Eight of Humankind’s Best Years

by Rick Bretz

The 2013 New Year is approaching and well might be here by the time you read this.  With that obvious statement, I thought it would be a useless exercise in listing the best years human kind has produced. I’ve picked years with the important inventions and developments with an understandably subjective slant.

1800Invention of the battery; this event is a vital point in history.  This could well be the point where civilization begins.  Without batteries for everything from smart phones, remotes, and automobiles, humankind would be lost and forced to talk to each other.

Congress holds first session in an unfinished capitol building.  I could make a nasty comment about congressional recesses, unfinished government business such as budget approvals, and fiscal cliffs but I’ll refrain from easy targets.

Washington, DC officially established as nation’s capitol.

Library of Congress established with initial $5000 funding. After the War of 1812 when the British destroyed much of the library, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his vast collection of books to establish the library again in 1815. He sold his books to the library for $29,950.

Spain cedes Louisiana to France (Setting up the later purchase of the territory from France in 1803 during the Jefferson administration).

1770-The invention of the eraser; if this event had not occurred, many students taking class during pre-computer days would have been forced to submit first drafts.  For many of us, the eraser was an essential tool in math class.

1966-The development of Fiber Optic Cable, perfected by George Hockham and Charles Kao, gave Internet providers the ability to transmit massive amounts of data through optic fibers.  This is a huge development in our ability to watch YouTube videos.

fiber optics
fiber optics (Photo credit: go_nils)

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act.  This act lets someone request information from any government agency so that they can “sanitize” it.  Viewer can see this process in any number of documentaries when the host shows the audience an official government document with big blocks of black covering vital information to the story.

Star Trek premieres on NBC-TV. The birth of “Trekkie” Nation and a movie franchise.

1978– With the first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, launched on February 22, 1978, the world was on its way to traveling without maps. The system was fully integrated with the 24th satellite launched in 1993. It was just a matter of time before the public tossed the map in the back seat and mounted the latest and greatest GPS unit. Today older people can brag that they used to find restaurants and streets by using maps and their internal compasses in three feet of snow.  The GPS technology saves lives today by finding victims more easily. Moreover, the industry also creates thousands of jobs worldwide. In addition to those positives, it almost single-handedly eliminated arguments between spouses while traveling the nation’s highways.  Yes, it was a very good year.

 

The only GPS satellite on public display is at...
The only GPS satellite on public display is at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1859Internal Combustion Engine developed from a steam engine by Belgian inventor Etienne Lenoir. It was the spark that created road trips through the ages.  With Henry Ford perfecting the assembly line production system, cheaper cars would give people the ability to go mobile.  Humankind would invent the hangover later.

In related news, the first successful oil well was drilled near Titusville, PA.

1564-The invention of the lead pencil.  It must have been messy writing with a quill all those years, with ink dripping all over the place.  What is so perplexing to me is that someone didn’t invent the erasure until 1770-people used bread  to erase mistakes instead.

lead pencil
lead pencil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1848-The light went on in Joseph Swan’s head and he invented the light bulb.  With the help of Thomas Edison and some electric current, soon all of America and the world would be able to get up at night without banging their knees on the night stand.

English: Light bulb patent application. Photol...
English: Light bulb patent application. Photolithography reproduction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gas lights first installed in the White House during the James Polk administration.

1897Swiss Army Knife. The original “McGyver” before there was such a thing.  The only thing this knife doesn’t have is a paper clip and some string.    The “Offiziersmesser” or officer’s knife was developed in Schwyz, Switzerland by a surgical equipment manufacturer who didn’t like the fact that Germany supplied the Swiss Army with its knives.  US Army soldiers popularized the knife and started calling it the “Swiss Army Knife.”  Today the company, Victorinox, makes millions of them and sells them worldwide.

Victorinox Swiss Army knife, photo taken in Sw...
Victorinox Swiss Army knife, photo taken in Sweden. This is a Mountaineer model. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Edison patents his Kinetograph (movie camera)– later first movie critic invented.

Notable Links:

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jefflib.html

http://www.timbercon.com/history-of-fiber-optics/

http://www.nps.gov/gis/gps/history.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/101-gadgets-that-changed-the-world-398535.html

Eight December 25th significant events

In celebration of Christmas Day, here is a list of significant events occurring on December 25th.

