Monday Open Line


A dream of the ages became reality 109 years ago today, on a windswept sand dune at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, as the Wright brothers made the world’s first powered flight. With Orville and Wilbur alternating as pilot, the plane made four flights that day. The longest distance covered was 852 feet in 59 seconds — an average speed of 31 miles an hour. In only a few years, the airplane became an important part of America’s economy and defense, as well as a form of transportation relied upon by an increasing number of people. Now, there are 265 aircraft manufacturers in the U.S., making and rebuilding planes worth just over $90 billion year. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, December 16th. About four-out-of-10 U.S. households include a dog. Across the country, there are more than 72 million dogs, about 1.7 per household. Most of these dogs are mixed breed, many rescued from the pound. All dogs are loved by their owners. Some are so proud of their purebred dogs that they train them to compete in prestigious kennel shows. One such show is winding up today in Orlando, Florida — the Eukanuba National Championship, with top dogs from around the world competing for the largest cash prizes in the sport. Around the U.S., there are nearly 70,000 kennels, making $3.6 billion a year. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.

Saturday, December 15th. One of America’s most influential furniture designers, a woman named Ray Eames, was born 100 years ago today. With her husband, Charles Eames, the couple made furniture out of inexpensive but durable materials, such as plywood, allowing everyday Americans to buy fashionable furniture. One of their best known examples is a modernistic chair with a matching ottoman, still made today, known simply as the “Eames Chair.” The couple is also credited with influencing architecture, textiles, and photography. There are nearly 47,000 furniture stores across the U.S., and they sell close to $60 billion worth of furniture each year. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.