This Day in Geek History: June 14
Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution in the Massachusetts colony.
Charles Babbage announces his invention of a small mechanical difference engine able to carry out complex operations at a rate of about twelve calculations a minute mechanically in a paper entitled, “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables,” which he reads to the Royal Astronomical Society in London, England. In 1823, he will begin constructing an industrial strength calculator, which he will be abandon in 1834 due to a series technical and bureaucratic problems.
The first U.S. patent for a practical underwater diving suit is issued to Leonard Norcross of Dixfield, Maine. Calling it a “Diving Armor,” he designed the airtight leather outfit with a brass helmet connected via a rubber hose to an air bellows pump on a boat. To reduce buoyancy, the feet of the suit are weighted with lead shot. In May 1834, one month earlier, he tested the diving suit in the Webb River. Norcross will later name his son Submarinus in honor of the achievement. The first truly effective diving suit with a pump is attributed to Englishman Augustus Siebe, in 1829.
Six patents are issued to Thomas Edison for electrical inventions, including two concerning an “Incandescent Electric Lamp,” an “Incandescent Electric Lamp,” a “Magneto or Dynamo Electric Machine,” about “Electric Lighting,” “Manufacturing Carbons for Electric Lamps,” and an “Electric Meter.” (US Nos. 242,896 to 242,901)
New York becomes the first state in the U.S. to enact legislation requiring the utility wires to be buried. The legislation requires that in any incorporated city with a population over 500,000, “all telegraph, telephonic and electric light wires and cables … be placed under the surface of the streets, lanes and avenues.” Furthermore, the act requires that telegraph poles are to be removed prior to November 1, 1885.
A number of patents are issued to Thomas Edison for a variety of inventions, including a “Pyromagnetic Generator,” an “Expansible Pulley,” a “Trolley for Electric Railways,” a “Means for “Propelling Electric Cars,” an “Electric Locomotive,” a “Lightning-Arrester,” a “Conductor for Electric Railways,” an “Electric Meter,” a “Method of and Apparatus for Separating Ores,” an “Incandescent Electric Lamp,” and an “Electric-Arc Lamp.” (US Nos. 476,983 to 476,993)
Three patents are issued Thomas Edison, which are for a “Drying Apparatus,” a “Phonograph,” and a “Mixer.” (US No. 605,475, 605,667, and 605,668)
U.S. President Warren G Harding gives a speech at the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore that is broadcast by local radio station WEAR. It’s the first time a U.S. president has been broadcast live.
Charles Francis Jenkins gives the first true demonstration of television, or “Motion Pictures by Wireless”, using NOF. NOF, the call letters for radiophone broadcasts from Anacostia Naval Air Station, D.C., United States.
Charles Francis Jenkins makes his first experimental wireless television transmissions with a mechanical system called “Radiovision” from the Navy radio station in Anacostia to his Jenkins Laboratories office in Washington DC. It is the earliest transmission of moving silhouette images.