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January 2010
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It’s January History!
Memorable happenings that took place during the first month of the year!

As you glance at your calendar page this month, get acquainted with a few of the influential people, ingenious inventions, interesting occurrences and little-known facts that are associated with January!


January is filled with firsts. Not only is it the start of the new year, it has also been the beginning point of a lot of important new inventions and discoveries throughout the years! Back in 1610, the stargazing astronomer Galileo looked up into the January sky and spotted four moons in orbit around Jupiter. If you had looked up at the sky from the right spot on January 11, 1935, you might have seen a portion of aviator Amelia Earhart’s record-breaking solo flight between Honolulu, Hawaii, and Oakland, California that day. Another momentous moment occurred in California on January 24, 1848, when a man named James Marshall was constructing a sawmill along the American River in Coloma. Something shiny caught his eye that day, something that would catch the interest of many people hoping to strike it rich! His accidental, yet monumental, discovery of gold would be the start of what would become the California Gold Rush of 1849!


Light the way! On January 28, 1807, Pall Mall in London, England, became the first public street to be illuminated by gaslight! Another bright January idea was Thomas Edison’s aptly named Edison Electric Lamp, for which he obtained a patent on January 27, 1880, as a device that provided, “light by incandescence.” AC-type electrical current was later patented in January of 1895.   


Another extremely helpful invention, whose creator celebrates a January birthday, is Braille. Braille is the system of reading by touch using raised dots, which enables the blind to read. The Braille alphabet, which can be used across several languages, is much unchanged today. Louis Braille, who lost the ability to see at the age of three, created the system in 1821 at the age of 12! Other famous names that were born during the month of January include composers Mozart and Schubert; musicians Jim Croce, Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley; historical figures Betsy Ross, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, Jr.; authors A.A. Milne and J.D. Salinger; comedian W.C. Fields and the notorious gangster, Al Capone.


Over time, January provided for plenty of changes in what you’d find in cupboards and kitchens as well! January of 1851 introduced to the world the first-ever evaporated milk. The first beer sold in cans instead of bottles, Krueger Cream Ale, hit refrigerator shelves in 1935. The first ice-cream-cone-producing machine was designed in January of 1924, and the soda fountain as we know it came about many years earlier, this very month in 1870!


Print, screen and sound reached a few notable milestones in Januaries past. Edgar Allen Poe’s classic dark tale The Raven was published in 1845. The first movie with sound to be filmed outdoors was released in January of 1929 – it was a “talkie” called In Old Arizona. Cartoon-land met one of its biggest stars of all time when Mickey Mouse made his newspaper debut nationwide a year later in January 1930! The Beatles’ album Yellow Submarine was released in the United States in January 1969, five short years after their album Meet the Beatles was released in January of 1964!


Now that you know January a little better, enjoy the rest of the month!

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