This Day in Geek History: May 23
William Sturgeon publishes the first article concerning electromagnets in the journal Transactions of the Society of Arts (Vol. XLIII, p.38). The publication features illustrations of his apparatus for electromagnetic experiments, including a horse-shoe shaped magnet and a straight bar magnet.
Thomas Edison is issued a patent for a “Process of Duplicating Phonographic Records.” (US No. 790,351)
Thomas Edison is finally issued three patents for his “Phonograph or Talking Machine.” (US Nos. 1,184,332-4) The original patent applications were made December 7, 1910, February 17 1911, and August 12, 1912.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Walt Disney incorporates his first company, Laugh-o-Gram Films with just US$15,000. The company will be instrumental in the development of the animation industry. The company got off to a rough start, though, and by the end of the year, Disney was living in his studio and bathing once a week at Union Station. The studio will declare bankruptcy in July 1923, and Disney will buy a one-way train ticket to Hollywood with money made by selling his movie camera. However, he will later reveal in an interview that it was during his time at Laugh-o-Gram that he was first inspired to draw Mickey Mouse.
Current developments in television technology are demonstrated to nearly six hundred members of a joint meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) at the headquarter ofBell Telephone at 55 Bethune Street, New York. It is the first demonstration of television before a large audience.
In the U.S., Plant Patent Act is signed into law. The Act provides patent protection for new and distinct varieties of asexually reproduced plants for the first time. Thomas Edison testified in support of the legislation, saying “This (bill) will, I feel sure, give us many Burbanks,” referring to Luther Burbank, who developed more than eight hundred varieties of plants.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides it has power to authorize subscription television services in the U.S. if it is in the public interest, but it doesn’t decide whether this would still be classified as “broadcasting.”
Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite when it was launched February 1, 1958, stops transmitting data back to Earth as its batteries are depleted. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt. Read more about Explorer I at I Spy Space.
Everett “Red” Knowles, age 12, becomes the world’s first human limb transplant recipient when a team of ten doctors headed by Dr. Donald A. Malt and Dr. J. McKhann reattach the boy’s right arm at Massachusetts General Hospital. The boy’s arm was torn off at the shoulder when he was thrown against a stone wall while attempting to hop a freight train. Read more at Wired online.