Saturday, 31 August 2013

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's serious interest in airship development dates from 1884, when he was inspired by a recent lecture given by Heinrich von Stephan on the subject of "World Postal Services and Air Travel" to outline the basic principle of his later craft in a diary entry dated 25 March 1874. This describes a large rigidly-framed outer envelope containing a number of separate gasbags. He had previously encountered Union Army balloons in 1863, during the American Civil War, where he was a military observer.

He began to seriously pursue his project after his early retirement from the military in 1890 at the age of 52. Convinced of the potential importance of aircraft designs, he started working on various designs in 1891, and had completed detailed designs by 1893 These were reviewed by an official committee in 1894, and were the subject of a patent granted on 31 August 1895,with Theodor Kober producing the technical plans.

Construction of the first Zeppelin began in 1899 in a floating assembly hall in the Bay of Manzell on Lake Constance, Friedrichshafen. This was intended to facilitate the difficult launching procedure, as the hall could easily be aligned with the wind. The prototype airship LZ 1 (LZ for Luftschiff Zeppelin, or "Airship Zeppelin") had a length of 128 metres (420 ft), was driven by two 14.2 horsepower (10.6 kW) Daimler engines and was controlled in pitch by moving a weight between its two nacelles.The first Zeppelin flight took place on 2 July 1900 over Lake Constance (the Bodensee).

After the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the term zeppelin in casual use came to refer to all rigid airships. Zeppelins were first flown commercially in 1910 by Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), the world's first airline in revenue service. By mid-1914, DELAG had carried over 34,000 passengers on over 1,500 flights. After the outbreak of World War I, the German military made extensive use of Zeppelins as bombers and scouts.

The World War I defeat of Germany in 1918 temporarily halted the airship business. But under the guidance of Hugo Eckener, the deceased Count's successor, civilian Zeppelins became popular again. In 1919 DELAG established scheduled daily services between Berlin, Munich, and Friedrichshafen. Their heyday was during the 1930s when the airships LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 129 Hindenburg operated regular transatlantic flights from Germany to North America and Brazil. The Art Deco spire of the Empire State Building was originally, if impractically, designed to serve as a mooring mast for Zeppelins and other airships to dock at. The Hindenburg disaster in 1937, along with political and economic issues, hastened the demise of the Zeppelins.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The other Pandora's Box

HMS Pandora was a 24-gun Porcupine-class sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy launched in May 1779. She is best known as the ship sent in 1790 to search for the Bounty and the mutineers who had taken her.

In early August 1790, 5 months after learning of the mutiny on HMS Bounty, the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, decided to despatch her to recover the Bounty, capture the mutineers, and return them to England for trial.

The Pandora reached Tahiti on 23 March 1791 via Cape Horn. Fourteen men from the Bounty were initially recovered. These fourteen men were locked up in a makeshift prison cell, measuring eleven-by-eighteen feet, on the Pandora's quarter-deck, which they called "Pandora's Box".

On 8 May 1791 the Pandora left Tahiti and subsequently spent three months visiting islands in the South-West Pacific in search of the Bounty and the remaining mutineers, without finding any traces of the pirated vessel. Heading west, making for the Torres Strait, the frigate ran aground on 29 August 1791 on the outer Great Barrier Reef. She sank the next morning, claiming the lives of 31 of her crew and four of the prisoners. The remainder of the ship's company (89 men) and ten prisoners – seven of them released from their cell as the ship was actually sinking – assembled on a small sand cay and after two nights on the island they sailed for Timor in four open boats, arriving in Kupang on 16 September 1791 after an arduous voyage across the Arafura Sea. Sixteen more died after surviving the wreck, many having fallen ill during their sojourn in Batavia (Jakarta). Eventually only 78 of the 134 men who had been on board upon departure returned home.

The location of the wreck of the Pandora was first pin-pointed in November 1977. he Queensland Museum has been excavating the wreck according to a research design. Archaeologists and historians at the Museum of Tropical Queensland are still gradually fitting together pieces of the Pandora story puzzle, using the archaeological evidence as well as the extant historical evidence. A large collection of artefacts is on display at the museum.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

One of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".

Electromagnetic induction was discovered independently by Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry in 1831; however, Faraday was the first to publish the results of his experiments. In Faraday's first experimental demonstration of electromagnetic induction (August 29, 1831), he wrapped two wires around opposite sides of an iron ring or "torus" (an arrangement similar to a modern toroidal transformer). Based on his assessment of recently discovered properties of electromagnets, he expected that when current started to flow in one wire, a sort of wave would travel through the ring and cause some electrical effect on the opposite side. He plugged one wire into a galvanometer, and watched it as he connected the other wire to a battery. Indeed, he saw a transient current (which he called a "wave of electricity") when he connected the wire to the battery, and another when he disconnected it.This induction was due to the change in magnetic flux that occurred when the battery was connected and disconnected.Within two months, Faraday had found several other manifestations of electromagnetic induction. For example, he saw transient currents when he quickly slid a bar magnet in and out of a coil of wires, and he generated a steady (DC) current by rotating a copper disk near the bar magnet with a sliding electrical lead ("Faraday's disk").

His demonstrations established that a changing magnetic field produces an electric field; this relation was modelled mathematically by James Clerk Maxwell as Faraday's law, which subsequently became one of the four Maxwell equations, and which have in turn evolved into the generalization known today as field theory. Faraday would later use the principles he had discovered to construct the electric dynamo, the ancestor of modern power generators and the electric motor.

Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated; "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".

Faraday in his laboratory.



