Pre-Pop Culture History, Trivia and Fun Facts
~3200 BC - The earliest person we know the name of is a Mesopotamian
called Kushim. A stone tablet effectively reads 'a total of 29,086
measures of barley were received over the course of 37 months. Signed,
Cato the Elder (234 BC 149 BC) would end his speeches in
the Roman Senate, regardless of topic, with the phrase "furthermore,
I consider that Carthage must be destroyed".
The Roman-Persian Wars are considered the longest conflict in human
history, lasting from 54 BC to 692 AD, over 680 years.
~250 AD - St. Denis. He reportedly got his head chopped odd, then
got up, picked up his head, and walked 6 miles, while preaching.
He is the patron saint of headaches and possessed people.
1248 - The King's Own Immemorial 1st Infantry Regiment of the Spanish
Army is claimed to be the oldest continuously operating military
unit in the world, formed in 1248.
1355 - The St Scholastica Day riot: An Oxford a dispute between
two students and a tavern keeper escalated to a two-day riot where
93 people died. The entire incident was over the quality of drinks
being served at the tavern.
The Voynich Manuscript... 240 pages include undeciphered text containsing
strange images and has baffled the world for centuries. Experts
carbon dated the piece circa 1420, but little
else is known.
1516 - The first ever consumer protection law introduced was The
Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law). It was related to beer and aimed to
protect drinkers from high prices and prevent wheat from being too
expensive for bakers to produce bread.
1518 - There was dancing plague in Strasbourg, Alsace (now France)
in which people went into the street and danced until many died
of exhaustion, strokes and heart attacks.
1605 - The Papal Conclave had the first and only recorded physical
fight between Cardinals over Papal nominees.
1608 - Juliana Morell became the first woman to receive a university
degree. By age 12 she had defended her theses in public and by 14
she finished her degree summa cum laude.
1623 - The Pilgrims experimented in "Communal Property"
ownership in 1620 before switching to "Private Property"
Massachusetts started a state-run ferry service between Boston,
Charlestown, and Chelsea in 1630. This was likely the first chartered
transportation service in North America.
The world's oldest color printed book is Chinese and is called Shi
zhu zhai shu hua pu. It is a calligraphy and painting manual
dating from 1633.
Robin Redbreasts are called redbreasts because the word "orange"
did not exist until the 1600s.
Robert Plot was the First Scientist to Discover a Dinosaur Bone
in 1676. He Initially Believed it Belonged to a "Giant Man".
1676 - a company known as the 'Compagnie de Limonadiers' was founded
in Paris, and were granted monopoly rights to sell lemonade. This
became the first time soft drinks were marketed and sold.
All European monarchs occupying the throne today descended
from one man: John William Friso, Prince of Orange (1687-1711).
1703 - The first American Mardi Gras was celebrated not in New Orleans(Louisiana),
but in Mobile(Alabama) in 1703.
1738 - efore Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam there was Lady Columbia
and she was the first personification of America.
Scheele's Green, invented in 1775, was a yellowish-green pigment
containing copper and arsenic, making it extremely toxic. It was
used in fabrics, paint, toys, even food. Those exposed often suffered
fainting, rashes, even violent illness. It was replaced by Cobalt
Green in the 19th century.
1789 - Havre de Grace, Maryland was one vote away from becoming
the permanent capital of the United States. The town is locally
pronounced 'Have-err Dee Grace.
1791 - Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 96, which, reportedly, during
the first performance at first performed at the Hanover Square Rooms
in London, a chandelier fell and could have injured the crowd. Reportedly
the audience was so perplexed by this symphony that they all crowded
around the stage resulting in no one being injured, and the piece
being nicknamed "The Miracle Symphony".
In the 1792 Presidential election, George Washington got 100.0%
of the vote, which was only 28,579 votes.
"Uncle" Fed Messer was the man who lived in three centuries,
1795 - as Composer Joseph Haydn conducted the premiere of his 102nd
symphony, the audience pressed forward out of their seats to get
a closer look. Moments later, a chandelier crashed to the floor
where the seats had emptied, killing no one and giving this piece
the name "The Miracle".
1810 - To win a bet that he could turn anywhere into the most talked-about
address in London, Theodore Hook sent thousands of letters from
54 Berners Street, requesting deliveries, visitors & assistance.
Within a day, thousands of people had visited the street, including
the Archbishop of Canterbury.
