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Annie Oakley Purchases Smith & Wesson Gun

April 25, 1888
April 25, 1888

Annie Oakley Purchases Smith & Wesson Gun

On this day in 1888, Annie Oakley, the star female sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, purchased a Model 3 handgun made by the Springfield firm of Smith & Wesson. Horace Smith and...

Springfield Armory Closes

April 30, 1968
April 30, 1968

Springfield Armory Closes

On this day in 1968, there was great sadness in Springfield as the city's historic armory closed its doors after nearly two centuries as the leading producer of small arms for the American military. First...

Dewey Proposes Library Classification System

May 8, 1873
May 8, 1873

Dewey Proposes Library Classification System

On this day in 1873, Amherst College junior Melvil Dewey made a proposal to the faculty. He had been working in the college library and was frustrated by the lack of logic in the way...

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

May 29, 1885
May 29, 1885

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

On this day in 1885, Jan Matzeliger demonstrated his invention — a machine that could finish 75 shoes in a 10-hour day. The most skilled craftsmen working by hand could turn out 50. An improved...

Charles Goodyear Receives Patent for Vulcanized Rubber

June 15, 1844
June 15, 1844

Charles Goodyear Receives Patent for Vulcanized Rubber

On this day in 1844, after a decade of hardship and perseverance, Charles Goodyear received a patent for vulcanized rubber. The first boots and clothing made from rubber had performed poorly in the American environment....

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...

Dr. Boylston Experiments with Smallpox Inoculation

June 26, 1721
June 26, 1721

Dr. Boylston Experiments with Smallpox Inoculation

On this day in 1721, Boston doctor Zabdiel Boylston took a gamble with his young son's life and inoculated him against smallpox. Puritan minister Cotton Mather had learned from one of his slaves that in...

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...

Quincy Shipyard Launches First Nuclear Powered Cruiser

July 14, 1959
July 14, 1959

Quincy Shipyard Launches First Nuclear Powered Cruiser

On this day in 1959, the nation's first nuclear-powered cruiser was launched from Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. With its deep and sheltered harbor, Quincy was an ideal site for shipbuilding. Men had been building...

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....