Wednesday, 28 August 2013

"No case of which we are aware more deeply affects the character of the Royal Navy..."


The Battle of Grand Port was a naval battle between squadrons of frigates from the French Navy and the British Royal Navy. The battle was fought during 20–27 August 1810 over possession of the harbour of Grand Port on Isle de France (now Mauritius) during the Napoleonic Wars. The British squadron of four frigates sought to blockade the port to prevent its use by the French through the capture of the fortified Île de la Passe at its entrance. This position was seized by a British landing party on 13 August, and when a French squadron under Captain Guy-Victor Duperré approached the bay nine days later the British commander, Captain Samuel Pym, decided to lure them into coastal waters where his superior numbers could be brought to bear against the French ships.

Four of the five French ships managed to break past the British blockade, taking shelter in the protected anchorage, which was only accessible through a series of complicated reefs and sandbanks that were impassable without an experienced harbour pilot. When Pym ordered his frigates to attack the anchored French on 22 and 23 August, his ships became trapped in the narrow channels of the bay: two were irretrievably grounded; a third, outnumbered by the combined French squadron, was defeated; and a fourth was unable to close to within effective gun range. Although the French ships were also badly damaged, the battle was a disaster for the British: one ship was captured after suffering irreparable damage, the grounded ships were set on fire to prevent their capture by French boarding parties and the remaining vessel was seized as it left the harbour by the main French squadron from Port Napoleon under Commodore Jacques Hamelin.

The battle is noted as the most significant defeat for the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Not only had four frigates been lost with their entire crews, but 105 experienced sailors had been killed and 168 wounded in one of the bloodiest frigate encounters of the war. French losses were also heavy, with Duperré reporting 36 killed and 112 wounded on his squadron and among the soldiers firing from the shore.

In France the action was greeted with celebration, and it became the only naval battle commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe. The British response was despondent, although all four captains were subsequently cleared and praised at their courts-martial inquiring into the loss of their ships. The only criticism was of Willoughby, who was accused of giving a misleading signal in indicating that the French were of inferior force on 22 August. Contemporary historian William James described British reaction to the battle as "that the noble behaviour of her officers and crew threw such a halo of glory around the defeat at Grand Port, that, in public opinion at least, the loss of four frigates was scarcely considered a misfortune." However, he also notes that "No case of which we are aware more deeply affects the character of the Royal Navy than the defeat it sustained at Grand Port."

The battle subsequently attracted the attention of authors from both Britain and France, featuring in the 1843 novel Georges by Alexandre Dumas, and the 1977 novel The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian. On 30 December 1899, a monument was erected at the harbour of Grand Port in the memory of the British and French sailors who were killed in the engagement.
Inscription celebrating the battle on the Arc de Triomphe

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Texas Tea....in Pennsylvania!

Titusville is a city in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. Titusville was a slow-growing community until the 1850s, when petroleum was discovered in the region.

Before petroleum was put to use as a popular fuel, oil was still highly used. In Pennsylvania, the Native American tribes had been using oil found in seeps dating back several centuries. Early European explorers discovered evidence of troughs dug along the side of the creek where Native American tribes had collected oil for use as ointment, insect repellant, skin coloring and in religious ceremonies. These oil seeps, which are areas where oil spontaneously escapes the earth in either gas or liquid form, were common across the northern Pennsylvania landscape. As the frontier expanded into Western Pennsylvania during the 18th century, the region came to be known for the oil that flowed beneath its surface, and maps from the time period displayed the label “Petroleum.” But with few known uses for crude oil, the label served primarily to deter farmers who found the black soil inhospitable to their crops. As time passed, alternative uses came into play. Crude oil began to be used as an alternative to whale oil as a lighting source for lamps and inventors and scientists began to test oil for other possible uses, including energy.

 In the late 1850s Seneca Oil Company (formerly the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) sent Col. Edwin L. Drake, to start drilling on a piece of leased land just south of Titusville near what is now Oil Creek State Park. Drake hired a salt well driller, William A. Smith, in the summer of 1859. They had many difficulties, but on August 27 at the site of an oil spring just south of Titusville, they finally drilled a well that could be commercially successful.

Teamsters were needed immediately to transport the oil to markets. Transporting methods improved and in 1862 the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad was built between Titusville and Corry where it was transferred to other, larger east-west lines. In 1865 pipelines were laid directly to the rail line and the demand for teamsters practically ended. The next year the railroad line was extended south to Petroleum Centre and Oil City. The Union City & Titusville Railroad was built in 1865. That line became part of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad in 1871. That fall, President U. S. Grant visited Titusville to view this important region.

Other oil-related businesses quickly exploded on the scene. Eight refineries were built between 1862 and 1868. Drilling tools were needed and several iron works were built. Titusville grew from 250 residents to 10,000 almost overnight and in 1866 it incorporated as a city. In 1871, the first oil exchange in the United States was established here. The exchange moved from the city, but returned in 1881 in a new, brick building before being dissolved in 1897.

The first oil millionaire was Jonathan Watson, a resident of Titusville. He owned the land where Drake's well was drilled. He had been a partner in a lumber business prior to the success of the Drake well. At one time it was said that Titusville had more millionaires per 1,000 population than anywhere else in the world.

Monday, 26 August 2013

"I shall never sign another work!"

The Pietà (1498–1499) is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned for the French cardinal Jean de Billheres, who was a representative in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was made for the cardinal's funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The theme is of Northern origin, popular by that time in France but not yet in Italy. Michelangelo's interpretation of the Pietà is unique to the precedents. It is an important work as it balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism. The statue is one of the most highly finished works by Michelangelo.

