Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
  BACK-1859 Part IV NEXT-1860-1869    
1850 - 1859
History at a Glance
1850 Part I
Compromise of 1850
Constitution of Prussia
The eight Kaffir War, 1850-1853
Masaryk Tomas
Kitchener Horatio Herbert
Erfurt Union
Fillmore Millard
Taiping Rebellion
Hong Xiuquan
Feng Yunshan
Yang Xiuqing
Shi Dakai
1850 Part II
Protestant churches in Prussia
Public Libraries Act 1850
Schopenhauer: "Parerga und Paralipomena"
Herbert Spencer: "Social Statics"
E. B. Browning: "Sonnets from the Portuguese"
Emerson: "Representative Men"
Hawthorne: "The Scarlet Letter"
Herzen Aleksandr
Ibsen: "Catiline"
Loti Pierre
Maupassant Guy
Guy de Maupassant
Stevenson Robert Louis
Robert Louis Stevenson  
"Treasure Island
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
1850 Part III
Corot: "Une Matinee"
Courbet: "The Stone Breakers"
Menzel: "Round Table at Sansouci"
Millais: "Christ in the House of His Parents"
Millet: "The Sower"
Bristow George Frederick
George Frederick Bristow - Dream Land
George Frederick Bristow
Schumann: "Genoveva"
Wagner: "Lohengrin"
1850 Part IV
Bernard Claude
Clausius Rudolf
Stephenson Robert
Chebyshev Pafnuty Lvovich
Barth Heinrich
Galton Francis
Anderson Karl John
McClure Robert
McClure Arctic Expedition
Royal Meteorological Society
University of Sydney
1851 Part I
Victoria, state of Australia
Murdock Joseph Ballard
Machado Bernardino
Bourgeois Leon Victor Auguste
Foch Ferdinand
Bombardment of Sale
French coup d'état
Danilo II
Hawthorne: "The House of Seven Gables"
Gottfried Keller: "Der grune Heinrich"
Ward Humphry
Ruskin: "The Stones of Venice"
1851 Part II
Herman Melville: "Moby Dick"
Corot: "La Danse des Nymphes"
Walter Thomas Ustick
Ward Leslie
Crystal Palace
Falero Luis Ricardo
Luis Ricardo Falero
Kroyer Peder
Peder Kroyer
Hughes Edward Robert
Edward Robert Hughes
1851 Part III
Gounod: "Sappho"
D’Indy Vincent
Vincent D'Indy - Medee
Vincent d'Indy
Verdi: "Rigoletto"
Bogardus James
Cast-iron architecture
Kapteyn Jacobus Cornelius
Helmholtz's ophthalmoscope
Neumann Franz Ernst
Ruhmkorff Heinrich Daniel
Singer Isaac Merrit
Cubitt William
Thomson William
Royal School of Mines
Carpenter Mary
"The New York Times"
1852 Part I
Joffre Joseph
Second French Empire
Second Anglo-Burmese War
New Zealand Constitution Act
Asquith Herbert Henry
Pierce Franklin
Delisle Leopold Victor
Fischer Kuno
First Plenary Council of Baltimore
Vaihinger Hans
Gioberti Vincenzo
1852 Part II
Bourget Paul
Creasy Edward
Creasy: "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo"
Charles Dickens: "Bleak House"
Theophile Gautier: "Emaux et Camees"
Moore George
Reade Charles
Harriet Beecher Stowe: "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Thackeray: "History of Henry Esmond"
Turgenev: "A Sportsman's Sketches"
Zhukovsky Vasily
1852 Part III
Fopd Madox Brown: "Christ Washing Peter's Feet"
William Holman Hunt: "The Light of the World"
John Everett Millais: "Ophelia"
Bryullov Karl
Karl Bryullov
Stanford Charles
Charles Villiers Stanford - Piano Concerto No.2
Charles Stanford
Becquerel Henri
Gerhardt Charles Frederic
Van’t Hoff Jacobus Henricus
Mathijsen Antonius
Michelson Albert
Ramsay William
Sylvester James Joseph
United All-England Eleven
Wells Fargo & Company
1853 Part I
Eugenie de Montijo
Crimean War
Battle of Sinop
Rhodes Cecil
Peter V
Nagpur Province
1853 Part II
Mommsen: "History of Rome"
Matthew Arnold: "The Scholar-Gipsy"
Charlotte Bronte: "Villette"
Caine Hall
Elizabeth Gaskell: "Ruth"
Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Tanglewood Tales"
Charles Kingsley: "Hypatia"
Tree Herbert Beerbohm
Charlotte M. Yonge: "The Heir of Redclyffe"
1853 Part III
Haussmann Georges-Eugene
Larsson Carl
Carl Larsson
Hodler Ferdinand
Ferdinand Hodler
Van Gogh Vincent
Vincent van Gogh
Steinway Henry Engelhard
Verdi: "Il Trovatore"
Verdi: "La Traviata"
Wood Alexander
"Die Gartenlaube"
International Statistical Congress
1854 Part I
Bloemfontein Convention
Orange Free State
Battle of the Alma
Menshikov Alexander Sergeyevich
Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855)
Kornilov Vladimir Alexeyevich
Battle of Balaclava
Battle of Inkerman
Perry Matthew Calbraith
Gadsden Purchase
Bleeding Kansas (1854–59)
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Elgin-Marcy Treaty
Republican Party
Said of Egypt
Ostend Manifesto
1854 Part II
Herzog Johann
Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau
Youthful Offenders Act 1854
Immaculate Conception
Patmore Coventry
Patmore: "The Angel in the House"
Sandeau Leonard
Guerrazzi Francesco Domenico
Rimbaud Arthur
Arthur Rimbaud "Poems"
Tennyson: "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Thackeray: "The Rose and the Ring"
Thoreau: "Walden, or Life in the Woods"
1854 Part III
Courbet: "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet"
Frith William Powell
William Frith
Millet: "The Reaper"
Angrand Charles
Charles Angrand
Gotch Thomas Cooper
Thomas Cooper Gotch
Berlioz: "The Infant Christ"
Humperdinck Engelbert
Humperdinck - Hansel und Gretel
Liszt: "Les Preludes"
1854 Part IV
Poincare Henri
Eastman George
Ehrenberg Christian Gottfried
Paul Ehrlich
Goebel Henry
George Boole: "The Laws of Thought"
Riemann Bernhard
Wallace Alfred Russel
Southeast Asia
"Le Figaro"
Litfass Ernst
Northcote–Trevelyan Report
Maurice Frederick Denison
1855 Part I
Alexander II
Istomin Vladimir Ivanovich
Somerset FitzRoy
