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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Saturday, January 8, 2005

Today in history—January 8

1675: The first domestic American corporation is chartered, the New York Company for Settleing [sic] a Fishery in These Parts.  It is one of only six corporations to be chartered in the country before independence.

1825: Inventor and manufacturer Eli Whitney dies.  He was only 32 when, in 1797, he invented the process of manufacturing products from interchangeable parts.  He breached his contract with the government to deliver 10,000 muskets by 1799—but the government fortunately forgave him and let him deliver six years late.

1838: The first telegraph message using dots and dashes is sent.  It is “A patient waiter is no loser.”  The code system was developed by Alfred Vail of Morristown, New Jersey.

1889: Dr. Herman Hollerith gets a patent for the first punch-card calculating system.  It is successfully used on the subsequent 1890 census.

1901: The American Bowling Congress holds its first sanctioned tournament in Chicago.

1905: The logical positivist philosopher Carl Gustav Hempel is born at Orianenburg, Germany.

1942: Physicist Stephen Hawking is born at Oxford, England.  In 1989, a research project done for Time-Life Books will disclose that his A Brief History of Time is the book that subscribers to Reader’s Digest Condensed Books most want to read.  Only later is it discovered that the company that did the survey ranked the books exactly backwards.

1976: With Citizens Band radio at its zenith, C.W. McCall’s Convoy hits the top of the pop charts.  “Ah, breaker 1-9, this here’s the Rubber Duck.  You got a copy on me, Pigpen, c’mon?” “Yeah, 10-4, Pigpen, for sure.  By golly, it’s clean clear to Flagtown, c’mon.”

1980: Physicist and engineer John W. Mauchly dies in Ambler, Pennsylvania.  With John Eckert, he will develop in 1946 the first general-purpose electronic computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).  .It consumes 100 kW of electric power and contains 18,000 electronic valves.  They will also collaborate on the first commercial computer, UNIVAC, in 1951.

1987: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 2,000 for the first time.

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