What Would We Do Without Them?
September is now an after-thought and we are fully engrossed into October. It is a sad time for many as summer is coming to an end but a glad time to those who love autumn. For Sports fans, it is an ideal time of the year. Motor sports and Baseball are wrapping up their seasons, while both college and professional football are fully underway. Add to that pro and college basketball and hockey, which are starting their new seasons. However, as we change the months, it is amazing to me that when you look back in history, how many incredible events and inventions occurred in September and October. I wrote last week, in “The Beauty of ART – Thank You Mom!!!” about the great masterpieces of all time, which ironically, many of them were either started or completed in one of these two months, of their respective years. Also last week I shared the many “governmental” type stuff that also occurred in September and October.
As I mentioned last week, I want to focus on a bit more exiting topic; Inventions that let us see inside ourselves, bring us comfort and style, and look into the stars.
Space exploration seems to be all the rage of the wealthy today. Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos’s, and Elon Musk, have certainly stepped into the ring of space travel, I’m sure in hopes it will lead to future business and space development opportunities. They are able to take these steps, thanks to the USA-Russian space race. With the development of rockets in World War II, space was the next natural step and both countries did all they could to develop this technology. It was the Russians who had the first – “FIRST” in space when they launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, on this very date, 64 years ago; 10/4/1957.
The Russians had two more “firsts” occurring in these months as they had the first landing on the moon with the Luna 2 on September 14, 1959, which was followed by the first photos of the far side of the Moon, covering 70% of the surface invisible from Earth, and the first gravity assist ('sling shot'), returning the space craft to the Earth to retrieve the photos, with the same craft, the Luna 3, which occurred on October 7, 1959. They wrapped up their September-October exploits with the first docking of two remote-controlled spacecraft, which occurred on October 30, 1967.
Not to be outdone, the USA did have one of our many firsts, in these two months, as the first direct-ascent rendezvous on a first orbit occurred, as well as the record highest apogee, 1,374 kilometers (854 mi), for piloted Earth orbit, with Gemini 11; September 12, 1966. There were certainly many more firsts in space flight, but Sputnik really “launched” the activity and capabilities of space travel. The value of the space race is often debated but with the development of satellites, GPS, many plastics, and other technology, I’m not sure what we today would do without these inventions.
Thanks to the space race, we got to better see into the stars. But thanks to Fernando Sanford, Wilhelm Rontgen, Thomas Edison, and John Hall-Edwards, we got to better see into ourselves. In September of 1891, American Fernando Sanford (US) first generated and detected x-rays. Just four years later, also in September, German Wilhelm Rontgen began studying x-rays and announces their existence (giving them the name ‘x-rays’) in a scientific paper. Almost exactly (another one of those oxymoronic terms 😊) one year later, American Thomas Edison invents the fluoroscope for x-ray examinations and Britain’s John Hall-Edwards becomes the first physician to use x-rays under clinical conditions. Sadly, occurring in October on the 18th in 1931, Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, NJ, at age 84. Not all coming in these two months, but Edison held 1,093 patents when he died, and he said he failed over 1,000 times when he finally invented the light bulb. How could we live without x-rays today?
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the apple, they suddenly knew they were naked and needed to be covered. This angered God, but not the clothing manufacturers. This doesn’t date back to the Garden of Eden but 257 years ago, the mass clothing manufacturing revolution began, at least in the United States, when James Hargreaves invents the spinning Jenny, in 1764. Nine years later, his efforts were followed by Samuel Crompton who invented the spinning mule in 1775, and then Edward Cartwright invented the power loom, just ten years later in 1785. Add that oh-so soft fiber cotton, to these mechanisms and you have the making for some great clothing. Eli Whitney provided us that tool when he invented the cotton gin in 1793. To bring it all together, literally, on October 9, 1855, Isaac Singer patented his sewing machine. Certainly, clothing has evolved into all sorts of different fabrics but how could we have lived without cotton and cotton made clothing?
Also occurring in September and October. Thomas Jefferson designed the American currency system, which was the first decimal money in the world, on September 30, 1784. Albert Einstein published the theory of relativity on September 26, 1905. On October 11, 1841, a patent for a collapsible tube for use with such items as toothpaste was granted to John Rand.
We all have done this next thing, millions of times, and almost always to smiles, laughter, some tears, and some beautiful and not so beautiful voices. On October 13, 1893 - The melody for "Happy Birthday To You" was copyright registered. "Happy Birthday" was originally published as "Good Morning To All" in a book called "Song Stories for the Kindergarten" written by Mildred and Patty Hill, but the melody was copyrighted 138 years ago, next week.
There are many other great inventions and patents that occurred in these months. Ironically, in September, the very first copyright was granted in Venice on September 1, 1946. Other September firsts include the roll of film for Kodak cameras, the Television receiver allowing it to capture a signal, the candle stick, the Simpsons television show, the gyrocompass, the dirigible or blimp airship, the first transatlantic telephone cable was laid, the roller skate, and also the hypodermic syringe.
Not to be outdone by its predecessor September, Tater Tots, the lamp, the first gas motor engine, a ball point pen, Nintendo hand held games, Hot Rocks candy, and Cortisone were all patented in October
If you enjoy history, then studying the events that have occurred in these two months, throughout history, will open your eyes. The historical events mentioned above, have certainly affected and changed many lives, some more than others, but they are significant none-the-less. As I reflect on these incredible lists, I honestly have to wonder, what we would have done without them all!