This Day in Geek History: June 15
The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys, the personal physician to King Louis XIV. The patient is a fifteen year old boy, bled too many times to count by other doctors in attempts to treat a fever, who is given nine ounces of lamb’s blood. The boy will recover from the fever, but other attempts at transfusion will fail and the practice will soon be outlawed by the Parisian municipal council.
Benjamin Franklin confirms his theory that lightning is electrical when he and his son conduct an experiment in which they fly a kite with a key attached to it during a thunderstorm. He will publish a article on the experiment in the October 19th 1752 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.
John Wesley Hyatt and Isaiah Hyatt are issued a U.S. patent for the first plastic, described as an “Improved Method of Making Solid Collodion.” (US No. 91,341) In their method, soluble cotton, pyroxyline, or prepared cellulose is placed into a strong cylinder or suitably-shaped mold. Then, “the employment of a very small quantity of ether or other appropriate solvent, and dissolving pyroxyline therewith, under a heavy pressure, so that a comparatively hard and solid product is obtained, with great economy of solvents and saving of time.” A filler may then be mixed with the pyroxyline such as ivory-dust, bone-dust, asbestos, flake-white, or any other desirable substance, according to the nature of the product required.
The Computing Scale Company of America, The Tabulating Machine Company and The International Time Recording Company of New York merge and incorporate as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR), which will later be known as International Business Machines (IBM). In the decades that will follow, IBM will become a leader in PC production and innovation. In 1911, the company will develop the first fully electronic computer, the IBM 701.
British Royal Airforce Pilot Captain John Alcock and his navigator, Lieutenant Arthur W. Browne, successfully complete the first, non-stop, transatlantic airplane flight. They flew from Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in sixteen hours and twelve minutes aboard a Vickers Vimy WWI bomber, winning the prize offered by the London Daily Mail. During their flight, they faced many problems. Their radio breaks down shortly after take off. Fog and drizzle prevent the fliers from seeing anything for much of the journey. They aim to land in a green field but instead land in a bog. The plane suffers some damage when it hits the ground and sinks into the bog. Luckily, both Alcock and Brown come away uninjured.
Britain’s first advertised public broadcast program takes place. A song recital by Dame Nellie Melba is broadcast using a Marconi 15kW telephone transmitter at the Marconi works in Chelmsford, and the program is heard in many countries. This marks the birth of audio broadcasting.
Jay Forrester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), writes about the design of the first core memory in his notebook. After he used a magnetic core memory on the Whirlwind computer, it becomes a faster and more reliable standard for computers through the seventies.
20th Century Fox releases the science fiction film Battle for the Planet of the Apes, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, John Huston, and Paul Williams, is released to U.S. theaters. The film is the fifth and final entry in the Planet of the Apes series. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: G) Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins