Today in History: Disney’s Pinocchio released in 1940

Today in History: Disney’s Pinocchio released in 1940

79 years ago today, Walt Disney’s animated movie “Pinocchio,” was released. It was the second animated feature film produced by Disney, following the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937.

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Today in History: Andy Warhol died in 1987

Today in History: Andy Warhol died in 1987

32 years ago today, one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century, passed away. Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) was a pioneer of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and a cultural icon. Warhol studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh before moving to New York in 1950. His studio, commonly known as “The Factory,” was a famous meeting place for New York artists, intellectuals and celebrities. From the mid-1960s on, Warhol no longer painted much himself. He produced a number of underground films, including “Chelsea Girls” (1966) and “Trash” (1970) and even managed a punk rock band, The Velvet Underground. Warhol passed away in Manhattan on February 22, 1987.

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Today in History: First Ironman in Hawaii in 1978

Today in History: First Ironman in Hawaii in 1978

41 years ago today, the first “Ironman Triathlon” was held in Kailua-Konain, The world championship has been held annually since 1978 (with an additional race in 1982) and is preceded by a series of qualifying Ironman events. The race consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Most Ironman events have a limited time of 17 hours to complete the race. The race typically starts at 7:00 a.m.; the mandatory swim cut off for the 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim is 9:20 a.m. (2 hours 20 minutes), the mandatory bike cut off time is 5:30 p.m. (8 hours 10 minutes), and the mandatory marathon cut off is midnight (6 hours 30 minutes). Any participant who manages to complete the triathlon in these timings is designated an Ironman. Source:

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Today in History: Fountain Pen patented 135 years ago

Today in History: Fountain Pen patented 135 years ago

On 12 February 1884, New York insurance salesman Lewis Waterman patented a groundbreaking invention, the fountain pen. Waterman’s instrument was a winner: it did not require constant dipping into the ink well and almost eliminated any ink spills. Writing instruments that contained their own ink supply already existed in the early 18th century. Today’s oldest surviving fountain pen was designed by the Frenchman M. Bion and dates back to 1702. The first American patent for a pen was awarded in 1809 to P. Williamson, a Baltimore shoemaker. After 1850, there was a steady stream of new fountain pen patents and pens in productions. But while early fountain pens were plagued by ink leaks and other failures that left them impractical to use and difficult to sell, it was Waterman’s patent that promoted the fountain pen to a widely popular writing instrument.

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Today in History: Davis Cup established in 1900

Today in History: Davis Cup established in 1900

119 years ago today, the silver trophy known today as the Davis Cup is first put up for competition when American collegian Dwight Filley Davis challenges British tennis players to come across the Atlantic and compete against his Harvard team.

Davis, born in St. Louis, Missouri, won the intercollegiate tennis singles championship in 1899. In the summer of that year, he and his Harvard teammates traveled to the West Coast to play against some of California’s best players. Impressed by the enthusiasm with which spectators greeted the national competition, Davis decided to propose an international tennis event. He won the support of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association and personally spent $750 on the construction of an elegant silver trophy bowl, 13 inches high and 18 inches in diameter. In February 1900, Davis put the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy up for competition.

Great Britain, regarded as the world’s leading tennis power, answered Davis’ challenge, and on August 8, 1900, three top British players came to the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, to compete against Davis and his all-Harvard team.

Davis had devised a three-day format for the event that still exists today: two singles matches on the first and third days, and a doubles match on the second day. He was captain of the U.S. team and on August 8 received serve on the very first Davis Cup point, which he hit out. He ended up triumphing in the singles match, however, and the next day with Holcombe Ward defeated the British doubles team. Rain forced the cancellation of two of the singles matches, and the first Davis Cup ended with a 3-0 Harvard sweep.

Davis was famous for his powerful left-handed serve and concentrated on a risky net play strategy that won him brilliant victories and unexpected defeats. With Ward, he won the U.S. doubles title in 1900 and 1901, and he was ranked fourth nationally in 1902. That year, the British returned for a Davis Cup rematch in New York, and the star American doubles team succumbed to the ascendant Doherty brothers–Laurie and Reggie. The United States pulled ahead in singles, however, and kept the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy with a 3-2 overall victory.

The next year, the Doherty brothers helped take the trophy back to England for the first time. In 1904, Belgium and France entered the Davis Cup competition, and soon after, Australia and New Zealand, whose players played collectively as Australasia. The trophy did not return to the U.S. until 1913 and then stayed only for a year before departing for Australasia.

After receiving a law degree, Dwight Davis returned to St. Louis and became involved in local politics. Beginning in 1911, he served as public parks commissioner and built the first municipal tennis courts in the United States. He fought in World War I and earned the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. In 1920, he made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate but the next year traveled to Washington nonetheless as director of the War Finance Corporation. Beginning in 1923, he served as assistant secretary of war under President Calvin Coolidge and in 1925 was made secretary of war proper. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover appointed him governor-general of the Philippines, and he served in this post–which essentially made him the ruler of the Philippines–for the next four years.

Throughout his distinguished career as a statesman, Davis remained involved in tennis as both an avid recreational player and an administrator. In 1923, he served as president of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. When the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy ran out of room for names, he donated a large silver tray to go with the bowl.

Today, the Davis Cup, as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy is commonly known, is the premier trophy of international team tennis. Each year, dozens of nations compete for the right to advance to the finals. Shortly before his death in 1945, David said of the growing prestige of the Davis Cup, “If I had known of its coming significance, it would have been cast in gold.”

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Today in History: Adolphe Mouron Cassandre born in 1901

Today in History: Adolphe Mouron Cassandre born in 1901

118 years ago today, the poster artist and typeface designer A.M Cassandre (born Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron) was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine to French parents. After settling in Paris in 1915, the young artist studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Julian and opened his own studio in 1922. Cassandre learned the techniques of poster production while working for the Parisian printing house Hatchard et Compagnie. Between 1923 and 1936, he created several enormously influential advertising posters, among them “Etoile du Nord” (1927), “Dubonnet” (1932) and “Normandie” (1935). In 1927, Cassandre co-founded the advertising agency Alliance Graphique. He designed magazine covers, advertisements, logos and typefaces (among them the popular “Peignot” from 1937). In 1936, he was honored with an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cassandre worked in the U.S. during the late 1930s (Container Corporation of America) before returning to Europe in 1939 to join the French army fight the German invasion of World War II. After the war, Cassandre concentrated on painting, theater and ballet designs. Following a long and difficult battle with depression, he committed suicide in his apartment in Paris in 1968.

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Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

30 years ago today, the prominent Spanish surralist painter Salvador Dali passed away in Figueres, Spain.

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