July 22, 2014

Tuesday Open Line

On these scorching hot summer days, with the nation’s average warmest day of the year coming up shortly, most of us welcome ducking in from the heat 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 […]

Monday 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 no sign of waning in popularity. […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

On this date in 1955 in West Milton, New York, a species of turning swords into plowshares was realized. That was when the Atomic Energy Commission sold electric power from a General Electric nuclear reactor to the Niagara-Mohawk Power Corporation for civilian distribution. Some 10,000 kilowatts were supplied from the reactor, which was a prototype […]

Thursday Open Line

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 when it opened the first dental school associated with a medical school. It was also the first to be permanently […]

Wednesday 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 […]

Tuesday Open Line

Major league baseball pauses today to play its 85th All-Star Game. Today’s event is being held at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins. The first All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. A homer by Babe Ruth helped the American League defeat the National League 4-2. […]

Monday Open Line

Almost every home has at least one. They can be made out of cloth, plastic, or metal. Seamstresses and tailors use them, as do professional craftsmen and weekend do-it-yourselfers. It’s the tape measure, patented on this date in 1868 by Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut. His version had a feature still used today […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

The distant reaches of planet Earth came into focus for the average American on this date in 1962 with the successful relay of a trans-Atlantic signal by Telstar, the first privately owned satellite launched the day before. While a major communications advance and a sensation of the day, Telstar did not last long. It failed […]

Thursday Open Line

On this date in 1890, more than 30 years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, women in one of these United States enjoyed the right to vote, as Wyoming became the 44th state to join the union. Carved out of the Dakota, Idaho, and Utah territories, the Wyoming Territory was an important route for settlers […]

Wednesday Open Line

One of the most important inventions of our times was announced in early July 1948 in a press release by Bell Laboratories in New Jersey — the transfer resistance device — far better known as the transistor. The small, simple, and tough transistor replaced fragile and heat-generating vacuum tubes, which had been the heart of […]

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