Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, May 27th. The difficulty of neatly painting cars two different colors led to the patenting of one of the world’s most practical on this date in 1930. Five years earlier, Richard Drew, while working for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, had developed an easy-to-peel, glue-backed masking tape.  It considerably eased the task of separating two-tone paint jobs on new cars, which until then involved moistened plaster tape. Then, he expanded its use by introducing a clear backing. The result, an immediate hit, became known as Scotch Tape. Now, it’s just one of 525 manufacturers of various adhesive products produced by the nation’s economy, a sector that generates sales of more than $12 billion a year and provides jobs for about 20,000 people. Profile America is beginning  its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Saturday, May 28th. The first recorded automobile accident involving two vehicles occurred on this date in 1896 in New York City. Henry Wells of Springfield, Massachusetts was driving a new Duryea Motor Wagon, the first automobile model to be made and sold in the U.S. Unfortunately, he collided with Evelyn Thomas of New York, riding a bicycle. Thomas went to the hospital with a broken leg, and Wells spent the night in jail. Now, there are close to 5.7 million motor vehicle accidents reported to police per year, with nearly 30,000 of them fatal crashes. There are more than 31,000 insurance carriers in the U.S., with auto insurance premiums adding to the industry’s $1.7 trillion of annual business done. Profile America is beginning its 19th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, May 29th. This date 12 years ago was the Saturday before Memorial Day, and thus appropriate for the dedication ceremony for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Authorized in 1993, the memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the global conflict, including the 400,000 dead. The memorial received nearly $2 million in donations and pledges, thanks in part to the efforts of actor Tom Hanks as spokesman for the campaign. Currently, of the nearly 21 million living veterans in the U.S., there are more than 1.5 million from the Second World War, including some 114,000 that served in the Korean War as well. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <>.