DECEMBER 31 - Today in Food History
• National Champagne Day
• NEW YEAR’S EVE - In New York City's Times Square a large crystal ball descends to mark the end of the old and the beginning of the New Year. Various locations around the U.S. drop other objects, including giant Tangerines, Conch Shells, Peaches, Apples, Opossums, Sardines, Pickles, Acorns, Beavers, Cows, Pretzels, Frogs, Cigars, Bologna, Boats, Shoes, Goats, and various colored balls. (see Food Festival listings)
• Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1) A celebration of family, community and culture.
On this day in:
1600 The British East India Company was incorporated by royal charter. It was created to compete in the East Indian spice trade.
1833 Obed Hussy of Maryland received a patent for a horse drawn reaper. In competition with inventor Cyrus McCormick, Hussy was finally driven out of business and sold the rights to his reaper to McCormick in 1858.
1841 Alabama becomes the first state to issue dental licenses.
1853 A New Years Eve dinner party for 21 scientists was held inside a life size model of an Iguanodon dinosaur on the grounds of the Crystal palace in London. Sculpture Benjamin W. Hawkins had teamed up with paleontologist Richard Owen to create more than 2 dozen lifesize models of dinosaurs for a special exhibit.
1879 Thomas Alva Edison made the first public demonstration of his electric light bulb in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1903 The New York Times builds the Times Tower at Long Acre Square, has the name changed to Times Square and celebrated the event with a New Year's Eve Fireworks show. The beginning of an American tradition at Times Square.
1907 The Times introduced the New Years Eve Ball on their building at Times Square in New York. Descending to mark the end of the old and the beginning of the New Year ever since. The iron and wood ball was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.
1917 Sugar rationing began in Britain as a result of WW I
1928 Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played 'Auld Lang Syne' as their New Years Eve song for the first time (see also March 7, 1939).
1938 The Harger 'Drunkometer', the first alcohol breath testing device, was introduced in Indiana.
1975 U.S. first class postage rates were raised to 13 cents and post cards to 9 cents.
1977 'Bubbling Brown Sugar' closed at the ANTA Playhouse in NYC after 766 performances.
1987 The restored luxury Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida reopened.