Little Bits of History

September 29

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2017

1789: The First United States Congress adjourns. This first Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) had no political parties as these were not yet established. Historians divide them into Pro- and Anti-Administration. They first met at Federal Hall in New York City and would later move to the Congress Hall in Philadelphia. They convevned on March 4, 1789 and there were three sessions prior to the new elections bringing in the Second Congress. Their first session ended on this day when they adjourned until January 4, 1790. The second session ended on August 12 and the third began on December 6 with the Second Congress beginning on March 4, 1791, thus ending the third session the day before.

During this first session of Congress, they reached a quorum and elected officers in both chambers and then held a joint assembly in which to count Electoral College votes and certify George Washington was unanimously elected President. They were able to pass several pieces of legislation stipulating the workings of the new nation. Many of these had to do with administration of the government and funding of the institutions. They created the United States Department of State as well as the Department of War and Department of the Treasury. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created courts, district attorneys and the Attorney General.

Prior to their adjournment, Congress approved 12 amendments to the US Constitution and submitted them to the state legislatures for ratification. The first of these articles has never been ratified. The second article became the 27th Amendment in 1992 (pay for Congress), and the other ten amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791 and are known today as the Bill of Rights. The only new state in 1789 was North Carolina which entered the Union on November 21, the 12th state to ratify the Constitution.

On March 4, there were 20 Senators (two spots vacant) and by the end of the First Congress there were 26 seats. The majority of senators were Pro-administration (69.2%). The House of Representatives began with 59 members and ended with 64. They, too were Pro-Administration (56.3%). John Adams was President of the Senate with President pro tempore held by John Langdon. Speaker of the House was Frederick Muhlenberg. Senators were elected for two year terms, with one-third given a six year term with each Congress. The House of Representatives members are based on state populations and Virginia had the most seats with ten. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania both had eight members. Rhode Island had a single representative. There were zero non-voting members. Today’s US Congress is made up of 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, and 6 non-voting members.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. – Mark Twain

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent. – Abraham Lincoln



Surviving a Mid Air Collision

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2015
The planes landed in a field

The planes landed in a field

September 29, 1940: A mid-air collision takes place over Brocklesby, New South Wales. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) opened a flight training school in July 1940 to train pilots for combat during World War II. No. 2 Service Flying Training School was based at RAAF Station Forest Hill near Wagga Wagga, NSW. At the time, pilots were being trained on Avro Ansons, a British twin-engined aircraft use throughout the British Empire by their forces. The planes were primarily used for training and on this day, two planes took off from the base for a cross-country training exercise.

Tail number N4876 was piloted by Leonard Fuller (22) and Menzies Sinclair (27) was navigator. The second plane, tail number L9162, was piloted by Jack  Hewson (19) with Hugh Fraser (27) as navigator. All men were classified as Leading Aircraftmen. The planes were to travel to Corowa, then to Narrandera, and then return to Forest Hill. They were at an altitude of 1,000 feet and making a banking turn when Fuller lost sight of Hewson’s aircraft which was beneath him. They collided in mid-air. It was described as a grinding crash and bang. The propellers struck each other and bit into the engine cowlings. The two planes remained wedged together with the lower plane’s turrets rammed into the upper plane’s left wing root.

Both engines on the upper plane were knocked out. The lower plane’s engines were working at full power. Fuller, the pilot of the upper plane, was able to control both planes with his ailerons and flaps and began looking for a place to attempt a landing. Both navigators were able to bail out immediately. Hewson, the pilot in the lower plane, had been injured during the impact but he, too, managed to bail. Fuller flew about five miles after the collision before he was able to find a large field where he managed to set down the two planes. The planes slid along the bumpy grass for about 200 yards before coming to stop. Fuller proclaimed the landing had been better than those he had been able to make the day before when practicing at the airfield.

