August 24, 2016

Wednesday 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 by a customer who sent back his fried potatoes several times, saying they were too thick and soggy. Crum decided to slice potatoes wafer […]

Tuesday Open Line

The War of Independence was barely over when the young United States faced a secession movement. On this date in 1784, several counties in a territory appended to North Carolina sought admittance as a new state, called Franklin. These counties were on the eastern fringe of a large tract stretching from the Allegheny Mountains to […]

Monday Open Line

Two ordinary items used in many American households were created by New York City residents on this date in August. In 1865, the first liquid soap was patented by William Sheppard. His formula flowed from mixing a pound of regular soap with 100 pounds of ammonia solution, then dissolving it in water to the consistency […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, August 19th. Even in this Internet world, many of us still receive printed catalogs through the mail. The first such catalog — more of a flyer — was sent out by Montgomery Ward this week in 1872. That first catalog consisted of only one page, featuring 163 items for mail order purchase. By 1904, […]

Thursday 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 […]

Wednesday Open Line

Hand-tools have a long history.  Evidence of hammer-stones and hand axes date from about 2.6 million years ago.  That’s well over 2 million years before the appearance of Homo sapiens about 200,000 years ago.  Nearly all of those millennia passed before the development of the monkey wrench.  On this date in 1835, the adjustable or […]

Tuesday Open Line

It’s still summer break for many kids, but already in progress is one of the nation’s largest seasonal events; one that exchanges leisure for classroom study. It’s back to school time. From nursery school to college, over 77 million students are headed to the classroom — that’s more than one-out-of-four of the total U.S. population […]

Monday Open Line

Chairs have a history going back to the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, or even earlier in antiquity. But a couple of variants that no one was anxious to try out debuted this month in the 19th century. In 1890, the electric chair was used for the first time in Auburn, New York, to carry out a […]

Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, August 12th. This date 35 years ago is significant in the advance of the digital age. On August 12, 1981, IBM introduced its model 5150 — which soon became known simply as the “PC.” There had been consumer computer models for some years before, such as the early Apple and Commodore, but the IBM […]

Thursday Open Line

A company founded in Seattle this month some decades ago has grown into a global titan in its industry.  Its business isn’t web-based retailing, building aircraft, or brewing coffee.  United Parcel Service began in 1907 as the American Messenger Company, founded by 19-year old Jim Casey for deliveries around Seattle on foot, or on bicycles.  […]

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