by 2001 BP announced that all stations were to be converted to the BP name or else be closed. BP is headquartered in London and in 2014 had 84,500 employees. Their 2014 income was about $358.7 billion with a profit of $4 billion. Carl-Henric Svanberg is Chairman of the company.

I know the world isn’t fair, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor? – Bill Watterson

In the civilisation a new law of hostility prevails. And to call it the law of the jungle is unfair to the jungle. – Colin Wilson

A fine is a tax for breaking the law; a tax is a fine for obeying the law. – J. H. Goldfuss

Society is well governed when the people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the laws. – Solon

Also on this day: Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – In 1900, Firestone Rubber and Tire Company was incorporated.
Lenny Bruce – In 1966, Lenny Bruce died.
Row, Row, Row your Boat – In 1852, the first Harvard-Yale Regatta was held.
Santa All Year Long – In 1946, Santa Clause Land opened.

Santa All Year Long

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2014
Santa Claus Land

Santa Claus Land

August 3, 1946: Santa Claus Land opens. Louis J Koch was a retired industrialist from Evansville, Indiana. He visited Santa Claus, Indiana in 1941 and like many of the children who came to the town, he was disappointed to find there was no Santa. Koch was the father of nine children and understood just how much trouble this might cause families and so he decided to build a park where children could have fun and visit Santa Claus all year long. Initial construction plans were delayed due to World War II but on August 4, 1945 the building of the amusement park began. A year later, Indiana’s second amusement park was opened to the public.

When it opened, the park offered children Santa, a toy shop, displays, a restaurant, themed children’s rides, and the Santa Claus Land Railroad. After the park proved successful, William Koch, Sr. – Louis’s son, took over running the park although the father remained active and added many new features to the park. The first Jeep-Go-Round ever built was placed at the park and Louis also opened a deer farm which eventually was home to fourteen European white fallow deer. In 1955, the park began charging an admission fee – fifty cents for adults although children were still admitted free. More features were added and future US President Ronald Reagan even visited.

Live entertainment was added and Lake Rudolph was the venue for Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show during the summer months. The Santa Claus Choir was comprised of local children and performed at the park for a few years. By 1976, the park opted to shift its focus from children only to the whole family. They also moved their entrance as they redesigned the park. In 1984 they added nine new rides, eight of them for older children and adults. For decades, the park was purely a Santa park but by 1984, the Koch family realized other holidays would make for a great expansion possibility. They added Halloween and Fourth of July sections and formally changed the name of the park to Holiday World. As there were more holidays which came to also include Thanksgiving, some of the ride names changed as well to reflect the shift from everything Santa.

Bill’s son eventually took over running the family business and more features were added. Splashin’ Safari was added in 1993 and a new wooden roller coaster, The Raven, was added in 1995 and voted the “Ride of the Year” as well as the world’s second best wooden roller coaster. It moved to the number one spot in 2000 and remained there for four years. Today, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is open from May through October. The theme and water parks sport fifty rides with four of them roller coasters and 23 of them water rides. The park sits on 120 acres and has 1.2 million visitors per year. The Koch Family remains as the owner and Matthew Eckert is the general manager. Tickets today start at $34.95.

I love going to the movie theatre, seeing live comedy, and going to amusement parks. – Jennette McCurdy

I look just like the girls next door… if you happen to live next door to an amusement park. – Dolly Parton

You can’t live on amusement. It is the froth on water – an inch deep and then the mud. – George MacDonald

I love sporting events and popcorn and pizza and being outside, like at a baseball or football game. I love amusement parks, going to ride roller coasters. – Carrie Underwood

Also on this day: Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – In 1900, Firestone Rubber and Tire Company was incorporated.
Lenny Bruce – In 1966, Lenny Bruce died.
Row, Row, Row your Boat – In 1852, the first Harvard-Yale Regatta was held.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2013
Harvey Firestone

Harvey Firestone

August 3, 1900: Firestone Rubber and Tire Company is incorporated in Akron, Ohio. In 1895 Harvey Firestone was working for Columbus Buggy Works in Detroit, Michigan. He ran into Henry Ford as Ford was building his first vehicle. Ford’s plan to use bicycle tires was causing a problem as they could not withstand the weight of the 500-pound car. Firestone had just received some pneumatic tires for his buggy and noticed how much the ride improved. Firestone ordered a set for Ford to try. And, as they say, the rest is history. Firestone was now in the tire business.

In 1900 Firestone, age 31, was convinced the Automobile Age was dawning and the horse and buggy would soon become a thing of the past. He incorporated his company in the same city as archrival Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (still in Akron today). Firestone was loaned $4,500 (≈ $133,000 in 2009 USD) and set up his plant in an old foundry using secondhand equipment. He opened his plant in 1902 with twelve employees. His first major sale of 2,000 detachable tires was to Henry Ford – the largest single order for tires yet. Firestone won the contract for supplying tires for the Ford Model T.