Nakhimov Pavel Stepanovich
Treaty of Peshawar
Bain Alexander
Droysen Johann
Gratry Auguste
Milman Henry
Le Play Pierre
1855 Part II
Charles Kingsley: "Westward Ho!"
Nerval Gerard
Charles Dickens "Little Dorrit"
Ganghofer Ludwig
Longfellow: "The Song of Hiawatha"
Corelli Marie
Pinero Arthur Wing
Tennyson: "Maud"
Anthony Trollope: "The Warden"
Turgenev: "Rudin"
Walt Whitman: "Leaves of Grass"
Berlioz: "Те Deum"
Verdi: "Les Vepres Siciliennes"
Chansson Ernest
Chausson - Poeme
Ernest Chausson
1855 Part III
Hughes David Edward
Lowell Percival
Cunard Line
"The Daily Telegraph"
Niagara Falls suspension bridge
Paris World Fair
1856 Part I
Victoria Cross
Doctrine of Lapse
Oudh State
Ottoman Reform Edict of 1856
Congress of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1856)
Napoleon, Prince Imperial
Sacking of Lawrence
Pottawatomie massacre
Second Opium War (1856-1860)
Anglo–Persian War (1856-1857)
Buchanan James
1856 Part II
Froude: "History of England"
Goldstucker Theodor
Lotze Rudolf Hermann
Motley: "Rise of the Dutch Republic"
Flaubert: "Madame Bovary"
Haggard Henry Rider
Victor Hugo: "Les Contemplations"
Charles Reade: "It Is Never Too Late to Mend"
Shaw George Bernard
Wilde Oscar
1856 Part III
Berlage Hendrik Petrus
Ferstel Heinrich
Sargent John
John Singer Sargent
Vrubel Mikhail
Mikhail Vrubel
Cross Henri Edmond
Henri-Edmond Cross
Bechstein Carl
Dargomyzhsky Alexander
Alexander Dargomyzhsky: "Rusalka"
Alexander Dargomyzhsky
Maillart Aime
Aime Maillart - Les Dragons de Villars
Sinding Christian
Sinding - Suite in A minor
Christian Sinding
1856 Part IV
Bessemer Henry
Bessemer process
Freud Sigmund
Sigmund Freud
Peary Robert Edwin
Pringsheim Nathanael
Siemens Charles William
Hardie James Keir
Taylor Frederick Winslow
"Big Ben"
1857 Part I
Treaty of Paris
Indian Rebellion of 1857
Italian National Society
Manin Daniele
Taft William Howard
1857 Part II
Buckle Henry Thomas
Buckle: "History of Civilization in England"
Charles Baudelaire: "Les Fleurs du mal"
Conrad Joseph
Joseph Conrad 
"Lord Jim"
George Eliot: "Scenes from Clerical Life"
Hughes Thomas
Thomas Hughes: "Tom Brown's Schooldays"
Mulock Dinah
 Pontoppidan Henrik
Adalbert Stifter: "Nachsommer"
Sudermann Hermann
Thackeray: "The Virginians"
Anthony Trollope: "Barchester Towers"
1857 Part III
Klinger Max
Max Klinger
Millet: "The Gleaners"
Dahl Johan Christian
Johan Christian Dahl
Leoncavallo Ruggero
Ruggero Leoncavallo - Pagliacci
Ruggero Leoncavallo 
Elgar Edward
Edward Elgar - The Light of Life
Edward Elgar
Kienzl Wilhelm
Wilhelm Kienzl - Symphonic Variations
Wilhelm Kienzl
Liszt: "Eine Faust-Symphonie"
1857 Part IV
Coue Emile
Hertz Heinrich
Wagner-Jauregg Julius
Ross Ronald
Newton Charles Thomas
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Burton Richard
Speke John Hanning
The Nile Quest
McClintock Francis
Alpine Club
"The Atlantic Monthly"
Baden-Powell Robert
Matrimonial Causes Act
North German Lloyd
1858 Part I
Orsini Felice
Stanley Edward
Treaty of Tientsin
Government of India Act 1858
Law Bonar
William I
Karageorgevich Alexander
Roosevelt Theodore
1858 Part II
Bernadette Soubirous
Carey Henry Charles
Thomas Carlyle: "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"
Hecker Isaac
Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle
Rothschild Lionel Nathan
Schaff Philip
Benson Frank
Feuillet Octave
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table"
Kainz Joseph
Lagerlof Selma
1858 Part III
Corinth Lovis
Lovis Corinth
William Powell Frith: "The Derby Day"
Menzel: "Bon soir, Messieurs"
Segantini Giovanni
Giovanni Segantini
Khnopff Fernand
Fernand Khnopff
Toorop Jan
Cornelius Peter
Cornelius: "Der Barbier von Bagdad"
Jaques Offenbach: "Orpheus in der Unterwelt"
Puccini Giacomo
Giacomo Puccini: Donna non vidi mai
Giacomo Puccini
1858 Part IV
Diesel Rudolf
Huxley Thomas Henry
Planck Max
Mirror galvanometer
General Medical Council
Suez Canal Company
S.S. "Great Eastern"
Webb Beatrice
Webb Sidney
Transatlantic telegraph cable
1859 Part I
Second Italian War of Independence
Battle of Varese
Battle of Palestro
Battle of Magenta
Battle of Solferino
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Francis II of the Two Sicilies
Charles XV of Sweden
German National Association
Jaures Jean
Roon Albrecht
William II
1859 Part II
Bergson Henri
Henri Bergson
Bergson Henri "Creative Evolution"
Charles Darwin: "On the Origin of Species"
Dewey John
Husserl Edmund
Karl Marx: "Critique of Political Economy"
John Stuart Mill: "Essay on Liberty"
Tischendorf Konstantin
Codex Sinaiticus
Villari Pasquale
1859 Part III
Dickens: "A Tale of Two Cities"
Doyle Arthur Conan
Arthur Conan Doyle  
Duse Eleonora
George Eliot: "Adam Bede"
Edward Fitzgerald: "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"
Ivan Goncharov: "Oblomov"
Hamsun Knut
Heidenstam Verner
Housman Alfred Edward
A.E. Housman 
"A Shropshire Lad", "Last Poems"
Victor Hugo: "La Legende des siecles"
Jerome K. Jerome
Tennyson: "Idylls of the King"
1859 Part IV
Corot: "Macbeth"
Gilbert Cass
Millet: "The Angelus"
Hassam Childe
Childe Hassam 
Seurat Georges
Georges Seurat
Whistler: "At the Piano"
Daniel Decatur Emmett: "Dixie"
Gounod: "Faust"
Verdi: "Un Ballo in Maschera"
1859 Part V
Arrhenius Svante
Kirchhoff Gustav
Curie Pierre
Drake Edwin
Drake Well
Plante Gaston
Lead–acid battery
Smith Henry John Stephen
Brunel Isambard Kingdom
Blondin Charles
Lansbury George
Samuel Smiles: "Self-Help"

