Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy "Zipper Day"!

Today is Zipper Day, thanks to Gideon Sundback (1880-1954), a Swedish-American electrical engineer, of Hoboken, N.J. who designed the modern zipper (1913). Due to the death of his wife, Gideon, threw himself into his work which resulted in a patent for the zipper.
Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try to seriously market it, and missed out on any recognition he might otherwise have received.
Next, 42 years later, Whitcomb Judson, who invented the pneumatic street railway, marketed a "Clasp Locker". He opened a factory, the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture the new device. The clasp locker had its public debut at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and met with little commercial success.
Then, in 1906, Gideon Sundback was hired to work for the Judson's Universal Fastener Company. Good technical skills and a marriage to the plant-manager's daughter Elvira Aronson led Sundbäck to the position of head designer. He worked for Gideon Sundback remodeled Judson's fastener into a more streamlined and reliable form, was the fastener a success. Originally, his invention was called "Hookless Fastener No. 1," then, "Hookless Fastener No. 2". On April 29, 1913 it was patented as the "Hookless Fastener" and after more improvements patented in 1917 as the "Separable Fastener". He finished the design and patented the 'Separable Fastener' in 1917.
The name zipper was created by B.F. Goodrich who used the device on their new boots. Initially, boots and tobacco pouches were the primary use for zippers; it took another 20 years before they caught on in the fashion industry. About the time of World War II the zipper achieved wide acceptance for the flies of trousers and the plackets of skirts and dresses. 
(Sources: Wikipedia & history of the zipper; photo credit: Sundback,; Elias Howe Sewing Machine September 10, 1846, Wikipedia; Judson's improved 'clasp-locker' fastener, 1893, Wikipedia; Sundback zipper patent,; zipper,; jean fly zipper,

Plant a tree, it's "National Arbor Day"!

"Each generation takes the earth as trustees." - J. Sterling Morton
Arbor Day (from the Latin word, arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.
It originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1872 with Journalist, Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), also the editor of Nebraska's newspaper. He previously served at the Governor of Nebraska territory (1858-61) and later served as the US Secretary of Agriculture, (1893-97).
His political connections probably helped him with his campaign for tree appreciation which started firts with news articles and then later with a holiday to plant trees with prizes for the individuals and counties that planted the most trees. And it was a hit! The first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872, and an estimated 1 million trees were planted that day.
By 1885, it became a legal holiday in Nebraska and moved to April 22nd which was Morton's birthday (also later became Earth Day).
During the 1870s, other states started adding Arbor Days too. By the 1920s, each state in the United States had passed public laws that stipulated a certain day to be Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day observance, from January (in the south) to May (in the north) depending on the state's climate zone.
To find your state's arbor day:  
International dates: 
“If you want to be happy for a year, plant a garden; 
If you want to be happy for life, plant a tree.” 
- English Proverb
(Sources: Wikipedia; photo credit: Photo credits: tree for the future,; tree,; Morton photo,; Historic Washington Magnolia, Arkansas, 1997; street trees, self absorbed; tree planting,; Greenery Day, Himeji castle,; how to plant a tree,

Friday's celebrations

April 29th has a bunch of celebrations to consider:
National Arbor Day (last Friday of April) The first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872
International Dance Day
World Dance Day
National Shrimp Scampi Day

National Dream Hotline
Sense of Smell Day
Moment of Laughter Day

National Hairball Awareness Day (always the last Friday in April)
Zipper Day: Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American electrical engineer, of Hoboken, N.J. designed the modern zipper (1913).
The National World War II Memorial opens (on April 29, 2004 in Washington, D.C.), providing recognition for the 16 million U.S. men and women who served in the war. The memorial is located on 7.4 acres on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The Capitol dome is seen to the east, and Arlington Cemetery is just across the Potomac River to the west.
Rodney King trial verdict announced, 1992 / Riots erupt in Los Angeles and surrounding areas
Cyclone kills 135,000 in Bangladesh, 1991
Nixon announces release of White House Watergate tapes, 1974
First flight by African-American Astronaut, Col. F. Gregory (1985)
Birthday - Dale Earnhardt (racer)

Birthday - Jerry Seinfeld Birthday: 1954 (Happy 57th!)
Christian Feast Day: honoring saints
St. Catherine of Siena's Day (patron of Italy; against fire)

The ninth day of Ridván (Bahá'í Faith)
Marriages Permitted Again - April 29th; In the Middle Ages, marriages have been frowned upon during Lent and thought to be unlucky, but were permitted again after Easter Sunday under the old calendar. Since May marriages are unlucky ("Marry in April when you can, Joy for maiden and man; Marry in the month of May, You will surely rue the day" according to an old rhyme), take advantage of the last days of April if you're in a hurry to tie the knot!
National Persian Gulf Day (Iran)
Cassé Canari ou Wèt mô nan d'lo (Haiti)
The beginning of Arita Ceramic Fair (Arita, Saga, Japan)
Shōwa Day, traditionally the start of the Golden Week holiday period (Japan)
Emperor's Birthday (Japan) 
Midori no hi (Greenery Day, Japan) Between 1989 and 2006 it was celebrated on April 29th. In 2007 Greenery Day was moved to May 4th. The present observation of Greenery Day as a national holiday in Japan stems from the celebration of the Emperor Shōwa's birthday on April 29th every year during the Shōwa era. The name of the holiday was changed from "Birthday of the Emperor" to "Greenery Day." As its name suggests, it is a day to commune with nature and to be thankful for blessings. The day was renamed to "Greenery Day" to acknowledge the controversial wartime emperor's love for plants without directly mentioning his name. However, in practice it is seen as just another day that expands the Japanese Golden Week vacation. In 2007, Greenery Day moved to May 4th, and April 29th was changed to Shōwa Day.
Cheng Cheng Kung Landing Day (Taiwan, 1661)
Hari Raya Haji Day (Singapore)
Ming loyalist Koxinga's Landing (Taiwan)
Birthday of Sultan of Terengganu (Malaysia)

Koninginnedag/Queen's Night (Netherlands)
(Photo credits: tree,; Shrimp Scampi, dangerous and; laughter, daily spiritual; National World War II Memorial,; Jerry Seinfeld,; Middle Age marriages,; Greenery Day, Himeji castle,; Dancing people dressed in orange on the canals of Amsterdam during Queen's Day in 2007)