Well, for starters, we know he was a SWSM from France. Yes, SWSM stands for “single, white, straight male” whose occupation is listed as an inventor and photographer.

Born on November 18,1787, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre is best known for inventing the Daguerreotype. A form of photography and a process which was “a one-of-a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper,” according to www.metmuseum.org.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre

In addition, “… it was sensitized with iodine vapors, exposed in a large box camera, developed in mercury fumes, and stabilized (or fixed) with salt water or “hypo” (sodium thiosulphate).”

And although Daguerre was required to reveal certain details involving the process, “he wisely retained the patent on the equipment necessary to practice the new art.”

However, “Daguerre’s invention did not spring to life fully grown, although in 1839 it may have seemed that way.
Continue reading “The Invention of Daguerreotype Photography”

Long before a rapper delighted television audiences with his wizardry and spray paint, Henry Ford put the world on wheels.

Henry Ford Motor Company
It was September 27, 1908 … and a Model T was born.

A Piquette Avenue manufacturing plant in Detroit, Michigan was the birthplace of the Ford’s first Model T. Business started off slow but demand developed quickly. After an initial first trickle (eleven cars total) 12,000 Model T’s would later be rolled out and prior to a new plan: Production was moving to a new place in Highland Park, Michigan.

There, over 15 million more “Tin Lizzies” were made until production ceased in 1927. Wildly popular, consumers took to customizing the inexpensive, light weight, easy-to-repair ride for five.
Continue reading “Henry Ford Put The World On Wheels”

This week we celebrate the birth of a man whose life legacy can be summed up simply with the word sweet. The man who made milk chocolate his own was born September 13, 1857.

It’s a story of success and one that didn’t come easy, but, for Milton S. Hershey, the hardships were part of the journey that led to the destination we now know as Chocolate Town, USA, Hershey Park, Hotel Hershey, Hershey Sports arena and of course, Hershey’s chocolate.

Milton S. Hershey - thehersheycompany.com

Milton S. Hershey – thehersheycompany.com

Born on a farm in Derry Township located in central Pennsylvania, Milton Snavely Hershey would become a shrewd business man but with a big heart who would put his chocolate fortune to good use.

Not only would he have a chocolate bar named after him, he would become the founder of “the sweetest place on earth” and Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys.

But first, failure.

Hershey, however, was determined, ambitious and persistent.
Continue reading “The Man Who Made Milk Chocolate”

Dr. Robert H. Goddard: credited with first ever successfully launched liquid-fueled rocket

As visions of space travel danced in his head, Dr. Robert H. Goddard’s work with rocket apparatus earned him recognition along with numerous patents throughout his career.

And, if the words “space travel” brings to mind the misadventures of a futuristic family, set aside those thoughts of Jetson utopia to learn about the man who gets a good deal of credit for space travel as we know it.

Goddard made his mark on the world of science – with at least one misadventure – prior to receiving his patent for the first ever successfully launched liquid fueled rocket.
Continue reading “Goddard Made His Mark on the World of Science”

It can melt in high temps and shatter if it gets too cold but, imagine life without the effects of foam rubber?

Difficult to fathom, chances are there’s only one word that can aptly describe not having comfy seats or good night’s sleep.

Yes, hard is what we’d have if it weren’t for British Scientist EA Murphy.

On July 3rd in 1929, Murphy inadvertently whipped up the first batch of foam rubber which would later lead to the cushioning of the things we may assume were always soft.
Continue reading “Rubber Never Sounded So Cozy; Thanks EA Murphy”

In June 1914, the FC Taylor Fur Company of St. Louis Missouri patented a set-gun device and US Patent number 1,098,742 became the Taylor Fur Getter for sale to suppliers.

Meanwhile after a train wreck in Siberia in 1919, Lieutenant John Brandon, from St. Cloud Minnesota (now named Yevgeny Roskovski) was adjusting to his new life.

One cold and snowy day, he set out dressed completely in animal skins and furs on a trapping and hunting trip carrying his beloved .30-40 Krag. (wait, what? No Fur Getter?)
Continue reading “Taylor Fur Getter Turns 100!”

Augustin-Jean Fresnel's Prism Crystal Glass

Augustin-Jean Fresnel’s Prism Crystal Glass

While it may never be known if the grass is ever really greener on or before any particular day in May, sand near the sea still sparkles from the light that would lead French engineer and physicist, Augustin-Jean Fresnel to study, then develop what is now known as the Fresnel lens. – which was not one lens, but numerous tiers of prisms.

Prism crystal glass that is.

Born on May 10, 1788, Augustin-Jean Fresnel was said to be a slow learner as a child however, Fresnel impressed his young friends by increasing the power of popguns and bows and for that they called him a genius.
Continue reading “Light fifteen miles out to sea?”

First Transcontinental Video CallTiming is everything.

When history catches up with the present, going back to the future is as easy as hopping onto the no. 7 train to 111th Street in Queens, New York.

It should start to feel like 1964 again after exiting the subway station and a brief walk down Roosevelt Avenue brings into view a couple of rocket ships, a twelve story sphere and towers that look like they’re capped with flying saucers.

Going back to the futuristic affair held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (a.k.a. World’s Fair fifty years ago) would also mean reliving the moment when the first glimpse into the future of face timing occurred:

April 20 marked the day when the picture phone was used to place the first transcontinental video call.
Continue reading “Timing is Everything: The First Transcontinental Video Call”

Paul Louis Toussaint Heroult was born on April 10, 1863 in Harcourt, France.

Twenty-two years later, in an effort to reduce the price of aluminum, (which was once as expensive as silver and more valuable than gold) Heroult would invent an electrolytic process for producing aluminum, reducing its cost from $8 to .53/volume.

Hall Heroult Cell

Another young man, Charles Martin Hall, also age 22, would register a patent for the identical process around the same time as Heroult.

This led to what is now known as Hall-Heroult process and, what helped to make aluminum an inexpensive commodity rather than a precious metal.

Continue reading “Paul Lois Toussaint Héroult (1863-1914)”

On this day March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the first successful experiment involving the telephone. 107 years later, the cellular telephone would emerge on the market, this time invented by a man named Martin Cooper. Cooper conceived the first portable cellular telephone in 1973 then led the 10 year process of bringing it to market by 1983.

Alexander Graham Bell's handwritten notebook entry describing the event on March 10, 1876<br /> - Photo from American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

Alexander Graham Bell’s handwritten notebook entry describing this event on March 10, 1876 – Photo from American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

It’s likely, most (of us) don’t remember life prior to the telephone and couldn’t imagine life without the lines of communication open and available. Not being able to pick up a phone and talk to friends and family – when face to face or writing a letter just wouldn’t do? Oh my.

But, Mr. Cooper would eventually bring us what we really never fathomed: correspondence by car. (or any other means for that matter)

Who knew – that one day, even the wild west would meet technology.

It’s a save a gun, ride a horse, carry a cell phone kind of world we live in: these days a shoot-em-up means who gets the phone out fast enough to upload a show-down to YouTube. Continue reading “The First Successful Telephone Experiment”