This Day In History
This Day In History
Tuesday, December 18, 2018


October 21, 1824

Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement. Portland cement (often referred to as OPC, from Ordinary Portland Cement) is the most common type of cement in general use around the world because it is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar, stucco and most non-specialty grout.
cement, patent

November 5, 1895

George B Selden driving automobile
George B Selden driving automobile
George B. Selden is granted the first U.S. patent for an automobile. Inspired by the mammoth internal combustion engine invented by George Brayton displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, Selden began working on a smaller lighter version, succeeding by 1878, some eight years before the public introduction of the Benz Patent Motorwagen in Europe, in producing a one-cylinder, 400-pound version which featured an enclosed crankshaft with the help of Rochester machinist Frank H. Clement and his assistant William Gomm. He filed for a patent on May 8, 1879(in an interesting historical cross of people, the witness Selden chose was a local bank-teller, George Eastman, later to become famous for the Kodak camera). His application included not only the engine but its use in a 4 wheeled car. He then filed a series of amendments to his application which stretched out the legal process resulting in a delay of 16 years before the patent was granted on November 5, 1895.
Selden, automobile, patent

January 13, 1942

World's first plastic car
Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car. Ford long had an interest in plastics developed from agricultural products, especially soybeans. He cultivated a relationship with George Washington Carver for this purpose. Soybean-based plastics were used in Ford automobiles throughout the 1930s in plastic parts such as car horns, in paint, etc. This project culminated in 1942, when Ford patented an automobile made almost entirely of plastic, attached to a tubular welded frame. It weighed 30% less than a steel car and was said to be able to withstand blows ten times greater than could steel. Furthermore, it ran on grain alcohol (ethanol) instead of gasoline. The design never caught on.
Henry Ford, Ford, patent, plastic, automobile, car

November 17, 1970

Douglas Engelbart receives the...
Douglas Engelbart receives the patent for the first computer mouse. Engelbart received patent US3,541,541 on "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System". At the time, Engelbart envisaged that users would hold the mouse continuously in one hand and type on a five-key chord keyset with the other. The concept was preceded in the 19th century by the telautograph, which also anticipated the fax machine.
Engelbart, patent, computer mouse

March 5, 1872

Control handle and valve for a Westinghouse Air Brake
Control handle and valve for a Westinghouse Air Brake
George Westinghouse patents the air brake. An air brake is a conveyance braking system actuated by compressed air. Modern trains rely upon a fail-safe air brake system that is based upon a design patented by George Westinghouse on March 5, 1872. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) was subsequently organized to manufacture and sell Westinghouse's invention. In various forms, it has been nearly universally adopted. The Westinghouse system uses air pressure to charge air reservoirs (tanks) on each car. Full air pressure signals each car to release the brakes. A reduction or loss of air pressure signals each car to apply its brakes, using the compressed air in its reservoirs.
air brake, patent

March 14, 1794

Eli Whitney is granted...
Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin. A cotton gin (short for cotton engine) is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job that otherwise must be performed painstakingly by hand. The fibers are processed into cotton goods, and the seeds may be used to grow more cotton or to produce cottonseed oil; if they are badly damaged, they are disposed of.
cotton gin, patent, Eli Whitney, cotton
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