August 28, 2015

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, August 28th. What is believed to be the nation’s first radio commercial was broadcast on the new medium on this date 93 years ago. Station WEAF in New York City carried that first ad — not for soap or automobiles — but for a group of apartment buildings in Queens. The cost was $100 […]

Thursday Open Line

The U.S. petroleum industry got its start on this date in 1859. That’s when blacksmith William Smith saw a dark film floating on the surface of the water in a hole he was boring near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Rising from a depth of just 69 feet, it was the oil he was seeking for his employer, […]

Wednesday Open Line

It is said that “every dog has its day,” and according to an animal welfare activist in the Pacific Northwest, today is the day for every dog. Now in its 11th year, this is National Dog Day, about five months after National Puppy Day. The occasion has two goals. One is to honor dogs, which […]

Tuesday Open Line

The Smithsonian Institution, founded this month in 1846, is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 137 million artifacts in its collection. One was donated to the museum in August 1985 to mark the 25th anniversary of its commercial debut — the original Xerox 914 copying machine. Weighing in at just under 650 pounds, […]

Monday Open Line

One of America’s favorite snack foods is said to have originated on this date in 1853 near Saratoga Springs, New York. The chef at Moon’s Lake House, George Crum, was irritated at a customer who sent back his fried potatoes several times, saying they were too thick and soggy. Crum decided to slice potatoes wafer […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, August 21st. The American Bar Association was founded on this date in 1878 in Saratoga Springs, New York. One-hundred attorneys from 21 states were present at its first meeting. The legal profession then was far different from what we know today. There was no National Code of Ethics, lawyers generally worked alone and trained […]

Thursday Open Line

The nation’s first radio station licensed by the federal government began broadcasting in Detroit on this date in 1920 — station 8MK, now operating as WWJ. The station was owned by the Detroit News, and for some convoluted reasons, the station operated with an amateur license, which in 1922 was changed to commercial. The first […]

Wednesday Open Line

Two geniuses in the field of electronics whose inventions changed pastimes the world over were born in August. One was television pioneer Philo Farnsworth, whose 1906 birthday is noted today. He conceived the idea of television broadcasting while still in high school and realized it at the age of 21. The other was Lee de […]

Tuesday Open Line

An emotional and legal battle that lasted many decades ended on this date in 1920, changing the course of U.S. social and political history. The event was the certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment prohibits discrimination based on sex with regard to voting — in short, it extended to women the […]

Monday Open Line

Although the numbers have fallen sharply in the last few decades, still some people in the U.S. succumb to diseases that could have been prevented by immunization. Others experience pain, suffering and disability. That’s why this is National Immunization Awareness Month — highlighting the importance of vaccinations to a long and healthy life. The process […]

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