The accident made the news worldwide and Fuller was honored as a hero. Not only did he keep the planes from crashing and causing harm to those on the ground, but he managed to save about £40,000 in military hardware as the top plane was able to be removed and returned to service. The lower plane was used as an instructional airframe. Hewson’s injury was treated and he returned to service and was discharged in 1946. Sinclair survived the war, Fraser and his crew were killed on January 1, 1942 during another training exercise. Fuller became a decorated pilot and after seeing action and was posted back home as a flying instructor. He died on March 18, 1944 when his bike collided with a bus.

Well, sir, I did everything we’ve been told to do in a forced landing—land as close as possible to habitation or a farmhouse and, if possible, land into the wind. I did all that. There’s the farmhouse, and I did a couple of circuits and landed into the wind. She was pretty heavy on the controls, though! – Leonard Fuller

It’s amazing what one can do when one doesn’t know what one can’t do. – Jim Davis

Even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit — a magic blend of skill, faith, and valor — that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory. – Walter Lord

One of man’s most amazing self-deceptions is his pretense of having self-control while his life flies apart before his very eyes. – Vernon Howard

Also on this day: Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opened in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London was formed.
What a Headache – In 1982, the Tylenol murders began.
SEPAW – In 1966, the Chevrolet Camero was put on the market.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2014
1967 Chevrolet Camaro

1967 Chevrolet Camaro

September 29, 1966: Chevrolet Camaro hits the market. The Ford Mustang had been in production since 1964 and Chevy needed a response in the sports car market. Reports leaked in April 1965 of a new car, Panther, coming soon. On June 21, 1966 a telegram was sent out to about 200 automotive journalists. It was signed by John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations – SEPAW Secretary. The next day they got another telegram about the Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World’s first and last meeting on June 28 and signed by the same person.

On June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Detroit. It was the first time fourteen cities were hooked up in real time for a press conference using telephone lines. Pete Estes, Chevrolet General Manager, announced a new car line, project designation XP-836. Like many other Chevrolet products: Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette, the new car line’s name would start with the letter C. Camaro. When asked what it was, the audience was told it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”

On September 12, the world got its first look at a press preview in Detroit. A week later, the car was shown in Los Angeles. A public introduction was made on September 26 and on this day, the car was finally available in dealerships for the 1967 model year. This first generation Camaro had a rear-wheel drive and was available as a 2-door coupe or convertible with 2+2 seating. Engines came in a variety of sizes and power with both V6 and V8 varieties. It was hoped that the front engine, rear wheel drive would favorably compare with the Mustang, something the rear-engined Corvair could not do.

The car was produced from 1967 to 2002 when it went out of production for a few years. The fifth generation Camaro was a complete redesign and became available in 2010. The LS and LT models are powered by a 312 hp V6 engine with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The SS model is powered by a 426 hp V8 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 400 hp automatic transmission. The new generation also sits on a Zeta platform body which is a 2-door coupe or convertible. The 2014 model year also brought back the Z/28 model Camaro and the body design was once again updated. The new Z/28 car comes with 7.0 liter LS7 V8 engine which produces 505 hp which is the same engine used in the Z06 Corvette. There are many upgrades available in the Camaro which help produce faster speeds and quicker lap times. Also, like the original, air conditioning is available but only as an option.

The inside of the old Camaro smelled like asphalt and desire, gasoline and dreams. – Maggie Stiefvater

I love fast cars… and to go too fast in them. – Lara Flynn Boyle

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. – George Best

Fast cars are my only vice. – Michael Bay

Also on this day: Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London were formed.
What a Headache – In 1982, the Tylenol murders began.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2013


September 29, 1954: The European Organization for Nuclear Research is established when their charter is ratified by the 12 founding Member States. Already functioning as a provisional body, they were now globally recognized. After WWII, Europe’s place as a bastion for scientific research was losing ground. In December 1949 the first proposal for a united European scientific community was set forth. French, Italian, and Danish scientists called for a cohesive unit to merge not only findings, but funding.

