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

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1875 to 1879

1875 Refrigerated ships carry the first chilled beef from New York to Europe. The following year the first frozen shipment was sent to England.

1875 Grasshopper plagues in the Western U.S.  A grasshopper plague in Missouri caused an estimated $15 million in damages.

1875 First commercial feed mill in U.S. was established.

1875 The first agricultural experiment station was established at Middleton, Connecticut.

1875 The first battery-powered dentist’s drill was patented by George F. Green of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

1875 The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was created.

1875 African American inventor A.P. Ashbourne received a patent for a "Process Preparing Coconut for Domestic Use."
1875 African American inventor A. P. Ashbourne was issued U.S. patent No. 170,460 for a biscuit cutter (Improvement in Biscuit-Cutters).

1875 Stephen McCormick died. He was the inventor and manufacturer of a cast iron plow with removable parts.

1875 Pierre Athanase Larousse died (born Oct 23, 1817). French educator and publisher. Published many outstanding reference works including the encyclopedic 15 volume Grand Dictionnaire. In 1938 the Larousse publishing house published an encyclopedia of gastronomy, 'Larousse Gastronomique' edited by Prosper Montagne.

1875 Ferdinand Porsche was born. He was an Austrian engineer who designed the Volkswagon Beetle in 1935.

1875 Asmus J. Ehrrichson was issued the first U.S. patent (No. 170,536) for an oat-crushing (oat-meal) machine.

1875 Samuel Rumph of Georgia developed the Elberta peach.

1875 The 755 room Palace Hotel opened in San Francisco. It was destroyed by the April 18, 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire. It was rebuilt and the 'New' Palace Hotel opened on December 19, 1909.

1875 The NY Dairy Company becomes the first dairy to sell milk in factory made bottles.

1876 The Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition closed.

1876 Charles Elmer Hires sells his first root beer, in Philadelphia at the Centennial Exposition.

1876 Grasshopper plagues in the Western U.S.

1876 John James Rickard Macleod was born. He shared the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Sir Frederick Banting for the discovery of insulin and its role in metabolism of sugar.

1876 Moxie carbonated soft drink was created in Lowell, Massachusetts by Augustin Thompson.

1876 The first world's oldest trademark is the red triangle registered for Bass Pale Ale.(Some sources say 1883 or 1890)

1876 Canned sardines went on sale in the U.S. for the first time. They were packed in oil. (Some sources say 1873).

1876 Foil wrapped bananas are sold for a dime at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Bananas become a popular treat for the first time in the U.S. when word spreads about how delicious they are. For one thin dime, visitors to Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition were able to buy foil-wrapped bananas, a popular taste treat in the United States. We tried one as an experiment for lunch today -- and heartily agree! It is especially interesting how the aluminum foil creates a kind of buzzing feeling on your teeth as the banana gets chewed up!

1876 American author, Sherwood Anderson was born. In 1941 Anderson supposedly swallowed a toothpick or a swizzle stick while at a cocktail party in the Panama Canal Zone, and died of peritonitis.

1876 Melville Bissell patented the carpet sweeper.

1876 Alexander Graham Bell's first successful experiment with the telephone. He spoke through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room. Bell writes, "I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: 'Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you.' To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said."

1876 Willis Haviland Carrier was born. He invented the first practical air conditioner.

1876 D.C. Stillson patented the Stillson wrench, the first practical pipe wrench. Fixing that leaky pipe in the kitchen became a lot easier.

1876 Kudzu was introduced to the U.S. in 1876, to control soil erosion in the South. Native to China and Japan, it can grow up to 1 foot per day, and virtually takes over telephone poles, trees, buildings, and anything else in it's way. In the U.S. it is known as an uncontrollable weed, sometimes used as cattle forage. In Japan and China, it is also grown for its edible roots, which can reach 7 feet long and weigh 450 pounds. The roots are dried and pulverized into kudzu powder. This kudzu powder is used in cooking to thicken soups and sauces, dredge foods for deep frying, etc. The leaves and stems can be used as in salads.

1876 The 'spreading chestnut tree' from 'The Village Blacksmith' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was a real tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the corner of Brattle and Story Streets. It was cut down to widen the streets in 1876.

1876 Charles Elme Francatelli died (born 1805).  Italian chef - cheif cook to Queen Victoria. Author of 'The Modern Cook' (1845), ‘A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes' (1852).

1877 Chester Greenwood was issued the first U.S. patent (No. 188,292) for earmuffs.

1877 Amedeo Obici was born on July 15 (died May 22, 1947).  Obici and Mario Peruzzi founded Planters Peanut Company in 1906.

1877 James Drummond Dole was born (died May 20, 1958).  The 'Pineapple King' he founded Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, renamed Dole Pineapple Co., later Dole Food Co.

1877 Irma S. Rombauer was born.  Author of 'The Joy of Cooking' - one of the most published cookbooks, she originally had to pay to have the book privately published in 1931. Finally in 1936, publisher Bobbs-Merril Co. published the cookbook and it has been in print ever since.

1877 Canada: The first flour mill in Manitoba opens.

1877 Rowland H. Macy died (born Aug 30, 1822). Founder of Macy's department store (Oct 27, 1858).

1877 John Stevens filed a patent application for a grain crushing mill (issued March 23, 1880).

1877 Minnesota's $1.00 per bushel bounty on grasshopper eggs expires. The state had experienced a 4 year grasshopper (locust) plague.

1877 Ole Evinrude was born. He invented the first practical outboard motor in 1909. The idea came to him while rowing a boat to a picnic one day. He decided there must be an easier way to move a small boat on the water.