According to Giorgio Vasari, shortly after the installation of his Pietà Michelangelo overheard (or asked visitors about the sculptor) someone remark that it was the work of another sculptor, Cristoforo Solari, whereupon Michelangelo signed the sculpture. Michelangelo carved MICHAELA[N]GELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTIN[US] FACIEBA[T] (Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this) on the sash running across Mary's chest. The signature echoes one used by the ancient Greek artists, Apelles and Polykleitos. It was the only work he ever signed. Vasari also reports the anecdote that Michelangelo later regretted his outburst of pride and swore never to sign another work of his hands.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

"An immense telescope of an entirely new principle."

Portrait of a man-bat ("Vespertilio-homo")
"The Great Moon Hoax" refers to a series of six articles that were published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, perhaps the best-known astronomer of his time.

The story was advertised on August 21, 1835, as an upcoming feature allegedly reprinted from The Edinburgh Courant.The first in a series of six was published four days later on August 25.

The articles described fantastic animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers and bat-like winged humanoids ("Vespertilio-homo") who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches. These discoveries were supposedly made with "an immense telescope of an entirely new principle."

The author of the narrative was ostensibly Dr. Andrew Grant, the travelling companion and amanuensis of Sir John Herschel, but Grant was fictitious.Eventually, the authors announced that the observations had been terminated by the destruction of the telescope, by means of the Sun causing the lens to act as a "burning glass," setting fire to the observatory.

Herschel was initially amused by the hoax, noting that his own real observations could never be as exciting. He became annoyed later when he had to answer questions from people who believed the hoax was serious.

The story may also have inspired Edgar Allan Poe to write and publish "The Balloon-Hoax" in the same newspaper.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

" Never shall I forget when the men in the mailboat struck up the tune of Rule Britannia."

Captain Matthew Webb (19 January 1848 – 24 July 1883) was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids. On 25 August 1875 he swam from Dover to Calais in less than 22 hours.

In 1873 Webb was serving as captain of the steamship Emerald when he read an account of the failed attempt by J. B. Johnson to swim the English Channel. He became inspired to try himself, and left his job to begin training, first at Lambeth Baths, then in the cold waters of the Thames and the English Channel.
On 12 August 1875 he made his first cross-Channel swimming attempt, but strong winds and poor sea conditions forced him to abandon the swim.

On August 24th 1875 smeared in porpoise oil, Webb dived into the water near Dover 's Admiralty Pier.  Backed by three escort boats , he set off into the ebb tide at a steady breaststroke. Despite stings from jellyfish and strong currents off Cap Gris Nez which prevented him reaching the shore for five hours. Twenty-one hours and 45 minutes after setting off he waded ashore at Calais much to the delight of the passengers & crew of the mailship The Maid of Kent, who witnessed his final effort's. His zig-zag course across the Channel was over 39 miles (64 km) long.

Webb recalled in his diary " Never shall I forget when the men in the mailboat struck up the tune of Rule Britannia, which they sang, or rather shouted, in a hoarse roar. I felt a gulping sensation in my throat as the old tune, which I had heard in all parts of the world, once more struck my ears under circumstances so extra-ordinary. I felt now I should do it, and I did it."

After his record swim Captain Webb basked in national and international adulation, and followed a career as a professional swimmer. He licensed his name for merchandising such as commemorative pottery, and wrote a book called The Art of Swimming. A brand of matches was named after him. He participated in exhibition swimming matches and stunts such as floating in a tank of water for 128 hours. His final stunt was to be a dangerous swim through the Whirlpool Rapids on the Niagara River below Niagara Falls, a feat many observers considered suicidal. Although Webb failed in an attempt at raising interest in funding the event,on 24 July 1883 he jumped into the river from a small boat located near the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge and began his swim. Accounts of the time indicate that in all likelihood Webb successfully survived the first part of the swim, but died in the section of the river located near the entrance to the whirlpool.Webb was interred in Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls, New York.

Friday, 23 August 2013

More deaths than the Hindenburg!

The R38 class (also known as the A class) of rigid airships was designed for Britain's Royal Navy during the final months of World War I, intended for long-range patrol duties over the North Sea. Four such airships were originally ordered by the Admiralty, but orders for three of them (R39, R40 and R41) were cancelled after the armistice with Germany and work on the lead ship of the class, R38, continued only after the United States Navy had agreed to purchase her. At the time of her first flight in 1921, she was the world's largest airship.

The airship took off from Howden for her fourth test flight on 23 August 1921, which had an intended destination of RNAS Pulham, Norfolk where she could be moored to a mast, a facility lacking at Howden. In the event, mooring proved impossible because of low cloud and so the airship returned out to sea with the intention of running some high speed tests and then returning to Howden. The speed runs proved successful and as there was still daylight left it was decided to try some low altitude rudder tests to simulate the effects of the rough weather that could be expected on the Atlantic crossing. 

At 17:37, fifteen degrees of rudder was applied over the city of Hull. Eye witnesses reported seeing creases down the envelope and then both ends drooped. This was followed by a fire in the bow and then a large explosion which broke windows over a large area. The airship had failed structurally and fell into the shallow waters of the Humber estuary. Sixteen of the 17 Americans and 28 of the 32 Britons in the crew were killed. The only American to survive was Rigger Norman C. Walker.The five who survived were in the tail section.

This disaster resulted in more deaths than the more famous Hindenburg disaster that killed 36. A memorial was erected at Hull, Yorkshire.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

"A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

The Battle of Bosworth Field (or Battle of Bosworth) was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.