The Royal Albert Bridge (1859) over the River Tamar at Saltash, Eng., designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1859 Part V
Anthropological Society, Paris, founded
The Society of Anthropology of Paris (French: Société d’Anthropologie de Paris) was a French learned society for anthropology founded by Paul Broca in 1859.

It was disbanded in the 1930s.
Arrhenius Svante

Svante August Arrhenius, (born Feb. 19, 1859, Vik, Swed.—died Oct. 2, 1927, Stockholm), Swedish physicist and physical chemist known for his theory of electrolytic dissociation and his model of the greenhouse effect. In 1903 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Early life and education
Arrhenius attended the famous Cathedral School in Uppsala and then entered Uppsala University, from which he received a bachelor’s degree (1878) and a doctorate (1884). He was given the honorary title of docent at Uppsala University in 1884 and awarded a travel stipend by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1886. The latter allowed him to complete his education by sojourns (1886–90) in the laboratories of Wilhelm Ostwald at the University of Riga in Latvia (then part of Russia) and at the University of Leipzig in Germany, Friedrich Kohlrausch at the University of Würzburg in Germany, Ludwig Boltzmann at the University of Graz in Austria, and Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff at the University of Amsterdam.

Svante August Arrhenius
  Scientific career
Arrhenius’s scientific career encompassed three distinct specialties within the broad fields of physics and chemistry: physical chemistry, cosmic physics, and the chemistry of immunology. Each phase of his career corresponds with a different institutional setting. His years (1884–90) as a doctoral and postdoctoral student pioneering the new physical chemistry were spent at the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and at foreign universities; his work in cosmic physics (1895–1900) was carried out at the Stockholms Högskola (now the University of Stockholm); and his studies in immunochemistry (1901–07) took place at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen and the Nobel Institute for Physical Chemistry (established in 1905) in Stockholm. Arrhenius’s main contribution to physical chemistry was his theory (1887) that electrolytes, certain substances that dissolve in water to yield a solution that conducts electricity, are separated, or dissociated, into electrically charged particles, or ions, even when there is no current flowing through the solution. This radically new way of approaching the study of electrolytes first met with opposition but gradually won adherents through the efforts of Arrhenius and Ostwald. The same simple but brilliant way of thinking that inspired the dissociation hypothesis led Arrhenius in 1889 to express the temperature dependence of the rate constants of chemical reactions through what is now known as the Arrhenius equation.
Cosmic physics was the term used by Arrhenius and his colleagues in the Stockholm Physics Society for their attempt to develop physical theories linking the phenomena of the seas, the atmosphere, and the land. Debates in the Society concerning the causes of the ice ages led Arrhenius to construct the first climate model of the influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), published in The Philosophical Magazine in 1896. The general rule that emerged from the model was that if the quantity of CO2 increases or decreases in geometric progression, temperature will increase or decrease nearly in arithmetic progression.

Svante August Arrhenius, 1909
  Linking the calculations of his abstract model to natural processes, Arrhenius estimated the effect of the burning of fossil fuels as a source of atmospheric CO2. He predicted that a doubling of CO2 due to fossil fuel burning alone would take 500 years and lead to temperature increases of 3 to 4 °C (about 5 to 7 °F). This is probably what has earned Arrhenius his present reputation as the first to have provided a model for the effect of industrial activity on global warming.

Arrhenius’s work in immunochemistry, a term that gained currency through his book of that title published in 1907, was an attempt to study toxin-antitoxin reactions, principally diphtheria reactions, using the concepts and methods developed in physical chemistry.

Together with Torvald Madsen, director of the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, he carried out wide-ranging experimental studies of bacterial toxins as well as plant and animal poisons. The technical difficulties were too great, however, for Arrhenius to realize his aim of making immunology an exact science. Instead, it was his spirited attacks on the reigning theory in the field of immunity studies, the side-chain theory formulated by the German medical scientist Paul Ehrlich, that attracted attention. This, however, was of short duration, and Arrhenius gradually abandoned the field.

Other activities and personal life
Arrhenius was a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences from 1901 to 1927, and he had a decisive influence on the awarding of Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry during most of that period. He also participated in drawing up the statutes of the Nobel Foundation (1900). His most notable contribution was the suggestion that candidates for the prizes be put forth by foreign as well as Swedish nominators, thereby ensuring that the selection process became international. This suggestion was illustrative of Arrhenius’s internationalist outlook.
Popularization of science was of great concern to Arrhenius throughout his career. His most succesful venture into this genre was Worlds in the Making (1908), originally published in Swedish and translated into several languages.

Svante August Arrhenius, 1909
  In it he launched the hypothesis of panspermism—that is, he suggested life was spread about the universe by bacteria propelled by light pressure. These speculations have not found their way into modern cosmogony. Arrhenius wrote the article on physical chemistry for the 13th edition (1926) of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Arrhenius married twice, the first time in 1894 to Sofia Rudbeck, who was one of the first Swedish women to earn a bachelor’s degree in science from Uppsala University. The marriage was unhappy and short-lived, ending in divorce in 1896. A son, Olof Arrhenius, was born in 1895. Arrhenius’s second marriage was to Maria Johansson in 1905. She was the sister of Johan Erik Johansson, professor of physiology at the Karolinska Institute and a close friend of Arrhenius. Three children were born of this marriage.

Arrhenius’s later years were darkened by World War I, which dealt a blow to his internationalist outlook and cut him off from his many friends on both sides of the conflict. In the early 1920s, Arrhenius was again able to travel on the continent and to England.

His travels were finally cut short by a stroke that he suffered in 1924 and from which he never fully recovered. He was buried at the town cemetery in Uppsala, a stone’s throw from the house where he spent his childhood and youth.

Elisabeth Crawford

Encyclopædia Britannica

Bunsen Robert and Kirchhoff begin experiments with spectrum analysis (—1861)
Kirchhoff Gustav

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, (born March 12, 1824, Königsberg, Prussia [now Kaliningrad, Russia]—died Oct. 17, 1887, Berlin, Ger.), German physicist who, with the chemist Bunsen Robert, firmly established the theory of spectrum analysis (a technique for chemical analysis by analyzing the light emitted by a heated material), which Kirchhoff applied to determine the composition of the Sun.


Gustav Robert Kirchhoff
  In 1845 Kirchhoff first announced Kirchhoff’s laws, which allow calculation of the currents, voltages, and resistances of electrical networks. Extending the theory of the German physicist Georg Simon Ohm, he generalized the equations describing current flow to the case of electrical conductors in three dimensions. In further studies he demonstrated that current flows through a conductor at the speed of light.

In 1847 Kirchhoff became Privatdozent (unsalaried lecturer) at the University of Berlin and three years later accepted the post of extraordinary professor of physics at the University of Breslau.

In 1854 he was appointed professor of physics at the University of Heidelberg, where he joined forces with Bunsen and founded spectrum analysis. They demonstrated that every element gives off a characteristic coloured light when heated to incandescence. This light, when separated by a prism, has a pattern of individual wavelengths specific for each element.

Applying this new research tool, they discovered two new elements, cesium (1860) and rubidium (1861).

Kirchhoff went further to apply spectrum analysis to study the composition of the Sun. He found that when light passes through a gas, the gas absorbs those wavelengths that it would emit if heated. He used this principle to explain the numerous dark lines (Fraunhofer lines) in the Sun’s spectrum. That discovery marked the beginning of a new era in astronomy.

In 1875 Kirchhoff was appointed to the chair of mathematical physics at the University of Berlin. Most notable of his published works are Vorlesungen über mathematische Physik (4 vol., 1876–94; “Lectures on Mathematical Physics”) and Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1882; supplement, 1891; “Collected Essays”).

Encyclopædia Britannica


Gustav Kirchhoff (left) and Bunsen Robert  (right)

Curie Pierre
Pierre Curie, (born May 15, 1859, Paris, France—died April 19, 1906, Paris), French physical chemist, cowinner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

He and his wife, Marie Curie, discovered radium and polonium in their investigation of radioactivity. An exceptional physicist, he was one of the main founders of modern physics.

Pierre Curie
  Educated by his father, a doctor, Curie developed a passion for mathematics at the age of 14 and showed a particular aptitude for spatial geometry, which was later to help him in his work on crystallography.

