This Day in Geek History: April 10
The first law regulating copyright is issued in Great Britain.
United States President George Washington signs the first U.S. patent statute into law. The first Patent Board, responsible for granting patents on “useful and important” inventions, will be composed of the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of War. It will issue the first patent under the statute on July 31, 1790. In the first three years following the passage of the statute, only forty-seven patents will be granted. Read more about the history of U.S. patent law.
The first synthetic rubber is created by Dr. Arnold M. Collins who isolates chloroprene and observes its polymerization. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company will begin manufacturing synthetic rubber on November 2, 1931. Visit the official DuPont website.
The first FM radio programming is transmitted by W2XMN/WFMN/KE2XCC, in Alpine, New Jersey.
The University of Pennsylvania begins constructing the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), which, once completed, will become the first general-purpose electronic computer, capable of making calculations one thousand times faster than any other prior computer. The work will be carried out in secret since the computer is intended to compute trajectory tables for military artillery, though it won’t be completed until after World War II. The calculations were previously carried out by group of women called “computers” who worked with mechanical calculators. The ENIAC will be unveiled to the public in February 1946.
Three U.S. television stations link to transmit a the short film, Patrolling the Ether, simultaneously. The film depicts amateur radio operators aiding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in monitoring the airwaves for Nazi spy transmissions. The broadcast marks the beginning of network television.
Warner Brothers studios premieres the first 3-D color feature film, House of Wax, directed by André de Toth and starring Vincent Price, in New York City. It opens just a day after the premiere of the first 3D feature film ever released by a major studio, Columbia Pictures’ Man in the Dark, and only months after the November release of Bwana Devil, the first American color feature released in 3-D. The three movies mark the beginning of the “golden era” of 3-D movie releases that will last through 1955 and inspire a popular revival in 1960. House of Wax’s general release will occur on April 25, 1953. The film is also notable for being Vincent Price’s first major horror role. Produced on a budget of roughly US$1 million, it will gross US$23,750,000 domestically. IMDB listing Running Time: 1 hr 28 mins
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher is lost at sea roughly 220 miles off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts in the course of deep-diving tests. The disaster results in the loss of all 129 crewmen. The disaster will result in the implementation of new submarine safety and quality assurance programs.