July 30, 2015

Thursday Open Line

The national government’s broad involvement in individual health insurance goes back to this date 50 years ago. That’s when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments, which established Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation was introduced in Congress in March 1965, and went through more than 500 amendments before being passed by large majorities in […]

Wednesday Open Line

Long before there were automobiles in the U.S., good roads were badly needed to get farm produce to market and to allow people to go visiting and shopping without battling mud. An American professor who had emigrated from Belgium — Edward de Smedt — invented an asphalt mix, which could be applied in sheets to […]

Tuesday Open Line

The nation’s love affair with automobiles is generations old. Our devotion can be traced down through the decades by looking at advertising, as cars progressed from romantic if noisy new playthings to a near necessity in our vast country. The first known national ad promoting a car appeared at the end of July 1898 in […]

Monday Open Line

The origins of the humble hamburger are unclear, but a precursor traces back as far as the fifth century in Imperial Rome. There are several claimants for the distinction of serving the first recognizable, made in the USA hamburger. One of them was Oscar Weber Bilby of Oklahoma. He is supposed to have served the […]

Thursday Open Line

With the nation’s average warmest day of the year coming up tomorrow, many of us welcome ducking into a cool office, business, or home. For this relief, we can thank Willis Carrier, who in the depths of winter in 1906 received a patent for what he called an “apparatus for treating air.” His idea has […]

Wednesday Open Line

The home front during World War II had to cope with some irritating impositions, notably gas rationing and a lack of new cars and tires. But what for many was a real crisis was coffee rationing. Decreed in 1942 because of hoarding and supply concerns, it proved very unpopular. Late this month in 1943, President […]

Tuesday Open Line

A substantial and recurring feature of national media reporting — on TV, in newspapers and on the web — is devoted to nutrition and health. There, doctors and public health officials express concerns about obesity, diabetes, and the quality of the diet of many Americans. However, junk food shows little sign of waning in popularity. […]

Monday Open Line

It took a while after the invention of the gas-powered automobile by Karl Benz in Germany in 1886 for someone to steal the wheels. The first stolen car is said to be of a French aristocrat’s Peugeot in Paris in 1896. In this country, the first auto theft is believed to have occurred in St. […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, July 17th. Harvard University, founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Thus, it was already a bit long in the tooth when on this date in 1867, it opened the first dental school associated with a medical school. It was also the first to […]

Thursday Open Line

On this date in 1935, drivers in Oklahoma City were confronted with America’s first parking meter, collecting rent for a space on the corner of First Street and Robinson Avenue. While local drivers could avoid that single space, they couldn’t escape for long. That meter was just the first of many to sprout up in […]

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