Today in History: Otto Baumberger born in 1889

Today in History: Otto Baumberger born in 1889
131 years ago today, noted Swiss painter and poster artist Otto Baumberger was born in Zurich. Baumberger produced some 200 posters of great quality and style and is one of the main representatives of the Swiss Sachplakat (object poster).

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Today in History: American Red Cross founded in 1881

Today in History: American Red Cross founded in 1881

139 years ago today, humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross in Washington, DC. an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross. Barton had been known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for tireless dedication to helping the sick and wounded during the American Civil War. She was in Europe when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 where she joined the International Red Cross to work behind the German lines. After her return to the United States, she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.

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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: TWA begins commercial service in 1934

Today in History: TWA begins commercial service in 1934

On May 18, 1934, TWA (Trans World Airlines) officially launched its commercial service on the Columbus-Pittsburgh-Newark route with the Douglas DC-2. The aircraft’s success quickly led to its introduction on most TWA routes, and the growth of others. The most prominent of these was the Sun Racer, also known as TWA Flight 1, which promised to deliver passengers from coast to coast in a single day.

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Today in History: Kentucky Derby

Today in History: Kentucky Derby

145 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: Hygiene Museum in Germany

Today in History: Hygiene Museum in Germany

80 years ago today, the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden opened its doors to the public.

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Today in History: First Academy Awards in 1927

Today in History: First Academy Awards in 1927

93 years ago today, the first ever Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards were handed out at a banquet held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Some 270 people attended, and tickets cost $5 each. After a long dinner, complete with numerous speeches, Douglas Fairbanks, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which had been formed in 1927, handed out 15 awards in a five-minute ceremony. The awards presentation was somewhat anticlimactic compared to today’s Academy Award ceremonies, as the winners had already been announced in February. Starting with the following year’s awards, the Academy began releasing the names of the winners to the press on the night of the awards ceremony to preserve some suspense. That practice ended in 1940, after the Los Angeles Times published the results in its evening edition, which meant they were revealed before the ceremony. The Academy then instituted a system of sealed envelopes, which remains in use today. Source: history.com.

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