I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. – Rosa Parks
1885 – First serving of the soft drink Dr Pepper at a drug store in Waco, Texas.
The U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr Pepper was served. It was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition as a new kind of soda pop, made with 23 flavors. Its introduction in 1885 preceded the introduction of Coca-Cola by one year.
It was formulated by Brooklyn-born pharmacist Charles Alderton in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. To test his new drink, he first offered it to store owner Wade Morrison, who also found it to his liking. Patrons at Morrison’s soda fountain soon learned of Alderton’s new drink and began ordering a “Waco”. Alderton gave the formula to Morrison, who named it Dr Pepper.
1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
The assembly line developed for the Ford Model T began operation on December 1, 1913. It had immense influence on the world.
The basic kernel of an assembly line concept was introduced to Ford Motor Company by William “Pa” Klann upon his return from visiting Swift & Company’s slaughterhouse in Chicago and viewing what was referred to as the “disassembly line”, where carcasses were butchered as they moved along a conveyor. The efficiency of one person removing the same piece over and over caught his attention. He reported the idea to Peter E. Martin, soon to be head of Ford production, who was doubtful at the time but encouraged him to proceed. Others at Ford have claimed to have put the idea forth to Henry Ford, but Pa Klann’s slaughterhouse revelation is well documented in the archives at the Henry Ford Museum and elsewhere, making him an important contributor to the modern automated assembly line concept. The process was an evolution by trial and error of a team consisting primarily of Peter E. Martin, the factory superintendent; Charles E. Sorensen, Martin’s assistant; C. Harold Wills, draftsman and toolmaker; Clarence W. Avery; Charles Ebender; and József Galamb. Some of the groundwork for such development had recently been laid by the intelligent layout of machine tool placement that Walter Flanders had been doing at Ford up to 1908.
In 1922 Ford (through his ghostwriter Crowther) said of his 1913 assembly line:
“I believe that this was the first moving line ever installed. The idea came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef.”
1948 – Taman Shud Case: The body of an unidentified man is found in Adelaide, Australia, involving an undetectable poison and a secret code in a very rare book; the case remains unsolved and is “one of Australia’s most profound mysteries.”
The Taman Shud or Tamam Shud Case, also known as the Mystery of the Somerton Man, is an unsolved case of an unidentified man found dead at 6:30 am, 1 December 1948, on Somerton beach, Glenelg, just south of Adelaide, South Australia. It is named after a phrase, tamám shud, meaning “ended” or “finished” in Persian, printed on a scrap of paper found in the fob pocket of the man’s trousers. This turned out to have been torn from the final page of a particular copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a collection of poems attributed to 12th century poet Omar Khayyám. Following a police appeal, the actual book was handed in – six months after the body was found, a businessman (given the name Mr Francis) said his brother found it in the back footwell of his car at about the time the body was found. The book was handed to Detective Leane who made the decision to keep the finder’s real name out of the papers. Imprinted on the back cover of the book was something looking like a secret code as well as a telephone number and another unidentified number.
Considered “one of Australia’s most profound mysteries” at the time, the case has been the subject of intense speculation over the years regarding the identity of the victim, the events leading up to his death, and the cause of death. Public interest in the case remains significant because of a number of factors: the death occurring at a time of heightened tensions during the Cold War, the plans to reform the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) into a more secure organisation (ASIO), what appeared to be a secret code, the use of an undetectable poison, his lack of identification, and the possibility of unrequited love. It was about this time the MI5 visited Australia to brief the Federal Government about security leaks in the Department of External Affairs. The Venona Project was also discussed at the meeting. The MI5 participants were Percy Sillitoe, Roger Hollis and Robert Hemblys-Scales. The Australians present were PM Ben Chifley, External Affairs Minister H. V. Evatt and Defense Minister John Dedman. Roger Hollis has long been suspected of being a Russian double agent and Hemblys-Scales was transferred to Ismailia not long after the incident, where he worked under the supervision of Kim Philby, a known Russian double agent.
While the case has received the most scrutiny in Australia, it also gained international coverage, as the police widely distributed materials in an effort to identify the body, and consulted with other governments in tracking down leads. The FBI were unable to find a fingerprint match in their domestic criminal files.
1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery.
Christine Jorgensen was an American trans woman who was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery. Jorgensen grew up in the Bronx, New York City. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1945, she was drafted into the U.S. Army for World War II. After her service she attended several schools, worked, and around this time heard about transitioning surgery. She traveled to Europe and in Copenhagen, Denmark, obtained special permission to undergo a series of operations starting in 1951.
She returned to the United States in the early 1950s and her transformation was the subject of a New York Daily News front page story. She became an instant celebrity, using the platform to advocate for transgender people and became known for her directness and polished wit. She also worked as an actress and nightclub entertainer and recorded several songs.
1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
After working all day, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section. Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.
Blake noted that two or three white passengers were standing, as the front of the bus had filled to capacity. He moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination to cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”
By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat.
Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the redesignated colored section. Blake said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.'”
1984 – NASA conducts the Controlled Impact Demonstration, wherein an airliner is deliberately crashed in order to test technologies and gather data to help improve survivability of crashes.
The Controlled Impact Demonstration (or colloquially the Crash In the Desert) was a joint project between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aimed at acquiring data, as well as demonstrating and testing new technologies, with the intent of improving occupant crash survivability, by crashing a Boeing 720 aircraft. The tests involved the efforts of NASA Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, the FAA, and General Electric, and required more than 4 years of work before the test occurred. The aircraft was remotely controlled for the tests, and numerous test runs were undertaken prior to performing the actual impact. The impact test flight occurred on December 1, 1984, proceeding generally according to plan, and resulting in a spectacular fireball which required more than an hour to extinguish.
The test resulted in a finding that the antimisting kerosene test fuel was insufficiently beneficial, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed. The FAA concluded that about ¼ of the passengers would have survived, while NASA concluded that a head-up display along with microwave landing system would have assisted in piloting the craft.
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