Year 1989- The weather is cold in the winter months for most places. Japanese scientists decided they wanted to see how far they could force the temperature in the negatives.  They hit a record -271.8 degrees Celsius.  Personally, I’m building a fire in the fire-place at 0 degrees Celsius.

 

Emanuel Leutze's depiction of Washington's att...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Year 1776-On another cold day, General George Washington and his military force crossed the Delaware River so they could attack a Hessian mercenary unit at Trenton, NJ.  Washington attacked the unaware Hessians successfully and began the long road toward victory and independence.

 

John Philip Sousa, the composer of the song.
John Philip Sousa, the composer of the song. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Year 1896-John Philip Sousa writes “Stars and Stripes Forever.” for every marching band in the country.

Year 1855-The first outdoor hockey game is played using field hockey sticks and lacrosse balls. Royal Canadian Rifle unit soldiers started the game when clearing ice and snow from Lake Ontario.  Later, the game evolved into what we know today with the first indoor hockey game played on March 3, 1875 at Montreal, Canada.

Year 1818-The Christmas Hymn “Silent Night,” by Franz Joseph Gruber and Joseph Mohr is sung for the first time.

Year 336 or 337-Most sources state 336 but some have 337 as the first recorded celebration of Christmas in Rome.

English: Traveling by reindeer, Arkhangelsk, R...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Year 1939-The retail store Montgomery Ward introduces the ninth reindeer, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Born on December 25th– Believe or not, Robert L. Ripley, from Ripley’s Believe or Not fame, was born on this day. Also actor Humphrey Bogart, football players Larry Csonka, Kenny Stabler, and actress Sissy Spacek.

Janice Joplin and Sylvia Plath

by Rick Bretz

Artists express their tortured or exalted souls in a variety of ways.  They can use music and voice or the written word on paper. Either way, if the message has a medium and receiving audience, the result can move the human spirit. Artists are always looking for an emotional or intellectual response.  Sending sounds to an ear or words to the thought process can accomplish this, sometimes at the expense of the artists’ well-being. They are at once happy doing what they do best but seek more afterwards and find themselves wanting.

Cover of "Pearl"
Cover of Pearl

Janis Joplin and Sylvia Plath

Janis Joplin

Sylvia Plath

Born: January 19, 1943  Port Arthur, Texas Born:    October 27, 1932   Boston, Mass.
Died: October   4, 1970    Hollywood, Ca. Died: February 11, 1963   England
Cause: Accidental Heroin overdose Cause: Suicide by gas oven
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in   1995 First poet to receive Pulitzer Prize   after death in 1982
Known for distinctive voice Known for intense imagery and   alliteration
Lead singer for the group, “Big   Brother and the Holding Company Poetry: The Colossus (1960); Ariel (1965); Crossing the Water   (1971); Winter Trees (1972); The Collected Poems (1981)
Hits include: Piece of my Heart, Mercedes   Benz, Me and Bobby McGee Prose: The Bell Jar (1963) The   Journals of Sylvia Plath (1982) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia   Plath (2000, edited by Karen V. Kukil)

 

Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could try to analyze and compare these talented women but the best window into a soul is through their own words.

In the words of Janis Joplin

In the words of Sylvia Plath

“Onstage,   I make love to 25,000 people – then I go home alone.” “If they substituted the word “Lust”   for “Love” in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.”
“‘I   feel, you know, I hurt, please help.’ I’m saying words, man, and if I look at   an audience and they ain’t understanding me, it’s just like getting kicked in   the teeth.”

 

“Can you understand? Someone,   somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my   despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I   have so much – so very much to learn.”
On performing in concert, “…I dig   it! I dig it so much, man!” “Perhaps   when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously   near to wanting nothing.”

 

“People, whether they know it or not, like   their blues singers miserable. They like their blues singers to die   afterwards.”

 

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t   the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
“It used to make me very unhappy,   all that feeling. I just didn’t know what to do with it. But now I’ve learned   how to make feeling work for me.” How frail the human heart must be — a mirrored   pool of thought.