Firestone kept improving his product line. He offered tires with a “demountable rim” in 1907 and a non-skid tire in 1908. The tread pattern helped hold the road for a better performance. By 1910 Firestone Company profits hit $1 million (≈ $22 million) for the first time. Cars were not only covering the nation’s roads, but picking up speed. The first Indianapolis 500 was run in 1911 with the winner, Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon Wasp with Firestone tires. His average speed was 74.59 mph.

Today, Firestone is a subsidiary of Bridgestone. In 1979, with Firestone over $1 billion in debt and losing $250 million a year, they brought in John Nevin. He restructured the operation and moved the company base to Chicago. The company is now headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Firestone employs 23,000 people. They produced their 20-millionth tire in 2003 and the 50-millionth in 2006. They are an international company and supply tires (along with Bridgestone) for more than 200 different cars and light model trucks.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”

“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.”

“The secret of my success is a two word answer: Know people.”

“Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.” – all from Harvey S. Firestone

This article first appeared at examiner.com in 2009. Editor’s update: Harvey Firestone was born in Columbiana, Ohio in 1868. The family had emigrated from France over a hundred years earlier and first settled in Pennsylvania. Later, they purchased the farm in Ohio. The home in which Firestone was born was moved to Greenfield Village, a 90-acre farm and part of the Greenfield Village (240 acres) built by Henry Ford and located in Michigan. Firestone had a high school education and never went to college. He married Idabelle Smith and the couple had seven children. Firestone, Ford, and Thomas Edison were considered to be the three leaders of American industry of their time. They often worked and vacationed together. All three were members of The Millionaires’ Club – an obviously exclusive group.

Also on this day: Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Lenny Bruce – In 1966, Lenny Bruce died.
Row, Row, Row your Boat – In 1852, the first Harvard-Yale Regatta was held.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2012

Harvard-Yale Regatta program from 1963

August 3, 1852: The first Harvard-Yale Regatta is held. Yale University founded the first US collegiate crew team in 1843. The next year, Harvard created their own team. They were mostly social in purpose until 1852. Yale challenged Harvard to see which school produced the best oarsmen. The two teams met on this day, creating the first American intercollegiate sporting event.

There were three boats on the water that day. They covered a two mile course. The winning team was awarded a pair of black walnut, silver inscribed rowing oars. They were presented by General Franklin Pierce who would become the 14th President of United States the next year. Yale’s Undine finished third, second place – two lengths behind the winner – was Shawmut, also owned by Yale. The Harvard boat, Oneida, won.

Since 1859, the contest has been held yearly except during major wars. The first year, the contest was held at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. The venue moved around some and is now at Thames River, New London, Connecticut. Both teams have erected permanent training camps on the river. Always held between just these two rivals, one exception was made. In 1897, in a race held on the Hudson River in New York, Cornell also entered a boat. Although Cornell won, Yale still beat Harvard and was given the official win.

Today, there are three events held during the Regatta. There is a two mile freshman race, a three mile junior varsity race, and a four mile varsity race. Some results were not recorded but all agree Harvard has taken a comfortable lead in the winners column. The official count for the teams has Harvard with 91 wins and Yale with 54. Harvard’s junior varsity and freshman teams also have more wins over their rivals at Yale.

The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting above average effort. – Colin Powell

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition. – Elbert Hubbard

And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department. – Andrew Carnegie

Competition is very good… as long as it’s healthy. It’s what makes one strive to be better. – Christine Lahti

Also on this day:

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – In 1900, Firestone Rubber and Tire Company was incorporated.
Lenny Bruce – In 1966, Lenny Bruce died.

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Lenny Bruce

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 5, 2011

Lenny Bruce

August 3, 1966: Simon and Garfunkel record an American 7 PM radio newscast for inclusion in the song 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night on their Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme album. The news of the day tells of the death of Lenny Bruce from a drug overdose. Bruce was a comic, writer, social critic, and satirist.

Leonard Alfred Schneider was born on Long Island, New York in 1925 and was 40 years old at the time of his death. His parents divorced when he was five and he lived with relatives who provided some stability. His mother was a stage performer and greatly influenced her son. He joined the US Navy in 1942 at the age of 17 and served in Europe during World War II. He was discharged in 1946.

Lenny changed his last name to Bruce and in 1947 was paid $12 and given a free spaghetti dinner for his first stand up performance. He went on to write screenplays and produced comedic albums containing pre-Denis Miller rants and pre-Richard Pryor social commentary. His language portrayed his outlook on life and his satirical musings revealed his darker side.