Matriculating at the age of 16 and obtaining his licence ès sciences at 18, he was in 1878 taken on as laboratory assistant at the Sorbonne.

There Curie carried out his first work on the calculation of the wavelength of heat waves.

This was followed by very important studies on crystals, in which he was helped by his elder brother Jacques.

The problem of the distribution of crystalline matter according to the laws of symmetry was to become one of his major preoccupations.

The Curie brothers associated the phenomenon of pyroelectricity with a change in the volume of the crystal in which it appears, and thus they arrived at the discovery of piezoelectricity.

Later Pierre was able to formulate the principle of symmetry, which states the impossibility of bringing about a specific physical process in an environment lacking a certain minimal dissymmetry characteristic of the process.

Further, this dissymmetry cannot be found in the effect if it is not preexistent in the cause. He went on to define the symmetry of different physical phenomena.
Appointed supervisor (1882) at the School of Physics and Industrial Chemistry at Paris, Curie resumed his own research and, after a long study of buffered movements, managed to perfect the analytical balance by creating an aperiodic balance with direct reading of the last weights.

Curie, Pierre: Pierre and Marie Curie with their daughter Irène
  Then he began his celebrated studies on magnetism. He undertook to write a doctoral thesis with the aim of discovering if there exist any transitions between the three types of magnetism: ferromagnetism, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism.

In order to measure the magnetic coefficients, he constructed a torsion balance that measured 0.01 mg, which, in a simplified version, is still used and called the magnetic balance of Curie and Chèneveau.

He discovered that the magnetic coefficients of attraction of paramagnetic bodies vary in inverse proportion to the absolute temperature—Curie’s law.

He then established an analogy between paramagnetic bodies and perfect gases and, as a result of this, between ferromagnetic bodies and condensed fluids.

The totally different character of paramagnetism and diamagnetism demonstrated by Curie was later explained theoretically by Paul Langevin. In 1895 Curie defended his thesis on magnetism and obtained a doctorate of science.

In the spring of 1894 Curie met Marie Skłodowska; their marriage (July 25, 1895) marked the beginning of a world-famous scientific achievement, beginning with the discovery (1898) of polonium and then of radium.

The phenomenon of radioactivity, discovered (1896) by Henri Becquerel, had attracted Marie Curie’s attention, and she and Pierre determined to study a mineral, pitchblende, the specific activity of which is superior to that of pure uranium.

Pierre Curie
  While working with Marie to extract pure substances from ores, an undertaking that really required industrial resources but that they achieved in relatively primitive conditions, Pierre himself concentrated on the physical study (including luminous and chemical effects) of the new radiations.
Through the action of magnetic fields on the rays given out by the radium, he proved the existence of particles electrically positive, negative, and neutral; these Ernest Rutherford was afterward to call alpha, beta, and gamma rays.

Pierre then studied these radiations by calorimetry and also observed the physiological effects of radium, thus opening the way to radium therapy.

Refusing a chair at the University of Geneva in order to continue his joint work with Marie, Pierre Curie was appointed lecturer (1900) and professor (1904) at the Sorbonne. He was elected to the Academy of Sciences (1905), having in 1903 jointly with Marie received the Royal Society’s Davy Medal and jointly with her and Becquerel the Nobel Prize for Physics.

He was run over by a dray in the rue Dauphine in Paris in 1906 and died instantly. His complete works were published in 1908.

Encyclopædia Britannica

First oil well drilled at Titusville, Pa.
Drake Edwin

Edwin Laurentine Drake (March 29, 1819 – November 9, 1880), also known as Colonel Drake, was an American oil driller, popularly credited with being the first to drill for oil in the United States.

Early life
Edwin Drake was born in Greenville, Greene County, New York on March 29, 1819, the son of Lyman and Laura (née Lee) Drake. He grew up on family farms around New York State and Castleton, Rutland County, Vermont before leaving home at the age of 19. He spent the early parts of his life working the railways around New Haven, Connecticut as a clerk, express agent and a conductor. During this time he married Philena Adams who died while giving birth to their second child in 1854. Drake remarried three years later to Laura Dowd, sixteen years his junior, in 1857. During this summer, illness prevented Drake from carrying on with his job. He retained the privileges of a train conductor, including free travel on the railroads. By 1858, the Drake family found themselves living in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Edwin Laurentine Drake
  Seneca Oil
While petroleum oil was known prior to this, there was no appreciable market for it. Samuel Martin Kier is credited with founding the first American oil refinery in Pittsburgh. He was the first person in the United States to refine crude oil into lamp oil (kerosene). Along with a new lamp to burn Kier's product a new market to replace whale oil as a lamp oil began to develop.

Seneca Oil, originally called the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, was founded by George Bissell and Jonathan Eveleth. They created the company after hearing of reports that petroleum collected from an oil spring in Titusville, Pennsylvania was suitable for use as lamp fuel. Until this time, the primary lamp fuel had been whale oil. Bissell found that the "rock oil" would be a practical alternative if a method could be devised to extract the oil from the ground. Interest in the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was initially low until a report commissioned by Bissell and Eveleth showed that there was significant economic value in petroleum.

Due to a disagreement between the shareholders and the pair, the company was split and Seneca Oil was formed in 1858. Before being offered a job by Bissell and Eveleth, Drake bought stock in Seneca Oil. But his job opportunity with the company arose because both parties were staying in the same hotel in Titusville. He was hired on a salary of $1,000 a year to investigate the oil seeps on land owned by Seneca Oil.

Drilling for oil
Edwin Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company to investigate suspected oil deposits in Titusville, Pennsylvania. James Townsend, President of the Seneca Oil Company, sent Drake to the site in the spring of 1858. The oil company chose the retired railway man partly because he had free use of the rail. Drake decided to drill in the manner of salt well drillers. He purchased a steam engine in Erie, Pennsylvania, to power the drill. The well was dug on an island on the Oil Creek. It took some time for the drillers to get through the layers of gravel. At 16 feet the sides of the hole began to collapse. Those helping him began to despair, but not Drake. It was at this point that he devised the idea of a drive pipe. This cast iron pipe consisted of 10-foot-long (3.0 m) joints. The pipe was driven down into the ground. At 32 feet they struck bedrock. The drilling tools were now lowered through the pipe and steam was used to drill through the bedrock. The going, however, was slow. Progress was made at the rate of just three feet per day. After initial difficulty locating the necessary parts to build the well, which resulted in his well being nicknamed "Drake's Folly", Drake proved successful.
Meanwhile, crowds of people began to gather to jeer at the apparently unproductive operation. Drake was also running out of money. Amazingly, the Seneca Oil Company had abandoned their man, and Drake had to rely on friends to back the enterprise. On August 27 Drake had persevered and his drill bit had reached a total depth of 69.5 feet (21 m). At that point the bit hit a crevice. The men packed up for the day. The next morning Drake’s driller, Billy Smith, looked into the hole in preparation for another day’s work. He was surprised and delighted to see crude oil rising up. Drake was summoned and the oil was brought to the surface with a hand pitcher pump. The oil was collected in a bath tub.

