This Day in History (4-Jan-1847) – Arms Manufacturer Samuel Colt Sells Revolvers to the Texas Rangers

When he was just 15 years old, Samuel Colt decided he needed more adventure than his father’s textile mill offered him. So he signed on a ship as a sailor and went to sea. According to legend, it was while at sea that Samuel Colt developed his idea for a pistol with a revolving cylinder, while watching the ship’s wheel and ship’s capstan. After obtaining revolver patents in Europe and US, he established a factory to manufacture firearms in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1836. But his revolving cartridge firearm was slow to gain acceptance, and the business, Patent Arms Manufacturing, closed down in 1842.

In 1847 Colt rekindled his firearms business when the U.S. Army contacted him to purchase a sizable quantity of his revolvers. His patented revolvers, capable of firing multiple shots in quick succession without reloading, provided a crucial firepower advantage to settlers and soldiers who were expanding the United States westward in the 19th century.  Colt was able to fulfill the government’s request and it was the boost he needed to focus on firearms again.

He opened a facility in England. In 1855, he completed construction of his new Hartford manufacturing plant along the Connecticut River, which was the largest private arms manufacturing facility in the world. Here he implemented new ideas in manufacturing, including the use of interchangeable parts, production lines, and advanced precision machinery. Colt was a masterful marketer and self-promoter who relied on more than just advertisements. He personally commissioned artist George Catlin, famous for his depictions of Native Americans and life in the West, to incorporate Colt revolvers into a dozen paintings, six of which were reproduced as mass-market lithographic prints.  Colt also hired authors to pen stories about his revolvers for magazine features and traveled the world to present heads of state with lavishly engraved, gilded pistols. After Colt presented an Ottoman sultan with a gold revolver, the Turks ordered 5,000 of his pistols.  Colt firearms were known for their high quality and dependability. They were widely used in the Civil War, and the Colt .45 calibre Peacemaker model became synonymous with America’s West.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/january-4-1847-arms-manufacturer-samuel-colt-sells-revolvers-to-the-texas-rangers

http://www.netstate.com/states/peop/people/ct_sc.htm

http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-samuel-colt

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This Day in History (14-Dec-1901) – 1st table tennis tournament is held (London Royal Aquarium)

Like many other sports, Table Tennis began as a mild social diversion. Though Table Tennis evolved, along with Badminton and Lawn Tennis, from the ancient game of Tennis (also known as Jeu de Paume, Real tennis, Court Tennis or Royal Tennis), the game was developed after Lawn Tennis became popular in the 1880s. Game manufacturers tried many experiments to market an indoor version of Lawn Tennis, including board and dice games, card games, racket and balloon games and others. The 1887 catalog of George S. Parker (USA) includes an entry for “Table Tennis: This game is laid out like a Lawn Tennis court, played and counted just the same, all the rules being observed.” However, this was a board and dice game by J.H. Singer (NY), whose name also appears on the catalog.

The earliest surviving action game of Tennis on a table is a set made by David Foster, patented in England in 1890: Parlour Table Games, which included table versions of Lawn Tennis, Cricket and Football. This game featured strung rackets, a 30mm cloth covered rubber ball, a wooden fence set up around the perimeter of the table, and large side nets extending along both sides. One year later famous game makers Jaques of London released their GOSSIMA game. This game borrowed the drum style battledores from the Shuttlecock game, and used a 50mm webbed wrapped cork ball, with an amazing 30cm high net that was secured by a belt-like strap under the table.

Neither of these action games were successful, due to the ineffective ball: the rubber ball had too wild a bounce, while the cork ball had too poor a bounce. Jaques continued to advertise Gossima throughout the 1890s, but it was not until 1900, when the celluloid ball was introduced to the game, that the concept of tennis on a table became successful. The name Ping Pong is traced to an 1884 song by Harry Dacre. The distinct sound of the celluloid ball bouncing off the drum rackets quickly led to the use of the same name. Gradually the two most popular names prevailed: Ping Pong, and Table Tennis. The game gained popularity after establishment of International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in Berlin.

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/december/14

http://www.ittf.com/museum/history.html

This Day in History (28-Nov-1943) – US President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet Chairman Stalin meet for the Tehran Conference

During World War II, in November 1943, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met together in Teheran, Iran, to discuss military strategy and post-war Europe, in a conference codenamed Eureka. Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front in Europe. Stalin, who always favoured in offensive strategy, believed that there were political, as well as military reasons for the Allies’ failure to open up a second front in Europe. Stalin was still highly suspicious of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt and was worried about them signing a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. The foreign policies of the capitalist countries since the October Revolution had convinced Stalin that their main objective was the destruction of the communist system in the Soviet Union. Stalin was fully aware that if Britain and the USA withdrew from the war, the Red Army would have great difficulty in dealing with Germany on its own.

