Today in History: Hawaii joined the United States in 1959

Today in History: Hawaii joined the United States in 1959

59 years ago today, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America

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Today is National Radio Day

Today is National Radio Day

Each year on August 20th, National Radio Day recognizes the invention of the radio. Wireless communication started developing during the 19th century. Commercial broadcasts began in the 1920s and the radio quickly became an important mass medium for news and entertainment.

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Today in History: Patent for the Zipper in 1893

Whitcomb Judson patented and introduced the first modern “zipper” at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. He had improved upon an earlier idea dating back to 1851 and began to market what he called a “Clasp Locker” (a fastener for shoes). Supposedly, Judson made created his zipper for a friend who had problems with his back (from bending down to tie his shoes).

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Today is World Photography Day

Today is World Photography Day

The Daguerreotype and its photographic process developed by Joseph Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre originated in France in 1837.

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Today in History: Opening of the Hannover Fair in 1947

Today in History: Opening of the Hannover Fair in 1947

71 years ago today, the first Hannover (Trade) Fair opened in an undamaged factory building in the south of Hannover. British military authorities organized the fair to support post-war Germany’s economic success. Some 1,300 exhibitors showed a cross section of German export production, including dental prostheses, collapsible strollers and German’s future export sensation, the VW Beetle. The fair was a starting signal for the German economic miracle, counting more than 700,000 visitors from 52 nations in only 21 days. Hannover succeeded the then East German city of Leipzig as the major new trade fair city for West Germany and the fair developed into one of the most important industrial fairs in the world.

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Today in History: International Electricity Exhibition of 1881

Today in History: International Electricity Exhibition of 1881

137 years ago today, the first International Exposition of Electricity opened in Paris. More than 1700 exhibitors from 15 countries presented their latest and greatest developments in electrical technology in the 3-month event. The fair provided an important impulse in the electrification of Europe. The public was able to admire inventions such as the dynamo by Zenobe Gramm, the Theatrophone by Clement Ader, the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell or an electric car by Gustave Trouvé. Highlight of the exhibition was Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb: at the opening, some 1000 “Edison lights” turned night into day.

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Today in History: Berlin divided by Wall in 1961

Today in History: Berlin divided by Wall in 1961

57 years ago today, troops in East Germany sealed the border between East and West Berlin, shutting off the escape route for thousands of refugees from the East. Barbed wire fences up to six feet (1.83 metres) high were put up during the night, and Berliners woke this morning to find themselves living in a divided city. Train services between the two sectors of the city were halted and all road traffic across the border was stopped.

Within days troops began replacing the barbed wire with concrete blocks, and the wall became a permanent structure.The concrete section eventually reached nearly 12 feet (3.6m) high and 66 miles (106km) long. There was a further 41 miles (66.5km) of wire fencing, as well as more than 300 watch towers. Nearly 200 people died trying to cross the wall, and another 200 were injured.

As the Iron Curtain over Eastern Europe began to lift in 1989, thousands of East Germans found another escape route, via Hungary and Austria. On 7 November 1989, the Communist government of East Germany resigned, and two days later a jubilant crowd tore down the Berlin Wall piece by piece. The following year, East and West Germany were finally reunited.

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