Tuesday, January 4, 2005
1813: Sir Isaac Pitman, the inventor of the shorthand note-taking service that made court-reporting and dictation possible, is born at Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
1896: Utah enters the Union as the 45th state. Entry had been held up for a considerable period by resistance to the Mormon practice of polygamy. The constitution of the new state provides:
No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.
1928: The Dodge Victory Hour premieres on the NBC radio network. The show features Will Rogers, Al Jolson, and Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra.
1936: Billboard magazine runs the first pop chart based on actual sales figures. Debuting at number one? Joe Venuti’s Stop! Look! Listen!
1954: Young Elvis Presley pays $4 to the Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, Casual Love and I’ll Never Stand in Your Way. They will later be heard by Sam Phillips who signed Presley to Sun Records.
1961: Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger dies in Vienna. His cat has been featured in more than thirty law review articles.
1965: CBS buys the Fender Guitar Company for $13 million after founder Leo Fender becomes too ill to run the business. Employees and investors will buy it back from CBS sixteen years later. The Fender Precision bass (introduced 1951) and Stratocaster guitar (1954) are the most popular and enduring instruments of their type ever made. (Left, Motown legend James Jamerson with his 1962 Fender P-bass "The Funk Machine.")
1995: Dr. Newton Leroy Gingrich is formally elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. One of very few college professors ever to hold that post, he is best known for his "Contract With America."
2000: The first sign of trouble for the Tech Bubble—the NASDAQ index falls 229 points, or 5.6 percent. Widows and orphans pile their money into Red Hat on this "buying opportunity."