The French name for the group was Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nulcéaire or CERN. The pure physics research of the day concerned the study of the insides of the atom, hence “nuclear.” One of the first massive projects was the building of a particle accelerator. Built in 1957, it provided CERN researchers with beams for particle and nuclear physics experiments. This early accelerator worked for 33 years before being retired in 1990. A new and improved accelerator continued using ISOLDE (a particular type of beam).

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee developed a distributed information system for CERN. His boss called the system “vague, but exciting” so work continued on the infant system. Berners-Lee saw his fledgling system as a way for scientists around the globe to share news. By Christmas 1990 a new little idea was blossoming across the planet. The World Wide Web was emerging. Tweaks and debugging, refinement of systems, hardware upgrades and by 1994 there were 10,000 servers and 10 million users on the web.

Today, the world’s premiere scientific researchers still hold physics as their fundamental basis for study. They wish only to find out what the Universe is made of and how it works. There are now 20 Member States (all European) with many non-European countries also involved. CERN employs 2,500 people who build and design the accelerators as well as help with the running of scientific experiments. About 8,000 visiting scientists (half the world’s particle physicists), come to CERN for their research. They represent 580 universities and 85 nationalities. CERN is located on the Switzerland-France border – literally.

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” – Edwin Powell Hubble

“Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.” – Theodore Roszak

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” – Wernher von Braun

“Physics is imagination in a straight jacket.” – John Moffat

“If we wish to make a new world we have the material ready. The first one, too, was made out of chaos.” – Robert Quillen

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is the highest energy particle collider every constructed and is said to be one of the great engineering milestones of mankind. It took ten years to build with construction beginning in 1998 and being completed in 2008. It was built for many different experimental uses but one of the most widely talked about was the proving or disproving of the Higgs boson which was predicted by the supersymmeric theories. The structure lies in a tunnel with a circumference of 17 miles which is 574 feet below the surface near Geneva, Switzerland. It went live on September 10, 2008 but only nine days later a faulty electrical connection caused an explosion and extensive damage. It took fourteen months to repair the damage and the LHC was again functioning on November 20, 2009.

Also on this day: Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London were formed.
What a Headache – In 1982, the Tylenol murders began.

What a Headache

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2012

Mary Kellerman

September 29, 1982: Twelve-year-old Mary Kellerman dies. Mary was from Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Adam Janus of Arlington, Heights, Illinois was next to die. Adam’s brother Stanley and his sister-in-law also both died. Next, Mary McFarland of Elmhurst, Illinois succumbed. Paula Prince of Chicago and Mary Reiner of Winfield died in similar incidents. Seven people died mysteriously and it was finally noticed that all of them had been taking Extra-Strength Tylenol. As soon as the link was noticed, urgent warnings were broadcast and police drove through Chicago neighborhoods yelling warnings over loudspeakers.

All seven had died from taking potassium cyanide laced capsules of the Tylenol product. After Adam died in the hospital, his brother and sister-in-law were grieving at his house when both of them took a capsule from the same bottle. They both died shortly thereafter. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, manufactures the pills used for minor pain relief as well as fever control. They researched the containers and found that they came from different factories. It is theorized that the killer went around to local supermarkets and drug stores and tampered with the unsold bottles of Tylenol. It is thought they were taken, the pills adulterated, and then returned to shelves for unsuspecting people to purchase.

In the immediate aftermath, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) distributed warnings to hospitals and distributors. They pulled products from shelves and halted production and advertising. On October 5, 1982, they issued a country wide recall of Tylenol products. There were about 31 million bottles in circulation with a “street value” of about $100 million. When it was discovered that only capsules were affected, the company offered to exchange any capsules for solid pills containing acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. They also offered a $100,000 reward for the capture and conviction of what became known as the “Tylenol killer”. It has never been collected.

