This Day in Geek History: December 26
Wood pulp paper is exhibited for the first time to the public in Buffalo, New York.
The first U.S. patent for a coffee percolator is issued to James H. Mason of Franklin, Massachusetts. (US No. 51,741)
Electric lighting is installed in a store for the first time in America, at the Grand Depot department store in Philadelphia, owned by John Wanamaker. Eight dynamos provide the electrical power to run twenty-eight arc lamps.
Marie Curie and her husband announce the isolation of the element Radium, named for its extreme radioactivity, as the result of experiments with pitchblende, a common uranium ore, from which they had previously isolated Polonium. Curie had observed that the ore was more radioactive than refined Uranium, and concluded that there was another even more radioactive element mixed in with the ore. During the years between 1899 and 1902, Marie Curie dissolved, filtered and repeatedly crystallized nearly three tons of pitchblende with the goal of refining a sample of the element. The result was about 0.1 gram of Radium, which was enough for a spectroscopic examination to determine the exact atomic weight of Radium. She will be awarded a second Nobel Prize in part for the discovery, along with the discovery of Polonium, in 1911.
The world’s first full-length feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, is presented at the Melbourne Town Hall in Australia, where it had been filmed at a cost of £450. The subject of the movie is Ned Kelly, a bushranger, or bandit, who lived from 1855 to 1880. The film’s approximate reel length is 1219.2 metres (4,000 feet), and it precedes the world’s next feature film, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation by nine years. IMDB listing Running time: 1 hr 10 mins
Edwin H. Armstrong patents frequency-modulated (FM) radio. FM radio minimizes the static caused by interference that characterizes amplitude modulation (AM) radio. The first FM radio station won’t be built until 1937, though.
The National Machine Accountants Association (NMAA) is founded and chartered in Chicago, Illinois. The group will become the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) in 1962 and, later, the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) in 1996. The group offers support to information technology professionals. Visit the organization’s official website.
The popular radio program The Shadow airs for the last time. The show, which first aired in 1930, was the most popular of the numerous pulp dramas of the Golden Age of Radio. The eponymous character had and will continue to have an enormous influence over the design of future comic book characters, particularly Batman and The Green Hornet.
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