Today in History: Greyhound Bus Company founded in 1915

Today in History: Greyhound Bus Company founded in 1915
103 years ago today, the Greyhound Bus Company began its operations in Hibbing, Minnesota. Its Swedish founder, Carl Eric Wickman, had moved to the United States in 1905. After being laid off from work in the mines, Wickman unsuccessfully tried his luck as a Hupmobile salesman. In 1914, as a last resort, Wickman used his remaining 7-passenger car as a shuttle for miners. He took them from Hibbing to Alice (known for its saloons) and charged 15 cents per ride. A year later, Wickman joined forces with Ralph Bogan, who was running a transit service from Hibbing to Duluth, Minnesota. The Greyhound Bus Company was born (it was named Mesaba Transportation Company at the time). The buses were dubbed “greyhounds” because of their gray paint and sleek appearance. By the end of 1918, Wickman owned 18 buses earning $40,000 a year. By 1927, buses traveled across the entire USA. The running dog was first used as the company’s logo in 1929. By then, the company was called Greyhound Lines.

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Today in History: Birth of the Blue Jeans in 1873

Today in History: Birth of the Blue Jeans in 1873

On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.

Born Loeb Strauss in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in 1829, the young Strauss immigrated to New York with his family in 1847 after the death of his father. By 1850, Loeb had changed his name to Levi and was working in the family dry goods business, J. Strauss Brother & Co. In early 1853, Levi Strauss went west to seek his fortune during the heady days of the Gold Rush.

In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family’s firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco.

Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points–at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly–to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.

Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501brand jean–known until 1890 as “XX”–was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi’s denim waist overalls were the top-selling men’s work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn by men and women, young and old, around the world. Source: history.com

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Today in History: Kentucky Derby

Today in History: Kentucky Derby

143 years ago today, on May 17, 1875, a cheering crowd of 10,000 people watched the horse, Aristides, a Thoroughbred named after an ancient Greek general, and his rider, Oliver Lewis, cross the finish line to win the first ever Kentucky Derby. The first derby was a 1.5 mile race (the traditional 1.25 mile distance was not established until 1896). Thirteen of the fifteen jockeys in the race, including Oliver Lewis, were African-American.

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Today in History: Philips founded in 1891

Today in History: Philips founded in 1891

127 years ago today, the Philips Company was founded by father and son, Frederik and Gerard Philips. The Dutch company initially produced carbon-filament lamps and other electro-technical products. The first factory building in Eindhoven is used as a museum today.

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Happy Birthday, Otl Aicher born in 1922

Happy Birthday, Otl Aicher born in 1922

The German graphic designer and typographer would have turned 96 today. Aicher was best known for his visual designs for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. His pictograms for the different sports continue to be used worldwide.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Today in History: Mercedes-Benz founded in 1924

Today in History: Mercedes-Benz founded in 1924

Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merged their two companies 94 years ago on this day and created one of the greatest automobile companies in the world. It started with two different ideas for two different cars by two different men: both Daimler and Benz manufactured their own cars for some 30 years until the merger that was largely created out of economic sense. Benz & Co. formed in 1883 and its first motor car rode through the streets of Mannheim in July 1886. Daimler who had been working on his own motor carriage founded the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890 and marketed the first Mercedes in 1901. Both companies did well until shortly after World War I when the global economic climate of the early 1920s forced the two companies to form an alliance. In 1924, Daimler and Benz began marketing their products jointly while still working under separate trademarks. In June 1926, the two oldest motor manufacturers merged to form Daimler-Benz AG.

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