1829 – William Austin Burt patents the typographer, which was a precursor to the typewriter.
The typographer was patented on July 23, 1829, as U.S. patent No. 5581X. United States Patent Office documents describe Burt’s American machine as “the actual construction of a type writing machine for the first time in any country”. It was the first practical typewriting machine ever made in America, although Pellegrino Turri had made one in Italy in 1808. The patent gave Burt the full exclusive rights to his new typewriter machine for 14 years, including vending or selling to others any or all of these rights as he saw fit, signed by President Andrew Jackson.
1903 – The Ford Motor Company sells its first car.
Henry Ford’s first attempt at a car company under his own name was the Henry Ford Company on November 3, 1901, which became the Cadillac Motor Company on August 22, 1902, after Ford left with the rights to his name. The Ford Motor Company was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). The first president was not Ford, but local banker John S. Gray, who was chosen to assuage investors’ fears that Ford would leave the new company the way he had left its predecessor. During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue and later its factory on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car, assembling it from parts made mostly by supplier companies contracting for Ford. Within a decade, the company would lead the world in the expansion and refinement of the assembly line concept, and Ford soon brought much of the part production in-house in a vertical integration that seemed a better path for the era.
1926 – Fox Film buys the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.
The Movietone sound system is an optical sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures. The initial version was capable of a frequency response of 8500 Hz. Although sound films today use variable-area tracks, any modern motion picture theater (excluding those that have transitioned to digital cinema) can play a Movietone film without modification to the projector (though if the projector’s sound unit has been fitted with red LED or laser light sources, the reproduction quality from a variable density track will be significantly impaired). Movietone was one of four motion picture sound systems under development in the U.S. during the 1920s, the others being DeForest Phonofilm, Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone, and RCA Photophone, though Phonofilm was primarily an early version of Movietone.
1928 – American astronomer Vera Rubin is born.
Vera Florence Cooper Rubin was an American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates. She uncovered the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. This phenomenon became known as the galaxy rotation problem, and was evidence of the existence of dark matter. Although initially met with skepticism, Rubin’s results were confirmed over subsequent decades. Her legacy was described by The New York Times as “ushering in a Copernican-scale change” in cosmological theory.