Drake is famous for pioneering a new method for producing oil from the ground. He drilled using piping to prevent borehole collapse, allowing for the drill to penetrate further and further into the ground. Previous methods for collecting oil had been limited. Ground collection of oil consisted of gathering it from where it occurred naturally, such as from oil seeps or shallow holes dug into the ground. Drake tried the latter method initially when looking for oil in Titusville. However, it failed to produce economically viable amounts of oil. Alternative methods of digging large shafts into the ground also failed, as collapse from water seepage almost always occurred. The significant step that Drake took was to drive a 32-foot iron pipe through the ground into the bedrock below. This allowed Drake to drill inside the pipe, without the hole collapsing from the water seepage. The principle behind this idea is still employed today by many companies drilling for hydrocarbons.
  Claims of prior art exist, including Bóbrka, Poland in 1854, Wietze, Germany in 1857, and Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada in 1858.

The importance of the Drake Well at Titusville was that it prompted the first great wave of investment and additional drilling that established petroleum as a major industry. Within a day of Drake's striking oil, Drake’s methods were being imitated by others along Oil Creek and in the immediate area.
This culminated with the establishment of several oil boom towns along the creek. Drake's well produced 25 barrels (4.0 m3) of oil a day. By 1872, the entire area was producing 15.9 thousand barrels (2,530 m3) a day.

Drake set up a stock company to extract and market the oil. But, while his pioneering work led to the growth of an oil industry that made many people fabulously rich, for Drake riches proved elusive. Drake did not possess good business acumen. He failed to patent his drilling invention.

Then he lost all of his savings in oil speculation in 1863. He was to end up as an impoverished old man. In 1872, Pennsylvania voted an annuity of $1,500 to the "crazy man" whose determination founded the oil industry.

He died on November 9, 1880 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he had lived since 1874. He and his wife are buried at Titusville, next to a memorial built in his honor.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Edwin Drake grave and memorial, in Titusville
Drake Well

The Drake Well is a 69.5-foot -deep (21.2 m) oil well in Cherrytree Township, Venango County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, the success of which sparked the first oil boom in the United States. The well is the centerpiece of the Drake Well Museum located 3 miles (5 km) south of Titusville.

Drilled by Edwin Drake in 1859, along the banks of Oil Creek, it is the first commercial oil well in the United States. Drake Well was listed on National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It was designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark in 1979. The well was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2009, on the sesquicentennial of the strike.
The Drake well is often referred to as the first commercial oil well, although that title is also claimed for wells in Azerbaijan, Ontario, West Virginia, and Poland, among others. However, before the Drake well, oil-producing wells in the United States were wells that were drilled for salt brine, and produced oil and gas only as accidental byproducts. An intended drinking water well at Oil Springs, Ontario found oil in 1858, a year before the Drake well, but it had not been drilled for oil. Historians have noted that the importance of the Drake well was not in being the first well to produce oil, but in attracting the first great wave of investment in oil drilling, refining, and marketing:

"The importance of the Drake well was in the fact that it caused prompt additional drilling, thus establishing a supply of petroleum in sufficient quantity to support business enterprises of magnitude.

  Location and geology
The Drake Well is located in Cherrytree Township, Venango County in northwestern Pennsylvania. situated on the flats 150 feet (46 m) from the east bank of Oil Creek. The site was originally on an artificial island formed by the creek and a mill race. On a floodplain, the well and the museum are protected by an earthen dike.

Most of the oil produced in northwestern Pennsylvania was formed in sandstone reservoir rocks at the boundary between the Mississippian and Devonian rock layers. Over time, the oil migrated toward the surface, became trapped beneath an impervious layer of caprock, and formed a reservoir.
The presence of upwards-curving folds in the caprock called anticlines, or sometimes an inversion of an anticline called a syncline, greatly varied the depth of the reservoirs, from around 4,000 feet (1,000 m) to just beneath the surface.

Petroleum found along Oil Creek was known to Native Americans for hundreds of years through natural seeps. Europeans became aware of the existence of petroleum in the 1600s. At the time, this "mineral-oil" was used primarily for medicinal purposes and was reputed to cure many ailments, including rheumatism and arthritis. Around 1848, Samuel Kier realized the potential of the medicinal oil as an illuminant. Kier distilled the oil to make it more suitable in lamps by removing the odor and impurities that created soot when burned. A sample of oil was brought to Dartmouth College by Francis B. Brewer from the Watson, Brewer and Company Farm on Oil Creek around 1853. The sample was acquired by George Bissell who, along with Jonathan G. Eveleth purchased the farm for $5,000. Bissell and Eveleth took another sample of oil to Benjamin Silliman at Yale University in 1855 for further investigation. Silliman's report confirmed the quality of the petroleum and described the distillation processes needed to produce kerosene. The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was incorporated and the farm transferred to the company.
Construction and operation
Edwin Drake, a former conductor for the New York and New Haven Railroad, invested $200, his entire savings, into the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company. Drake became more involved in the company and traveled to Titusville, Pennsylvania and the Brewer and Watson Farm in December 1857. His report prompted Bissell and Eveleth to organize the Seneca Oil Company in Connecticut in March 1858 and to place Drake in charge of producing petroleum. Because Drake decided that drilling in the manner of salt wells would yield more petroleum than conventional digging, he hired William A. Smith, a Tarentum blacksmith and salt-well driller, to aid in the endeavor. An engine house and derrick were constructed, and Drake purchased a 6-horsepower (4.5 kW), horizontal steam engine. The steam engine was used to ram the drill through the soil until it reached bedrock 32 feet (10 m) down. After it was found that groundwater would cause the walls of the hole to collapse, Drake acquired 50 feet (20 m) of cast iron pipe to stabilize the hole. After reaching bedrock, Drake and Smith were able to drill at a rate of 3 feet (1 m) per day. Drake's colleagues back in Connecticut gave up on finding any oil by April 1859 and after spending $2,500, Drake took out a $500 loan to keep the operation going. The drill reached its maximum depth of 69.5 feet (21.2 m) on August 27, 1859. Smith visited the well the next day and found oil visible on top of the water 5 inches (13 cm) from the top of the well. The original structures at the well caught fire in October 1859 and were rebuilt by Drake a month later. The well produced 12 to 20 barrels (2 to 3 m3) a day, but, after the price of oil plummeted from the resulting boom, it was never profitable. The well stopped producing in 1861 and the Seneca Oil Company sold the property in 1864. The derrick was moved in 1876 to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
Drake (right) in front of the well
The well remained abandoned until 1889, when David Emery of Titusville bought the site, erected a derrick and cleaned out the well. Emery was able to obtain a small quantity of petroleum from the well and attempted to sell it as souvenirs to raise funds "to perpetuate the site", but died before he was able to do so. His widow donated the 1 acre (0.40 ha) that included the well to the Canadohta Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1913. The chapter erected a limestone boulder with a bronze plaque at the well in 1914 to commemorate the site. In 1931, the American Petroleum Institute donated $60,000 for the creation of a museum and library, as well as a dike to protect Drake Well from flooding by Oil Creek. The Institute stipulated that when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took ownership of the site during the Diamond Jubilee of Drake Well in 1934, it was to be made a state park. The Drake Well State Park remained under the control of the Department of Forestry and Waters, the precursor to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, until 1943 when it was transferred along with the Cornwall Iron Furnace in Lebanon County to the Pennsylvania Historical Commission.