At Teheran, Joseph Stalin reminded Churchill and Roosevelt of a previous promise of landing troops in Western Europe in 1942. Later they postponed it to the spring of 1943. Stalin complained that it was now November and there was still no sign of an allied invasion of France. After lengthy discussions, it was agreed that the Allies would mount a major offensive in the spring of 1944. Roosevelt and Churchill also accepted Stalin’s demands regarding Poland’s post-war boundaries, which would give the Soviets Lwów, Wilno, and Poland’s eastern Kresy territory occupied by Stalin under his 1939 alliance with Nazi Germany. Churchill proposed that Poland, in return, be compensated with a corresponding slice of Germany. They all agreed that they would continue to make available to the Government of Iran economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations.

The D-Day landings in June, 1944 took the pressure off the Red Army and from that date they made steady progress into territory held by Germany bringing World war II to end.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-28-1660-the-royal-society-is-founded-at-gresham-college-in-london

http://spartacus-educational.com/2WWteheran.htm

This Day in History (24-Nov-1859) – Charles Darwin Publishes ‘On the Origin of Species’

After Darwin graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1831, botany professor John Stevens Henslow recommended him for a naturalist’s position aboard the HMS Beagle. The ship was to take a five-year survey trip around the world. Over the course of the trip, Darwin collected a variety of natural specimens, including birds, plants and fossils. Through hands-on research and experimentation, he had the unique opportunity to closely observe principles of botany, geology and zoology. The Pacific Islands and Galapagos Archipelago were of particular interest to Darwin, as was South America.

Upon his return to England in 1836, Darwin began to write up his findings in the Journal of Researches. He began to develop a revolutionary theory about the origin of living beings that was contrary to the popular view of other naturalists at the time. Other naturalists believed that all species either came into being at the start of the world, or were created over the course of natural history. In either case, the species were believed to remain much the same throughout time. Darwin, however, noticed similarities among species all over the globe, along with variations based on specific locations, leading him to believe that they had gradually evolved from common ancestors. Combining a series of basic facts (food is limited and animals compete for it) and inferences (species have to fight to continue on), Darwin reasoned that animals would continue to exist on based on their ability to survive and reproduce. This process was called as “natural selection,” where species that successfully adapted to meet the changing requirements of their natural habitat thrived, while those that failed to evolve and reproduce died off.

On November 24, 1859, Darwin published a detailed explanation of his theory in his best-known work, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”.During the next century, DNA studies revealed evidence of his theory of evolution, although controversy surrounding its conflict with Creationism—the religious view that all of nature was born of God—still abounds today.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-24th-1859-charles-darwin-publishes-on-the-origin-of-species

http://www.biography.com/people/charles-darwin-9266433#voyage-on-the-hms-beagle

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.

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pele-scores-1000th-goal

http://www.biography.com/people/pel%C3%A9-39221#synopsis

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-3000/most-career-goals-(football)/

This Day in History (5-Jul-1841) – Thomas Cook opens 1st travel agency

At the age of 24, Thomas Cook joined Temperance Society (movement against alcohol) and organized meetings & held anti-liquor processions in England. Cook’s idea to offer excursions came to him while walking from Market Harborough to Leicester to attend a meeting of the Temperance Society. With the opening of the extended Midland Counties Railway, he arranged to take a group of 540 temperance campaigners from Leicester Campbell Street station to a rally in Loughborough, eleven miles away. On 5 July 1841, Thomas Cook arranged for the rail company to charge one shilling per person that included rail tickets and food for this train journey. Cook was paid a share of the fares actually charged to the passengers. This was the first privately chartered excursion train to be advertised to the general public.

During the following three summers he planned and conducted outings for temperance societies and Sunday-school children. In 1844 the Midland Counties Railway Company agreed to make a permanent arrangement with him provided he found the passengers. This success led him to start his own business running rail excursions for pleasure, taking a percentage of the railway tickets.

Next year, he arranged accommodation for a party to travel from Leicester to Liverpool. In 1846, he took 350 people from Leicester on a tour of Scotland, however his lack of commercial ability led him to bankruptcy. He persisted and found success when he claimed that he arranged for over 165,000 people to attend the Great Exhibition in London. Four years later, he planned his first excursion abroad, when he took a group from Leicester to Calais to coincide with the Paris Exhibition. The following year he started his ‘grand circular tours’ of Europe. During the 1860s he took parties to Switzerland, Italy, Egypt and United States. Cook established ‘inclusive independent travel’, whereby the traveller went independently but his agency charged for travel, food and accommodation for a fixed period over any chosen route. Such was his success that the Scottish railway companies withdrew their support between 1862 and 1863 to try the excursion business for themselves.

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/july/5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cook