This Day in Geek History: February 17
Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned as the stake in Rome after being accused of heresy for advocating the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He will be remembered as a martyr of science by later astronomers opposing the church. His death at the hands of Roman Inquisition is thought to have convinced Galileo to recant his own theory of a moving Earth.
A street in Baltimore, Maryland becomes the first street to be lit with gas from America’s first gas company.
Dmitri Mendeleev begins his work on the periodic table of elements.
The National Bell Telephone Company is formed to organize the first New England Telephone Company and the Bell Telephone Company into a nationwide licensing company to accelerate the establishment of telephone service to cities throughout the country. On December 8, 1903, the company will be dissolved by court decree.
Bell & Howell is founded in Chicago, Illinois as a manufacturer of motion picture cameras and projectors by projectionist Daniel H Bell and engineer Albert S Howell. The company’s first product will be the Kinedrome projector. Visit the official Bell & Howell website.
The first hydroplane flight to and from a ship is made by Glenn Curtiss in San Diego.
A new version of Thomas Edison’s Kinetophone sound film system is premiered in thirteen cinemas in Chicago, New York City, and St Louis. The system will be used for approximately two years, and two hundred sixty films will be produced for the system.
The world’s first costumed superhero, The Phantom, makes his first appearance in a daily newspaper strip. Previous fictional crime fighters, such as Zorro and Doc Savage, weren’t designed specifically for newspaper comic strips or comic books.
Winston Churchill announces to the world that Britain has developed its own atomic bomb.
The U.S. launches the Ranger 8 space probe on a mission to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis (“Sea of Tranquility”) region of the Moon in preparation for the Apollo missions. Before the probe impacts the surface, it will successfully transmit 7,137 photos of the region, which will later be chose as the landing site of the Apollo 11.
The Amusement Showcase International show is held February 17 – 19, at the Expo center in Chicago, Illinois. At the event Atari demonstrates the coin-operated arcade game, Firefox, based on the 1982 Clint Eastwood film of the same name.
Murray Haydon becomes the third person to receive an artificial heart.
Version 3.0 of the SunOS operating system is released.
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