October 22, 2014

Tuesday Open Line

An invention was demonstrated on this date in 1879 that lit the way for a dramatic change in the rhythm of Americans’ daily lives. At his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory, Thomas Edison set up the first incandescent light bulb, which burned for almost 14 hours. Within a few years, some cities had installed electric […]

Monday Open Line

Hotels and motels have long competed for customers on the comfort and amenities of their rooms. Long before cable, Wi-Fi, coffeemakers and hair dryers entered the picture, more basic things were offered as lures. This month in 1829, the 170-room Tremont hotel in Boston became the first in young America to be considered a modern, […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

One of the foundations of modern business and science– the accessibility of accurate calculations — was reinforced this month in 1887 when a patent was granted to Dorr Eugene Felt for the first adding machine known to be absolutely accurate at all times. Felt called his machine the “comptometer,” and some models were still in […]

Thursday Open Line

Today marks an anniversary that should please America’s power shoppers. On this date in 1868, the first full-line department store in the U.S. was organized in Salt Lake City. Called “Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution,” it opened the next year. The idea of the department store soon spread around the country, hailed for the convenience such […]

Wednesday Open Line

October is National Seafood Month, celebrating a nutrient rich food that is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Because it really does turn out to be brain food, government and health organizations recommend eating two seafood meals each week. Seafood used to be mostly confined to the coastal regions, but with advances in […]

Tuesday Open Line

This is National School Lunch Week — a name that probably conjures up visions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and other, more mysterious substances. But it’s time to note the wholesome lunches being served every day to schoolchildren across the nation and to thank the many patient people who prepare and serve them. There […]

Monday Open Line

With the national median age being 37 years, a bare majority of the country’s population can remember life in what might strike young people as a bleak, dark and difficult age. Practically unimaginable today, there was a time when the ubiquitous cell phone didn’t exist. Around 45 years ago, Amtrak offered a version of cellular […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Something that we all take for granted made its appearance on this date in 1933, when the first household detergent — named Dreft, and still in production — went on sale. The chemistry of making soap had changed little over hundreds of years, until shortages of fats for making soap during World War I sparked […]

Thursday Open Line

On this date in 1873, a sturdy and somber-looking building opened its doors to admit 17 long-term residents. Then it promptly closed and locked those doors. With the opening of the Indiana Reformatory Institution for Women and Girls in Indianapolis, the country had its first maximum-security penitentiary built for and managed by women. Formerly, female […]

Wednesday Open Line

Each morning, millions of Americans exhale the traditional weary sighs, as the alarm goes off and they have to face the ever-lengthening round-trip commute to work. However, a small but growing number of people are not in that situation–and that’s why this is National Work From Home Week. Available mostly to so-called white-collar occupations, employers […]

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