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On This Day: May 23

Today is Saturday, May 23, 2015. This is the 143rd day of the year, with 222 days remaining in 2015.

Fact of the Day: hair dryers

The modern electric hairdryer was the offspring of two unrelated inventions, the vacuum cleaner and the blender. Its point of origin is Racine, Wisconsin -- the first two models called "Race" and "Cyclone" appeared in 1920, made by Racine Universal Motor Company and Hamilton Beach, respectively. The idea of blow-drying hair originated in early vacuum cleaner advertisements which showed a woman drying her hair with a hose connected to the Pneumatic Cleaner. Then the blender came along since Racine, Wisconsin is also the hometown of the first electric milk shake mixer and blender. The blender ran on a fractional horsepower motor -- which was married to the hot-air exhaust of the vacuum cleaner. If you remember, those first hair dryers had a hose that could be hand-held and a bonnet that connected to it and fitted over the head and/or curlers. In the late 1960s, the market for dryers rapidly expanded and hair dryers became truly hand-held and more sophisticated.

Holidays

Feast day of Saints Montanus and Lucius, St. William of Rochester, St. Aldhelm, St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk, St. Ivo of Chartres, St. Leontius of Rostov, St. Desiderius of Vienne, and St. John Baptist dei Rossi.

Morocco: National Day.

Sweden: Linnaeus Day.

Events

1430 - Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.

1533 - Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.

1785 - Benjamin Franklin announced his invention of bifocals.

1788 - South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.

1865 - The Army of the Potomac celebrated the end of the Civil War by parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

1911 - President William Howard Taft dedicated the New York Public Library, the largest marble structure ever constructed in the United States.

1915 - Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary in World War I.

1934 - Nylon was first produced by Dr. Wallace Carothers, a chemist at Du Pont.

1935 - The first major league night baseball game played under lights occurred, in Cincinnati, Ohio between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies.

1949 - The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) came into being, with its capital at Bonn.

1960 - Israel announced the arrest (after abduction in Argentina) of Adolf Eichmann, who had been responsible for organizing the Germans' mass extermination of Jews in World War II.

Births

1335 - Tamerlane the Great, Mongol leader.

1707 - Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné), Swedish botanist.

1734 - Friedrich Anton Mesmer, Viennese physician and hypnotist.

1848 - Otto Lilienthal, German aviator.

1875 - Alfred Sloan, American philanthropist who headed General Motors for more than 25 years.

1883 - Douglas Fairbanks (Julius Ullman), American actor.

1910 - Scatman (Benjamin) Crothers, entertainer.

1910 - Artie Shaw, American bandleader and clarinetist.

1928 - Rosemary Clooney, American singer, actress.

1934 - Robert A. Moog, American electrical engineer, creator of the synthesizer.

1958 - Drew Carey, American actor and comedian.

1974 - Ken Jennings, holds the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy!.

1974 - Jewel (born Jewel Kilcher), American singer and songwriter.

Deaths

1701 - Captain William Kidd, Scottish pirate, hanged on the banks of the River Thames.

1934 - Bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, shot to death in a police ambush in Gibsland, Louisiana.

1937 - John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist.

1945 - Heinrich Himmler, commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany.

2002 - Sam Snead, American golfer.







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