He was arrested on October 4, 1961 in San Francisco on obscenity charges. The trial was costly in many ways, including forcing him into bankruptcy. He was acquitted by the jury but came under increased scrutiny. He was again arrested in April 1964 when Manhattan District Attorney, Frank Hogan was in charge of getting comedy clubs cleaned up. He was tried before a three judge panel. After a six month trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to four months in a workhouse. While out on bail during the appeals process, he was found naked, dead of a morphine overdose in his Hollywood Hills home. New York governor George Pataki pardoned Bruce in December 2003.

“In Los Angeles today comedian Lenny Bruce died of what was believed to be an overdoes of narcotics. Bruce was 42 years old.” – from 7 O’Clock News

“All my humour is based on destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, I’d be standing in the breadline, right back of J. Edgar Hoover.” – Lenny Bruce

“The ‘what should be’ never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no ‘what should be,’ there is only what is.” – Lenny Bruce

“The liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.” – Lenny Bruce

Also on this day:
Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – In 1900, Firestone Rubber and Tire Company was incorporated.

Lenny Bruce

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2010

Lenny Bruce

August 3, 1966: Simon and Garfunkel record an American 7 PM radio newscast for inclusion in the song 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night on their Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme album. The news of the day tells of the death of Lenny Bruce from a drug overdose. Bruce was a comic, writer, social critic, and satirist.

Leonard Alfred Schneider was born on Long Island, New York in 1925 and was 40 years old at the time of his death. His parents divorced when he was five and he lived with relatives who provided some stability. His mother was a stage performer and greatly influenced her son. He joined the US Navy in 1942 at the age of 17 and served in Europe during World War II. He was discharged in 1946.

Lenny changed his last name to Bruce and in 1947 was paid $12 and given a free spaghetti dinner for his first stand up performance. He went on to write screenplays and produced comedic albums containing pre-Denis Miller rants and pre-Richard Pryor social commentary. His language portrayed his outlook on life and his satirical musings revealed his darker side.

He was arrested on October 4, 1961 in San Francisco on obscenity charges. The trial was costly in many ways, including forcing him into bankruptcy. He was acquitted by the jury but came under increased scrutiny. He was again arrested in April 1964 when Manhattan District Attorney, Frank Hogan was in charge of getting comedy clubs cleaned up. He was tried before a three judge panel. After a six month trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to four months in a workhouse. While out on bail during the appeals process, he was found naked, dead of a morphine overdose in his Hollywood Hills home. New York governor George Pataki pardoned Bruce in December 2003.

“In Los Angeles today comedian Lenny Bruce died of what was believed to be an overdoes of narcotics. Bruce was 42 years old.” – from 7 O’Clock News

“All my humour is based on destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, I’d be standing in the breadline, right back of J. Edgar Hoover.” – Lenny Bruce

“The ‘what should be’ never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no ‘what should be,’ there is only what is.” – Lenny Bruce

“The liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.” – Lenny Bruce

Also on this day, in 1900 Firestone Rubber and Tire Company incorporates.
Bonus Link: In 1492, Columbus
set sail across the Atlantic, searching for China.

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2010

Christopher Columbus

August 3, 1492: Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain on his search for a passage to the Far East. Cristoforo Colombo, an Italian navigator and admiral from Genoa, Italy, based his voyage on “facts” that were incorrect. Neither he nor most sailors of the time thought the world was flat; what he did believe was that the world was small.

According to his calculations, the world was 15,693 miles in circumference. He based this calculation on Marinus of Tyre’s supposition that landmass occupied 225 degrees of the planet, leaving 135 degrees of water. To add to his confusion, Columbus thought a degree represented a shorter distance than even Marinus’s calculations. All this confusion was exacerbated by the non-standardization of measurements. The Earth is actually 24,880.6 miles in circumference and nearly 71% of the planet is covered in water.

Experts of the era did not accept, and rightly so, Columbus’ estimations of the global structure. He therefore met resistance while trying to fund an exploratory trip westward. Ships were not large enough to carry the crew and the food and water to sustain them for long voyages. Experts were correct when proposing the distance between the Canary Islands and Japan. What was not known at the time, was that a large land mass lay between the two points.

Portugal refused funding to Columbus in 1485. It took him seven years of lobbying to get funding from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Actually, Queen Isabella turned him down and sent him away. King Ferdinand called him back and granted the funding. Half the financial support came from private Italian investors. Columbus set sail on this date, made it to the Canary Islands on September 6, and then sailed for five weeks before spotting land again on October 12. He found land, but not China.

“For a man must strive, and striving he must err.” – Goethe

“All men are liable to error; and most men are in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.” – John Locke

“Success covers a multitude of blunders.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness.” – A. J. P. Taylor

Also on this day, in 1900 Firestone Rubber and Tire Company incorporates.
Bonus Link: In 1966, Lenny Bruce
dies of a drug overdose.