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  • Gideon Sundback’s Invention of the Zipper

    Gideon Sundback is credited with inventing the first zipper, but he was not the first to patent the device.  Sundback, however, created the first zipper to work well, and he also invented the machine that could make these fasteners...

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  • Cranberries and Thanksgiving: The Origin

    Cranberries are one of only a handful of commercially-farmed fruits that are native to North America. But the sweet relish we enjoy at Thanksgiving is quite a bit different from the original tart fruit eaten by Native Americans.

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  • Johnny Appleseed Debunked

    The Johnny Appleseed story we usually hear is a folk legend. However, his story is based on the life of John Chapman, a man who traveled through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana planting apple seeds.

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  • Marcelino Serna: Highly Honored Soldier in World War I

    Marcelino Serna was still a Mexican citizen when he fought for the United States in World War I. He was smart at battlefield tactics, felt loyal to his fellow soldiers, and his efforts for the U.S. saved countless American...

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  • Ida Rosenthal: Pioneered Bra Industry with Maidenform

    Ida Rosenthal emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s and supported her family as a dressmaker. As she responded to the marketplace, she and a partner soon crafted dresses with built-in bras—freeing women from corsets. Because the dress designs...

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  • Yukon King, Dog Star of “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon”

    A dog named King, an Alaskan malamute, played the heroic companion to Royal Canadian Mountie Sergeant Preston on the 1955 television show, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.  The TV show was based on a long-running radio program called Challenge...

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  • Jim the Wonder Dog: Was He Psychic?

    Jim the Wonder Dog caused quite a sensation in Missouri in the 1930s. He was a Llewellyn setter and was a very impressive bird dog, known for the number of birds he could spot and retrieve. But that wasn’t...

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  • Phineas Banning, Father of the L.A. Harbor

    Phineas Banning is known as the “Father of the Los Angeles Harbor.” He deserves that title and more. He arrived in the San Pedro/Los Angeles area with nothing in 1851. He found that his calling in addressing the transportation...

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  • Helen Keller’s Dogs

    Helen Keller’s life was filled with dogs. Though she was born before dogs were being trained as guide dogs for the blind, Keller knew what dog lovers around the world know—dogs are great companions. “A dog never let me...

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  • Miniature Golf: Its Beginning

    Miniature golf was first patented by Garnet Carter (1883-1954) in 1931. Carter owned a hotel called the Fairyland Inn on Lookout Mountain (Georgia) near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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  • Collie Travels 2500 Miles to Return to Oregon Home

    In the 1920s, a collie mix was separated from his family in Wolcott, Indiana, where the family vacationed the summer of 1923. Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their two daughters, Nova and Leona, lived in Silverton, Oregon, along the...

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  • Sled Dog Team Travels from Nome to D.C., 1907

    A sled dog team making its way from Nome, Alaska, to Washington, D.C. in 1907 grabbed headlines across the nation. The trip was 8000 miles through snow drifts and grasslands and was a wager undertaken by Eli Smith, musher...

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  • A Dalmatian in the Civil War

    A handsome dalmatian followed Quartermaster General Rufus Ingalls wherever he went at Army headquarters at City Point, Virginia. General Ingalls (1818-1893) returned from a short trip to Washington, D.C. accompanied by what was referred to at the time as...

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  • Detroit’s History, Told in Vignettes

    Detroit’s story is a truly American story, and it’s unique because of its prime location in the Midwest. By understanding what happened in Michigan through the years, we can more fully comprehend the story of our country, from the...

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  • WWII WASP Mascot Created by Roald Dahl and Disney Studios

    Roald Dahl and Walt Disney Studios collaborated to create what became the mascot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was a fairy-like female gremlin known as Fifinella.

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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."

On
This
Day

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack occurred Sunday morning and many naval personnel were off the base for religious services. The Japanese planes arrived at about the same time a fleet of planes from the U.S. were expected, so no alarm was sounded. The surprise attack against the United States Pacific fleet drew the U.S. irrevocably into World War II.

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Who Thought of That?


The magic lantern, and early form of slide projector, is thought to have been invented by a Dutch scientist in the 1600s.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

Sarah E. Goode, (ca.1850-1909), Inventor

First African-American woman to get a patent Sarah Jacob was born into slavery in about 1850; she gained her freedom at the end of the... continue »

Hattie Carnegie (1880-1956), Successful Fashion Entrepreneur

 Made elegant clothing available to wealthy American women  Pioneered concept of head-to-hem stores  Made the Carnegie Look the rage for fashion-conscious women Henrietta Kanengeiser was... continue »
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What can one person do? Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead