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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, Kushim.'

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" ownership.

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, from 1792-1907.

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 Magazine (1873-1957)

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, novel.

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 film.

1902 - Conrad Hubert hot the forst patent (#737,107) for the modern flashlight.

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 in 1898.

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 strip.

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 were Jewish.

1908 - Milton Hershey introduced his milk chocolate with almonds bar.

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 that 1+1=2

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 companies.

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 art critics

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 States.

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)

Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
Having characteristics attributed to the common people and intended for or suited to ordinary people.

culture:(noun) That which is excellent in the arts.
A particular stage of civilization. The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.

madness: (noun) The state of being mad. insanity, senseless folly, intense excitement or enthusiasm.
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