This Day In History
Sunday, December 16, 2018
On This Day



February 19, 1878

Thomas Edison patents the...
Thomas Edison patents the phonograph. The phonograph record player, or gramophone, is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing (playing) sound recordings; although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds. The recordings played on such a device generally consist of wavy lines that are either scratched, engraved, or grooved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As the cylinder or disc rotates, a stylus or needle traces the wavy lines and vibrates to reproduce the recorded sound waves. The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, USA. On February 19, 1878, Edison was issued the first patent (U.S. patent #200,521) for the phonograph.
Edison, phonograph


February 4, 1878
Louis Camille Maillard

Louis Camille Maillard was a French physician and chemist.
May 28, 1878
Paul Pelliot

Paul Pelliot was a French sinologist and explorer of Central Asia. Initially intending to enter the foreign service, Pelliot took up the study of Chinese and became a pupil of Sylvain Lévi and Édouard Chavannes.
September 20, 1878
Upton Sinclair

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), was an American author who wrote close to 100 books in many genres.
November 7, 1878
Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was an Austrian-born, later Swedish, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. Meitner is often mentioned as one of the most glaring examples of women's scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee. A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel. Element 109, Meitnerium, is named in her honor.
December 18, 1878
Joseph Stalin

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and later held the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. While the office of the General Secretary was officially elective and not initially regarded as the top position in the Soviet state, Stalin managed to use it to consolidate more and more power in his hands after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924 and gradually put down all opposition groups within the Communist Party. This included Leon Trotsky, a socialist theorist and the principal critic of Stalin among the early Soviet leaders, who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. Whereas Trotsky was an exponent of world revolution, it was Stalin's concept of socialism in one country that became the primary focus of Soviet politics.


January 8, 1878
Nikolay Nekrasov

Nikolay Alexeyevich Nekrasov was a Russian poet, writer, critic and publisher, whose deeply compassionate poems about peasant Russia won him Fyodor Dostoyevsky's admiration and made him the hero of liberal and radical circles of Russian intelligentsia, as represented by Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolay Chernyshevsky.
May 13, 1878
Joseph Henry

Joseph Henry was an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as a founding member of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, a precursor of the Smithsonian Institution.
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