Sep 19, 1783: Jacques Etienne Montgolfier launched a duck, a sheep and a rooster aboard a hot-air balloon at Versailles in France.
Sep 19, 1838: Ephraim Morris patented the railroad brake.
Sep 19, 1839: George Cadbury, English businessman, Quaker, social reformer and chocolate manufacturer, was born in Birmingham, England. He joined his father’s chocolate business at the age of 21, along with his brother, Richard. When their father retired, the two brothers took over and built the famous business of Cadbury Brothers. They developed new cocoa bean processing methods. The resulting pure cocoa essence was a major breakthrough and resulted in new food laws prohibiting adulturation of foods.
Sep 19, 1848: Hyperion, the eighth moon of Saturn, was discovered in the U.S. by William Cranch Bond and his son George Phillips Bond and in England by William Lassell.
Sep 19, 1851: It can be said that Lever Brothers cleaned up the world. William Hesketh Lever (1st Viscount Leverhulme) was born on this day. He was a British manufacturer and philanthropist who formed the Lever Brothers soap manufacturing company. It was one of the first companies to manufacture soap from vegetable oils instead of animal tallow. In 1888, Lever established Port Sunlight, a model community providing housing for the company’s workers, who enjoyed conditions, pay, hours, and benefits far better than found in similar industries. By 1900 the factory was producing brands such as Lifebuoy, Lux, Monkey Brand, Vim, and Rinso.
Sep 19, 1876: On this day a patent was issued to American inventor Melville Bissell for the carpet sweeper (182,346). At his a crockery shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his wife’s health was affected by dust from the packing materials. Out of desperate need for self-preservation, he invented the carpet sweeper. They recognized the sweeper’s marketing possibilities and began to assemble them in a room over the store. The inner workings and cases were made by women working in their homes. Tufts of hog bristles were bound with string, dipped in hot pitch, inserted in brush rollers and then trimmed with scissors. Anna Bissell gathered the parts together in clothes baskets and brought them back to the store for assembly.
Sep 19, 1878: Charles-Victor Mauguin, French mineralogist and crystallographer was born. He was one of the first to make a systematic study of the silicate minerals. Using X-ray diffraction techniques, he determined the structure of a large number of micas. He also published the atomic structure of cinnabar, calomel, and graphite and devised a system of symbols to indicate the symmetry properties of crystals. It became an international standard.
Sep 19, 1888: James Waddell Alexander, American mathematician, was born. He founded the branch of mathematics now called topology. In 1912, he joined the faculty of the mathematics department at Princeton. Soon after, Alexander generalised the Jordan curve theorem and, in 1928, he discovered the Alexander polynomial which is much used in knot theory.
Sep 19, 1908: Viktor Frederick Weisskopf, Austrian-American theoretical physicist and administrator was born. He was a doctoral student of Max Born at Göttingen, and was a major contributor in the golden age of quantum mechanics. Weisskopf worked with Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Bohr and Pauli. To escape Nazism, he moved to the U.S. in 1937. He joined the Manhattan Project in 1943, where he became associate head of the theoretical division. After the war he taught at MIT. Murray Gell-Mann was one of his students. Weisskopf developed the “clouded crystal ball” model of the atomic nucleus. He served as director-general of CERN from 1961 to 1965, then returned to MIT, retiring in 1973.
Sep 19, 1947: Torunn Atteraas “Teri” Garin, a Norwegian chemical engineer, was born. After attending university in Norway, she moved to the U.S. for degrees in chemical engineering (1971) and environmental engineering (1977). Garin helped develop aspartame sweetener as a sugar substitute while working for General Foods. Earlier in her career, she researched ways to minimize water pollution caused by food production. She co-patented an adsoption process to extract caffeine from coffee (4,113,887) and a method to derive food dyes from natural sources to replace possibly cancer-causing synthetic dyes (4,409,254), for example, non-toxic betanin, a natural red pigment from red beet. These patents were assigned to General Foods Corp. She died from lung cancer.
Sep 19, 1957: The United States conducted its first underground nuclear test, in the Nevada desert, at Area 12 of the Nevada Test Site. This was the Atomic Energy Commission’s first fully contained underground nuclear detonation named the Rainier event. It was detonated in a horizontal tunnel, drilled about 1600 feet into the mesa and 900 feet beneath the top of the mesa.
Sep 19, 1982: Streetcars stopped running on Market St. in San Francisco after 122 years of service.
Sep 19, 1988: Israel launched its first satellite, Offeq-1 aboard a Shavit rocket, launched from the Negev Desert over the Mediterranean, thus becoming the ninth country in space. The satellite carried scientific data collection instruments but it’s believed to have included experimental surveillance functions.
Sep 19, 1991: Ötzi, the Iceman, a Stone Age traveler and the most ancient human being ever found, was discovered in the Similaun glacier in the Ötzal Alps on the Italian-Austrian border. His frozen body was found along with artifacts of his way of life. An examination of his gut contents showed the man took his last meal not long before setting out on a hike from which he never returned. The meal was a simple affair, consisting of a bit of unleavened bread made of einkorn wheat, one of the few domesticated grains in the Iceman’s part of the world at that time, some other plant, possibly an herb or other green, and meat. An Austrian reporter named him Ötzi.
Sep 19, 1994: The U.S. DNA Identification Act became law as part of comprehensive federal crime legislation. It authorized the FBI director to establish a national DNA database, but the system did not become operational until 1998. The Combined DNA Identification System (CODIS) was designed to enable the states to pool their crime-investigation resources. The central index includes identification records of criminals, and forensic analyses of DNA samples collected from crime scenes and unidentified human remains. The Act included requirements for proficiency testing and privacy protection requirements, with penalties for violations.
Sep 19, 2015: The Aerovelo Eta human-powered speedbike reached a top speed of 139.45 kmh or 86.65 mph on a highway outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. The nearly-level and straight state highway 305 was the venue for the annual World Human-Powered Speed Challenge. The bicylist, Todd Reichert, was recumbent, encased in a lightweight, low-profile aerodynamically designed shell, which also shrouded most of the wheels. During several years of development the engineering team worked to overcome wobbles at high speed and steering issues to build the world’s most efficient vehicle.
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