Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30 - Loomis Day

In the age of technology we live in, it is pretty hard to imagine a world without cell phones and wifi connection, yet less than 150 year ago, wireless communication was just a wild dream of dentist Mahlon Loomis, whose accomplishments we celebrate today. He believed it was possible to harness the upper atmosphere's electrical currents to successfully transfer telegraph messages without wire.

He first tested his hypothesis with 2 kites tied to copper string, which were in turn attached to galvanometers atop Virginia's Massanutten Mountain. He flew the kites 14 miles away from one another, and during his experiment, he discovered that he could use one kite to move the other's meter - the first known form of wireless communication.

He patented the idea, labeling it, "An Improvement to Telegraphing", and tried to cinch government funding to further his studies, though he was denied in the end. He is rumored to have continued his work into the 1870s prior to his death, and was accused by his peers of being a crank and a fraud.

150 years ago, the idea of wireless communication was considered foolhardy and "crazy". Today, we've all-but become zombies to technology. What would Loomis's peers say about us, I wonder?

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

- 19-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal in Rouen, France in 1431.

- Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel in 1806, after Dickinson had accused Jackson's wife of bigamy.
- James Boyd patented the Rubber Fire Hose in 1821.
- John Francis attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria in 1842.
- William G. Young patented the ice cream freezer in 1848.
- The Hudson's Bay Co. charter to what is now mainland British Columbia was revoked in 1858.
- Memorial Day was 1st observed in 1868 when 2 women in Columbus, Mississippi placed flowers on both Confederate & Union graves.
- John Stuart Foster, physicist who made important contributions to the study of the "Stark effect," was born in Clarence, Nova Scotia in 1890.
- The British Citizenship Act conferred the status of British subjects on all Commonwealth citizens in 1948.
- An intense storm struck Buffalo Gap, Saskatchewan in 1961, pouring 250 mm of rain.
- Beatles' single "Love Me Do," went to #1 on the charts in 1964.
- Robert "Evel" Knievel jumped 16 automobiles with a motorcycle in 1967.

- Sixteen-year-old David Milgaard was arrested in Prince George, BC in 1969 for the murder of Gail Miller in Saskatchewan.
- "Nightline" extended from 4 nights to 5 nights a week in 1981.

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

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