This Day in History… August 22, 1834

Birth of Samuel P. Langley

US #C118 pictures Langley with his Aerodrome No. 5 – the first American heavier-than-air machine to make a free flight of any significant length.

Samuel Pierpont Langley was born on August 22, 1834, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Langley attended the Boston Latin School and English High School of Boston before serving as an assistant at the Harvard College Observatory.  After that, he worked as a professor of mathematics at the US Naval Academy.  While there, he also worked on restoring the school’s small observatory.

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This Day in History… August 21, 1858

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

US #1115 was issued in Freeport, Illinois on the 100th anniversary of the debate there.

On August 21, 1858, Abraham Lincoln participated in the first of seven debates against Stephen Douglas.  Part of a race for an Illinois seat in the US Senate, they became known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates or the Great Debates of 1858.

Lincoln’s opposition of Douglas had actually begun a few years earlier.  In 1854, he vocally opposed the Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise that had restricted slavery.

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This Day in History… August 20, 1992

Computer Vended Postage Stamps 

US #CVP31 was issued on this day in 1992.

On August 20, 1992, Computer Vended Postage stamps were first made available for sale in five test cities.

Prior to these, there were tests of computer vended postage on an even smaller scale.  Between November 13, and December 14, 1989, self-service machines were available at the 20th Universal Postal Congress at the Washington, DC. But they weren’t available to the general public.

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This Day in History… August 19, 1871

Happy Birthday Orville Wright

US #C45 was issued for the 46th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

Aviator and inventor Orville Wright was born on August 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio.

Orville was one of seven children born to a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  Wilbur, with whom he’d build the first successful airplane, was four years older, born in April 1867.

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This Day in History… August 18, 1846

Kearny Expedition

US #944 pictures the raising of the American flag above the governor’s palace in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in August 1846.

On August 18, 1846, Stephen W. Kearny captured Santa Fe without firing a shot as part of the Kearny Expedition.

Stephen Watts Kearny was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1794.  He served with the 13th Infantry Regiment during the War of 1812 and would spend much of the next 30 years serving on the frontier.

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This Day in History… August 17, 1859

First US Airmail by Balloon 

US #C54 was issued on the 100th anniversary of the flight in Lafayette.

On August 17, 1859, the first airmail in the United States was carried by balloon in Indiana, from Lafayette to Crawfordsville.

In the past, there had been other attempts to carry mail by balloon, but none were sanctioned by the Post Office Department. This flight, arranged by John Wise, was in conjunction with the Lafayette postmaster Thomas Wood.  Wise was a professional balloonist who had made over 230 balloon flights and hoped to set a record for the longest balloon flight.

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