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American Optical Celebrates 150th Anniversary

June 18, 1983
June 18, 1983

American Optical Celebrates 150th Anniversary

On this day in 1983, Southbridge celebrated the 150th anniversary of the nation's oldest optical company — the American Optical Company, or "the A.O." as it was known in the Worcester County town where it...

Patent Office Rules in Favor of Elias Howe

July 1, 1854
July 1, 1854

Patent Office Rules in Favor of Elias Howe

On this day in 1854, the battle ended over who owned the patent for the first sewing machine. A federal commission ruled that the patent held by Elias Howe of Cambridge was valid and ordered...

Fire Nearly Destroys Nantucket Town

July 13, 1846
July 13, 1846

Fire Nearly Destroys Nantucket Town

On this day in 1846, a fire began in a hat store on Nantucket's Main Street. In no time, it raced through town, consuming everything in its path. Barrels of whale oil were stored on...

William Pynchon Buys Land for Springfield

July 15, 1635
July 15, 1635

William Pynchon Buys Land for Springfield

On this day in 1636, William Pynchon received the deed giving him title to most of what is now Springfield, Longmeadow, and Agawam. In exchange, he paid the local Agawam Indians 18 fathoms of wampum,...

Borden Announces Plan to Sell Prince Pasta Plant

July 16, 1997
July 16, 1997

Borden Announces Plan to Sell Prince Pasta Plant

On this day in 1997, the Borden company announced a tentative deal to save the Prince pasta factory in Lowell. When Borden closed the failing plant, Senator Ted Kennedy remarked that it was "a sad...

Ponzi Scheme Begins to Unravel

July 24, 1920
July 24, 1920

Ponzi Scheme Begins to Unravel

On this day in 1920, the Boston Post ran a story that ultimately exposed one of the biggest financial swindles in history. In a series of articles that won the paper its first Pulitzer Prize,...

Tupperware Inventor Born

July 28, 1907
July 28, 1907

Tupperware Inventor Born

On this day in 1907, Earl Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, was born. Raised in central Massachusetts, birthplace of the plastics industry, he was a compulsive tinkerer, inventing, among hundreds of other things, a fish-powered boat....

Quincy's Market Opens

August 26, 1826
August 26, 1826

Quincy's Market Opens

On this day in 1826, Boston celebrated the grand opening of the Faneuil Hall, commonly known as Quincy Marketplace. Located on the site that had long served as Boston's public market, the three massive buildings...

Boston Public Library Receives $1 Million Donation

September 5, 1947
September 5, 1947

Boston Public Library Receives $1 Million Donation

On this day in 1947, self-made millionaire John Deferrari donated over $1,000,000 to the Boston Public Library to express his gratitude to the institution he credited with his success. The son of poor Italian immigrants,...

Boston Wheelmen Sponsor Nation's First 100-Mile Bicycle Race

September 6, 1882
September 6, 1882

Boston Wheelmen Sponsor Nation's First 100-Mile Bicycle Race

On this day in 1882, seven men took over 12 hours to cover the distance from Worcester to Boston in the nation's first 100-mile bicycle race. Boston was becoming the bicycle capital of America. Pedestrians...