This Day in Geek History: July 25
In Quincy, Massachusetts, one man dies in the first railroad accident in U.S. history.
The first commercial use of an electric telegraph is successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone. They ran the six-wire telegraph line 2.4km from Euston to Camden Town in London along the Great Western Railway Company railway track. This first device will prove to be impractical because the code it transmits uses simultaneous combinations of five keys and is limited to twenty letters. The letters J, C, Q, U, X and Z are omitted.
Boris Rosing of St Petersburg, Russia applies for the first patent on a cathode ray tube, which will later be granted on October 30, 1910. Rosing invented the first television system to use cathode ray tubes and mirror drums.
French aviator Louis Blériot flies across the English Channel in a monoplane, traveling from Calais, France to Dover, England in thirty-seven minutes. It is the world’s first international overseas airplane flight. Blériot makes the historic crossing after Lord Northcliffe, the owner of the Daily Mail, offered £1,000 to the first pilot to do so.
The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast is transmitted.
John Logie Baird applies for a British patent (UK No. 562,168) for “Improvements in colour television,” which involves a cylindrical cathode ray tube with two guns scanning both sides of a transparent phosphor-coated screen, one side for blue-green, the other orange-red. Because of its appearance, the tube is dubbed the “teapot.”
The German Messerschmitt 262 becomes the first jet-powered fighter aircraft used in combat. Design work started before World War II opened, but engine problems delayed the aircraft’s development. Watch a video of an Me 262 V3 takeoff on YouTube.
The U.S. detonates the “Baker” atomic bomb during the course of “Operation Crossroads” at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. This, the first underwater nuclear explosion, is intended to test the weapon against a naval fleet of war-surplus and captured enemy vessels. The bomb, encased in a watertight steel caisson, is suspended ninety feet below the landing ship and detonated by radio from a command ship at 8:45am.
The Cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, directed by Chuck Jones is released featuring Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers, Porky Pig, and Marvin The Martain. It will go on to become one of the most famous of the Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons, and in 2003, after many years of cult status, it will be briefly spun off into its own animated series. Read more about the history of Warner Bros. Animation.