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Today in Food History, Timeline & Food Holidays: National Food Days, Weeks & Months

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Today in Food HistoryFOOD TIMELINE: >  1855 to '59




50,000 BC to 1 BC
1 AD to 1199   ·   1200 to 1399
1400 to 1499   ·   1500 to 1550
1551 to 1599   ·   1600 to 1625
1626 to 1650   ·   1651 to 1675
1676 to 1699   ·   1700 to 1719
1720 to 1739   ·   1740 to 1749
1750 to 1759   ·   1760 to 1769
1770 to 1779   ·   1780 to 1784
1785 to 1789   ·   1790 to 1794
1795 to 1799   ·   1800 to 1805
1806 to 1810   ·   1811 to 1819
1820 to 1824   ·   1825 to 1830
1831 to 1835   ·   1836 to 1840
1841 to 1845   ·   1846 to 1849
1850 to 1854   ·   1855 to 1859
1860 to 1864   ·   1865 to 1869
1870 to 1874   ·   1875 to 1879
1880 to 1884   ·   1885 to 1889
1890 to 1894   ·   1895 to 1899
1900 to 1905   ·   1906 to 1910
1911 to 1915   ·   1916 to 1920
1921 to 1925   ·   1926 to 1930
1931 to 1935   ·   1936 to 1940
1941 to 1945   ·   1946 to 1950
1951 to 1955   ·   1956 to 1960
1961 to 1965   ·   1966 to 1970
1971 to 1975   ·   1976 to 1980
1981 to 1985   ·   1986 to 1990
1991 to 1995   ·   1996 to 2000
2001 to 2005   ·   2006   ·   2007
2008   ·   2009   ·   2010
2011 to 2012   ·   2013 to 2014
2015 to 2019   ·   2020 to 2021
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See Also: Today in Food History
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MAY   |   JUNE   |   JULY   |   AUG
SEPT   |   OCT   |   NOV   |   DEC



1855 to 1859

1855 William S. Burroughs was born. An American inventor, Burroughs invented and manufactured  the first adding machine with a printer.

1855 George W. Brown of Galesburg, Illinois recived a patent for a 'Seed Planter.'

1855 The first edition of 'Leaves of Grass' was self-published by Walt Whitman in Brooklyn, New York. It contained 12 poems.

1855 Henry Parsons Crowell was born (died Oct 22, 1943).  Founder of Quaker Oats Company in 1901.

1855 Robert Koldewey was born. A German archaeologist who discovered and confirmed the existence and location of the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon (excavations 1899-1917).

1855 Aluminum is so considered so rare and unique that small bars of aluminum are exhibited along with the crown jewels of France at the Paris Exhibition.

1855 Bread Riots in Liverpool.

1855 Congress authorized $30,000 to purchase dromedaries (camels) for the military to use in the Southwest.

1855 John Gates was born. Gates was an inventor, promoter and barbed wire manufacturer.

1855 John Gorrie Died. Gorrie was granted the first U.S. patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851.

1855 Clinton Hart Merriam was born.   A biologist, he studied the effects of using birds to control agricultural pests. He also helped found the National Geographic Society.

1855 Henri Babinski was Born. Nicknamed Ali-Bab, he was a well traveled engineer who collected recipes and cooked for his companions on his travels around the world. He published Gastronomie pratique (Practical Gastronomy) in 1907.

1855 Isaac Merritt Singer was issued the first U.S. patent for a sewing machine motor.

1856 The first milk quality law in the U.S., prohibiting adulteration of milk, was signed by the Governor of Massachusetts.

1856 In Rockport, Massachusetts, 200 women rampaged through town and destroyed every container of alcohol they could find.  Afterwards, alcohol sales steadily declined, and Rockport along with several dozen other Massachusetts towns eventually became 'dry' (no liquor allowed).  Except for a year-long interruption in the 1930s, Rockport remained dry until 2005.

1856 Dr John A Veatch discovered large deposits of borax in Tuscan Springs, California. Borax has many uses including in household laundry and cleaning products such as '20 Mule Team Borax'

Granville T. Woods was born April 23 (died 1910).  Prolific African American inventor. Among his inventions were an electric incubator for hatching chickens and an automatic air brake for railroads.

1856 Charles Luttwedge Dodgson met a little girl named Alice Liddell. Alice had a penchant for consuming unknown (and apparently psychoactive) food, pills and liquids that she found while exploring a very large rabbit hole. * You might know the two people better by their pen and fictional names, Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland.

