IBM’s Launch of Personal Computer Model 5150

August 12, 2015 · Posted in American Business, Firsts in History · Comments Off on IBM’s Launch of Personal Computer Model 5150 

Researching the history of the personal computer reveals how far along we have come, since IBM launched its first personal computer, model 5150, on August 12, 1981. It was an extravagant affair held at the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The New York Times’ article in August of 1981, NEXT, A COMPUTER ON EVERY DESK, boasted of a “second generation of machines” with the ability to, “…use microprocessors capable of handling 16 ”bits,” or units of information, at the same time, twice the processing power of existing 8-bit machines. ”

At 21 pounds and costing $1,565 the 5150 was a great success having much to do with a big advertising push that moved the IBM PC forward and into the limelight. 30 years later the size and cost seems laughable, but back then before we knew what the future would hold it was an amazing technological feat.



King Tut

July 19, 2015 · Posted in Ancient History · Comments Off on King Tut 

Google Books

History of the Egyptian King  started when Tut, full name being Tutankhaten, meaning “the living image of Aten“, was born approximately 1343 B.C. , or cited elsewhere as circa 1341 B.C.E, though no one knows for certain his exact date of birth.

His coming of age was during the reign of Akhenaten. He lived in what was then the almost 2000 year old country of Egypt; a barren dessert land on the North coast of Africa facing toward the Mediterranean Sea and split in half by the Nile. It is thought, though as with his birth the timeline is uncertain, to have become king at age 9, and ruled  until he died at the age of 19 or 20.

His claim to modern day fame was when his intact tomb was discovered in 1922.

King Tut’s tomb, known as KV62, see National Geographic video , was uncovered by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922.

Much later in the discovered remains journey under scientific scrutiny,  Egyptian archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, did CT scans of the mummy and later wrote, “It reminded me of an ancient monument lying in ruins in the sand.” He and his team stated, that the king could have died from a malaria infection that followed a leg fracture. (Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Nov;15(11):1278-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02614.x. Malaria, mummies, mutations: Tutankhamun’s archaeological autopsy. Timmann C1, Meyer CG.)

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1951 Historic Flooding in Kansas

July 13, 2015 · Posted in Disasters, This Day in History · Comments Off on 1951 Historic Flooding in Kansas 

History making flood devastates Kansas on July 13, 1951.

500,000 people were left homeless and 24 people died. The Midwestern United States had not seen such destruction from flooding as great as this, since record taking had begun.

It was on the unluckiest of days, Friday the 13th, that some call Black Friday, when the flood swept down the Kansas River valley and into the Missouri River basin.

Above-average rainfall beginning in June and lasting through July 13th brought well over 25 inches to towns in eastern Kansas. Most affected major towns were Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence. Also, 10,000 farms were destroyed as well.

The crest of the flood exceeded all previous highs by four to nine feet on July 13th, 1951.

Kansas Flood 1951




Kansas Historical Society

Benjamin Franklin’s Electrical Kite

June 10, 2015 · Posted in America · Comments Off on Benjamin Franklin’s Electrical Kite 

We have all heard the story about Franklin flying a kite in a thunderstorm and proving that lightening is electric and the charge it creates can be collected in a Leyden jar.

History purports that this experiment by Franklin took place on June 10, 1752, but there are those who question if Franklin actually ever said that he did the experiment and that instead it may have been more of a thought experiment than a practical test he enacted in reality.

To learn more and decide for yourself read the 2003 New Yorker book review
American Electric Did Franklin fly that kite?

Reign of Terror

May 13, 2015 · Posted in French History · Comments Off on Reign of Terror 

What is the history behind the Reign of Terror or simply the Terror?

The time period was from Sept. 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794. The Terror took place in France during the revolution, when democratic reform turned into executions by guillotine.

The former ruling royals King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette met their death via Madame Guillotine in 1793.

“Let them eat cake!” words alleged to have left the lips of Marie Antoinette upon being told that starving French peasants lacked bread to eat has never been proven. Maxime de la Rocheterie wrote of her:

‘She was not a guilty woman, neither was she a saint; she was an upright, charming woman, a little frivolous, somewhat impulsive, but always pure; she was a queen, at times ardent in her fancies for her favourites and thoughtless in her policy, but proud and full of energy; a thorough woman in her winsome ways and tenderness of heart…’

Her famous last words before the quick, clean cut of a guillotine blade ( her death was viewed with great joy by the crowd cheering “Vive la nation!”), Marie Antoinette’s last words were,”Pardon me sir. I did not mean to do it,”to a man whose foot she stepped on before she was executed by the guillotine” source:

The powerful Maximilien Robespierre became the person most associated with the Terror. Just the suspicion of “crimes against liberty” was enough to get one executed during the Reign. Ironically Maximilien Robespierre himself was guillotined by “The National Razor” in July 1794.


Public guillotining in Lons-le-Saunier, 1897. Picture taken on 20 April 1897, in front of the jailhouse of Lons-le-Saunier, Jura. The man who was going to be beheaded was Pierre Vaillat, who killed two elder siblings on Christmas day, 1896, in order to rob them and was condemned for his crimes on 9 March 1897.

Public executions became so popular for a time that vendors sold programs and regulars would attend. parents even brought their children to watch the horror as a morbidly sick form of entertainment.

150 years since Abraham Lincoln’s death

April 14, 2015 · Posted in Presidential history · Comments Off on 150 years since Abraham Lincoln’s death 

The gunshot that killed Lincoln came from John Wilkes Booth’s .44-caliber derringer as the president and his wife watched “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre.

 At 7:22 the following morning, April 15, 1865, in the Petersen boarding house across from the theatre, the 16th president of the United States took his last breath, but not before making his mark in history. Who the Secretary of State Edwin M. Stanton called “the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”

Ford’s Theatre is hosting a comprehensive series of Lincoln memorials, which it calls Ford’s 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination. The commemorations will be on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the details of the upcoming commemorations.

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