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Written by Darci Tomky   

Top 25 celebrate 125

This year we Enterprise staff members got really familiar with the word quasquicentennial. Just to refresh your memory, that’s the fancy way of saying 125 years or a 125th anniversary. When we reach 150 years, we’ll get the privilege of using the term sesquicentennial, and 175 gets a little tongue-tied with terquasquicentennial.

The City of Holyoke continues its quasquicentennial anniversary in 2013, after officially turning 125 April 24 earlier this year.

As I imagine what Holyoke was like back in 1888, I wonder what other products, services and organizations were around? What else was just bursting onto the scene in America 125 years ago?

Here is my list of the top 25 inventions, events and companies celebrating 125 years in 2013. Just imagine what life would be like without the important accomplishments of this historic year!

25. The 2-year-old company Johnson & Johnson offered the first commercial first aid kits, initially designed for railroad workers but soon the standard for injury treatment.

24. The first patent for a ballpoint pen was granted to John J. Loud.

23. Max Ams invented the modern double seams used in canning to provide an airtight seal to the tin can.

22. John Boyd Dunlop invented the first practical pneumatic (inflatable) tire. World-famous tire company Michelin was also incorporated that year.

21. New York City, N.Y. train platforms got the first vending machines in the U.S., built by the Thomas Adams Gum Company to sell his Tutti-Frutti chewing gum.

20. Professional mathematicians established the American Mathematical Society.

19. William Seward Burroughs, the founder of American Arithmometer Company, received a patent for his adding machine.

18. Gregg shorthand, the most popular form of pen stenography in the U.S., was invented by John Robert Gregg.

17. Modern drinking straws made history when Marvin Stone patented the spiral winding process to manufacture the first wax coated paper drinking straws, which were 8 1/2 inches long with a diameter just wide enough to prevent one from sucking up a lemon seed.

16. The historic Ponce de León Hotel was completed in St. Augustine, Fla.

15. “Casey at the Bat” was a baseball poem written by Ernest Thayer.

14. Congress established the Department of Labor.

13. July 4, 1888, became the birth date of the first professional rodeo in Prescott, Ariz., where cash prizes were offered for the “cowboy tournament.”

12. Philip W. Pratt demonstrated the first American electric tricycle, which weighed about 300 pounds and could travel at a top speed of 8 mph.

11. Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, Pa., was granted the U.S. patent for a “Storm-Door Structure,” or what we know as a revolving door, which was handy for keeping out noises, wind, snow, rain and dust while also allowing people to pass at the same time without collision.

10. The Washington Monument in D.C. officially opened and at the time was the world’s tallest structure at over 555 feet.

9. Thomas Edison filed a patent for the first movie, an optical phonograph, which would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.”

8. Hunt’s, now known for its ketchup, was founded in California as the Hunt Bros. Fruit Packing Co.

7. Recording label Columbia Records was founded, claiming the title of oldest brand name in pre-recorded sound.

6. Yamaha Musical Instrument Company was founded.

5. Richard Wetherill and brother-in-law Charles Mason discovered Mesa Verde Indian ruins in southwest Colorado while looking for stray cattle in the canyons of their ranching operation.

4. Edison Records introduced the new industry-standard wax cylinders to the phonograph, which could each play two minutes of music.

3. Americans were introduced to the game of golf when John Reid laid out three holes in an apple orchard in Yonkers, N.Y. to demonstrate the Scottish game. Later that year, he formally organized the St. Andrew’s Golf Club.

2. National Geographic Society, a non-profit scientific and educational institution, and its magazine both celebrate 125 years of stunning photos, cultural history and the familiar yellow-bordered publication.

1. Kodak hit the scene as a new company when George Eastman invented dry, transparent, flexible photographic film (rolled photography film) and the Kodak box cameras that could use the new film. “You press the button, we do the rest,” was the ad slogan for the $25 cameras.


Holyoke Enterprise October 31, 2013