Thursday, March 8, 2007

Patent No. 174,465—Etc.

[[Eventful day in history yesterday 7 March 07—from Writers Almanac]]

It was on this day in 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell received patent No. 174,465 for the telephone. He filed for his patent on the same day as a Chicago electrician named Elisha Gray filed for a patent on basically the same device. Bell only beat Gray by two hours.

It was on this day in 1933 that a man named Charles Darrow trademarked the board game Monopoly. Darrow based the game on an earlier game called "The Landlord's Game," which had been designed by a woman named Elizabeth Magie to teach people about the evils of capitalism.

It was on this day in 1917 that the Victor Talking Machine Company released the first jazz record in American history. There were various terms for this new music. It was called "ratty music," "gut-bucket music," and "hot music." Historians aren't sure how it came to be called jazz, but it's believed that the word may have come from a West African word for speeding things up. It was also a slang term for sex.