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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21, 1902

I am very excited to bring you today's edition of the TUESDAY TIMELINE.  For once, I have a subject that is quite timely, given the season that we're in.  Let's just leave it at that right at the moment.

And, since we're smack dab in the middle of summer, I thought that I would use this post to try and cool you off a bit - or at the very least give you simulated cooling anyway.

Have I got you questioning what today's subject is? 

Before we go ahead with the main body of the timeline, let's see what else took place on July 21 throughout history.

356 BC - Fire caused by arson destroys the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus - one of the Seven Wonders of the World

365 - Alexandria, Egypt is completely destroyed by a tsunami

1861 - The Confederate Army emerges victorious in the First Battle of Bull Run during the American Revolution

1865 - Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in Springfield, Missouri's Market Square

1873 - Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West

1877 - Rail workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stage a sympathy strike in support of nine workers who were killed at the hands of Maryland militia

1919 - The Wingfoot Air Express - a dirigible - crashes into the Illinois and Trust building in Chicago, killing 12 people

1922 - British actress Mollie Sugden (d. 2009) is born in Keighley

1924 - Actor Don Knotts (d. 2006) is born in Morgantown, West Virginia

1925 - John Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in his science classes and is fined $100

1944 - Claus von Stauffenberg and his fellow conspirators are executed in Berlin in relation to a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler

1951 - Actor/comedian Robin Williams (d. 2014) is born in Chicago, Illinois

1959 - Elijah Jerry "Pumpsie" Green becomes the first African-American player to join the Boston Red Sox - the last team to become integrated

1972 - The Provisional IRA detonate a total of 22 bombs over an eighty minute time span in central Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing nine and injuring 130

1976 - The British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland - Christopher Ewart-Biggs - is assassinated by the Provisional IRA

1983 - The world's lowest temperature is recorded in Antarctica - a bone chilling -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit!

1998 - Astronaut Alan Shepard passes away, aged 74

2011 - NASA's Space Shuttle program concludes with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135

2012 - Erden Eruc completes the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the world

And celebrating a birthday today are...Kay Starr, Norman Jewison, Helen Merrill, Jonathan Miller, Janet Reno, Wendy Cope, Art Hindle, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, Garry Trudeau, Jeff Fatt, Taco Ockerse, Michael Connelly, Jon Lovitz, Greg Behrendt, Ross Kemp, Sharon Twomey, Arija Bareikis, Brandi Chastain, Emerson Hart, Michael Fitzpatrick, Ali Landry, Steve Byrne, Christopher Barzak, Jaime Murray, Justin Bartha, Josh Hartnett, Sprague Grayden, Paloma Faith, Vanessa Lengies, Rory Culkin, and Chelsie Hightower.

So, what date are we going to go back in time to this week?

How about a date that is close to the turn of the twentieth century?  Exact date?  July 21, 1902.

You know, I have to make a little bit of a confession to all of you here.  I am definitely NOT a summer person.  Truth be told, I'm the kind of person that would be comfortable if the temperature was fourteen degrees Celsius all year round.

(That's 60 degrees Fahrenheit to the American readers here.)

So, I guess this makes me more of an autumn person.  When October arrives, I feel like I am in the groove.  It's why I like to take one week of vacation in October because the weather is just perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just right.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if we could have full control of our weather?  Why, we could end the drought in California, stop the flooding in Texas, and prevent the snow from burying Boston, Massachusetts in future years.

Mind you, some people would use that power for evil and end up putting the entire continent of North America in a permanent Ice Age...and that's something that I don't think any of us really want to see.  So, maybe it's not such a good idea to have that much power.

But fortunately, we can at least have control over the temperature that we have inside our homes.  Thanks to modern heating through gas power or electric power, we can stay toasty warm in the most frigid of conditions - even in the middle of Antarctica some thirty-two years ago.

And thanks to a man who created a very nifty invention a hundred and thirteen years ago today, we can stop sweltering in the scorching summer heat - at least indoors, that is.

You may not recognize the man in this photo.  It's okay if you don't.  This man was Willis Haviland Carrier, and he was born in Angola, New York.

I saw was for a reason.  He passed away in October 1950, aged 73.

But it was right around 1902 that he came up with a really cool invention.  And believe me when I tell you that it was really cool.

An engineer by trade, graduating from Cornell University in 1901, Carrier was presented with a dilemma.  In 1902, the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company were having issues with quality control, most likely attributed to the fact that the humid weather outside made conditions inside the building unbearable to work in. 

So Carrier set to work on a device that he predicted would artificially cool the inside of the building to make the workers more comfortable.  He wanted to come up with a new appliance that did four things; control temperature, control humidity, control air circulation and ventilation, and purify the air.  Such a thing seemed impossible prior to the twentieth century, but Carrier was not willing to give up.

And on July 21, 1902, Carrier presented the world with the very first working air conditioning system. least it was a basic working model.  It would take another four years for the process to become perfected.  On May 17, 1907, Carrier filed for a patent claim on his air conditioner invention, and nearly seven years later, in February 1914, the patent was granted - #1,085,971.

So, the next time you sit back in your air conditioned homes beating the summer heat, be sure to give your thanks to Willis Carrier - the founder of the modern air conditioner.

I know that as someone who detests humidity and hot weather, I am grateful to the man.  If not for him, I'd be sweating so much that I would go through an entire six-pack of underwear in one day.

I'll leave you with that lovely image.

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