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 Elephant Day

Today is World Elephant Day

They might be wildlife icons, but, sadly, elephants are in crisis. World Elephant Day is a chance to show our love and support for these much-loved giants and raise awareness of the threats to their future in both Africa and Asia, ranging from ivory poachers and traffickers to loss of habitat. The occasion was founded by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, based in Thailand, working together with Canadian film-maker Patricia Sims. The launch of this international initiative in 2012 saw the release of the documentary film ‘Return to the Forest’, narrated by Star Trek legend William Shatner. The ideal way to mark the day is to donate to a charity helping elephants or organise an event in aid of these beautiful but threatened beasts. You could also watch a wildlife film about elephants or sign a petition to raise awareness. (source: http://www.daysoftheyear.com)

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Today is National Vinyl Record Day

Today is National Vinyl Record Day

The vintage vinyl is almost as much of a classic as the bands themselves. Vinyl used to be the main means for commercial distribution of pop music from the 1950s through the early 1990s when the compact disk started to take over (which since has been replaced by digital downloads or streaming music). A vinyl record is also known as gramophone record, phonograph record or simply a record – an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc which has an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. While vinyl left mainstream production in the early 1990s, it experienced a strong revival with collectors and audiophiles in the past decade.

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Happy Birthday, Switzerland

Happy Birthday, Switzerland

Founded in 1291, the Swiss are celebrating their country’s 727th anniversary today.

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Today in History: Lithography was invented in 1798

Today in History: Lithography was invented in 1798

220 years ago today, German author Alois Senefelder invented the lithographic printing method (from the Greek, “stone printing”). Looking for an inexpensive method for copying his manuscripts, Senefelder was experimenting with etching techniques using acid resisting inks on a flat stone surface. He soon discovered that his method allowed printing from the flat surface of the stone alone. Compared to conventional copper engraving, it enabled a much faster way of working. Lithography made printing much more affordable and available to more people (f.ex. in art and newspaper printing). By 1830, Senefelder’s process had become the dominant method of pictorial reproduction in the printing industry.

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Today in History: First successful Matterhorn ascent in 1865

Today in History: First successful Matterhorn ascent in 1865

153 years ago today, the Matterhorn (4,478 m, 14,692 ft) was first successfully ascended by Edward Whymper and his team of mountaineers, Michel Croz, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson, Douglas Hadow, and the two Zermatt guides, Peter Taugwalder father and son. During the descent, however, the day ended in tragedy when Douglas, Hudson, Hadow and Croz were killed after a supporting rope broke. One climber had slipped, pulling the three others with him. Taugwalder and Whymper had been alarmed by Croz’s warning shouts and when they grasped the rocks, the rope broke, causing the four others to plummet to their deaths.

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Today in History: The saxophone is patented in 1846

Today in History: The saxophone is patented in 1846

Belgian musician Adolphe Sax developed the woodwind instrument typically made of brass, which in recent decades has heavily influenced the sound of the jazz, military band, rock, and pop musical genres.

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