June 30, 2016

Thursday Open Line

On this date 45 years ago, the sun set on our old concept of coming of age. The 26th amendment to the Constitution became law effective July 1, lowering the age requirement for voting in national elections from 21 to 18 years old.  In 1972, the amendment added some 11 million voters to the electorate. […]

Wednesday Open Line

On June 28, 1969, the first National Hollerin’ Contest was held in Spivey’s Corner in Sampson County. The contest is the product of the farm culture of the Sandhills region. Before the advent of the telephone, yelling loudly, or hollering, was the primary way farmers and neighbors communicated in rural North Carolina. As new technologies made […]

Tuesday Open Line

America’s first commercial oil refinery was put in operation this month in 1860. It was built in Titusville, Pennsylvania, on the banks of Oil Creek. That town was the site of the country’s first productive oil well in 1859, and these developments made the area some 100 miles north of Pittsburgh the cradle of America’s […]

Monday Open Lines

Consumers’ options for managing their finances were greatly broadened this week in 1934, after President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act the day before, promoting the nationwide formation of credit unions. These differ from banks by being member-owned and controlled. Credit unions are nonprofit institutions where groups of people can save, borrow, and obtain […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, June 24th. In the past, hot summer days meant that some enterprising youngsters in the neighborhood would set up a lemonade stand or the family would share a pitcher of iced tea on the front porch to cool off. In recent times, we usually resort to something in a bottle or can to slake […]

Thursday Open Line

On this date in 1868, Christopher Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin received a patent for the first practical typewriter. Produced in 1873, the Sholes machine even coined the term “type-writer.” It also featured today’s familiar but awkward placement of keys. The arrangement was specifically designed to slow down typing by widely spreading the most common letters, […]

Wednesday Open Line

A musical instrument requiring much skill to play, but with few popular outlets for performing, is the spurned accordion. During June, fans of this neglected musical instrument have been celebrating National Accordion Awareness Month, with the idea of increasing its popularity beyond polka bands. The earliest ancestors of the accordion are traced to China of […]

Tuesday Open Line

One man’s devotion to classical music led to a major advance in the music recording industry. Dr. Peter Goldmark of CBS Labs was fed up with the frequent record disc flips and swaps required to play a symphony in the then-current 78-rpm format, which held only three to five minutes per side. So he developed […]

Monday Open Line

This week 50 years ago, the Beatles’ song “Paperback Writer” topped the pop music charts in America. This ode to middlebrow writing aspirations followed by 106 years the introduction of paperback books by some earlier Beadles — the brothers Erastus and Irwin Beadle. In early June 1860, the New York City publishers issued the first […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, June 17th. America’s first accident insurance company was chartered on this date in 1863 in Hartford, Connecticut. It was the Travelers Insurance Company — still with us today as the Travelers Companies — and its first policies insured against loss during periods of travel only. In 1864, the charter was amended to cover all […]

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