Recirculated petroleum is pumped from the well by a replica steam
Since at least the late-1890s, the only artifacts remaining from the original well were the drilling tools and drivepipe, much to the disappointment of visitors to Drake Well. In 1945, the Pennsylvania General Assembly appropriated $185,000 for the construction of a replica derrick and engine house, including pumping equipment. The "board-for-board replica" was duplicated from photographs of the well taken by John A. Mather from the 1860s. Drake Well was listed on National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on November 13, 1966 by the National Park Service. It was designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in October 1979. Authentic reproductions of the steam engine and boiler were purchased in Erie and installed in 1986. The American Chemical Society designated the Drake Well a National Historic Chemical Landmark on August 27, 2009, the 150th anniversary of the strike.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

R. L. G. Plante: first practical storage battery
Plante Gaston

Gaston Plante (1834–1889) was the French physicist who invented the lead–acid battery in 1859. The lead-acid battery eventually became the first rechargeable electric battery marketed for commercial use.


Gaston Plante
  Planté was born on April 22, 1834, in Orthez, France. In 1854, he began work as an assistant lecturer in physics at the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in Paris, and in 1860, rose to the post of Professor of Physics at the Polytechnic Association for the Development of Popular Instruction. An amphitheatre at that institute is named after him.

In 1855, he discovered the first fossils of the prehistoric flightless bird Gastornis parisiensis (named after him) near Paris. This gigantic animal was a very close relative of the famous diatrymas of North America. At that time, Planté was at the start of his academic career, being just a teaching assistant to A. E. Becquerel (father of the Nobel laureate Henri Becquerel). Thus, this early discovery—despite causing considerable furor in 1855—was soon to be overshadowed by Planté's subsequent discoveries.

Lead-acid battery

In 1859, he invented the lead-acid cell, the first rechargeable battery. His early model consisted of a spiral roll of two sheets of pure lead separated by a linen cloth, immersed in a glass jar of sulfuric acid solution.

The following year, he presented a nine-cell lead-acid battery to the Academy of Sciences.
In 1881, Camille Alphonse Faure would develop a more efficient and reliable model that saw great success in early electric cars.

Planté also investigated the differences between static electricity and dynamic electricity (i.e., from batteries). As part of this investigation, Planté invented a mechanical device that he called the Rheostatic Machine. The Rheostatic Machine used a bank of mica capacitors, a clever rotating commutator and a series of contacts to alternately charge a bank of capacitors in parallel (from a high-voltage battery source) and then connect the capacitors in series. This arrangement multiplied the battery voltage by the number of capacitor stages to obtain very high voltages. By rapidly rotating the shaft, a series of high-voltage sparks many centimetres long could be generated rapidly. This device was a mechanical predecessor of the modern-day Marx generator. Using this device, Planté explored the electrical breakdown of air, the formation of Lichtenberg figures, and the behaviour of thin wires when pulsed by high electric currents.

He died on May 21, 1889, in the Bellevue part of Meudon, near Paris. In 1989, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences established the Gaston Planté Medal, which is awarded every few years to scientists who have made significant contributions to the development of lead-acid battery technology.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lead–acid battery

The lead–acid battery was invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté and is the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, its ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells have a relatively large power-to-weight ratio. These features, along with their low cost, makes it attractive for use in motor vehicles to provide the high current required by automobile starter motors.

As they are inexpensive compared to newer technologies, lead-acid batteries are widely used even when surge current is not important and other designs could provide higher energy densities. Large-format lead-acid designs are widely used for storage in backup power supplies in cell phone towers, high-availability settings like hospitals, and stand-alone power systems. For these roles, modified versions of the standard cell may be used to improve storage times and reduce maintenance requirements. Gel-cells and absorbed glass-mat batteries are common in these roles, collectively known as VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) batteries.

Lead–acid battery sales account for 40–45% of the value from batteries sold worldwide (1999, not including China and Russia), a manufacturing market value of about US$15 billion.

The French scientist Gautherot observed in 1801 that wires that had been used for electrolysis experiments would themselves provide a small amount of "secondary" current after the main battery had been disconnected.

In 1859, Gaston Planté's lead-acid battery was the first battery that could be recharged by passing a reverse current through it. Planté's first model consisted of two lead sheets separated by rubber strips and rolled into a spiral. His batteries were first used to power the lights in train carriages while stopped at a station.
In 1881, Camille Alphonse Faure invented an improved version that consisted of a lead grid lattice, into which a lead oxide paste was pressed, forming a plate. This design was easier to mass-produce.
An early manufacturer (from 1886) of lead–acid batteries was Henri Tudor.
Using a gel electrolyte instead of a liquid allows the battery to be used in different positions without leakage. Gel electrolyte batteries for any position date from 1930s and even in late 1920s portable suitcase radio sets allowed the cell vertical or horizontal (but not inverted) due to valve design. In the 1970s, the valve-regulated lead acid battery (often called "sealed") was developed, including modern absorbed glass mat types, allowing operation in any position.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

H. J. S. Smith: "Report on the Theory of Numbers"
Smith Henry John Stephen

Henry John Stephen Smith (2 November 1826 – 9 February 1883) was a mathematician remembered for his work in elementary divisors, quadratic forms, and Smith–Minkowski–Siegel mass formula in number theory. In matrix theory he is visible today in having his name on the Smith Normal Form of a matrix.


Henry John Stephen Smith

Smith was born in Dublin, Ireland, the fourth child of John Smith, a barrister, who died when Henry was two. His mother very soon afterwards moved the family to England. He lived in several places in England as a boy, and had private tutors for his education. His mother did not send him to school but educated him herself until age 11, at which point she hired private tutors. At age 15 Smith was admitted in 1841 to Rugby School in Warwickshire, where Thomas Arnold was the school's headmaster. This came about because his tutor Henry Highton took up a housemaster position there.

At 19 he won an entrance scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated in 1849 with high honours in both mathematics and classics. Smith was fluent in French having spent holidays in France, and he took classes in mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris during the 1846–7 academic year.

Academic career
Smith remained at Balliol College as a mathematics tutor following his graduation in 1849 and was soon promoted to Fellow status. In 1861, he was promoted to the Savilian Chair of Geometry at Oxford.

In 1873, he was made the beneficiary of a fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and gave up teaching at Balliol.
On account of his ability as a man of affairs, Smith was in demand for academic administrative and committee work: He was Keeper of the Oxford University Museum; a Mathematical Examiner for the University of London; a member of a Royal Commission to review scientific education practice; a member of the commission to reform University of Oxford governance; chairman of the committee of scientists overseeing the Meteorological Office; twice president of the London Mathematical Society; etc.
Researches in number theory
Smith's two earliest mathematical papers were on geometrical subjects, but the third concerned the theory of numbers. Following the example of Gauss, he wrote his first paper on the theory of numbers in Latin: "De compositione numerorum primorum formæ 4n+1 ex duobus quadratis." In it he proves in an original manner the theorem of Fermat---"That every prime number of the form 4n+1 (n being an integer) is the sum of two square numbers." In his second paper he gives an introduction to the theory of numbers.

