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Issue 974

TIDBITS® STUDIES

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

by Kathy Wolfe

This has been a busy week over the years! Tidbits is reporting on several events, some familiar, others not so well-known.

• It was an eventful week for inventors throughout history. In 1872, Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley were awarded a patent for a toothpick manufacturing machine. These gentlemen were already the owners of a prestigious company that produced hand-crafted drums. In fact, the company, still owned by their descendants, continues to produce quality drums today at their New England factory. On exactly the same day Noble and Cooley received their patent, February 20, 1872, Luther Crowell was given a patent for his paper bag manufacturing machine, which created the square bottom brown paper bag we use today. This week in 1878, Thomas Edison was awarded U.S. Patent No. 200,521 for his invention of the phonograph, and in 1947, Edwin Land patented the first instant developing camera, better known as the Polaroid.

• On February 16, 1932, James Markham received the first patent ever issued for a fruit tree. Markham, an employee of a Missouri nursery and orchard, had been experimenting with a hybrid cross of different peaches, resulting in a new variety that ripens later than other varieties.

• The Beatles stepped onto the stage of “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 16, 1964 for their second appearance on the variety program. Just seven days before, the Fab Four had performed for the first time, watched by some 73 million viewers, and were invited back for an encore. The group performed six songs on the second show, tuned into by 70 million people in nearly 22.5 million homes. Later in the week, half a ton of Beatles wigs were shipped to the U.S.

• On a chilly February 17 in 1876, in the community of Eastport, Maine, sardines were canned for the first time. Julius Wolff was a New York food broker who moved to Maine because of the abundance of sardines, small members of the herring family. Wolff canned the fish in oil, and his success grew into a new sardine factory in nearby Lubec. Within two decades, there were 23 such factories in the town.

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