This week in 1976, NASA’s first space shuttle, the Enterprise, was revealed to the public. And it was definitely named after Star Trek.
The Enterprise was not built to withstand the rigors of space, but was used in atmospheric test flights in the late 1970s. It never went through the intended retrofitting that would allow for spaceflight when it became clear that it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. In 2003 the shuttle was fixed up and put on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. It was moved to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City in 2012 and remains there today.
A quick little joke from 1920:
When insufficient waste disposal mixes with hot summer heat, it’s not going to be good. That’s exactly what happened in London in the mid-1800s, and it all culminated in the summer of 1858 with the “Great Stink.”
Dirty Old Father Thames
At the time, the city’s waste all ended up in the river Thames. The resulting sewer water and the “great stink” it produced was both offensive and unsafe. It was such a problem that the river god “Father Thames” became “Dirty Old Father Thames,” a filthy, sludgy being whose aromas spared neither the poor nor the prosperous.
Parliament and Pestilence
Any solution to the issue would come at incredible expense. If the new Parliament building hadn’t been located on the Thames, fully engulfed in the disgusting miasma, the problem may have persisted even longer. But in 1858, summer temperatures and health concerns soared, and no amount of lime chloride could keep the stink out of the government’s meeting rooms.
A Solution to the Stink
Something had to be done about it. Enter Joseph Bazalgette, whose extensive plan for a new sewage system was accepted within weeks of the oppressive heat wave. Work began in 1859 and took several years to complete, but Dirty Old Father Thames cleaned up his act. The Great Stink of 1858 became just another weird piece of history.
In the morning hours of September 11th, 2001, the world watched in horror as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by terrorist attack. This week in headlines:
Find more on the September 11th attacks on Newspapers.com.
Here’s an interesting tidbit on the wife of Thomas Hardy, author of several poems and novels including Tess of the D’Urbervilles. His wife in 1900, when this article published, was Emma Gifford.
The later years of the Hardys marriage were strained, but there’s no doubt that Emma had great influence on Thomas. Her death in 1912 was a blow and caused him great regret over his part in their unhappiness.
Have you heard of the Tree of Ténéré? It was a small, scrubby acacia that earned its fame by being the only tree for hundreds of miles in a vast open swath of the Sahara. Its solitary existence made it a significant landmark that guided travelers to water and reassured them that they were on the right path.
Unfortunately, this happened:
Can you imagine driving into the only obstacle in miles of empty desert? Most sources, like the clipping below, say the incident happened in 1973. But the clipping above is from 1969, so who knows when we really lost the world’s loneliest tree?
Apologies to any Jessie, Lizzie, Debbie or other “undignified” user of nicknames who might read this.
You’ve probably seen them used in movies and shows but may never have known their name. Chatelaines were the 19th-century woman’s solution to a problem that seems to transcend time and space: a lack of decent pockets.
Chatelaines of the 1800s were most often worn by women who controlled the household. Their many chains held the keys to every nook and cranny of the home, and with this responsibility came an undeniable air of importance. Many women wore less useful chatelaines as a fashion statement to project the appearance of this same importance, with their chains holding perfumes, scissors, nail files, and other eye-catching trinkets.
Some felt the use of so many trinkets got a little out of hand, and chatelaines were sometimes spoken about in the papers with a sort of fond mockery. But without other means to carry their things, what are women to do? They became a charming accessory that was all the rage.
On August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment is officially adopted into the constitution. Occasionally called the Anthony Amendment after Susan B. Anthony, one of the first to push for a women’s suffrage amendment, the 19th Amendment granted all women the right to vote.
This historic moment reflected decades of effort by leaders in the women’s suffrage movement and the organizations they headed. The proclamation was signed without ceremony, but changed millions of lives nonetheless.