Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23 - International Marconi Day

International Marconi Day celebrates the huge part Guglielmo Marconi played in the invention of the radio. Marconi improved upon the designs of wireless telegraphy made before him, making it marketable and successful.

A little known fact: the radio operators on board the Titanic were employed by Marconi. Using his equipment, they were able to alert the Carpathia, saving 700 souls.

International Marconi Day is a 24-hour amateur radio event, held annually to celebrate the birth of Marconi in 1874. The purpose is for amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to make contact with historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those used by Marconi himself.

Sounds like fun!

Today is also Movie Theatre Day, Impossible Astronaut Day (any Whovians out there?), Talk Like Shakespeare Day, and World Book Night!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- The 1st English order of knighthood (Order of Garter) was founded in 1348
- William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed in 1597, with Queen Elizabeth I of England in attendance.
- Canada issued its 1st postage stamps in 1851
- McMaster University was founded in Toronto by the union of Woodstock College and the Toronto Baptist College in 1887
- Lester Bowles Pearson, a statesman and the only Canadian to win Nobel Peace Prize, was born in Newtonbrook, Ontario in 1897
- Poet Margaret Avison was born in Galt, Ontario in 1918
- The New Symphony Orchestra, now Toronto Symphony Orchestra, gave its first concert at Massey Hall under the direction of Luigi von Kunits in 1923
- The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened at Stratford-on-Avon in 1932
- Vancouver's mayor Gerry McGeer read the Riot Act in Victory Square to disperse a large crowd of protesting unemployed in 1935
- "Hammerin' Hank Aaron" hit the 1st of his 755 homers in 1954
- At a Toronto convention lasting from April 23 to April 27 of 1956, the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada merged with the Canadian Congress of Labour to form the Canadian Labour Congress, effective as of May 1.
- Also in 1956, the US Supreme court ended race segregation on buses
- Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969 for killing Bobby Kennedy. In 1972, his sentence was commuted to "life imprisonment".
- Falconbridge Nickel was ordered to shut down its Sudbury operation due to excessive air pollution in 1974. It was the first time an industry was shut down because of air pollution emissions.
- Coca-Cola announced it was changing its secret flavor formula in 1985
- McDonald's opened its 1st fast-food restaurant in China in 1992
- In 1999, paleontologists announced that they had discovered a fossil skull in Ethiopia that belonged to a previously unknown species of human ancestor.
- Also in 1999, Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the lower courts should apply traditional disciplinary practices when sentencing Natives found guilty of criminal offences.
- 38 000 London Marathon entrants had their home and email contacts published in a data protection breach in 2012

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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