1856 A shipment of 33 camels arrived at the Texas port of Indianola. They had been purchased on the North African Coast, for the U.S. army to use in the deserts of the Southwest.

1856 The first Vegetarian Community was established in Kansas.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, was born. You will find many food related quotes from his works on the Food Reference website. Quote: "There is no love sincerer than the love of food."

1856 James Buchanan ('Diamond Jim') Brady is born. American financier and philanthropist Diamond Jim Brady was known for his collection of diamond jewelry, and for his gargantuan appetite.  He was known to eat 6 or 7 giant lobsters, dozens of oysters, clams and crabs, 2 ducks, steak and desserts at a single sitting. He would also mix a pound of caviar into a baked potato. George Rector, a New York restaurateur said he was 'the best twenty-five customers I ever had.'

1856 Gail Borden was granted a patent for a process to make condensed milk, which he  developed in 1853.

1856 Charles Dickens wrote in 'Household Words,' "Aluminium may probably send tin to the right about face, drive copper saucepans into penal servitude, and blow up German-silver sky high into nothing."  He was pretty accurate in his prediction, even though aluminum had been discovered in 1808, and had only been used commercially since 1854.

1857 Joseph Gayetty marketed the first commercially manufactured toilet paper in the U.S.

1857 Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford died (born Sept. 3, 1783). Originator of British Afternoon Tea during the late 1830s.

1857 Rose Markwood Knox was born on November 18. Rose and her husband Charles Knox developed the world's first pre-granulated gelatine, eliminating the long difficult process of making gelatin at home. When her husband died in 1908, Rose took over and ran the company for more than 40 years. Mrs. Knox died in 1950 at age 93, still serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the company.

1857 H.N. Wadsworth of Washington D.C. received the first American toothbrush patent (U.S. patent No. 18,653). "...separating the bunches of bristles more than the common brush, so as to give more elasticity and enable them to enter between the interstices of the teeth-having the brush wide that it may be imperative on the part of the patient to brush the gums thoroughly..."

1857 A cold front barrels over the U.S. and on April 7 snow falls in every state in the country.

1857 First successful milk condensery was built by Gail Borden in Burrville, Connecticut.

1857 Emile Coue was born. A French pharmacist, he was an advocate of autosuggestion. He suggested repeating the following sentence 15 to 20 times in the morning and evening: "Every day, and in every way, I am becoming better and better."

1857 Fannie Merritt Farmer was born. American culinary authority, and author of the 1896 edition of 'The Boston Cooking School Cook Book' which became known in future editions as the 'Fannie Farmer Cook Book.'  Director of the Boston Cooking School, and founder of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery. She is often cited as the first cookbook author to introduce standard measurements.

1857 Frederick Louis Maytag was born. One of the founders of a farm implement company in Newton, Iowa. In 1907 the company began producing the Maytag washing machine to make up for the seasonal nature of the farm equipment sales. Fred Maytag II began making Maytag Blue Cheese in the 1940s.

1857 Milton Snaveley Hershey of chocolate fame was born.

1857 The first issue of the Atlantic Monthly was published. It contained the first installment of Oliver Wendell Holmes' 'The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table.'

1857 Ephraim Ball, of Canton, Ohio, received a patent for a 'Harvester' ("Improvement in Mowing-Machines").  Known as "Ball's Improved Ohio Mower" (grass harvester) it is the first widely successful of two-wheeled flexible or hinged bar mowers.

1857 The Los Angeles Vineyard Society was established at what would become Anaheim, California.

1858 Minnesota became the 32nd state. Land of 10,000 Lakes; The Gopher State.

Rowland H. Macy opened R.H. Macy Dry Goods on the corner of Sixth Ave. and 14th St. in New York City. First day sales were $11.06 but by the end of the first year, sales totaled almost $90,000. By 1877, R.H. Macy & Co. had become a full-fledged department store occupying 11 adjacent buildings.

Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton was born. An American botanist, her efforts were a major factor in the establishment of the New York Botanical Gardens.

1858 Ezra J. Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut received U.S. patent No. 19063 for a can opener ("a new and Useful Improvement in Instruments for Cutting Open Sealed Tin cans and Boxes").

1858 Edwin T. Holmes sells the first electric burglar alarm in the U.S., in Boston, Massachusetts. His workshop was later used by Alexander Graham Bell.

