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Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Today in history—January 5

1794: Edmund Ruffin is born is born in Prince George County, Virginia.  He will do much to introduce crop rotation and fertilization into the American south, will found the successful Farmer’s Register, and will be given the honor of firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

1815: Delegates from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire, following as series of secret meetings at Hartford, issue a manifesto attacking the Madison administration and calling for seven new constitutional amendments, including two-thirds votes for declaring war or admitting a state, limiting a president to one term, prohibiting any state from providing two successive presidents, and apportioning taxes and representatives according to population.

King_camp_gillette 1855: King Camp Gillette, the inventor of the safety razor with the disposable blade, is born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  He will found the Gillette Safety Razor Co. in Boston in 1901.

1885: The Long Island Railroad becomes the first to provide piggyback service. Potato farmers can bring their wagons onto rail cars and have the wagons delivered to the city, without unloading.

1889: The word "hamburger" (for a ground beef patty) first appears in print, in a newspaper in Walla Walla, Washington.

1914: Ford Motor Co. announces that its new work day will be 8 hours and its daily wage will be $5—an unheard-of sum for factory labor.

1914: Aaron "Bunny" Lapin is born in St. Louis. After deciding that Washington University law school isn’t for him, he will go on to invent of aerosol whipped cream, introducing his "Reddi-Wip," to customers through local milkmen in 1948.  It is now part of ConAgra Foods. Half of all aerosol whipped cream still comes in his red, white, and blue can.

1923: Sun Records founder Sam Phillips is born in Florence, Alabama.  He will be 27 when he opens the Sun Studio.  Among his stars: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins.

Nellie_tayloe_ross 1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming (left) becomes the first female governor of an American state. She takes office just sixteen days before Miriam Amanda Wallace "Ma" Ferguson of Texas.

1965: The rare pop song to raise an issue regarding the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, the Searchers’ Love Potion No. 9, tops the charts.

1970: The soap opera All My Children premieres.  It is originally set in fictitious Pine Valley, New York, but the locale is later changed to Pine Valley, Pennsylvania—perhaps to avoid New York’s fearsome Workers’ Comp rates.

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