This Day in Geek History: May 22
The first public library in the United States opens in Connecticut.
The first bicycles are introduced to the United States in New York City as “swift walkers.”
The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are granted a U.S. patent for their “new and useful improvements in Flying Machines.” (US No. 821,393) It is the first airplane patent in the U.S.
Tokyo Broadcasting Station becomes the first Japanese radio broadcaster. Later in the year it will move to Atagoyama, where it will begin regular transmission.
An audience at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady becomes the first to see closed-circuit television projected onto a big screen.
The Loch Ness Monster is first reportedly sighted by John Mackay in Scotland.
NBC dedicates a new television studio in Washington, D.C. WRC-TV is the first studio in history to be designed and purpose-built for color television broadcasting. President Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks at the dedication ceremony, marking the first time a President has ever been recorded on color video.
The Apollo 10 Lunar Module passes within 15.4km of the surface of the Moon. The pass is intended to test the craft’s landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the Moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. An error in switch position brings a heart-stopping moment when the Lunar Module ascent stage goes into wild gyrations after separating from its descent stage. The error may have been fatal if it had occurred during take off from the surface on a landing mission.
Xerox PARC engineer Robert Metcalfe writes a thirteen page memo in which he describes a method of transmitting data from early personal computers to the newly developed laser printer, as part of his (Harvard) PhD thesis. He calls his multipoint data communications system “Ethernet.” The term refers to medium-independent transmission of data packets, in reference to the discredited theory that a “luminiferous ether” that allows transmission of light rays through space between the Sun and the Earth. Metcalfe and David Boggs will later create the first Ethernet network (running at 2.944 Mbps) between two computers named Michelson and Morley, after the 19th century scientists who disproved the existence of ether. A U.S. patent for “a Multipoint data communication system with collision detection” will be issued to Metcalfe on December 13, 1977, and Ethernet will eventually become the world’s most popular network standard. (US No. 4,063,220)
The discovery of a Clovis type projectile point found in association with Mastodon remains provides the first solid evidence of the coexistence of humans and the American mastodon in Eastern North America. Paleontologist Russell W. Graham of the Illinois State Museum made the discovery during a state sponsored excavation in the Kimmswick Bone Bed, near Imperial, Missouri.