Richard's reign began in 1483 when he was handed the throne after his twelve-year-old nephew Edward V, for whom he was acting as Lord Protector, was declared illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. The boy and his younger brother disappeared in mysterious circumstances, and Richard's support was eroded by rumours of his involvement in the death of his wife. Across the English Channel in Brittany, Henry Tudor, a descendant of the greatly diminished House of Lancaster, seized on Richard's difficulties to challenge for and claim to the throne. Henry's first attempt to invade England was frustrated by a storm in 1483, but at his second attempt he arrived unopposed on 7 August 1485 on the southwest coast of Wales. Marching inland, Henry gathered support as he made for London. Richard mustered his troops and intercepted Henry's army south of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Thomas, Lord Stanley, and Sir William Stanley brought a force to the battlefield, but held back while they decided which side it would be more advantageous to support.

Richard divided his army, which outnumbered Henry's, into three groups (or "battles"). One was assigned to the Duke of Norfolk and another to the Earl of Northumberland. Henry kept most of his force together and placed it under the command of the experienced Earl of Oxford. Richard's vanguard, commanded by Norfolk, attacked but struggled against Oxford's men, and some of Norfolk's troops fled the field. Northumberland took no action when signalled to assist his king, so Richard gambled everything on a charge across the battlefield to kill Henry and end the fight. Seeing the king's knights separated from his army, the Stanleys intervened; Sir William led his men to Henry's aid, surrounding and killing Richard. After the battle, Henry was crowned king below an oak tree in nearby Stoke Golding, now a residential garden.

Henry hired chroniclers to portray his reign favourably; the Battle of Bosworth was popularised to represent the Tudor dynasty as the start of a new age. From the 15th to 18th centuries the battle was glamorised as a victory of good over evil. The climax of William Shakespeare's play Richard III provides a focal point for critics in later film adaptations. The exact site of the battle is disputed because of the lack of conclusive data, and memorials have been erected at different locations. The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre was built, in 1974, on a site chosen based on a theory that has since been challenged by several scholars and historians. In October 2009, a team of researchers, who had performed geological surveys and archaeological digs in the area from 2003, suggested a location two miles (3 km) southwest of Ambion Hill.

Richard III, Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

"Picasso did it!"


The Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or La Joconde) is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world."

The painting's fame was emphasized when it was stolen on 21 August 1911. The next day, Louis Béroud, a painter, walked into the Louvre and went to the Salon Carré where the Mona Lisa had been on display for five years. However, where the Mona Lisa should have stood, he found four iron pegs. Béroud contacted the section head of the guards, who thought the painting was being photographed for marketing purposes. A few hours later, Béroud checked back with the section head of the museum, and it was confirmed that the Mona Lisa was not with the photographers. The Louvre was closed for an entire week to aid in investigation of the theft.

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who had once called for the Louvre to be "burnt down", came under suspicion; he was arrested and put in jail. Apollinaire tried to implicate his friend Pablo Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning, but both were later exonerated.

Vincenzo Peruggia
At the time, the painting was believed to be lost forever, and it was two years before the real thief was discovered. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia had stolen it by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. 

Peruggia was an Italian patriot who believed Leonardo's painting should be returned to Italy for display in an Italian museum. Peruggia may have also been motivated by a friend whose copies of the original would significantly rise in value after the painting's theft. A later account suggested Eduardo de Valfierno had been the mastermind of the theft and had commissioned forger Yves Chaudron to create 6 copies of the painting to be sold in the United States while the location of the original was unclear. But the original remained in Europe and after having kept the Mona Lisa in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was finally caught when he attempted to sell it to the directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; it was exhibited all over Italy and returned to the Louvre in 1913. Peruggia was hailed for his patriotism in Italy and served six months in jail for the crime.



"Carried further the spirit of depredation."

General Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB (21 August 1754 – 15 January 1833) was a British soldier and politician.

He is today probably best remembered for his military service during the American War of Independence. He became the focal point of a propaganda campaign claiming that he had fired upon surrendering Continental Army troops at the Battle of Waxhaws. In a publication The Green Dragoon: The Lives of Banastre Tarleton and Mary Robinson by Robert D. Bass (published in 1952) he was given the nickname "Bloody Ban" and The Butcher, which has carried over into popular culture as being his nickname of the day.

He was hailed by the Loyalists and British as an outstanding leader of light cavalry and was praised for his tactical prowess and resolve, even against superior numbers. His green uniform was the standard of the British Legion, a provincial unit organised in New York in 1778. 

One of Tarleton's nemeses in South Carolina was Francis Marion, an American militia commander and early practitioner of guerrilla warfare tactics, whom Tarleton was unable to capture or otherwise neutralize. Marion remained quite popular with South Carolina residents and continued his guerrilla campaign with their support. Tarleton, by contrast, alienated the citizenry by numerous acts of cruelty to the civilian population. For example, at one plantation of a deceased Patriot officer, he had the man's body dug up, then required the widow to serve him a meal. One of Marion's men later wrote of the incident:
On one expedition (Nelson's Ferry - November 1780), Tarleton burnt the house, out houses, corn and fodder and a great part of the cattle, hogs and poultry, of the estate of Gen. Richardson. The general had been active with the Americans, but was now dead; and the British leader, in civilised times, made his widow and children suffer for the deeds of the husband and parent, after the manner of the East and coast of Barbary. What added to the cruel nature of the act, was that he had first dined in the house and helped himself to the abundant good cheer it afforded. But we have seen before the manner in which he requited hospitality. It was generally observed of Tarleton and his corps, that they not only exercised more acts of cruelty than any one in the British army, but also carried further the spirit of depredation.

