This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 6 is the sixth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 359 days remaining until the end of the year (360 in leap years).
On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born April 27, 1791, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended Yale University, where he was interested in art, as well as electricity, still in its infancy at the time. After college, Morse became a painter. In 1832, while sailing home from Europe, he heard about the newly discovered electromagnet and came up with an idea for an electric telegraph. He had no idea that other inventors were already at work on the concept.
Morse spent the next several years developing a prototype and took on two partners, Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail, to help him. In 1838, he demonstrated his invention using Morse code, in which dots and dashes represented letters and numbers. In 1843, Morse finally convinced a skeptical Congress to fund the construction of the first telegraph line in the United States, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. In May 1844, Morse sent the first official telegram over the line, with the message: “What hath God wrought!”
1066 – Harold Godwinson is crowned King of England.
1118 – Reconquista: Alfonso the Battler conquers Zaragoza.
1205 – Philip of Swabia becomes King of the Romans.
1322 – Stephen Uroš III is crowned King of Serbia.
1355 – Charles I of Bohemia is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy as King of Italy in Milan.
1449 – Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI is crowned at Mistra.
1492 – The Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella enter Granada, completing the Reconquista.
1540 – King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves.
1579 – The Union of Atrecht is signed.
1661 – English Restoration: The Fifth Monarchists unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of London.
1690 – Joseph, son of Emperor Leopold I, becomes King of the Romans.
1721 – The Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble publishes its findings.
1781 – In the Battle of Jersey, the British defeat the last attempt by France to invade Jersey.
1809 – Combined British, Portuguese and colonial Brazilian forces begin the Invasion of Cayenne during the Napoleonic Wars.
1838 – Samuel Morse first successfully tests the electrical telegraph.
1839 – The most damaging storm in 300 years sweeps across Ireland, damaging or destroying more than 20% of the houses in Dublin.
1853 – President-elect of the United States Franklin Pierce and his family are involved in a train wreck near Andover, Massachusetts.
1870 – The inauguration of the Musikverein in Vienna.
1893 – The Washington National Cathedral is chartered by Congress. The charter is signed by President Benjamin Harrison.
1900 – Second Boer War: Having already sieged the fortress at Ladysmith, Boer forces attack it, but are driven back by British defenders.
1907 – Maria Montessori opens her first school and daycare center for working class children in Rome.
1909 – The Great White Fleet passes through the Suez Canal, the largest group of ships to pass through up to that time.
1912 – New Mexico is admitted as the 47th U.S. state.
1921 – Formation of the Iraqi Army.
1929 – King Alexander of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes suspends his country’s constitution (the January 6th Dictatorship).
1929 – Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta to begin her work among India’s poorest and sick people.
1930 – The first diesel-engined automobile trip is completed, from Indianapolis, Indiana, to New York City.
1931 – Thomas Edison submits his last patent application.
1936 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules that the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act is unconstitutional in the case United States v. Butler et al.
1941 – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms Speech in the State of the Union Address.
1942 – Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to schedule a flight around the world.
1950 – The United Kingdom recognizes the People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China severs diplomatic relations with the UK in response.
1953 – The first Asian Socialist Conference opens in Rangoon, Burma.
1960 – National Airlines Flight 2511 is destroyed in mid-air by a bomb, while en route from New York City to Miami.
1967 – Vietnam War: United States Marine Corps and ARVN troops launch “Operation Deckhouse Five” in the Mekong River delta.
1974 – In response to the 1973 energy crisis, daylight saving time commences nearly four months early in the United States.
1978 – The Crown of St. Stephen (also known as the Holy Crown of Hungary) is returned to Hungary from the United States, where it was held after World War II.
1994 – Nancy Kerrigan is clubbed on the knee at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.
1995 – A chemical fire in an apartment complex in Manila, Philippines, leads to the discovery of plans for Project Bojinka, a mass-terrorist attack.
2005 – American Civil Rights Movement: Edgar Ray Killen is arrested as a suspect in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers.
2005 – A train collision in Graniteville, South Carolina, releases about 60 tons of chlorine gas.
2009 – Israel conducts an assault on Gaza. Operation Cast Lead
2010 – The Ady Gil, a ship owned by Sea Shepherd, is sunk during a skirmish with the Japanese Whaling Fleet’s Shonan Maru.
Armed Forces Day (Iraq)
Christian Feast Day:
Befana Day (Italy)
Little Christmas (Ireland)