 

They were both lonely despite having many people around them.  Janice Joplin tried to find the answer through drugs and alcohol and died of an overdose way before she should have left us. Radio stations play her songs today and her CDs sell well.  Sylvia Plath used her depression to create works that are studied in school and university literature classes to this day.  They both live on through words and music.

Alexander Graham Bell and Johann (John) Roebling

English: Engraving of John Augustus Roebling
English: Engraving of John Augustus Roebling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rick Bretz

John Roebling and Alexander Graham Bell conquered barriers. John Roebling practiced construction engineering to break down barriers while Alexander Graham Bell used the art of communication transmitted by wires and electrical engineered devices.   One is famous for the Brooklyn Bridge while another is famous for the telephone.  However, both men accomplished much more during their lives than just those achievements they are known for in history books. John Roebling pioneered the construction of suspension bridges and built more in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other places as well as running a successful business in New Jersey. Bell in addition to inventing and perfecting the telephone, founded a school for speech and communication.   He also helped many people with diction and voice problems so they could function better during their daily lives.

Similarities   between Roebling and Bell

Alexander Graham Bell

Johann Augustus Roebling

Born: March 3, 1847-Edinburgh, Scotland Born: June 12, 1806-Muhlhausen, Prussia
Engineer, inventor, linguist, scientist Civil Engineer, innovator, designer, businessman
Educated overseas: Edinburgh University Educated overseas: Royal Polytechnic School
Invented and perfected telephone system to connect people and cities Built bridges to connect people and cities
Was recognized as a math talent at an early age Recognized for the ability to fix things at early age
Died:  August 2, 1922 Died:  July 22, 1869

 

John Augustus Roebling

John Roebling came early in the 19th Century and died before his time from complications  from an accident working on the beginning stages of the Brooklyn Bridge.  While surveying for the Brooklyn Bridge, his toes were crushed and had to be amputated.  He developed tetanus and later developed lockjaw.  He suffered a painful gruesome death after many seizures and lapsing in and out of a coma.  John Roebling taught his son, Washington Roebling, the business and kept him at his side during the planning stages of the bridge.  This enabled the bridge construction to continue after his death.

English: Aerial view of the John A. Roebling S...
English: Aerial view of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Roebling built other suspension bridges over the Ohio River from Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio as well as a railway suspension bridge over the Niagara River. In addition, Roebling built a suspension bridge over the Monongahela River at Pittsburgh, Pa., and four suspension aqueducts on the Delaware and Hudson Canals.  All of this while running a wire cable business in Trenton, New Jersey.

Roebling was a meticulous man who demanded perfection.  He also was a micro-manager who needed to approve and inspect every aspect of a project or business. Roebling was in the business of completing projects that were to be used by people.  Because of this, he was involved in every detail.  He eventually trusted two people during his professional life, his assistant and his son, Washington Roebling, who completed the Brooklyn Bridge after his father’s death.  While other engineer’s bridges failed after a few years, John Roebling’s bridges are still going strong to this day due to his calculations and use of wire strands.  Drivers and pedestrians are crossing the Brooklyn and Cincinnati Bridges today because of Roebling’s demanding standards.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Roebling

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun12.html

 

Alexander Graham Bell

Bell on the telephone in New York (calling Chi...
Bell on the telephone in New York (calling Chicago) in 1892 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While John Roebling connected people commercially and socially by giving them opportunities to cross one land mass to another, Alexander Graham Bell united one another through speech, communication, and the baby steps of information technology.

Alexander Graham Bell’s interest in speech, elocution, diction, communication patterns, and the physical development of Visible Speech was brought to him by his grandfather and father where he grew up in Scotland. Alexander’s father, Melville, became a leading authority on elocution and speech correction and Alexander began to learn about these techniques from his family.  After the family moved to Toronto, Canada, Alexander Bell accepted a position and began working at Boston School for Deaf Mutes in 1871 where he taught his father’s system of Visible Speech.  He taught there for only a semester but liked the Boston area and began tutoring deaf children on his own. He became successful at this business.