This representation of Tarleton is contrary to his nature as described by his conduct at Monticello of which Thomas Jefferson later noted,

I did not suffer by him. On the contrary he behaved very genteely with me. ... He gave strict orders to Capt. Mcleod to suffer nothing to be injured.

Tarleton was later elected as a Member of Parliament for Liverpool and became a prominent Whig politician. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky? He got an ice pick That made his ears burn

Leon Trotsky ( born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein; 7 November [O.S. 26 October] 1879 – 21 August 1940) was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.

Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution, and eventually became a leader within the Party. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army as People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918–20). He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power in 1927, expelled from the Communist Party, and finally deported from the Soviet Union in 1929. As the head of the Fourth International, Trotsky continued in exile in Mexico to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, in the late 1930s, Trotsky opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler.

Stalin assigned the organisation and execution of a plan to assassinate Trotsky to Nahum Eitingon who recruited Ramón Mercader during the Spanish Civil War.

On 24 May 1940, Trotsky survived a raid on his home by armed Stalinist assassins led by GPU agent Iosif Grigulevich, Mexican painter and Stalinist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Vittorio Vidale. Trotsky's young grandson, Vsievolod Platonovich "Esteban" Volkov (born 1926), was shot in the foot and a young assistant and bodyguard of Trotsky, Robert Sheldon Harte, was abducted and later murdered, but other guards saw off the attack.

On 20 August 1940, Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico with an ice axe by undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader. The blow to Trotsky's head was poorly delivered and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky's bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, laboriously stating that the assassin should be made to answer questions.

Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on, and survived for more than a day, dying at the age of 60 on 21 August 1940 as a result of blood loss and shock. Mercader later testified at his trial:
I laid my raincoat on the table in such a way as to be able to remove the ice axe which was in the pocket. I decided not to miss the wonderful opportunity that presented itself. The moment Trotsky began reading the article, he gave me my chance; I took out the ice axe from the raincoat, gripped it in my hand and, with my eyes closed, dealt him a terrible blow on the head.

According to James P. Cannon, the secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (USA), Trotsky's last words were "I will not survive this attack. Stalin has finally accomplished the task he attempted unsuccessfully before."


Monday, 19 August 2013

, "I have seized the light – I have arrested its flight!"

 Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (18 November 1787 – 10 July 1851) was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. He became known as one of the fathers of photography. Though he is most famous for his contributions to photography, he was also an accomplished painter and a developer of the diorama theatre.

Daguerre was born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Val-d'Oise, France. He apprenticed in architecture, theatre design, and panoramic painting with Pierre Prévost, the first French panorama painter. Exceedingly adept at his skill of theatrical illusion, he became a celebrated designer for the theatre, and later came to invent the diorama, which opened in Paris in July 1822.

In 1829, Daguerre partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, an inventor who had produced the world's first heliograph in 1822 and the first permanent camera photograph four years later. Niépce died suddenly in 1833, but Daguerre continued experimenting.

After the death of Niépce in 1833, Daguerre concentrated his attention on the light-sensitive properties of silver salts, which had previously been demonstrated by Johann Heinrich Schultz and others. For the process which was eventually named the Daguerreotype, he exposed a thin silver-plated copper sheet to the vapor given off by iodine crystals, producing a coating of light-sensitive silver iodide on the surface. The plate was then exposed in the camera. Initially, this process, too, required a very long exposure to produce a distinct image, but Daguerre made the crucial discovery that an invisibly faint "latent" image created by a much shorter exposure could be chemically "developed" into a visible image. Upon seeing the image, the contents of which are unknown, Daguerre said, "I have seized the light – I have arrested its flight!"

 After efforts to interest private investors proved fruitless, Daguerre went public with his invention in 1839. At a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences on 7 January of that year, the invention was announced and described in general terms, but all specific details were withheld. Under assurances of strict confidentiality, Daguerre explained and demonstrated the process only to the Academy's perpetual secretary François Arago, who proved to be an invaluable advocate. Members of the Academy and other select individuals were allowed to examine specimens at Daguerre's studio. The images were enthusiastically praised as nearly miraculous, and news of the Daguerreotype quickly spread. Arrangements were made for Daguerre's rights to be acquired by the French Government in exchange for lifetime pensions for himself and Niépce's son Isidore; then, on 19 August 1839, the French Government presented the invention as a gift from France "free to the world", and complete working instructions were published.

Daguerre died on 10 July 1851 in Bry-sur-Marne, 12 km (7 mi) from Paris. A monument marks his grave there.

Daguerre's name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel tower.

"Boulevard du Temple"

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known candid photograph of a person. The image shows a street, but because of the over ten-minute exposure time the moving traffic does not appear. At the lower left, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Fear in the sky!

Phobos is the larger and closer of the two natural satellites of Mars. With a mean radius of 11.1 km (6.9 mi), Phobos is 7.24 times as massive as the second moon Deimos. It is named after the Greek god Phobos (which means "fear"), a son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) . Both moons were discovered in 1877.

A small, irregularly shaped object, Phobos orbits about 9,400 km (5,800 mi) from the center of Mars, or about 6,000 km (3,700 mi) from the Martian surface, closer to its primary than any other known planetary moon. Phobos is one of the least reflective bodies in the Solar System, and features a large impact crater, Stickney. It orbits so close to the planet that it moves around Mars faster than Mars rotates. As a result, from the surface of Mars it appears to rise in the west, move across the sky in 4 h 15 min or less, and set in the east twice each Martian day. Due to its short orbital period and tidal interactions, Phobos's orbital radius is decreasing and it will eventually break up into a planetary ring.

