This Day in Geek History: August 22
St. Columba allegedly saves the life of a Pict who was being attacked by a monster in Loch Ness. The account will later be recorded in the book Life of St. Columba by Adamnan. It is the beginning of the Loch Ness Monster myth. Adamnan recounts the event in the book, “…(He) raised his holy hand, while all the rest, brethren as well as strangers, were stupefied with terror, and, invoking the name of God, formed the saving sign of the cross in the air, and commanded the ferocious monster, saying, “Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed.” Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes, though it had just got so near to Lugne, as he swam, that there was not more than the length of a spear-staff between the man and the beast.”
In the first air raid in history, Austria launches a flight of pilotless balloons against the city of Venice.
The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, manufactures its first Victrola record player. The devices, including the hand cranked unit and horn cabinet will sell for US$200. It stands out from other phonographs with its elegant wooden cabinet, which conceals the device’s horn and turntable while providing storage space for records. The cabinet, which is available is several contemporary styles, is an innovation that will be imitated by later entertainment systems, including radios and televisions.
The theft of the Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris, France the previous night is discovered.
Walt Disney releases the animated short film The Skeleton Dance, directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks, in the U.S. In the Silly Symphonies cartoon, a group of skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard. It is the first film in the Silly Symphonies series, which will have a powerful influence over the emerging art of animation. IMDB listing
The BBC begins regularly transmitting experimental television programming four days a week using the new 30-line system invented by John Logie Baird. The transmissions are broadcast from Studio BB in the basement of the newly built Broadcasting House in London, England.
The first U.S. patent for dispensing liquids under pressure from a disposable container is issued to Julius Seth Kahn of New York City. (US No. 2,170,531) The patent is titled “Apparatus For Mixing a Liquid With a Gas.” It will be the predecessor of the aerosol spray can. In this case, the patent more particularly specified a use for whipping cream “by discharging the cream and gas mixture through a constricted orifice.” The cream could be contained in a common soda-pop glass bottle. Gas can be introduced at a controlled pressure. An inexpensive valve discharges the whipped cream. The patent will later be used in such applications as dispensing paints, pharmaceuticals, and insecticides.
The pile at the world’s first nuclear reactor dedicated to the peaceful applications of atomic energy, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR), achieves criticality and goes online.