1816 - The Poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was in fact about
a little girl, Mary Sawyer, from Boston whose little lamb followed
her to school one day.
1816 - The Year Without a Summer (also the Poverty Year, the Summer
that Never Was, Year There Was No Summer) Earth cooled 0.7-1.3 °F).
Probably caused by the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption, it resulted
in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere, much of
which was covered in a 'dry fog'.
1818 - American Journal of Science Magazine began publication
The Youth's Companion Magazine (published 1827-1929)
Chemists Lea & Perrins created the recipe for a fermented liquid
condiment in the 1830s, however it wasn't to their liking and was
set aside and forgotten about. When the barrels were rediscovered
many months later, the taste had mellowed into what is now known
as Worcestershire sauce.
The Knickerbocker Magazine (published 1833-1965)
1839 - The English words "The pen is mightier than the sword"
were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton
in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. "La plume
est plus forte que l'epee."
1856 - Preston Brooks (D), beat Senator Charles Sumner (R) with
a cane on the floor of the United States Senate in retaliation for
an anti-slavery speech. He resigned his seat later in the year,
only to be reelected to the same position left vacant by his resignation.
1861 - Scott County, Tennessee, seceded from Tennessee in protest
when Tennessee seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy.
The resulting 'Free and Independent State of Scott' did not officially
rejoin Tennessee until 1986.
Harper's Weekly Magazine (published 1857-1916)
1857 - The Atlantic began publication
Illustrated Police News Magazine (published 1860-1904)
1864 - During the Civil War Salisbury Steak was thought to be healthier
than vegetables, according to Dr. Salisbury
1865 - Ringo Kelley accidentally killed two men with dynamite during
construction of the Hoosac Tunnel. A year later Kelley was found
strangled in the tunnel and his death remains unsolved.
1865 - Police officers are blue because they were originally surplus
US army uniforms after the civil war.
1866 - (fictional) A fantastic submarine boat, the Nautilus, commanded
by Captain Nemo, launched in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the
Sea by Jules Verne, serialized novel.
1867 - Harper's Bazaar began publication
Founded in 1869 and still active until today, the Prohibition Party
is the oldest third party in the US.
1872 - Popular Science began publicationWoman's Home Companion
McCall's Magazine (published 1873-2002)
1873 - (fictional) Events of Cowboys and Aliens, film inspired
by the 2006 graphic novel.
St. Nicholas Magazine (published 1873-1943)
Many hoboes in late 1800's were American Civil War Veterans.
Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets, and the myth originates
from an opera, at the first Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner's
Der Ring des Nibelungen.
The Magazine of American History Magazine (published 1877-1917)
1879 - The Wachtower began publication
1880 - (fictional) Professor Von Hardwigg and his party descended
into an Icelandic mountain in search of missing explorer Arne Saknussem
and discovered an unknown sea world with monsters in Journey
to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne's 1864 novel. (In the
1959 film version, he is known as Prof. Lindenbrook)
Argosy Magazine published (1882-1978)
1883 - The explosion caused by the eruption of Krakatoa measured
an 310dB, loud enough to be heard clearly from 5,000 kilometres
away. (the human pain threshold is 120 to 140dB)
1883 - Ladie's Home Journal began publication
On January 4, 1883 Life Magazine began publication
1884 - P.T. Barnum led a parade of 21 elephants across the Brooklyn
Bridge to assure people it was safe, about a year after it opened.
There has been an accident with fatalities shortly after it opened.
May 2, 1885 Good Housekeeping began publication
1885ish - (fictional) A passing comet ripped people, land, and air
off the Earth. The people took refuge in a volcano on Comet Gallia,
and work to get back to Earth - Off On a Comet by Jules Verne,
Sporting News Magazine (published 1886-2012)
1886 - Cosmopolitan began publication
Scribner's Magazine (published 1887-1939)
1887 - American Rifleman began publication
1888 - National Geographic began publication
1889 - Nellie Bly was a 19th century female journalist/entrepeneur
who went around the world in 72 days, pretended to be insane in
order to expose the deplorable conditions in mental asylums, patented
two designs for steel cans and ran a million-dollar iron manufacturing
business, all before the age of 40.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man made structure until
1889 when the Eiffel tower was built.
The Literary Digest Magazine (published 1890-1938)
Short Stories Magazine (published 1890-1959)
1892 - Vogue began publication
1894 - (fictional) The Time Traveler set the levers on his machine
in motion, for his journey to the year 802,701 AD in The Time
Machine by H. G. Wells, 1895 novel.