1877 New York taxes oleomargarine. In 1877, the state of New York passed a law to tax on 'oleomargarine.' When a court voided a ban on margarine in New York, dairy militants turned their attention to Washington, resulting in Congressional passage of the Margarine Act of 1886. The purpose was to protect dairymen and their product, real butter.

1877 Victor Shelford was born. An American zoologist and ecologist, he was one of the first to treat ecology as a separate science. He was active and influential in several ecological organizations, including the Nature Conservancy formed in 1951.

1877 Thomas A. Edison made the first sound recording "Mary had a little lamb"

1877 Dr. Jared Kirtland died. A physician, naturalist, botanist and teacher, he is credited with developing 26 varieties of cherries and six varieties of pears.

1877 Henry Crowell began using the 'Quaker Man' as a trademark at his mill in Ravenna, Ohio.

1877 On April 26 Minnesota held a state day of prayer to plead for an end to a 4 year plague of Rocky Mountain locusts. In southwestern Minnesota, locusts had been eating crops, trees, tobacco, fence posts, leather, dead animals, sheep's wool - everything but the mortgage. Two days later a snowstorm moved through and the locusts were never seen again. No one knows what caused the locust plague, nor why the Rocky Mountain locust became extinct after the plague.

1877 Desert Land Act encouraged development of irrigation in arid lands; offered land at 25 cents per acre if irrigated and cultivated for 3 years.

1878 Milking machine invented.

1878 The first commercial telephone exchange in the U.S. was installed in New Haven, Connecticut.

1878 John Wanamaker installed the first electric lighting in an American store. He illuminated his Grand Depot department store in Philadelphia with 28 Brush arc lamps.

1878 In Brooklyn, New York, milk was supposedly delivered to homes in glass bottles for the first time, rather than being ladled from metal cans.

1878 At 7 a.m. May 2, the Washburn A flour mill in Minneapolis exploded, sending the roof 500 feet in the air. 18 workers were killed and seven other flour mills were also destroyed.

1878 Gustavus Swift perfected the refrigerated railroad car.

1878 The first patent for a glass milk container was issued to George Lester.

1878 Ivory Soap was developed by Harley Proctor. Air was whipped into the soap during production, which made it float. First sold in 1879, it was a huge success.

1878 Xavier Marcel Boulestin was born (died Sept 20, 1943). French chef, restaurateur, cookbook author. He was also the first TV chef, appearing on the BBC in 1937-1939 in 'Cook's Night Out'.

1878 The White House hosted the first Easter Egg Roll. Previously, the activities had been held on the Capitol grounds. Congress passed a law banning the practice due to a limited maintenance and landscaping budget (Bah humbug!). President Rutherford B. Hayes was asked if children could hold the activities on the South Lawn of the White House and he enthusiastically agreed. The event has been held there ever since. (

1878 Catherine Esther Beecher died. An American educator and author of 'Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book', etc.

1878 Vaseline petroleum jelly was trademarked by Robert August Chesebrough.

1878 Don Marquis, American journalist and poet was born. He wrote 'archy and mehitabel,' a book of poems written by a cockroach who couldn't use the shift key.

1878 Upton Sinclair was born. His novel, 'The Jungle,' was a horror story about conditions in the meat packing industry of the time. It led to extensive reforms.

1878 Thomas Edison made electricity available for household usage.

1878 The first telephone was installed in the White House in Washington, D.C. Alexander Graham Bell installed it himself. Rutherford B. Hayes was president.

1878 Joseph Henry died (1797). American Scientist. He was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where he established a meteorological program which became the foundation of a national weather service.

1879 William K. Vanderbilt acquired 'Gilmore's Garden' in New York City and renamed it 'Madison Square Garden.'

1879 Sarah Josepha Hale died. Author, editor (Ladies' Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book). She was influential in having Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. Author of the poem 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'; Hale also founded the Seaman's Aid Society in 1833.

1879 Forty Three breweries were operating in the Brooklyn area of New York.

1879 U.S. agricultural exports were about $453 million a year during the 1870s.

1879 Erastus Brigham Bigelow died (born 1814). Inventor of manufacturing machinery for making gingham cloth. The red & white checked tablecloths used in restaurants is a classic example of gingham.

1879 The Hotel Men’s Mutual Benefit Association of United States and Canada was founded by Henry J. Bohn and Col. F. Willis Rice.

1879 Nestle produced its first chocolate bar.

1879 Charles Lavelle Broley was born on Dec 7 (died May 4, 1959). A Canadian banker and ornithologist, he was one of the first to implicate DDT in the declining hatching success of bald eagles, and the environmental dangers of pesticides.

1879 First successful beet sugar factory in the U.S. built in California.

1879 Woolworths, the first chain store, opened  in 1879 in Utica, New York.

1879 Agnes Arber was born. She was a British botanist, who wrote 'Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution' (1912) and 'The Gramineae: A Study of Cereal, Bamboo and Grass.'

1879 Saccharin, an artificial sweetener, was discovered by Constantine Fahlberg and Ira Remsen at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

1879 Elmer McCollum was born. He was a chemist who discovered vitamins A, B and D.

1879 The Echo Farms Dairy of New York began selling milk in glass bottles, the first in the U.S.

1879 The Cream Separator was patented.

1879 Edward Murray East was born. An American botanist and chemist he helped with the development of hybrid corn. Specifically, he concentrated on controlling the protein and fat content of possible hybrids.

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated the first commercially practical light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1879 African-American inventor, Thomas Elkins received a patent for a refrigerating machine, which could be used to cool food (or even human corpses according to the patent application).

1879 James and John Ritty invented the first cash register. They came up with the idea to prevent bartenders from stealing at the Pony House restaurant in Dayton, Ohio.




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