In 1858, Smith was selected by the British Association to prepare a report upon the Theory of Numbers. It was prepared in five parts, extending over the years 1859-1865. It is neither a history nor a treatise, but something intermediate. The author analyzes with remarkable clearness and order the works of mathematicians for the preceding century upon the theory of congruences, and upon that of binary quadratic forms. He returns to the original sources, indicates the principle and sketches the course of the demonstrations, and states the result, often adding something of his own.

During the preparation of the Report, and as a logical consequence of the researches connected therewith, Smith published several original contributions to the higher arithmetic. Some were in complete form and appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London; others were incomplete, giving only the results without the extended demonstrations, and appeared in the Proceedings of that Society. One of the latter, entitled "On the orders and genera of quadratic forms containing more than three indeterminates," enunciates certain general principles by means of which he solves a problem proposed by Eisenstein, namely, the decomposition of integer numbers into the sum of five squares; and further, the analogous problem for seven squares.

  It was also indicated that the four, six, and eight-square theorems of Jacobi, Eisenstein and Liouville were deducible from the principles set forth.

In 1868, Smith returned to the geometrical researches which had first occupied his attention. For a memoir on "Certain cubic and biquadratic problems" the Royal Academy of Sciences of Berlin awarded him the Steiner prize.

In February, 1882, Smith was surprised to see in the Comptes rendus that the subject proposed by the Paris Academy of Science for the Grand prix des sciences mathématiques was the theory of the decomposition of integer numbers into a sum of five squares; and that the attention of competitors was directed to the results announced without demonstration by Eisenstein, whereas nothing was said about his papers dealing with the same subject in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. He wrote to M. Hermite calling his attention to what he had published; in reply he was assured that the members of the commission did not know of the existence of his papers, and he was advised to complete his demonstrations and submit the memoir according to the rules of the competition.
According to the rules each manuscript bears a motto, and the corresponding envelope containing the name of the successful author is opened. There were still three months before the closing of the concours (1 June 1882) and Smith set to work, prepared the memoir and despatched it in time.

Two months after Smith's death, the Paris Academy made their award. Two of the three memoirs sent in were judged worthy of the prize. When the envelopes were opened, the authors were found to be Smith and Minkowski, a young mathematician of Koenigsberg, Prussia. No notice was taken of Smith's previous publication on the subject, and M. Hermite on being written to, said that he forgot to bring the matter to the notice of the commission.

Work on the Riemann integral
In 1875 Smith published the important paper (Smith 1875) on the integrability of discontinuous functions in Riemann's sense. In this work, while giving a rigorous definition of the Riemann integral as well as explicit rigorous proofs of many of the results published by Riemann, he also gave an example of a meagre set which is not negligible in the sense of measure theory, since its measure is not zero: a function which is everywhere continuous except on this set is not Riemann integrable. Smith's example shows that the proof of sufficient condition for the Riemann integrability of a discontinuous function given earlier by Hermann Hankel was incorrect and the result does not holds: however, his result remained unnoticed until much later, having no influences on successive developments.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brunel Isambard Kingdom

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (born April 9, 1806, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England—died September 15, 1859, Westminster, London), British civil and mechanical engineer of great originality who designed the first transatlantic steamer.


Isambard Brunel by J.C. Horsley, 1857
  The only son of the engineer and inventor Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, he was appointed resident engineer when work on the Thames Tunnel began, under his father’s direction, in 1825.

He held the post until 1828, when a sudden inundation seriously injured him and brought the tunnel work to a standstill that financial problems stretched to seven years.

While recuperating, he prepared designs for a suspension bridge over the Avon Gorge in Bristol, one of which was ultimately adopted in the construction of the Clifton Suspension Bridge (1830–63) in preference to a design by the noted Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

As engineer at the Bristol Docks, Brunel carried out extensive improvements.

He designed the Monkwearmouth Docks in 1831 and, later, similar works at Brentford, Briton Ferry, Milford Haven, and Plymouth. In 1833 he was appointed chief engineer to the Great Western Railway.

His introduction of the broad-gauge railway (rails 7 feet [2 metres] apart) provoked the famous “battle of the gauges.” The broad gauge made possible high speeds that were a great stimulus to railway progress. In 1844 he introduced a system of pneumatic propulsion on the South Devon Railway, but the experiment was a failure.

Brunel, Isambard Kingdom: Clifton Suspension Bridge

Maidenhead: Brunel railway bridge

Royal Albert Bridge
The Royal Albert Bridge (1859) over the River Tamar at Saltash, Eng., designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Brunel was responsible for building more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of railway in the West Country, the Midlands, South Wales, and Ireland. He constructed two railway lines in Italy and was an adviser on the construction of the Victorian lines in Australia and the Eastern Bengal Railway in India. His first notable railway works were the Box Tunnel and the Maidenhead Bridge, and his last were the Chepstow and Saltash (Royal Albert) bridges, all in England.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel by the launching chains of the SS Great Eastern by Robert Howlett, 1857
  The Maidenhead Bridge had the flattest brick arch in the world.

His use of a compressed-air caisson to sink the pier foundations for the bridge helped gain acceptance of compressed-air techniques in underwater and underground construction.

Brunel made outstanding contributions to marine engineering with his three ships, the Great Western (1837), Great Britain (1843), and Great Eastern (originally called Leviathan; 1858), each the largest in the world at its date of launching.

The Great Western, a wooden paddle vessel, was the first steamship to provide regular transatlantic service.

The Great Britain, an iron-hull steamship, was the first large vessel driven by a screw propeller.

The Great Eastern was propelled by both paddles and screw and was the first ship to utilize a double iron hull.

Unsurpassed in size for 40 years, the Great Eastern was not a success as a passenger ship but achieved fame by laying the first successful transatlantic cable.

Brunel worked on the improvement of large guns and designed a floating armoured barge used for the attack on Kronshtadt in 1854 during the Crimean War.

He also designed a complete prefabricated hospital building that was shipped in parts to Crimea in 1855.

Encyclopædia Britannica

“Great Eastern”
The British steamship Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the India trade, was the largest ship afloat at its launching in 1858.
French tightrope walker Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope
Blondin Charles
Charles Blondin (born Jean François Gravelet, 28 February 1824 – 22 February 1897) was a French tightrope walker and acrobat.
Early life
Blondin was born on 28 February 1824 at St Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France. His real name was Jean-François Gravelet and he was known also by the names Charles Blondin, Jean-François Blondin and called the "Chevalier Blondin", or simply "The Great Blondin". At the age of five he was sent to the École de Gymnase at Lyon and, after six months training as an acrobat, made his first public appearance as "The boy Wonder". His superior skill and grace, as well as the originality of the settings of his acts, made him a popular favourite. He married firstly Marie Blancherie and at the same time legitimised their son Aime Leopold. It is not known what happened to his French family after he went to America.

Blondin carrying his manager, Harry Colcord,
on a tightrope
  North America
Blondin went to the United States in 1855. He was engaged by William Niblo to perform with the Ravel troupe in New York City and was subsequently part proprietor of a circus. He especially owed his celebrity and fortune to his idea of crossing the Niagara Gorge (located on the American-Canadian border) on a tightrope, 1,100 ft (340 m) long, 3.25 in (8.3 cm) in diameter and 160 ft (49 m) above the water, near the location of the current Rainbow Bridge. This he did on 30 June 1859, and a number of times thereafter, always with different theatrical variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet and standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.

