May 12, 2005
Today in history—May 13
1607: The ships of the London Company of Virginia arrive at Jamestown to found the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The first colonists are stockholders and employees of the Company, most of the latter on seven years’ indenture.
1637: The table knife is invented in France by Cardinal Richelieu, who orders that the points on all the knives at his dinner table be rounded off.
1842: Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan is born at London. His first major work with librettist William S. Gilbert will be Trial By Jury in 1875, a smashing success about a breach of promise action in the Court of Exchequer.
1880: Thomas Edison makes the first demonstration of his new "electric railway" at Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1884: Cyrus Hall McCormick, dies at Chicago. He’s most famous for inventing the mechanical reaper, but his biggest innovations were no-haggle pricing, easy credit and financing for farmers, money-back guarantees, and interchangeable replacement parts, techniques that remain standard today.
1888: Slavery is abolished in Brazil.
1909: The first Giro d'Italia, part of the triple crown of bicycle racing, is held at Milan.
1958: The trademark "Velcro" is registered. Invented by a Swiss, the name comes from the French velours (velvet), and crochet (hook). It’s actually made of thousands of really tiny little hooks and loops.
1975: James Robert "Bob" Wills, whose first tasted success with his Light Crust Doughboys (sponsored by the Burrus Mill & Elevator Co. of Fort Worth), dies at age 70.
1985: Philadelphia police kill 11 and incinerate a city block when they bomb the headquarters of the MOVE organization. The city has already paid over $32 million and litigation is still going on.
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