July 1, 2010

A natural selection

Ah, July 1. In 1776, the Congress was reconvening in Philadelphia to consider the document Thomas Jefferson had prepared by hand – the Declaration of Independence.

Alfred Russel Wallace, naturalist

In England on this date in 1858, the Linnaean Society gathered to hear papers submitted by two of the country’s leading naturalists – Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace – on the theory of natural selection.  Darwin had been convinced by his friends that he must present his ideas to his fellow scientists or Wallace’s theory would supersede his own.  (Darwin and Wallace were not competitors, but friends.  It was Darwin who sought and won a government pension for Wallace so he could continue his work without financial worries.)  Wallace had developed his theory while exploring the Malay archipelago.

In 1892, the Homestead Strike, one of the most violent in American labor history, began.  It was a strike by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers against the Carnegie Steel Company at the Homestead, Pa, plant.  Carnegie brought in an army of Pinkerton agents to break up the strike, but the strikers defeated the Pinkertons and basically ran them out of town.

Harper's Weekly illustration of militia arriving in Homestead, LoC PPD, ref.3b03430r

Things got so violent the governor sent in the militia to restore order, which they did, and Carnegie Steel used scab labor to break the strike.  It was the beginning of the end  and by 1903 no steel mill was union.  Public sympathy for the workers faded when Alexander Berkman got into Carnegie vp Henry Frick’s office in New York and stabbed Henry Frick (cf Ragtime). Although Frick survived, union support didn’t.

Finally, on July 1 in 1941, the first television broadcast, which was also the first televised baseball game, featured, just before the game started, the first television commercial.  It was a 10-second spot purchased by the Bulova Watch Company and consisted of a view of a clock over a U.S. map with a voice-over announcing that ‘America runs on Bulova time.’  And it cost all of $9.

There are not, as far as I know, any photos of that first commercial, but the baseball game was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, so here is a Phillies picture from an earlier time.

The Phils, I find, are the oldest same-city franchise in American sports and they have also been called the Phillies since their founding in 1885.  Bulova, fittingly, is one of the oldest watch companies, having been founded in 1875.  Surprising really that Bulova, NBC and the Phillies are all still around.

At left, Dode Paskert of the 1912 Phillies.



  1. good stuff! i emailed a work friend the baseball info, he’ll be interested…


    Comment by ninachat — July 1, 2010 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  2. he was – very cool blog =)


    Comment by ninachat — July 1, 2010 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t generally reply to articles but I will in this case. Truly a big thumbs up for this 1 C CLass IP hosting!


    Comment by Abunty — July 26, 2010 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

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