January 18 in History

Thomas Davenport, inventor of the electric motor, published the first issue of a new periodical on this date in 1840 that carried a mouthful of a title: The Electro-Magnet, and Mechanics Intelligencer. It was the first technical journal, the first periodical that had electricity as its only topic, and it was the first publication on the planet that was printed on a press run on electricity.

It was also a failure as a publication: Davenport could not attract enough subscribers to sustain the journal and he folded it after only three issues.

* * * *
On this date in 1644, something strange was seen in the waters off what is now the North End of Boston. It qulifies as America’s first USO sighting: Unidentified Submerged Object.

Governor John Winthrop recorded the sighting in his diary entry of January 18, 1644: “About midnight, three men, coming in a boat to Boston, saw two lights arise out of the water near the north point of the town cove, in form like a man, and went at a small distance to the town, and so to the south point, and there vanished away.” A week later, something similar was experienced in Boston and this time the apparition spoke: “Boy! Boy! Come away! Come away!”

* * * *
President John Tyler died on this date in 1862. The most trivial piece of trivia about the U.S. Presidency involves President Tyler, but it does not originate from his administration. It is this: Still alive today are two of President Tyler’s grandsons. President Tyler died in 1862, but, a widower, he had started a second family late in life and his last son was born in 1853. That son, who lost his father when he was very young, Lyon Gardiner Tyler lived a long life and died in 1935 at the age of 81, but, a widower, he married a woman far younger than he, and their two sons were born in the 1920s.

Rudyard Kipling died on this date in 1936. Senator Paul Tsongas died 20 years ago today. Glenn Frey died one year ago today.

* * * *
A. A. Milne was born in 1882 on this date. Oliver Hardy was born on this date in 1892. Cary Grant was born on this date in 1904. Jacob Bronowski was born in 1908 on this date. Danny Kaye was born on this date in 1911. Ray Dolby was born on this date in 1933.

* * * *
“Legs” Larry Smith is 73 today. Some of the surviving members of the Bonzo Doo Dah Band in 2010, “Legs” Larry Smith, lead vocals:

Kevin Costner is 62 today. Mark Messier is 56 today. Governor Martin O’Malley is 54. Dave Attell is 52.

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  1. monika sharma · January 18, 2017

    Thank you for posting this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loisajay · January 18, 2017

    Dave Attell! What ever happened to Dave Attell? I used to love wandering the streets with him. Thanks for the memory jolt, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · January 18, 2017

      He’s still working the comedy club circuit. I don’t know how many comedy clubs there are in the country, but there are enough that if an individual is a good comedy writer and loves to travel and can work as their own agent, there is good living to be had. Plus, they all seem to have podcasts and web radio shows, and I’m sure (because he had a national TV show for a glimmer of a moment) he has one of those, too.

      I have a friend who is a working stand-up comedian. His life sounds and looks exhausting to me, but he thrives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • loisajay · January 18, 2017

        Thanks so much for the update, Mark. Some people you tend to forget until someone mentions their name and they you begin to think, ‘Hey! I wonder whatever happened to……’

        Liked by 1 person

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