Sunday, March 23, 2014


—that will forever change your concept of time.  This list puts historical moments into a time-line context that will surprise you when you discover which one of two happenings is older.  At least most of them surprised me. :)   I did verify the founding date for Harvard and the date the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series, and I worked for 20th Century Fox in 1977 when they released Star Wars, but I didn't verify anything on this list beyond that.

1)  Betty White Is Older Than Sliced Bread
1928 is the date when bread was first sold commercially as sliced rather than the traditional whole loaves.  Prior to that, bakers didn't believe that sliced bread could stay fresh.  Betty White was born in 1922, six years before the invention that became the benchmark for greatness with future inventions being heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

2)  Harvard University was founded before calculus was invented
Originally called the New College, 1636 is the date for the founding of Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher education in what is now America.  It should also be noted that physicist, mathematician and astronomer Galileo was still alive during Harvard's early years.  He died in 1642.  The invention of calculus didn't come about until 1684 with Gottfried Leibniz's publication of Nova Methodus.

3)  The Ottoman Empire still existed when the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series
1908 is the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.  The Ottoman Empire, founded in the 13th century, came to an end in 1922 with Mehmed VI being the last sultan of the empire before the Turkish government abolished the sultanate and took governing control of the new republic.

4)  The Pyramids of Giza were built before wooly mammoths became extinct
It's believed that the last wooly mammoths died out approximately 1700B.C. on Russia's Wrangel Island.  The Pyramids of Giza, in Egypt, were built approximately 300 years earlier (about 4,000 years ago).  There are some claims that the pyramids might be even older than that.

5)  The fax machine is the same age as the Oregon Trail
1843 is the year Alexander Bain, a Scottish mechanic, invented the first fax machine.  The same year the Great Migration on the Oregon Trail began when a wagon train of approximately 1000 migrants attempted to travel west but probably died of dysentery along the way.

6)  Jewelry store Tiffany & Co. was founded before Italy was a country
1837 is the year Charles Tiffany and John Young founded Tiffany & Young which became Tiffany & Co. in 1853.  1861 is when General Giuseppe Garibaldi led a successful campaign to bring the various city-states together as one nation, although Rome held out for a number of years after that.  Macy's was founded in 1858, also prior to Italy becoming the nation we know today.

7)  France was still using the guillotine when the first Star Wars movie was released
1977 is the release date of the first of the Star Wars movies.  A few months later is when France conducted its last execution by guillotine.  The guillotine had been used in France for approximately 200 years.  And another French time line fact to boggle the mind:  1889 is the year of the Eiffel Tower, the same year Nintendo was founded (the company originally made playing cards) and Van Gogh painted The Starry Night.

8)  Two of President John Tyler's grandsons are still alive
1841 to 1845, John Tyler was America's tenth president.  And, surprisingly, two of his grandsons are still alive.  As of December 2013, both Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., and Harrison Tyler, were only in their 80s…as verified by Snopes.

And there you have it…a few surprising dates from history.


Barbara said...

How fascinating, Samantha! These facts certainly can send one back to the history books with ideas for plotlines :) The one about Betty White did make me smile. She'd love to make a joke about that, I'll bet! Shared/tweeted. Barb Bettis

Maeve Greyson said...

Wow! Who knew? :-)

Samantha Gentry said...

Barb: Yes, I think Betty White take that bit of information and do something with it. :)

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Maeve: I sure didn't!! Then I came across that article... :)

Thanks for your comment.

Laura Strickland said...

Pretty interesting stuff! The one about the pyramids at Giza and the wooly mammoths boggles the mind.

Samantha Gentry said...

Laura: That one really caught me by surprise, too. When you think of large extinct animals from "way back then" you usually think in terms of at least hundreds of thousands years and generally in millions of years.

Thanks for your comment.

DeNise Woodbury said...

Holy cow! Your article set off a sparkling fuse of possibilities. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Samantha Gentry said...

DeNise: I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for your comment.