History Schmistory: January 19. Under the Neon Lights!

1915: The Neon Tube sign is patented by Georges Claude, and later exploited by Las Vegas.
-So, you might already know that neon is one of the “noble” gases of the periodic table, which glows an orangey-red color when electrons run through it. But what about all the other colors on a typical “neon” sign? Well, sorry to say, those aren’t neon. To get shades of blue, typically argon is used with a dash of mercury. Helium can be used for a nice pink glow; xenon radiates a cool purple, while krypton yields- what? Green, you say? Nope, sorry Superman, it has more of an off-white tinge. From there, certain gases can mingle to produce colors like green and yellow, or sometimes the tubes are coated with fluorescent powders to tweak the shading. But neon typically doesn’t play nicely with others, so it’s only used to produce that one color.
(Check out Vegas Vic’s scarf. There’s your neon.)

There is another noble gas that wasn’t invited to the party: Radon. That stuff is radioactive, yo.


Vegas Vic,By  Joe Gauder [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: January 19. Under-where?

January 19, 1935. Introducing Tightey-Whities!

History Schmistory: January 18. Alo-hoy!

1778: Famed explorer Captain James Cook serendipitously stumbles upon the “Sandwich Islands” (Hawaii.) On his second visit in 1779, he is killed by natives for sending back his pastrami on rye. Ironically during his time on the Islands Cook witnessed men being just that, cooked!

John Webber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Webber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


History Schmistory: January 18. Heads Up!

January 18, 1916. Meteorite Strikes in Missouri!

History Schmistory: January 17. Toot-Toot!

1929: Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip. Deluded children begin eating spinach with the hopes of growing freakishly large forearms.


History Schmistory: January 17. How Uncivil!

January 17, 1918. Civil War in Finland!

History Schmistory: January 16. The Impossible Dream…

1605: Book One of Don Quixote (El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid. Despite great efforts, the sport of Windmill Jousting never caught on.



Don Quixote charging the windmills by Dave Winer, May 5th 2009 via Flick, creative commons contribution

Don Quixote charging the windmills by Dave Winer, May 5th 2009 via Flick, creative commons contribution


Not familiar with the story of Don Quixote? Are you not even sure how to pronounce it? Well there are plenty of versions out there, including the hit musical Man of La Mancha, and, of course, this faithful adaptation from Mr. Magoo…

History Schmistory: January 16. Nice Statute!

January 16, 1786. Virginia Enacts Jefferson’s “Statute For Religious Freedom”.

History Schmistory: January 14. A Meeting of Minds!

January 14, 1943. Frank and Winston Rendezvous!

History Schmistory: January 13. Ford-ward Thinking!

January 13, 1942. Henry Ford’s Plastic Car!

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