Phobos was discovered by astronomer Asaph Hall on August 18, 1877, at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., at about 09:14 Greenwich Mean Time (contemporary sources, using the pre-1925 astronomical convention that began the day at noon, give the time of discovery as August 17 at 16:06 Washington mean time). Hall also discovered Deimos, Mars's other moon, on August 12, 1877 at about 07:48 UTC. The names, originally spelled Phobus and Deimus respectively, were suggested by Henry Madan (1838–1901), Science Master of Eton, based on Book XV of the Iliad, in which the god Ares summons Dread (Deimos) and Fear (Phobos).

Asaph Hall

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The "Saviour of Vienna and Western European civilization."

John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski, Lithuanian: Jonas Sobieskis; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696) was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and Khmelnytsky Uprising.Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander. Following his victories over the Ottoman Empire, he was called by the Turks the "Lion of Lechistan" and held as the saviour of European Christendom by the pope.

Sobieski's greatest success came in 1683 with his victory at the Battle of Vienna, in joint command of Polish, Austrian and German troops, against the invading Turks under Kara Mustafa. Upon reaching Vienna, Sobieski's army of about 81,000 men attacked a Turkish force of about 130,000 men on 12 September 1683. At about five o'clock in the afternoon, after observing the infantry battle from the hilltop, Sobieski led Polish husaria cavalry along with Austrians and Germans into a massive charge down the hillside. Soon, the Turkish battle line was broken and the Ottoman forces scattered in confusion. At 17:30 Sobieski entered the deserted tent of Kara Mustafa and the battle of Vienna ended.

The Pope and other foreign dignitaries hailed Sobieski as the "Savior of Vienna and Western European civilization."

King John III Sobieski died in Wilanów, Poland on 17 June 1696. His wife, Maria Kasimira, died in 1716 in Blois, France, and her body was returned to Poland. They are interred together in Wawel Cathedral, Kraków, Poland.

King John III was succeeded by Augustus II who stayed in power primarily because of Russian support. On his death in 1733, a struggle for the crown of Poland ensued, referred to as the War of the Polish Succession.

"The power of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved."

The North River Steamboat or North River is widely regarded as the world's first commercially successful steamboat.

Built in 1807, the North River Steamboat operated on the Hudson River (at that time often known as the North River) between New York and Albany. She was the first vessel to demonstrate the viability of using steam propulsion for commercial river transportation. She was built by the wealthy investor and politician Robert Livingston and inventor and entrepreneur Robert Fulton (1765–1815).

The ship's inaugural run was helmed by Captain Andrew Brink, and left New York on August 17, 1807, with a complement of invited guests aboard. They arrived in Albany two days later, after 32 hours of travel time and a 20-hour stop at Livingston's estate, Clermont Manor. The return trip was completed in 30 hours with only a one-hour stop at Clermont; the average speed of the steamer was 5 mph (8 km/h).

Fulton wrote to a friend, Joel Barlow:
I had a light breeze against me the whole way, both going and coming, and the voyage has been performed wholly by the power of the steam engine. I overtook many sloops and schooners, beating to the windward, and parted with them as if they had been at anchor. The power of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved. The morning I left New York, there were not perhaps thirty persons in the city who believed that the boat would ever move one mile an hour, or be of the least utility, and while we were putting off from the wharf, which was crowded with spectators, I heard a number of sarcastic remarks. This is the way in which ignorant men compliment what they call philosophers and projectors. Having employed much time, money and zeal in accomplishing this work, it gives me, as it will you, great pleasure to see it fully answer my expectations.

Robert Fulton



Friday, 16 August 2013

Neither Golden Eagle nor Miss Doran were ever seen again.

The Dole Air Race, also known as the Dole Derby, was a tragic air race across the Pacific Ocean from northern California to the Territory of Hawaii in August 1927.

Inspired by Charles A. Lindbergh's successful trans-Atlantic flight, James D. Dole, the Hawaii pineapple magnate, put up a prize of US$25,000 for the first fixed-wing aircraft to fly the 3,870 kilometers (2,400 mi) from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, and US$10,000 for second place.

Of the 15-18 airplanes entered, eleven were certified to compete but three crashed before the race, resulting in three deaths.

The race began on 16 August 1927. The fifteen competitors were seen off by a crowd estimated to include 75,000 to 100,000 persons. Of the 15-18 airplanes entered, eleven were certified to compete but three crashed before the race, resulting in three deaths. Eight eventually participated in the race, with two crashing on takeoff and two going missing during the race. A third, forced to return for repairs, took off again to search for the missing and was itself never seen again. In all, before, during, and after the race, ten lives were lost and six airplanes were total losses. Two of the eight planes successfully landed in Hawaii.




Thursday, 15 August 2013

"I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, to be baited by a rabble's curse."

Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Modern Gaelic: MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh, anglicised as Macbeth, and nicknamed Rí Deircc, "the Red King"; died 15 August 1057) was King of the Scots (also known as the King of Alba, and earlier as King of Moray and King of Fortriu) from 1040 until his death. He is best known as the subject of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth and the many works it has inspired, although the play presents a highly inaccurate picture of his reign and personality.