While Bell and his partners were working on sending multiple telegraph transmissions over the same wire on using different harmonic frequencies, he became interested in human voice transmission over those same wires.  He teamed up with another electrician to do this, Thomas Watson.  From 1974 to 1876, Bell and Watson worked on the harmonic telegraph and voice transmission. The stories of the first phone call have different versions but the important part is that Watson heard a sound transmitted over a wire. On March 10, 1876, Bell and Watson were working on their devices in the lab and Bell likely heard a noise over the wire and told Watson called to his assistant.  Watson probably heard Bell’s voice over the wire also, which became the first telephone call.  From there, Bell increased the distance of the wire transmissions.  On July 9, 1877, the Bell Telephone Company was organized and it was just a matter of time before a phone was in everyone’s home.  He had to defend his telephone patent over the next 18 years in court 550 times but he beat them all and the company fortunes and Bell’s fame grew. Thomas Edison had a part in improving the telephone which the invention of the microphone.  The microphone aided in the sound level so that the user didn’t need to shout into the receiver.

English: Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell
English: Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to the telephone, Bell founded the Volta Laboratory where people could devote their efforts to science.  He developed metal jacket that helped people with lung problems, engineered a metal detector to local bullets in bodies, and invented an audiometer that tested a person’s hearing ability.  He founded the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf in 1880.  Bell also met and worked with Helen Keller during this period, becoming lifelong friends. He described what Anne Sullivan did to help Keller as a hugely successful experiment rather than a miracle. When he died on August 2, 1922, the entire telephone system was turned off for one minute as a tribute.

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-graham-bell-9205497

Two pioneers in their fields who accomplished a great deal furthering the idea that people from different countries, states, cultures, neighborhoods and abilities  can connect in  different ways.

497

The Top Eight Women Inventors

Man does not have a monopoly on inventions.  It just seems that way because Mr. Bell, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Edison have been hogging all of the publicity the last 250 years or so. In fact, several women have made significant contributions to industry, the home, science and information technology.  Some were the first to contribute to their particular field and forge new accomplishments for others to advance.  If it weren’t for these women on this list, life would be more difficult today in many ways.

 

  1. Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000)  She is best known as movie star actress during the WWII era.  She starred in “Samson and Delilah”, “Algiers” and many others.  She also wanted to contribute to the World War II effort by figuring out how to prevent the jamming of and intercepting of frequency communication systems by the enemy.  She and her co-inventor, George Anthiel, figured out the technique of “frequency hopping” or what they call today, “spread-spectrum” communication, proving that she was not  just a pretty face for the movies.  This technology is used today for everything from military weapons to cell phone transmissions.  They received a patent for it but it didn’t earn her any significant wealth.  In 1997 she was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award.

 

  1. Sybilla Masters (died 1720) She was a significant contributor to the field of farming and weaving.  Masters was the first recorded American woman inventor.  She earned a patent for “Cleansing, Curing, and Refining of Indian-Corn Growing in the Plantations” and for a new methods for weaving straw for hats and bonnets. However, her husband had to put his name on the patent because of the laws at the time in 1715.  She deserves credit now for not being recognized back then.

 

  1. Josephine Garis Cochran (1839-1913) The world’s population owes this woman a collective thank you.  The reason?  She invented the first      working automatic dishwasher in 1889.  It was first shown at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  The next phase for anyone out there, of course, is an automatic loader and un-loader.

 

  1. Marion Donovan (1917-1998) She invented the first waterproof, disposable diaper in 1950. The key word is “waterproof”.  Amazingly, business leaders weren’t interested in this at first, which showed an incredible lack of understanding to the plight of their wives and mothers.  She wasn’t discouraged.  She started her own company, Donovan Enterprises, and then sold it for a million dollars later.  At last the sweet smell of success!

 

  1. Grace  Murray Hopper (1906-1992) An engineer, educator and a naval officer rising to the rank of Rear Admiral, every computer programmer owes a debt of gratitude to her.  She invented  the concept of compiling programming languages. She popularized the term, “debugging” which refers to a weeding out code errors in a program.  She is a legend in the Navy and in the fields of Mathematics and Computer Engineering.