1895 - Field & Stream began publication
1896 - House Beautiful began publication
1898 - Sunset began publication
1899 - The Golf Term 'birdie' originated in New Jersey in 1899 after
a player hit his second shot inches from the cup on a par-four before
putting. His first shot had struck a bird in flight.
1900 - Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin invented the Zeppelin.
1900 - Milton Hershey created the Hershey Chocolate Bar.
1900 - Casey Jones
was a railroad engineer who died in a train crash. Seeing an upcoming
collision, Casey ordered his colleague off the train and remained
in control of the engine to minimize impact. This saved the lives
of all passengers, except himself.
The first person ever to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive
was Annie Taylor on October 24, 1901. She hoped her feat would bring
her fame and fortune but she died in poverty.
1902 - Popular Mechanics began publication
1902 - Willis Carrier invented the Air Conditioner
1902 - (fictional) In a gun-launched capsule, French astronomers
took A Trip to the Moon ("Le voyage dans la lune")
and escape from Selenites, in Georges Melies' B&W scifi fantasy
1902 - Conrad Hubert hot the forst patent (#737,107) for the modern
1903 - Redbook began publication
1903 - The New York Times predicted that building a flying
machine would be possible in 1-10 Million years.
The American Magazine (published 1904-1956)
1905 - The popsicle was invented by 11-year-old Frank Epperson in
San Fransisco, CA.
1905 - Milton Hershey created the Hershey's Kiss
1905 - (fictional) Martian three-legged fighting machines invaded
England in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, novel written
Railroad Man's Magazine (published 1906-1979)
1906 - The Devils Tower was the first declared United States National
Monument, established on September 24, 1906.
1907 - Mr. Skygack, from Mars was a comic strip by the American
cartoonist A.D. Condo that appeared in the Chicago Day Book
newspaper from 1907 to 1917. It was probably the first sci-fi comic
1908 - About 5 miles above Tunguske, Siberia, something exploded
with the force of an estimated 12.5 Megaton bomb. The many theories
about what happened include aliens, a Tesla experiment gone wrong
or time travelers. It was probably a fragment of Comet Encke, but
we'll never know for sure.
When Hitler sold paintings in Vienna from 1908-13, many of his buyers
1908 - Milton Hershey introduced his milk chocolate with almonds
1908 - Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan.
Top-Notch Magazine (published 1910-1937)
1910 - (fictional) When the orbit of Halley's Comet intersected
with the Earth, it was a disaster, In the Days of the Comet
by H. G. Wells (novel written in 1906).
1910's Principia Mathematica was a three-volume work on the foundations
of Mathematics. work aimed to create a set of axioms that could,
in theory, prove all mathematical truths. This included proving
1911 - The Breakup of Standard Oil is actually where John D. Rockefeller
made most of his money. It more than tripled his net worth from
$300 million to nearly $1 Billion. This is largely because he went
from the owner of 1 monopoly to partial owner of 34 different oil
Photoplay Magazine (published 1911-1980)
1911 - The Mona Lisa didn't have nearly the fame, recognition or
popularity it enjoys today until after it was stolen in 1911. Before
that, it was thought of as unremarkable outside small circles of
1911 - Boys' Life began publication
1912 - Life Savers candy, called the "Pep-O-Mint", was
invented by Clarence Crane.
1912 - 3,020 Cherry Blossom trees were sent from Yokohama to Washington,
DC as a gift from the people of Japan to the people of the United
1912 - The survival rate of women (75%) on the Titanic was far higher
than the survival rate of children (50%)
Motion Picture News Magazine (published 1913-1930)
1913 - Scouting began publication
1913 - Vanity Fair began publication
1914 - Garrett Morgan patented (#1,090,936) the gas mask. He also
patented the first traffic signal.
1915 - The mechanical "Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil" was invented
by Tokuji Hayakawa.
1917 - (fictional) British RFC Flt. Lt. Decker was lost over France,
but returnedexactly 42 years later, on March 5, 1959. The Twilight
Zone episode 'The Last Flight', TV episode.
1917 - Forbes began publication
1919 - The Indian Meat Packing Company agreed to sponsor an employee
football team for $500. Three years later they dropped their ownership.
The Packers are worth more than 1.4 billion today.
1919 - U.S. Air Services Magazine (published 1919-1956)
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