This Day in Geek History: August 18
The U.S. Copyright Act is extended to include dramatic works.
French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovers helium in the solar spectrum during an eclipse. It marks the first discovery of an “extraterrestrial” element, since helium hadn’t yet been discovered on Earth.
Canadian Patent Number 1 is issued to W. Hamilton. The very first Canadian patent, issued before the official numbering series, was granted in 1791 by the Governor General to Angus MacDonnel, a Scottish soldier garrisoned in Quebec City.
Asaph Hall discovers the Martian moon Phobos.
German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flies a motorized gliding airplane four months before the Wright Brothers make their first flight. The plane, equipped with a single-cylinder 10 horsepower Buchet engine and a two-blade pusher propeller, allegedly makes several short flights over distances of up to 200ft (60m) at altitudes of up to 10ft (3m).
The Scottish aviator Jim Mollison makes the first westbound transatlantic solo flight.
Nine years after selling their first oscillators out of a garage in Palo Alto, California, William Hewlett and David Packard incorporate Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). They determined the order of their names in the corporate name with a coin toss. From a humble US$538 in capital, the Stanford graduates will expand the company into one of the world’s largest electronics companies. Visit the company’s official website.
The first filmed recording of CBS color television is made in Washington D.C. using a U.S. Navy-designed Berndt-Maurer camera.
Henry Bosenberg of New Jersey is granted the first horticulture patent for a climbing rose.
The first transcontinental wireless phone call is made from San Francisco by Mark Sullivan, president of PT&T to H.T. Killingworth of AT&T in New York City.
The Alexander Graham Bell Museum opens in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
Collins Radio, a manufacturer of aviation and information systems, successfully transmits a photography via satellite from its headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Discoverer XIV becomes the first satellite to be ejected from an orbiting space vehicle, and it will later become the first satellite to be recovered in midair (the next day). It will also become the first successful operational imaging surveillance satellite, used for photo reconnaissance of key military Soviet targets. The Discoverer XIV camera captured more pictures than 24 U-2 overflights taken between 1956-1960.
The very first official Gen Con is held at the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Somewhere between fifty and one hundred people attend. Over the coming years, the event will evolve into one of the largest and most prominent gaming conventions in North America. Read more about the history of the Gen Con. Visit the event’s official website.
Gen Con VI is held from August 18 – 19 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.