This Day in History (19-Nov-1969) – Pele scores 1,000th goal

Edson Arantes do Nascimento or Pelé, grew up in poverty. The origin of the “Pelé” nickname is unclear, though he recalled despising it when his friends first referred to him. Pelé signed with Santos professional soccer club when he was 15. He scored the first professional goal of his career before he turned 16, led the league in goals in his first full season and was recruited in the Brazilian national team.

The world was officially introduced to Pelé in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17-year-old erupted to score three goals in a 5-2 semifinal win over France, then netted two more in the finals, a 5-2 win over the host country. The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs, and Brazilian President Jânio Quadros eventually had Pelé declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country.

Pelé aggravated a groin injury two games into the 1962 World Cup in Chile, sitting out the final rounds while Brazil went on to claim its second straight title. Four years later, in England, a series of brutal attacks by opposing defenders again forced him to the sidelines with leg injuries, and Brazil was bounced from the World Cup after one round. Despite the disappointment on the world stage, the legend of Pelé continued to grow. In the late 1960s, the two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game in Lagos.

The 1970 World Cup in Mexico marked a triumphant return to glory for Pelé and Brazil. Headlining a formidable squad, Pelé scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final to give Brazil a 4-1 victory over Italy. Pelé announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, but he was lured back to the field the following year to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, and temporarily helped make the NASL a big attraction. He played his final game in an exhibition between New York and Santos in October 1977, competing for both sides, and retired with a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games, holding ‘most career goals (football)’ record in Guiness World Records. Pelé was named FIFA’s “Co-Player of the Century” in 1999, along with Argentine Diego Maradona.


This Day in History (30-Oct-1888) – John J Loud patents ballpoint pen

This principle of the ballpoint pen dates back to an 1888 patent owned by John J. Loud for a product to mark leather. However, this patent was commercially unexploited. A Hungarian journalist named Laszlo Biro noticed that the type of ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge-free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink. The thicker ink would not flow from a regular pen nib and Biro had to devise a new type of point. He did so by fitting his pen with a tiny ball bearing in its tip. As the pen moved along the paper, the ball rotated picking up ink from the ink cartridge and leaving it on the paper.

Laszlo Biro first patented his pen in 1938, and applied for a fresh patent in Argentina in 1943. The British Government bought the licensing rights to this patent for the war effort. The British Royal Air Force needed a new type of pen, one that would not leak at higher altitudes in fighter planes as the fountain pen did. Their successful performance for the Air Force brought the Biro pens into the limelight, forming Eterpen Company in Argentina.

Eversharp Co. teamed up with Eberhard-Faber in June 1945, to acquire the exclusive rights to Biro Pens of Argentina. The pen re-branded the “Eversharp CA” which stood for Capillary Action. Less than a month after Eversharp/Eberhard close the deal with Eterpen, Chicago businessman, Milton Reynolds visited Buenos Aires. While in a store, he saw the Biro pen and recognized the pen’s sales potential. He bought a few pens as samples. Reynolds returned to America and started the Reynolds International Pen Company, ignoring Eversharp’s patent rights. He copied the product in four months and sold his product Reynold’s Rocket at Gimbel’s department store in New York City, starting 29th October 1945. Priced at $12.50, $100,000 worth sold the first day on the market.

However, the Reynolds’ pen leaked, skipped and often failed to write. Eversharp’s pen did not live up to its own advertisements. The ballpoint pen fad ended by 1951. Parker Pens introduced its first ballpoint pen, the Jotter, in 1954, which wrote five times longer. It had a variety of point sizes, a rotating cartridge and large-capacity ink refills. Best of all, it worked, re-initiating ballpen era.



This Day in History (30-Jul-1930) – The First Football World Cup Crowns a Champion in Montevideo, Uruguay

Beginning at the 1920 Summer Games in Antwerp, FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, oversaw the football competition. The popularity of the tournament was evident from the start, motivating FIFA President Jules Rimet even more. Finally, at meetings during late May 1928, members of the governing body agreed to have a world championship, after successfully managing three tournaments at the Summer Olympics. Due to the success of the Uruguayan national team – two-time Olympic champions – and the nation’s upcoming centennial, FIFA governors elected to award the tournament to the tiny nation in South America in 1929.  Funds were immediately appropriated for the construction of a new stadium, the Estadio Centenario, which would end up being the site for a majority of the matches.

Uruguay’s location, however, would end up causing more problems.  Nestled along the central coast of eastern South America between Brazil and Argentina, the travel cost for many nations ended up being too much.  The British, Germans and Italians all baulked at a trip to the Southern Hemisphere, but Rimet only grew more determined to get some European participation.  With just two months to spare before the first match, Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia agreed to send teams by sea.  However the organisers were disappointed that only four European sides had participated. The anger in Montevideo was so intense in fact that four years later, world champions Uruguay became the first and only team to refuse to defend their title.

From the first match, a 4-1 victory for France over Mexico, to the Uruguay’s 4-2 win over archrival Argentina in the final, more than 585,000 spectators packed the venues.  The event was, without a doubt, a hit.  The seven South American, four European and two North Americans put on a show that caught the imagination of soccer fans the world over.