This Week in History

On this day in History-Oct. 17-20

Oct. 17

On this date in 1888, an American inventor by the name of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) filed a patent for the first Optical phonograph, which was also the first movie ever created. This was only one of 1,093 patents that Edison would file throughout his life.

Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 and the device was created in order to record sounds through waveforms that are incorporated into a rotating disk. This invention was America’s first version of a record player and over time, improvements were made to the phonograph in order to popularize the device.

Throughout his life, Edison invented many significant items that we still use today. For instance, he invented the light bulb, motion pictures, the stencil pen, the perforating typewriter, and even wheels that were made of both rubber and wood for better traction.

Not only was Thomas Edison an incredible inventor, he also specialized in manufacturing and business by marketing his inventions to the public as a way to spark interest into his followers.

Oct. 18

On this date in 1867, the United States took possession of Alaska after buying the area from Russia for a total of $7.2 million on March 30 of that same year; each acre was worth two cents. Since then, Oct. 18 officially became known as Alaska Day and it is a legal holiday that is celebrated by the people who live in the state.

Alaska finally became organized as a territory on May 11, 1912 and it became admitted as the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959. Currently, Alaska has a population of 731,449 people with over half of them living in the Anchorage metropolitan area. Although Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. due to its overall area, it is the fourth least populous state in the country.

The state is separated from the rest of the country as Canada borders it from the east, the province of Yukon to be exact. Other borders include the Arctic Ocean, which is located north of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, which is located west and south. Alaska is known primarily for its oil, natural gas, and fishing industries. Tourism is also a significant part of the state.

Oct. 19

On this date in 2010, American actor Tom Bosley died of heart failure after battling years of lung cancer. Bosley died at a local hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., which is near his home in Palm Springs, and he was 83 years old.

Bosley was best remembered for his role as Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, which was a popular TV sitcom that was set in the fifties and it aired on ABC from 1974-1984. The show also starred Ron Howard as his son Richie, Marion Ross as his wife Marion, Erin Moran as his daughter Joanie, and Henry Winkler as Richie’s friend Fonzie.

Following his career on television until his death, Bosley remained active by participating in commercials. The commercials included advertisements for Glad sandwich and garbage bags, the new Saturn Car Company, the Specialty Merchandise Corporation, and LifeBack U.S.A., which helped senior citizens’ gain life settlements.

Oct. 20

On this date in 1803, the United States officially ratified the Louisiana Purchase. The territory consisted of 828,000 square miles and the U.S. had already purchased it from France back in April for less than three cents an acre for a total of $15 million.

The Louisiana Territory covered all or part of 15 current states along with two Canadian provinces. The states include Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Louisiana, and North and South Dakota. Alberta and Saskatchewan are the two provinces that are part of the territory.

The purchase was also significant for another reason. Thomas Jefferson, who was the President of the United States at the time, was responsible for increasing the population of the young country by more than half of what it was prior to the deal.

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