In 1052, Macbeth was involved indirectly in the strife in the Kingdom of England between Godwin, Earl of Wessex and Edward the Confessor when he received a number of Norman exiles from England in his court, perhaps becoming the first king of Scots to introduce feudalism to Scotland. In 1054, Edward's Earl of Northumbria, Siward, led a very large invasion of Scotland. The campaign led to a bloody battle in which the Annals of Ulster report 3,000 Scots and 1,500 English dead, which can be taken as meaning very many on both sides, and one of Siward's sons and a son-in-law were among the dead. The result of the invasion was that one Máel Coluim, "son of the king of the Cumbrians" (not to be confused with Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, the future Malcolm III of Scotland) was restored to his throne, i.e., as ruler of the kingdom of Strathclyde.

 It may be that the events of 1054 are responsible for the idea, which appears in Shakespeare's play, that Malcolm III was put in power by the English.Macbeth did not survive the English invasion, for he was defeated and mortally wounded or killed by the future  Malcolm III ("King Malcolm Ceann-mor", son of Duncan I) on the north side of the Mounth in 1057. The Prophecy of Berchán has it that he was wounded and died at Scone, sixty miles to the south, some days later. Macbeth's stepson Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin was installed as king soon after.

Unlike later writers, no near contemporary source remarks on Macbeth as a tyrant. The Duan Albanach, which survives in a form dating to the reign of Malcolm III, calls him "Mac Bethad the renowned". The Prophecy of Berchán, a verse history which purports to be a prophecy, describes him as "the generous king of Fortriu", and says:
"The red, tall, golden-haired one, he will be pleasant to me among them; Scotland will be brimful west and east during the reign of the furious red one."

In Shakespeare's play, which is based mainly upon Raphael Holinshed's account, Macbeth is initially a valorous and loyal general to the elderly King Duncan, but is corrupted by narcissism and ambition. After being flattered by Three Witches and his own wife, Macbeth rationalizes that murdering his king and usurping the throne is the right thing to do. Ultimately, however, the propehicies of the witches prove misleading, Macbeth alienates the nobility of Scotland, and is defeated in battle by Prince Malcolm. As the King's armies disintegrate, he encounters MacDuff, a refugee nobleman whose wife and children had earlier been murdered by Macbeth's death squads. Upon realizing that he will die if he fights MacDuff, Macbeth at first refuses to do so. But when MacDuff explains that if he surrenders he will be subjected to ridicule by his former subjects, Macbeth vows, "I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, to be baited by a rabble's curse." He chooses instead to fight MacDuff to the death. Macbeth is then slain and beheaded and the play ends with Prince Malcolm planning his coronation at Scone.

Red, black, and green are to be the symbolic colors of the African race.

In addition to being "the premier actor of all nineteenth-century black performers on the dramatic stage," Henrietta Davis was proclaimed by Marcus Garvey to be the "greatest woman of the (African) race today". 

She has come to be considered the physical, intellectual, and spiritual link between the Abolitionist movement of Frederick Douglass and the African Redemption Movement of the UNIA-ACL and Marcus Garvey.

Her performances consisted of a diverse spectrum of works from Paul Lawrence Dunbar's Negro dialects to such works as Romeo and Juliet, As you like it; "Mary Queen of Scots"; "Cleopatra's Dying Speech"; "The Battle" by Sciller; and "How Tom Sawyer Got His Fence Whitewashed" by Mark Twain. She is considered the first African American to have made an attempt at Shakesperian delineations after Ira Aldridge. On January 17, 1884, she appeared before a crowded house in Melodeon Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1893 she started her own company in Chicago, travelled to the Caribbean, and collaborated on writing Our Old Kentucky Home with distinguished journalist and future Garveyite John Edward Bruce.

While traveling in the Caribbean, Davis learned of the work of Marcus Garvey. On June 15, 1919, she was one of the guests who spoke a meeting of the UNIA held at the Palace Casino in Harlem, She did a rendition of "Little Brown Baby With Sparkling Eyes" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. As part of her presentation she held an African-American doll, one of the earliest manufactured. Her prop had been loaned for the occasion by the Berry & Ross company. She decided to give up her career to work with Garvey and the UNIA-ACL, becoming the UNIA's first International Organizer, a director of the Black Star Line and the second Vice-President of the corporation.

At the UNIA-ACL convention in August 1920, she was one of the signatories of the The Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. Among the 54 declarations made in this document are resolutions that the colors red, black, and green are to be the symbolic colors of the African race and the term "nigger" cease being used. Furthermore, it demands that the word "Negro" be written with a capital "N".

On November 23, 1941, she died in Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C., at the age of 81.

The largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires and largest facade of any church in the world.


 In 1164, the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel acquired the relics of the Three Kings which the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa had taken from the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, Milan, Italy. (Parts of the relics have since been returned to Milan.) The relics have great religious significance and drew pilgrims from all over Christendom. It was important to church officials that they be properly housed, and thus began a building program in the new style of Gothic architecture, based in particular on the French cathedral of Amiens.

The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1248, by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. The eastern arm was completed under the direction of Master Gerhard, was consecrated in 1322 and sealed off by a temporary wall so it could be in use as the work proceeded. Eighty four misericords in the choir date from this building phase. In the mid 14th century work on the west front commenced under Master Michael. This work halted in 1473, leaving the south tower complete up to the belfry level and crowned with a huge crane that remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years.

With the 19th century romantic enthusiasm for the Middle Ages, and spurred on by the lucky discovery of the original plan for the facade, it was decided, with the commitment of the Protestant Prussian Court, to complete the cathedral. It was achieved by civic effort; the Central-Dombauverein, founded in 1842, raised two-thirds of the enormous costs (over US$ 1 billion in today's money), while the Prussian state supplied the remaining third. The state saw this as a way to improve its relations with the large number of Catholic subjects it had gained in 1815.

