Oct 7, 1806: Ralph Wedgwood secured the first patent for carbon paper, which he described as an “apparatus for producing duplicates of writings.” In his process, thin paper was saturated with printer’s ink, then dried between sheets of blotting paper.

His idea that became “carbon paper” was a byproduct of his invention of a machine to help blind people write. The “black paper” was intended as a substitute for ink. A blind person would have trouble with a dip pen and ink, and unable to see the resulting writing. So, a system was needed that allowed the person to write “blind” and know that the result would always appear. In its original form, Wedgwood’s “Stylographic Writer” provided a metal stylus instead of a quill for writing, with the carbon paper placed between two sheets of paper in order to transfer a copy onto the bottom sheet.

Oct 7, 1822: Rudolf Leuckart, German zoologist and teacher, was born. Leuckart founded the modern science of parasitology. As a youth, he showed an early interest in zoology and in insects in particular. While attending medical school at the University of Gottingen he studied under the renowned zoologist, Rudolph Wagner, who encouraged him to research in this branch of science. In 1847, he was appointed a zoology lecturer.

Leuckart described the complicated life cycles of various parasites including tapeworms and the liver fluke. He demonstrated that some human diseases such as trichinosis are caused by multicellular worm-like animals.

Oct 7, 1856: The first practical folding machine to fold book and newspaper sheets was patented by Cyrus Chambers of Pennsylvania, US #15,842. It made three right angle folds to produce a sixteen page folded result. The machine was installed in the Bible printing house of Jasper Harding & Son, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Accuracy of early folding machines was poor, with hand folding still predominating for high quality work. Development of the folding machine after 1862 was rapid, and in 1873 a machine was patented that would fold a 16-page section and one of 8 pages, inset the latter, and paste it in place. That same year devices to cut and slit paper as it went through the machine were introduced.

Oct 7, 1858: American meteorologist and inventor, Charles Marvin, was born. Marvin invented the clinometer that measures the height of clouds. These became standard equipment at airports. He was Chief of the US Weather Bureau from 1913 to 1934. He worked on and wrote about the Robinson cup anemometer.

For early systematic investigations of the upper air, he designed and constructed kites and kite mounted instruments. He also devised the Marvin pyrheliometer and inaugurated the regular measurement of solar radiation intensity by the Weather Bureau. Marvin designed a seismograph operated by the Weather Bureau. He was also particularly interested in the application of mathematical statistics to meteorological problems.

Oct 7, 1885: Niels Henrik David Bohr, Danish physicist, and one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century, was born. He was the first to apply the Quantum Theory, which restricts the energy of a system to certain discrete values, to the problem of atomic and molecular structure. For this work he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922. He developed the so-called Bohr theory of the atom and liquid model of the nucleus.

Bohr was of Jewish origin and when the Nazis occupied Denmark he escaped in 1943 to Sweden on a fishing boat. From there he was flown to England where he began to work on the project to make a nuclear fission bomb. After a few months he went with the British research team to Los Alamos in the USA where they continued work on the project.

At Los Alamos, Bohr was such a towering intellect that nearly everyone at the laboratory was afraid of him, with the exception of Richard Feynman, an equally towering intellect.

Oct 7, 1931: The first short-exposure infrared photograph taken of a large group of people in apparent total darkness was taken in Rochester, NY at the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories. The people were in a room that was flooded with invisible infrared light (700 to 900 nanometers, beyond the red end of the visible spectrum). A group of 50 people visiting the laboratory were photographed on a new photographic emulsion sensitive to infrared.

Since then, scientists have made much use of infrared imagery in medical applications, aerial photography, and thermal analytics. Since plant chlorophyll reflects infrared rays more intensely than other green materials, infrared photos yield a precise indication of where vegetation is present on the ground, a fact used by satellites such as Landsat.

Oct 7, 1939: English chemist, Harold W. Kroto, was born. He shared, with Richard E. Smalley and Robert F. Curl, Jr., the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their joint discovery of the carbon compounds called fullerenes. These new forms of the element carbon contain 60 or more atoms arranged in closed shells. The number of carbon atoms in the shell can vary, and for this reason numerous new carbon structures have become known. Formerly, six crystalline forms of the element carbon were known, namely two kinds of graphite, two kinds of diamond, chaoit (1968) and carbon (VI) (1972). Fullerenes are formed when vaporised carbon condenses in an atmosphere of inert gas. The carbon clusters can then be analysed with mass spectrometry.

Oct 7, 1954: In Poughkeepsie, New York, IBM displayed the first all-transistor calculator. It needed only 5 percent of the power of comparable electronic calculators based on vacuum tubes. Three years later, in 1957, IBM introduced the IBM 608, the first all-transistor commercial calculator. The 608 was plugboard programmable.

Oct 7, 1959: The dark far side of the Moon was photographed for the first time and pictures relayed back to Earth by Russia’s Luna 3 spacecraft. After passing the moon, the Luna 3 looked back from a distance of 63,500 km to take 29 photos of the sunlit far side of the moon. The film photos, taken over a period of 40 minutes, were developed onboard and radioed back to earth on October 18, 1959. The photos covered 70 percent of the far side. The photographs were very noisy and of low resolution, but many features could be recognized. Despite the poor quality, they provided the first view in history of the far side of the moon. (Note that the far side of the moon cannot be viewed from Earth because the moon rotates and revolves at the same rate, so the same part always faces Earth.)

Oct 7, 1970: British Petroleum (BP) made the first big oil find in the British sector of the North Sea. The Sea Quest drilling platform found a 170 meter layer of oil 2,135 meters below the seabed, in water depth of 128 meters. This was the first major oilfield discovered in the British sector of the North Sea. The oil was a valuable light crude with low wax and low sulphur content. Production was inaugurated on November 3, 1975 by the Queen.