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Sunday, January 2, 2005

Today in history—January 2

1788: Georgia becomes the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Charles_ellet 1842: The world’s first cable suspension bridge opens to traffic across the Schuylkill River at Fairmount, Pennsylvania. It’s built by promoter Charles Ellet, Jr. (left), a largely self-taught former canal surveyor.  It's his first bridge project.

1870: Speaking of bridges, construction begins on the Brooklyn Bridge.

1872: Albert Coombes Barnes, a chemist who will turn the discovery of the anaesthetic Argyrol into a successful business and will amass one of the world’s great private art collections, is born in a poor section of South Philadelphia.  In his factories, workers on eight hour days did six hours on the production line, followed by two hours of instruction in art and aesthetics.

Chicago_sanitary_canal 1900: The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opens, connecting the south branch of the Chicago River with the Des Plains River at Lockport, Illinois.  Its goal is to cause the Chicago River to flow backwards, pulling Chicago sewage out of Lake Michigan and shipping it downstate. There’s a metapor there.

1965: Alabama's Joe Namath signs a record rookie contract for a football player, getting $400,000 from the New York Jets of the upstart American Football League.

1972: Management science expert Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth dies. The mother in the true-life Cheaper By the Dozen was a co-founder of the science of motion studies in industry—the units are called "therbligs" which is "Gilbreth" sort of backwards.

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