The FBI investigated the crimes using the code name TYMURS for the project. While there were some suspects, there has never been an arrest. James W. Lewis did serve time for attempted extortion – he wrote a letter to J&J demanding $1 million to stop the poisonings. He served time for extortion, but denies he actually did the poisoning and it was never proved otherwise. A conspiracy theory offers that the poisonings were done at a distribution center and J&J covered up the evidence. This has never been proven, either. The long term effect of these seven unsolved murders are the rigid anti-tampering laws now enacted in the US. There have also been many reforms in packaging of most consumable goods.

Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster. – from the Washington Post

We don’t believe the nation is smothered with tainted Tylenol. – Owen J. McClain

A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache. – Catherine the Great

I do not envy the headache you will have when you awake. In the meantime, dream of large women. – Cary Elwes

Also on this day:

Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London were formed.

The Met

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2011

Traditional light outside Metropolitan Police Stations (photo by Canley)

September 29, 1829: The Metropolitan Police of London is founded. Today, called the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), this group is responsible for Greater London’s security, except for the “square mile” of London under the protection of the City of London Police. They are also tasked with coordinating and leading efforts against terrorism as well as protection of the British Royal Family and some senior officials of the government.

As of February 2011, the MPS had 52,111 personnel. This included 33,358 sworn police officers, 4,226 Special Constables, 14,332 civilian police staff, and 4,520 non-sworn Police Community Support Officers. There are also volunteers to help things run smoothly. MPS is the largest police force in Great Britain and one of the largest in the world. Their annual budget is £4.1 billion. (The cost in 1829 was £194,126.) The boss is called the Commissioner and the first to hold that post were Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne. Sir Paul Stephenson resigned the position in July after the News International phone hacking scandal broke. Tim Godwin is the Acting Commissioner.

The MPS is responsible for patrolling 32 London boroughs. The City of London is not considered a borough so it has its own force. Headquarters are at New Scotland Yard and there are 180 stations throughout the greater London region. The MPS has 22 boats for use as well as 3 helicopters. There are 250 dogs on the force, too. Their ranks are divided into twelve levels beginning with Special Constable and ending with the Commissioner’s post. Each rank has a particular badge and these along with the officer’s badge number must always be visible.

In order to cover the 32 separate boroughs, the MPS maintains a fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles. Area cars are used for patrol and pursuit duties, incident response vehicles respond to emergencies, traffic units, protected, carriers, control units, armored vehicles, and assorted others complete the list. Most of these have a service life of three to five years. In the early days, there was far less crime with 20,000 crimes reported in the area served in 1829. In 1998 there were 934,254 crimes reported. Probably the most famous crime spree covered by the MPS was the Whitechapel murders, Jack the Ripper’s crime spree.

“A police force, wherever they are, is made up of amazing people, and I respect them a great deal.” – Nancy McKeon

“And it is crucial of course that chief constables are able to make decisions within their budgets about how they deploy their police officers to the greatest effect to ensure that they’re able to do the job that the public want them to do.” – Theresa May

“Chemists employed by the police can do remarkable things with blood. They can weave it into a rope to hang a man.” – Margery Allingham

“I hadn’t realized until I covered the police beat just how seedy crime is.” – Jessica Savitch

Also on this day:
Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.

Lots of Water

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 25, 2011

Vasco Nuñez de Balboa

September 25, 1513: Vasco Nuñez de Balboa reaches the Pacific Ocean. Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. After learning about Columbus’s adventures in the New World, Balboa became interested in joining the expeditions going west. He and Juan de Los Angeles Cosa joined up with Rodrigo de Bastidas’s expedition. Bastidas had been given a license allowing him to keep 4/5 of the treasure found in the New World if he gave the other 1/5 to the royals back home, something called the Quito Real. So the adventurers set off in 1501.

