July 2015

This Day in History… July 7, 1928

The World Debut of “The Greatest Thing” –
Sliced Bread!

U.S. #4912

U.S. #4912

Bread is one of the world’s oldest prepared foods, made and consumed around the globe for thousands of years. But why wasn’t it sold pre-sliced until 1928? In part, being sliced leads the bread to go stale faster, so inventors sought to create a machine that would both slice and wrap.

Missouri jeweler Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the first successful bread slicer and wrapper in 1912, but it was destroyed in a fire. Fifteen years later he tweaked and patented his design, but it fell short. Though the bread was sliced, it wasn’t sliced neatly, and loaves didn’t sell. Gustav Papendick later bought the machine and perfected it, slicing the loaves more cleanly and wrapping them in wax paper. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 6, 1957

Althea Gibson Becomes First 
African American to Win Wimbledon

U.S. #4803

U.S. #4803

Althea Gibson began playing tennis as a teenager and won her first tournament when she was 15. She achieved great success, including 10 consecutive wins at the American Tennis Association singles tournament. However for many years she was barred from competing in her sport’s top events due to her race. When a fellow tennis star, Alice Marble, wrote an open letter to protest this, Gibson was permitted to compete in the U.S. Open.

Gibson then became an international star after winning the singles title at the French Open, making her the first African American to do so. The following year, on July 6, 1957, Gibson won the Tennis Championships at Wimbledon – the oldest and often considered the most prestigious of all tennis championships. She was again the first African American to achieve that high honor. 1957 was a good year for Gibson – she went on to win the U.S. Open and was selected by the Associated Press as Female Athlete of the Year. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 5, 1810

U.S. #4898-4905

U.S. #4898-4905

Birth of a Circus Legend

Showman Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum was born on July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Connecticut. Talented at haggling and salesmanship from an early age, Barnum embarked on a variety of business ventures. He owned a general store and newspaper and ran a state lottery, among other things. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 4, 1776

U.S. #1691-94

U.S. # 1691-94

America Declares Independence

When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, the American colonists wanted equal representation and relief from unjust taxes. Fighting continued for over a year before the Continental Congress took steps to separate the colonies from the United Kingdom. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 3, 1775

George Washington Takes Command of 
The Continental Army

U.S. #706

U.S. #706

As America fought its war for independence against the British, it was decided that a commander in chief was needed to lead the newly established Continental Army. While some argued against Washington, the Continental Congress ultimately decided that his Virginian roots would help garner support from the southern colonies.

On July 3, 1775, George Washington accepted his new role, riding out ahead of his men at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and drawing his sword. Many of the troops were suspicious of the outsider they’d never heard of. But Washington was determined to transform the ragtag band of undisciplined men into a well-structured army. And he succeeded, as the Continental Army eventually overcame the British and won the American Revolutionary War. Continue reading

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This Day in History… July 2, 1937

Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance – 
One of History’s Greatest Mysteries

U.S. #C68

U.S. #C68

Amelia Earhart became an international celebrity for her flying achievements. She was the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo (and the first person to do it twice), the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, and fly nonstop coast-to-coast across the U.S. Yet it was her sudden disappearance in 1937 that has captivated people for decades.

In 1936, Earhart began planning to circle the globe. Though this wasn’t the first attempt, it would be longest – at 29,000 miles, following the equator. She had a special plane – a Lockheed Electra 10E – built specifically for the trip.

Following plane issues on the first attempt, Earhart set out on June 1, 1937, from Miami, Florida. By the end of June, she’d traveled about 22,000 miles. In the early morning hours of July 2, she departed Lae, New Guinea. But as she traveled to her next destination, her contacts on the ground discovered she couldn’t hear them and couldn’t find their location. Her last known transmission came at 8:43 that morning. Search efforts began within an hour and lasted until July 19, though her husband continued searching long after that.

Continue reading

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