Work resumed in 1842 to the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings, but utilizing more modern construction techniques, including iron roof girders. The nave was completed and the towers were added. The bells were installed in the 1870s.

The completion of Germany's largest cathedral was celebrated as a national event on 14 August 1880, 632 years after construction had begun.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

"Culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"

14 August 1975 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opens at the USA Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, California.

The film based on The Rocky Horror Show, a musical stage play, book, music and lyrics by Richard O'Brien. Directed by Jim Sharman from a screenplay by Sharman and O'Brien, the production is a humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s. It introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.

Still in limited release nearly four decades after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well-known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The film has taken in US$365 million at the US box office, DVD sales, etc. since its release. The original budget for the film was US$1,400,000.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

"Mr. Wells is a born storyteller who has sold his birthright for a pot of message."

Herbert George "H. G." Wells
(21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946)
Herbert George "H. G." Wells died on 13 August 1946. He is best known for his work in the science fiction genre but he was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is one person sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction", as are Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Wells's earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of "Journalist."Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole.

Wells's literary reputation declined as he spent his later years promoting causes that were rejected by most of his contemporaries. G. K. Chesterton quipped: "Mr. Wells is a born storyteller who has sold his birthright for a pot of message."

Wells was a diabetic,[and a co-founder in 1934 of what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes in the UK.

On 28 October 1940, on the KTSA radio station in San Antonio, Texas, Wells took part in a radio interview with Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed an infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds. During the interview, by Charles C Shaw, a KTSA radio host, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his "more obscure" titles.

Wells died of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946 at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London, aged 79. Some reports also say he died of a heart attack at the flat of a friend in London. In his preface to the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: "I told you so. You damned fools." He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea.

She “set about two-thirds of the women in the town crazy after women’s rights and placed half the men in a similar predicament.”

Lucy Stone (August 13, 1818 – October 19, 1893) was a prominent American orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women.In 1847, Stone became the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She spoke out for women's rights and against slavery at a time when women were discouraged and prevented from public speaking. Stone was known for using her maiden name after marriage.

Stone's organizational activities for the cause of women's rights yielded tangible gains in the difficult political environment of the 19th century. Stone helped initiate the first National Women's Rights Convention and she supported and sustained it annually along with a number of other local, state and regional activist conventions. Stone spoke in front of a number of legislative bodies to promote laws giving more rights to women. She assisted in establishing the Woman's National Loyal League to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment and thereby abolish slavery, after which she helped form the American Woman Suffrage Association, which built support for a woman suffrage Constitutional amendment by winning woman suffrage at the state and local levels.

Stone wrote extensively about a wide range of women's rights, publishing and distributing speeches by herself and others, and convention proceedings. In the long-running and influential Woman's Journal, a weekly periodical that she established and promoted, Stone aired both her own and differing views about women's rights. Called "the orator",the "morning star"and the "heart and soul" of the women's rights movement, Stone influenced Susan B. Anthony to take up the cause of women's suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that "Lucy Stone was the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question." Together, Anthony, Stanton, and Stone have been called the 19th century "triumvirate" of women's suffrage and feminism.

"Unstainable steel"

The pinnacle of the Chrysler Building is
clad with stainless steel
A few corrosion-resistant iron artifacts survive from antiquity. A famous example is the Iron Pillar of Delhi, erected by order of Kumara Gupta I around AD 400. Unlike stainless steel, however, these artifacts owe their durability not to chromium but to their high phosphorus content, which, together with favorable local weather conditions, promotes the formation of a solid protective passivation layer of iron oxides and phosphates, rather than the non-protective cracked rust layer that develops on most ironwork.

The corrosion resistance of iron-chromium alloys was first recognized in 1821 by French metallurgist Pierre Berthier, who noted their resistance against attack by some acids and suggested their use in cutlery. Metallurgists of the 19th century were unable to produce the combination of low carbon and high chromium found in most modern stainless steels, and the high-chromium alloys they could produce were too brittle to be practical.

In the late 1890s Hans Goldschmidt of Germany developed an aluminothermic (thermite) process for producing carbon-free chromium. Between 1904 and 1911 several researchers, particularly Leon Guillet of France, prepared alloys that would today be considered stainless steel.

Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft built the 366-ton sailing yacht Germania featuring a chrome-nickel steel hull in Germany in 1908 In 1911, Philip Monnartz reported on the relationship between chromium content and corrosion resistance. On October 17, 1912, Krupp engineers Benno Strauss and Eduard Maurer patented austenitic stainless steel as ThyssenKrupp Nirosta.

Similar developments were taking place contemporaneously in the United States, where Christian Dantsizen and Frederick Becket were industrializing ferritic stainless steel. In 1912, Elwood Haynes applied for a US patent on a martensitic stainless steel alloy, which was not granted until 1919.

Also in 1912, Harry Brearley of the Brown-Firth research laboratory in Sheffield, England, while seeking a corrosion-resistant alloy for gun barrels, discovered and subsequently industrialized a martensitic stainless steel alloy. The discovery was announced two years later in a January 1915 newspaper article in The New York Times. The metal was later marketed under the 'Staybrite' brand by Firth Vickers in England and was used for the new entrance canopy for the Savoy Hotel in London in 1929. Brearley applied for a US patent during 1915 only to find that Haynes had already registered a patent. Brearley and Haynes pooled their funding and with a group of investors formed the American Stainless Steel Corporation, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In the beginning stainless steel was sold in the US under different brand names like 'Allegheny metal' and 'Nirosta steel'. Even within the metallurgy industry the eventual name remained unsettled; in 1921 one trade journal was calling it "unstainable steel".