 

Ada Lovelace Day, March 24, 2009
Ada Lovelace Day, March 24, 2009 (Photo credit: clvrmnky)
  1. Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace (1815-1852) She was a mathematician and a collaborator with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Analytical Engine, who built the first mechanical computer that could calculate numbers.  She also foresaw that computers could do more than calculate numbers, such as composing music, creating graphics and would be used for practical and scientific use. She also wrote the first computer program (Bernoulli numbers) for calculating numbers for Babbage’s machine. She was indeed a pioneer and a profit of the computer age.

 

Marie Curie
Marie Curie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Marie Curie (1867-1934) Here is a woman who literally put her life on  the line for science. She was a polish physicist and chemist who      discovered radioactive metals such as Radium and Polonium.  She also discovered that the harmful properties of x-rays could kill tumors.  She made a decision to not seek patents for methods of processing  radium or how it could be used for medical applications. Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. She died of Leukemia caused by overexposure to radioactive material during her years of research.

 

 

  1. Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972) She was a pioneer in the field of ergonomics as well as an author, industrial engineer and inventor.      Gilbreth invented several helpful items for the kitchen to make our lives easier.  Everyone should give a collective bow of thank you (she saved our backs) to her because she invented the trashcan with the foot-pedal lid-opener.  She conducted several significant Time and Motion studies that simplified and improved industrial work. She also determined that stress affected worker efficiency as well as lack of sleep. While working for General Electric she conducted interviews with women to determine the proper height for stoves, sinks and other kitchen appliances.

Do you have any that you think significant?  Leave me a comment and I will respond.

The Chernobyl Disaster and Fukushima Accident

by Rick Bretz

Nuclear power has the ability to create energy, liberate countries from other energy sources like coal, oil, and water, and therefore pull a nation’s struggling economy forward after years of lagging behind other nations.  In the process, the same nuclear power source can produce tension between players on the world stage as North Korea and Iran are doing today or force every global leader to deal with a disaster and the environmental fallout that leads to an energy policy debate about the viability of nuclear reactors. Nuclear energy has positives and negatives but the one point every one agrees with  is that nuclear accidents are devastating to the environment and can wipeout entire city populations if the fallout isn’t controlled.   As with any new technology, the process and procedures continually evolve.  Engineers learn from design flaws and build systems that have better fail safes.  Operator training improves as scientists and political leaders develop better ways to handle the unique challenges of running nuclear power centers.

The Chernobyl reactor #4
The Chernobyl reactor #4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is a comparison of how two disasters were handled.  Research indicates that Chernobyl and Fukushima have both been labeled “Accidents”.  I prefer to call Chernobyl a “Disaster” because several lives were lost.  Fukushima should be labeled an “Accident” because no loss of life has been documented from it.  The lives were lost due to the Tsunami.  The chart below shows how the two governments handled the crisis, and more importantly, how much Japan may have learned from other nuclear problems, including the United States’ own nuclear accident, “Three Mile Island.”

                                                                                A Comparison

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Fukushima Nuclear Accident
Year of accident -1986 April 26 Year of accident –11 March 2011
Reason for Accident-Flawed reactor design. Power surge. Lack of communication between operators and Soviet government Reason for Accident-Earthquake followed by Tsunami,  generators on bottom floor. Lack of countermeasures based on current scientific research.
Inadequately trained operators Failure of imagination by designers and engineers
Active reactor sustained steam explosion followed by second explosion Partial reactor meltdown and loss of power to cooling systems   after  8 hours
Radioactive fallout-the radio nuclides reached as far as Britain and   contaminated large areas of the Soviet Union, including Belarus, Ukraine, and   Europe. Radioactive fallout-The Chernobyl accident released 10 times more   material into the atmosphere than the Fukushima accident.
Immediate casualties-50 people died immediately from radiation   poisoning that includes the first responders (fireman, helicopter pilots,   soldiers and miners) Immediate casualties-21 plant workers have been affected by radiation   sickness.  Several thousand people   died from the Tsunami.
Long term casualties unofficially in the thousands, still assessing. Long term casualties-No radiation linked deaths have been reported,   still assessing
Environmental Impact-livestock, vegetation, top soil, the surrounding   communities and fallout that was moved by the atmosphere to surrounding   countries Environmental Impact-More than 70,000 people have been evacuated   within a 12 mile radius of the plant.
Health Impact-4,000 children and adolescents contracted thyroid   cancer soon, 4 died. Health Impact-Still being monitored.
Immediate Public Information-Information about the severity was   withheld from the public for several days Immediate Public Information-Public was informed and evacuated as   soon as possible after Tsunami
IAEA Severity Level-7 IAEA Severity Level-Initially set at 5 and then raised to 7
Several years before area will be habitable Several years before area will be habitable

