Friday, November 20, 2015

Light on the Land

Kerosene lanterns were one of the revolutionary inventions that helped make the USA an agricultural powerhouse. They helped farmers get in harvests before a storm hit and tend to livestock at night, such as helping with the difficult delivery of a calf. Edwin Dietz invented the device that gave off a long lasting and bright light. Standard oil magnate John D. Rockefeller cornered the market by offering farmers a kerosene with a standard flammability that could be counted on to be bright but not explosive. Previos brands were less dependable--less standard.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Heinz Ketchup Was Sold to the Nation at the Chicago World's Fair

Heinz ketchup tycoon Henry John Heinz always shunned chemical additives. When Theodore Roosevelt enacted the clean food act, his company did not have to hustle to make changes in their product, so they were a head of the game. They also introduced such ideas as washing hands and clean aprons for help at a time when most food facilities were filthy. One of his best marketing ideas was selling the bright ketchup in clear glass bottles. The ketchup was also marketed at the Chicago World's Fair.

Confederate Gold

The fact that the Confederate capital, Richmond, would soon fall, caused General Lee to send an urgent message to President Jefferson Davis that the government must evacuate or face certain capture. Late that night a special train carrying the President and Members of the Confederate Cabinet departed Richmond for Danville, Virginia. Although the news was bleak, it was  hoped that the struggle could continue.
Shortly after midnight a second train departed the Richmond station also heading south. On board were all the hard currency reserves of the Confederate States of America guarded by a group of young midshipmen from the Confederate Navy.Amongst the official records of the Confederacy crates and barrels containing gold and silver coins, bullion, and a substantial amount of fine jewelry donated to the Cause by women across the South. In addition there was more than $450,000 in gold from Richmond bank reserves, taken to keep it from falling into the hands of the invading Yankees.
By the end of the day on April 3, 1865 Richmond lay in ashes. The gold could not be found.

Spreading Economic Depressions May Have Begun Earlier Than You Thought

A depression caused the first covered wagon treks west. An economic depression that began in London in the 1830s and quickly spread to the East coast of the USA caused people to head west in droves hoping for a better life..

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I'll Drop You a Line

At the beginning of WWI, airplanes served as artillery spotters using a map and a notepad the spotter noted troop movements and artillery positions. They then put the materials and a pebble in a bag and dropped it to their artillery.

Later a Morse Code radio was added to confirm hits. Still later as trench warfare bogged down aerial photography began.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Luxury of Civilization

The urge to look pretty and have a good time are often considered a bad thing, but these desires for luxury may be responsible for civilization. The first trade routes were probably established for trading in shells for beads and later beautifully colored stones to be drilled for beads. The first trade city was established to support the obsidian trade for sharp volcanic glass razors and polished volcanic glass mirrors.

The first fields were probably planted to provide more barley for beer. In early times beer was not just for getting drunk, brewing created a safe to drink beverage in a time when most water was not safe to drink. It also added B vitamins to the diet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Triumph of The Nerds

The USA has won more wars by being nerdy than being brawny. Guns made with rifling by German gunsmiths in Pennsylvania, known as Kentucky long rifles because of their use in hunting there, were far superior in range and accuracy to UK muskets and helped to win the Revolutionary War. Sails made of a cutting-edge fabric that was superior to the linen us by the UK helped win the War of 1812. Cotton needed less wetting to keep the weave tight enough to hold the wind. Applying assembly-line techniques to gun making helped the North to win the Civil War. Being the most technically advanced nation has been one of the top 5 reasons for winning every war the USA was ever in. The USA is falling dangerously behind in technical education ranking 25th in science and math.