Whilst in the US he married secondly Charlotte Lawrence with whom he had Adele c.1854, Edward c.1855 and Isis c. 1861.

United Kingdom
In 1861, Blondin first appeared in London, at the Crystal Palace, turning somersaults on stilts on a rope stretched across the central transept, 70 feet (20 m) from the ground. In 1862, he again gave a series of performances at the Crystal Palace, and elsewhere in England, and on the continent of Europe.

In September 1861 he performed in Edinburgh, Scotland at the Royal Botanic Gardens (then called the Experimental Gardens) on Inverleith Row.
In 1861, he performed at the Royal Portobello Gardens, on South Circular Road, Portobello, Dublin, on a rope 50 feet above the ground. While he was performing, the rope broke, which led to the scaffolding collapsing. He was not injured, but two workers who were on the scaffolding fell to their deaths. An investigation was held, and the broken rope (2 inches in diameter and 5 inches in circumference) examined. No blame was attributed at the time to either Blondin or his manager. However, the judge said that the rope manufacturer had a lot to answer for.


The organiser of the event, a Mr. Kirby, said he would never have another one like it. A bench warrant for the arrest of Blondin and his manager was issued when they did not appear at a further trial (they were in America). However, the following year, Blondin was back at the same venue in Dublin, this time performing 100 feet above the ground.

On 6 September 1873, Blondin crossed Edgbaston Reservoir in Birmingham. A statue built in 1992 on the nearby Ladywood Middleway (52.476656,-1.925325) marks his feat.

Whilst in the UK he and Charlotte had two more children Henry c.1863 and Charlotte Mary Janet baptised 25 April 1866. His wife Charlotte died in 1888 and he remarried, thirdly, Katherine who died in 1901.

Retirement and reappearance
After a period of retirement, Blondin reappeared in 1880, including starring in the 1893/4 season of the pantomime "Jack and the Beanstalk" at the Crystal Palace, organised by Oscar Barrett.[10] His final performance was in Belfast in 1896. He died of diabetes at his "Niagara House" in Ealing, London, on "22 February 1897 in his 72nd Year" and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
During his lifetime, Blondin's name was so synonymous with tightrope walking that many employed the name "Blondin" to describe others in the profession. For example there were at least five people working with variations of the Blondin name in Sydney in the 1880s, the most famous of whom was Henri L'Estrange—"the Australian Blondin". So popular had tightrope walking become, that one Sydney resident wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald to complain of "the Blondin business" that saw people walking on high wires wherever the opportunity arose. He noted that he had seen one walking on a wire in Liverpool Street in the city with a child strapped to his back. The practice which had become so popular was both dangerous and, the correspondent thought, likely to be unlawful, particularly in the risk of harming others. In reporting on the fall of a woman from a tightrope at an 1869 performance of Pablo Fanque's Circus in Bolton, the Illustrated London News described the tightrope walker, Madame Caroline, as a "female Blondin".
Two streets in Northfields, Ealing, London, are named in his honour: Blondin Avenue and Niagara Avenue. During the run-up to the Presidential election of 1864, Abraham Lincoln compared himself to Blondin on the tightrope, with all that was valuable to America in the wheelbarrow he was pushing before him. A political cartoon appeared in Harper's Weekly on 1 September 1864 depicting Lincoln on a tightrope, pushing a wheelbarrow and carrying two men on his back—Navy Secretary Gideon Welles and War Secretary Edwin Stanton—while John Bull, Napoleon III, Jefferson Davis, and Generals Grant, Lee and Sherman, among others, looked on.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sculpture of Charles Blondin in the Ladywood Middleway section of the Middle Ring Road in Birmingham, England.

It celebrates his crossing of the Edgbaston Reservoir on a tightrope in 1873.
Lansbury George

George Lansbury, PC (22 February 1859 – 7 May 1940) was a British politician and social reformer who led the Labour Party from 1932 to 1935.


George Lansbury

  George Lansbury, (born Feb. 21, 1859, near Halesworth, Suffolk, Eng.—died May 7, 1940, London), leader of the British Labour Party (1931–35), a Socialist and poor-law reformer who was forced to resign the party leadership because of his extreme pacifism.

A railway worker at the age of 14 and later a timber merchant, he became a propagandist for Henry Mayers Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation in 1892 but eventually repudiated its strict Marxism.

He helped to found (1912) and for a time edited, the Daily Herald, the first British newspaper devoted to labour subjects. In World War I he defended the rights of conscientious objectors.

A Labour member of the House of Commons (1910–12, 1922–40), he served as first commissioner of works in the Labour government of 1929–31 and then became leader of the parliamentary opposition.

Unwilling to join his associates in calling for economic sanctions that might have led to war against Italy for its aggression in Ethiopia, Lansbury resigned in 1935 and was succeeded as party leader by his deputy, Clement Attlee (prime minister, 1945–51).

In 1937 Lansbury visited Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in the belief that his personal influence could stop the movement toward war.

Encyclopædia Britannica
Samuel Smiles: "Self-Help"

Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct was a book published in 1859 by Smiles Samuel. The second edition of 1866 added Perseverance to the subtitle. It has been called "the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism".

Contents of the second edition
Introduction to the First Edition
Descriptive Contents
I. Self-Help—National and Individual
II. Leaders of Industry—Inventors and Producers
III. Three Great Potters—Palissy, Böttgher, Wedgwood
IV. Application and Perseverance
V. Helps and Opportunities—Scientific Pursuits
VI. Workers in Art
VII. Industry and the Peerage
VIII. Energy and Courage
IX. Men of Business
X. Money—Its Use and Abuse
XI. Self-Culture—Facilities and Difficulties
XII. Example—Models
XIII. Character—the True Gentleman
Self-Help sold 20,000 copies within one year of its publication. By the time of Smiles' death in 1904 it had sold over a quarter of a million. Self-Help "elevated [Smiles] to celebrity status: almost overnight, he became a leading pundit and much-consulted guru".

When an English visitor to the Khedive's palace in Egypt asked where the mottoes on the palace's walls originated, he was given the reply: "They are principally from Smeelis, you ought to know Smeelis! They are from his Self-Help!"

The socialist Robert Tressell, in his novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, said Self-Help was a book "suitable for perusal by persons suffering from almost complete obliteration of the mental faculties".

The founder of Toyota Industries Co., Ltd., Sakichi Toyoda was significantly influenced by his reading of Self-Help. A copy Self-Help is under a glass display at the museum that exists on Sakichi Toyoda's birth site.

Robert Blatchford, a socialist activist, said it was "one of the most delightful and invigorating books it has been my happy fortune to meet with" and argued it should be taught in schools. However he also noted that socialists would not feel comfortable with Smiles' individualism but also noted that Smiles denounced "the worship of power, wealth, success, and keeping up appearances". A labour leader advised Blatchford to stay away from it: "It's a brutal book; it ought to be burnt by the common hangman. Smiles was the arch-Philistine, and his book the apotheosis of respectability, gigmanity, and selfish grab".

However Jonathan Rose has argued that most pre-1914 labour leaders who commented on Self-Help praised it and it was not until after the Great War that criticisms of Smiles in worker's memoirs appeared. The Labour Party MPs William Johnson and Thomas Summerbell admired Smiles' work and the Communist miners leader A. J. Cook "started out with Self-Help".

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