Rockefeller’s worth put at £200 million.
New York 1901.
Though a recent audit places the assets of John D. Rockefeller at $200 million, the world’s richest man has mad many times more than that. Following his own dictum “A man should make all he can and give it away,” the founder of the mighty Standard Oil trust has donated untold millions, including great sums to the University of Chicago and to the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, founded this year. But Rockefeller has also espoused the survival of the fittest, as a result have led many Americans to fear him.
Government busts one railroad trust. Washington March 10, 1902
In a drive to revitalise the Sherman Antitrust Act, Attorney General Philander Knox has filed suit against J. Pierpoint Morgan’s Northern Securities firm. A holding company of sorts, the corporation controls the Northern Pacific, Great Northern and Burlington Railroads. It was set up in November as a gentlemanly resolution of a power struggle between Morgan, J.J. Hill and associates, and Edward Harriman. Morgan is said to be irate over Knox “that country lawyer,” letting the case go to court. On a Feb. 23 visit to the White House, he reportedly told President Roosevelt, “If we have done anything wrong, send your man to my man and they can fix things up.” Roosevelt, a man of clear-cut convictions, merely told him “That can’t be done.”
Henry Ford sells first Model A, for $850. Detroit, Mich. July 23, 1903.
Renowned for the success of his speedy “999” racer in the Detroit challenge Cup auto race, Henry Ford formed a new company this year to produce the gasoline-powered “family horse” as he calls it. Today, his Ford Motor Company sold the first of these vehicles, called the Model A, for £850 to a Detroit physician.
Ford’s philosophy is simply to build “more cars, better and cheaper.” With financial backing mostly from local financier, Alexander Malcolmson, the company set up shop here on Mack Avenue. Ford hired 10 workers at $1.50 a day and bought parts for 650 vehicles. The Model A, which was designed last year by Ford himself and Chief Engineer C.H. Wills, features a two cylinder, eight-horsepower engine that can push it to 30 mph.
Motor Car is first to cross continent. N. Y. July 1903
For the first time since its invention an automobile has crossed the continent. H. Nelson Jackson, a physician from Burlington, Vermont, arrived here today after a coast-to-coast odyssey that began on May 23. He was accompanied by his chauffeur-companion Sewall K. Crocker. Making the trip in a two-cylinder Winton, they were motivated by a $50 bet the doctor made that he could complete the grind.
U.S. Recognises Republic of Panama. Washington Nov. 6, 1903.
Barely three days after the outbreak of a revolt against Colombian rule, the United States today recognised Panama as an independent state. The action comes as no surprise since it has been an open secret that the uprising, which was largely engineered by Philippe Bunau-Varilla and other officer of the Panama Canal Company in conjunction with local dissidents, had the full backing of President Roosevelt. Indeed it was the arrival of the cruiser Nashville in Panamanian waters, sent by the President ostensibly to protect “free and uninterrupted transit across the isthmus” that gave the signal for the outbreak of the revolt, just as it was the presence of the Nashville and other American warships that prevented the Colombians from suppressing it.
Wright Bros. Take to the air. North. Carolina Dec. 17, 1903
Almost everywhere claims of motor-driven flight have aroused scepticism, especially since the spectacular failures that sent the Samuel Langley Aerodrome machine plunging into the Potomac River on two occasions this year. But the flights of Orville and Wlbur Wright today were seen by five witnesses, mostly from a nearby life-saving station.
Also a photographer caught the Flyer just as it was leaving the ground. Those who witnessed the tests said the Wright Brothers, who have been building and flying their own gliders since 1900, hauled their 605 pound gasoline-powered Flyer up the sandy Kill Devil Hill near kitty Hawk this morning, and launched it four times into a freezing wind of about 20 miles an hour.
The brothers tossed a coin to determine which one would be the first to fly. The 32-year-old Orville won and climbed aboard the winged machine, dressed in his usual white starched shirt and necktie. A lightweight 13 horsepower engine then came spluttering into life, setting the machines two wooden propellors whirring noisily with bicycle chains. 36 year-old Wilbur running alongside carrying a stopwatch, the Flyer accelerated down a 60 foot track. Finally, it took off at 10.35 on a flight lasting 12 seconds over a distance of 120 feet.
Ice cream cones: iced tea at World’s Fair.
St. Louis, 1904.
The World’s Fair has proved to Americans that not every new invention has to be the result of long, difficult trial and error. Sweltering heat appears to be very much the mother of invention here. Take for instance, concessionaire Richard Blechynden, whose hot had not been selling well. He though tit might help if he put ice in his tea and, sure enough, sales took off, making iced tea one of the hits of the fair. Three ice cream vendors (of the 50 stationed at the fair) now claim to have come up with the idea for edible ice cream holders made from waffle pastry. A Syrian immigrant, Earnest A. Hamwi says that he first rolled a Persian pastry called zalabia into a cone shape holder when a colleague ran out of ice cream dishes.
Negroes in six cities boycott “Jim Crow”. Georgia, Fall 1904.
This has been a turbulent year for whites and Negroes alike. With rioting, burnings and lynchings, whites are increasingly turning to “Jim Crow” (segregationist) laws to isolate themselves from the Negro community. Kentucky has officially segregated both its public and private schools, In response, Negroes have become increasingly militant in combating this form of second-class citizenship. During this past year, Negro leaders have conducted protests against Jim Crow laws by boycotting segregated street-cars in Atlanta, Augusta, Colombia, New Orleans, Mobile and Houston.