There are websites devoted to the analyzing what went wrong and how the fallout from Chernobyl affected the surrounding towns.   YouTube has several documentaries devoted to how the nuclear disaster was handled by the Soviet government. What is interesting about each accident is the way information was publicized to local towns and to the workers dealing with the problems.  It is study in how risk and crisis communication affected the aftermath of each accident.

The Chernobyl disaster became more of disaster because officials did not tell primary people in government the severity of the problem.  Therefore, they could not make decisions about moving people from the local area, specifically the town of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl plant where most of the reactor’s workers lived with their families.  I took several days before the families were moved from the area. Six hundred workers answered the call or the order to clean up the nuclear debris after the explosion as well as pour sand and boron from the air by using helicopter flying over.  All the while, pilots and other workers were absorbing massive amounts of radiation.  According to the NRC, the Nuclear Regulatory Comission, 600 workers initially worked at the site immediately after the accident. Among those, 134 had radiation sickness.  Of these, 28 died within the first four months of the disaster. In addition to the pilots who were hovering and flying over the reactor for long periods, miners were brought in to dig a tunnel underneath the reactor where a concrete sarcophagus would eventually be built.  The miners were not told how much danger they were near when digging the tunnel right underneath the disabled reactor. The Chernobyl disaster is a testament to how people can answer the call.  The Soviet era miners who are still alive to tell the story have commented in documentaries on the subject that who else would have been able to do it but us.

 

The Fukushima accident was caused by an Earthquake and the resulting Tsunami which caused the meltdown of three reactors from the loss of power to the generators. This is different from a power surge that caused the Chernobyl disaster.   Two different paths of communication exist when accidents and natural disasters occur.  One is crisis communication that originates from the government and local agencies through the use of corporate media to the citizens affected by the natural or man made disaster.  The other is risk communication that relies on the layers of government and other agencies to pass on vital information so decisions can be made and the public alerted.  The Soviet government failed on many levels pertaining to Chernobyl while the communication process from the Japanese government to various affected groups performed better during and after the Fukushima crisis.  Informing the public and making the decision to move citizens within the danger zone out of the area is one aspect of the disaster that went relatively smoothly, considering the Japanese government was also dealing with the damage done by the Tsunami.

Nuclear power is here to stay.  The challenge is to learn from the past while having enough imagination to think about future problems and put measures in place to prevent any accidents or disasters that may have dire consequences.

 

Top Eight July 4th Historical Events

Posted by Rick Bretz

The Fourth of July holiday is approaching.  Here is a top eight list of events that occurred on July 4th from the milestone timeline.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. 1776- Declaration of Independence-US gains independence from Britain.

Without this event nothing else can happen, especially all of the family get togethers and cook-outs.  

2. 1802- The US Military Academy opened at West Point, NY.

The US Military Academy at West Point trains officers so that America can experience many July 4ths.  This is a real important one

3. 1796-1st Independence Day celebration is held.

Let the celebration begin now all we need is for someone to invent the grill.  (and the cooler)

4. 1884-Statue of Liberty presented to US in Paris.

Scores of immigrants saw this statue way before docking in New York.

5. 1894-Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of 1st US autos at 6 MPH.

First the auto, then the highways and then the July 4th trips to destinations unknown.  Road Trip!

6. 1970-Casey Kasem‘s “American Top 40” debuts on LA radio.

OK, auto, highways, tunes and then ROAD TRIP!!

7. 1960-The number of stars on the American flag was increased to 50 to honor the new state of Hawaii.

It took a while but we got a nice round number of 50.

8. 1826 – Former American presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die, fifty years to the day after the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Two stellar personalities who were responsible for building the United States passing away on the same day, hours apart, on America’s birthday. Maybe it was written in the stars!–and stripes.

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