Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today -100: December 10, 1914: Of fires, poles, and falklands

Thomas Edison’s factory and labs burn down. The fire started with an explosion in the film finishing building.  Edison blames the West Orange Water Company for lacking sufficient water pressure.  His workers (and wife) rescue what they can, including patent documents.

Rep. C. B. Smith (D-NY), former chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, wants to annex the North Pole.

The American Red Cross decides to limit its work in Europe to caring for sick and wounded soldiers.  Suck it, civilians.

An Allied airplane (whose country of origin is for some reason not mentioned) bombs a German pontoon bridge in Belgium, then mocks the German soldiers shooting at it by flying loop-the-loops.

The British Navy sinks four German cruisers and damages two others trying to raid a coaling station on the Falkland Islands. These were most of the few German ships which were on the high seas at the start of the war.  2,200 sailors German die, including Admiral Maximilian von Spee and two of his sons, both lieutenants.  Admiral “Blinker” Hall, head of British Naval Intelligence, later claimed to have sent Spee a fake order by wireless, using broken/salvaged German naval codes, to mount the raid, which is probably not true, though the codes were used three months later to locate and sink the Dresden, a light cruiser which escaped the Battle of the Falklands.

The British do enjoy sinking shit off the Falklands.

Leo Frank is sentenced to be hanged on January 22.

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