1858 Liberty Hyde Bailey was born. He was a world famous  American botanist who studied cultivated plants. He was dean of Horticulture at Cornell University for 15 years.

1858 Albert Potts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received the first U.S. patent (# 19,578) for a street mailbox.  Designed to be mounted on a lamp-post they were soon used in Boston and New York City.

1858 Hyman Lipman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received U.S. patent No. 19,783 for the first pencil with an eraser attached.

1858 W. Atlee Burpee was born. Founder of the world's largest mail-order seed company in 1876.

1858 Alexis Benoit Soyer died. French chef and author. Chef of the London Reform Club. He opened kitchens in Ireland during the famine to sell food at 1/2 price and was an advisor on food to the British army during the Crimean War. Invented several stoves and kitchen utensils. Wrote 'The Pantropheon; or, History of Food' (1853), 'A Shilling Cookery Book for the People' (1854), Soyer's Charitable Cookery (1847).

1858 Christiaan Eijkman was born. A Dutch physician who discovered that beriberi was caused by a poor diet (a lack of vitamin B1), which eventually led to the discovery of vitamins.

1858 'Ten Nights in a Barroom,' a melodrama about the evils of drink, opened at the National Theater in New York City.

1858 John L. Mason of New York was issued U.S. patent No. 22,186 for a Glass Jar (known as the Mason Jar) "Improvement in Screw-Neck Bottles"

1858 Chester Greenwood was born Dec 4 in Farmington, Maine (died 1937).  He invented and patented the earmuff while still a teenager (U.S. patent No. 188,292 - March 13, 1877). He also patented many other inventions including a tea kettle and a steel tined rack. In 1977 Maine designated December 21 as Chester Greenwood Day.

1858 Mendelssohn's famous "Wedding March" was first performed at a royal wedding.  Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, the oldest child of Queen Victoria, married Frederick William IV of Prussia.

1859 Boston, Massachusetts appointed the first Inspector of Milk in the U.S. (law passed on April 6, 1859).  Contaminated milk was a serious health hazard at the time. 

1859 U.S. agricultural exports were about $189 million a year during the 1850s.

1859 The Pig War:  On one of the San Juan Islands between the U.S. Washington Territory and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a pig owned by an employee of the Hudson's Bay Co. breaks into potato patch of American squatter who shoots and kills the pig. The subsequent confrontation nearly triggers a British-American war over the boundary between the U.S. and Canada. The dispute was not completely resolved until 1872.

1859 George Washington Ferris was born. He developed the first Ferris Wheel for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois (1893).

1859 Work began on the 100 mile long Suez Canal in Egypt, to link the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The canal was officially opened on November 17, 1869.

1859 Ginseng Rush: during one week, about 12,000 pounds of ginseng were exported through Faribault, Minnesota.

1859 Massachusetts created the first Inspector of Milk position in the U.S.

1859 Michael Joseph Owens was born.  Invented a revolutionary automatic glass bottle making machine.  Founded Owens Bottle Machine Co.

1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. Creator of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes would go for days without food while working on a case.

1859 Walter Hunt died. Hunt invented the first safety pin ('dress pin') in 1849.

1859 William Goodale of Massachusetts patented a paper bag manufacturing machine.

1859 In the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, the first elevator in an American hotel began operation.

1859 Thomas Nuttall died. English naturalist and botanist. He collected and studied plants around the Chesapeake Bay area in the U.S.

1859 George B. Simpson received U.S. patent No. 25,532 for an "electroheater" which could be used for heating or boiling water, etc.

1859 'The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' was published in England.

1859 James and E. P. Monroe were issued a patent for an eggbeater

1859 Battle Creek, Michigan was incorporated as a city. The Breakfast Cereal center of the world (Kellogg, Post and Ralston Purina are all there).

1859 Eliza Acton died: She wrote the first cookbook for the housewife, rather than for the professional chef.

1859 Ferdinand Carre invented the ammonia vapor-compression system for refrigeration, which became the most widely used. Vapor compression is still the system most used today.

1859 John Walker died (born 1781).  English chemist who invented the friction match (strike anywhere) in 1826.

1859 Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful commercial oil well in the U.S. near Titusville, Pennsylvania.

1859 The first Pullman Sleeper railroad cars were put into service on the Chicago & Alton Railroad.


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Today in Food HistoryFOOD TIMELINE: >  1855 to '59


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