With the proceeds from this first expedition, Balboa settled in Hispaniola in 1505. There he became a landed gentleman farmer growing crops and raising pigs. He was not successful in this enterprise and soon found himself in debt. In 1508, the Spanish king launched a couple more expeditions into Central America mostly in the region of what is today Panama. In order to escape his debtors, Balboa stowed away on one of the ships sailing west. Balboa and his dog hid away in a barrel and managed to make it to landfall. Although he was discovered aboard ship and threatened with abandonment, his superiors thought it might prove beneficial to have someone with his experience to help with the settlement and he was kept aboard ship.

Balboa did suggest that the first settlement be moved to where he knew the land was more fertile and the natives were less warlike. They met 500 battle ready warriors when they arrived but managed to best them in a fierce battle. Balboa was made mayor of the new town and later became governor of the region. There were rumors of a new sea off to the west supposedly rich in gold. Balboa recruited men to set out on an expedition to find this land.

Conquistadors returning to Balboa’s home base also spoke of the riches to be found by the South Sea. On September 1, Balboa and 190 Spaniards set out to find this sea. They sailed south and made landfall on September 6 near Careta’s territory. They reinforced their numbers with 1,000 of Careta’s men. They met other people along the way and had to fight their way southwest. Finally the men entered a mountain range near the Chucunaque River. A native had told them the South Sea was on the other side. As they topped the range and looked out, there on the far horizon was the fabled South Sea, or what we call the Pacific Ocean.

“One thing I supplicate your majesty: that you will give orders, under a great penalty, that no bachelors of law should be allowed to come here [the New World]; for not only are they bad themselves, but they also make and contrive a thousand inequities.” – Vasco Nuñez de Balboa

“I am actually not at all a man of science† I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador, an adventurer.” – Sigmund Freud

“Another of the great civilizations, the Aztecs, raised a breed of hairless chihuahuas especially for eating. When the Conquistadors arrived and found dog on the menu, they were of the same opinion as Mademoiselle, that this was evidence of the worst form of barbarism. They, the Spaniards, used dogs as befits civilized and Christian men – to hunt down fugitive Indians and tear them to pieces.” – Medlar Lucan

“When has it ever happened, either in ancient or modern times, that such amazing exploits have been achieved? Over so many climes, across so many seas, over such distances by land, to subdue the unseen and unknown? Whose deeds can be compared with those of Spain? Not even the ancient Greeks and Romans.” – Francisco Xeres

Also on this day:
The Supremes – In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.
Fasssssst – In 1997, a new land speed record was set.

Come Up and See Me Some Time

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 13, 2010

Threadneedle Street today

September 29, 1650: The Office of Addresses and Encounters is opened by Henry Robinson on Threadneedle Street, London, England. It was the first historically documented dating service. Threadneedle Street would become the site of the Bank of England in 1734 and later the London Stock Exchange as well.

Meeting the “right person” has always been a problem. Historically, many matches were made without any participation by the people being matched. But with more freedom to choose a mate, available mates had to be known. Many cultures have “matchmakers” that set up meetings between what seem like compatible people.

Dating services have changed over time. The personals section of newspapers have been around for decades. With a more mobile society, it is difficult to meet people and so many new ways to do so have been initiated. There are face-to-face businesses where a person can go and enter information about themselves and about the qualities sought in a prospective date. These work best in small communities.

Online dating services are now ubiquitous. People enter data via a website. They list their own qualities, what they are seeking in a mate, can supply pictures or videos, and then wait for responses. These are sometimes dinner and a movie type dates, or speed dates, where one can run through several prospective mates in an afternoon. There are also international dating services which are more in line with mail-order brides than simple dating.

“Being in therapy is great. I spend an hour just talking about myself. It’s kinda like being the guy on a date.” – Caroline Rhea

“A man on a date wonders if he’ll get lucky. The woman already knows.” – Monica Piper

“Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.” – Woody Allen

“There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection is the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.” – Judith Martin, Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior

Also on this day, in 1954 CERN was established.