Americans get taste of pizza in Little Italy. New York. 1905.
Visitors to New York’s colourful neighbourhood of Little Italy have become accustomed to sampling exotic specialities such as spaghetti and lasagne, and now a Spring Street restaurateur named Genaro Lombardi has started to feature a new food item known as pizza. This flat yeast bread baked with oozing, melted cheese called mozzarella and tomatoes is served in wedge like slices that may be eaten with knife and fork or with the fingers.
Scot wins U.S. Open for the fourth time. Pittsfield. Mass. 1905.
Willie Anderson, a dour uncommunicative Scot who is considered the mystery man of golf, has astounded followers of the sport by winning the United States Open championship for the fourth time. He made it three in a row with a smashing victory over Alex Smith to take it this year. Anderson had beaten Smith in the 1901 Open final, taking the play-off by a stroke. He went on to win again in 1902 beating David Brown. In 1903 he astounded all by outplaying Gil Nicholls with a score of 303.
Put another nickel in the nickelodeon. United States 1905
All across the land, in cities and small towns, storefronts are painted and embellished with colourful posters. A screen plus several rows of straight chairs and a piano are moved in to a makeshift theatre, an old storeroom or as new motion picture theatre. The usual offerings are the 10-minute features, mainly vaudeville acts, but some film scenes as well, where larger-than-life images float across the screen followed by an “illustrated song,” sung by a soloist. And its is all for a nickel, hence the name “nickelodeons.” It would seem that the “flickers” have established a firm hold on the affections of the urban working class. The cheap amusements appeal to the vast immigrant populations of new York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh has also put up its first nickelodeon.
Amid quake ruins, Caruso in pyjamas. Apr. 18, 1906.
The Metropolitan Opera Company, with Madame Sembrich and Signor Caruso, performed a spirited Carmen at the San Francisoc Opera House just hours before the quake hit. Minutes after the first shock, the famed Enrico Caruso sat, clad in pyjamas, on his valise in the middle of the street outside the Palace Hotel this morning. Personal effects and costumes were lost but no one in the company was hurt. The catastrophe completely destroyed the Opera House.
Crime of Passion: Architect is gunned down by jealous husband. New York, June 25, 1906.
The prominent architect Stanford White was brutally murdered tonight. White, a partner in McKim, Mead & White, was sitting in the Madison Square Garden Roof Theatre, when a gun man came from behind and shot him in the head three times. The alleged murderer has been identified as the millionaire Harry K. Thaw. According to rumours whispered in society, the 53 year-old White had been having an illicit love affair with haw’s wife, Evelyn Nisbet, whom he helped put on the stage through his influence in the theatre. Thaw had long suspected his wife of carrying-on with White, who boasted of his passion for the lovely Miss Nisbet. A brilliant architect and specialist in interior design, White created the furnishings for James Gordon Bennet’s yacht as well as the covers of major magazines. His architectural work includes Washington Arch and the Century Club.
“A. Mutt” appears six days a week.
San Francisco Nov. 15 1907
Under the title Mr A. Mutt Starts In to Play the Races, The San Francisco Chronicle today began a daring experiment. From now on, Bud Fisher’s comic strip adventures of “A Mutt” will appear both daily and on Saturdays. This unprecedented step is a bid to boost circulation in the wake of the success of other popular strips such as The Katzenjasmmer Kids in The New York Journal.
Oklahoma becomes 46th State of the Union. Oklahoma City Nov. 16 1907.
The Indian Territory and the Oklahoma Territory were formally merged today and admitted to the Union as the state of Oklahoma. As a territory, Oklahoma has been enjoying a healthy economy and with its steadily increasing population since the first massive influx of migrants during the “boomer-Sooner” days of 1889. Although Oklahoma is predominantly rural and agricultural, the bustling, modern town of Tulsa boasts a population of more than 24,000 while the state capital now is the home for over 50,000 people.
Nothing sucks it up like a Hoover. Cleveland Ohio, 1907
A light portable vacuum cleaner is being marketed by the Hoover Suction-Sweeper Company here. Designed by James Spangler, the machine uses an electric motor to run a fan that sucks up dirt into a disposable dust bag. Spangler has sold his patent to the Hoover Company.
Singer Building sets record: 47 stories. New York City. 1908.
Construction has been completed on New York’s tallest skyscraper, the Singer Building. With a record 47 stories, it towers to a height of 612 feet at the corner of Broadway and John Street, with a distinctive tapering spire designed by its architect, Earnest Flagg. The building is a tribute to the heights made possible by modern construction methods . It is not expected to retain its record for long, however. Plans for a 50 story building have already been drawn up, and Frank Woolworth is said to be considering construction of a 60-story skyscraper on a site in the City Hall area.
Commission is formed to save nation’s natural resources. Washington June 8, 1908.
President Roosevelt today announced the establishment of a National Conservation Commission. Regarding the fate of the nation’s endangered natural treasures the President said “We intend to use these resources, but to so use them as to conserve them.” The Wall Street Journal has described the mission of the Commission as“ a radical new departure in government.” 41 states have pledged to create their own conservation commissions
Ford builds the Model T. Michigan Oct. 1, 1908.
“I will build a motor car for the multitudes,” Henry Ford has said. Today, his vision took a step towards reality, when the Ford Motor Company announced the arrival of its new Mode T,. a lightweight car with advanced features that will sell for £850. The newest Ford will not win any awards for grace, but it boasts qualities not found in any automobile. Constructed from a tough vanadium steel alloy, the Model T is built to last.
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