1789 LJ. M. Daguerre was born.
1820 U. S. Navy Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer discovered Antarctica.
1836 W. S. Gilbert was born.
1883 Standard Time was adopted in the U. S.
1928 Mickey Mouse made his debut.
Until this date in 1883, every locality in America set its own time preference. Standard Time was adopted in the United States and the resulting time zone system made life a lot simpler for everyone who would eventually travel from coast to coast by telephone or plane.
Most of us have an ancient photograph or two of ancestors. Most of us own at least one camera. All of this traces back to a man who was born on this day in 1789 in Cormeilles, France. Louis Daguerre gave his name to the daguerreotype—an early type of photograph. It was Daguerre who popularized photography; who first proved that a picture was worth a thousand words.
W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, was born on this day in 1836, in London, England. He viewed life with a sometimes ironically lighthearted view; and wrote satirical operettas with Sir Arthur Sullivan that reflected the not so subtly humorous side of Victorian morals and mores. Gilbert once wrote that “when everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.” He also felt that “things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream.” And he duly noted that “the Law is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent; it has no kind of fault or flaw, and I, my lords, embody the Law.”
Not to bring up a chilly subject, but on this day in 1820, U. S. Navy Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer discovered the last continent: Antarctica. This desolate land of ice and snow may not be fit for man’s habitation, but it is still the home to a unique collection of birds and beasts. Elephant seals wallow on the rocky shores; but Antarctica’s more famous residents are the penguins. Majestic emperor penguins proudly stand in their colorful
Suits; eccentric rockhoppers, with their lime-green and shocking pink headdresses leap from boulder to boulder; and king penguins, uniformly stroll in groups to the beach in their trademark tuxedos, and patiently wait for one brave soul to dive into the water before the rest follow in unison. It’s a great relief to know that Captain Palmer didn’t think Antarctica was a future settlement site. He thought the place was already overrun with enough layabouts, strutting dandies, eccentrics, and meek conformists without adding on humanity’s unique species.
One of the most well-known characters of our time is Mickey Mouse. Well, today is his birthday. He was born in the 1928 animated cartoon Steamboat Willie which premiered on this date. This was also the first animated movie with properly synchronized sound, and it was an instant hit. But what was this happy rodent’s appeal? Walt Disney himself said, “.. . Mickey is so simple and uncomplicated, so easy to understand, that you can’t help liking him.”