Saturday, November 07, 2015

Today -100: November 7, 1915: Of fires, saxonias, violent electrical waves, kitcheners, and lambs

A factory building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn burns down, killing at least a dozen people. As in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, there were too few fire escapes and insufficient fireproofing of stairways. The owners, who had been ordered to rectify this 3 months ago, are arrested. Also, naturally, the door to the emergency stairway was locked on the 4th floor - all the deaths were from people on the 4th and 5th floor. The building housed a candy factory and two shirt factories, but it is not yet known where the fire started. Today the site is home to a vintage clothing store, because Brooklyn.

The Cunard liner Saxonia turns away 900 Irishmen who’d bought tickets for the US, following strenuous objections from Liverpool mobs to these able-bodied men evading military service (even though there is no conscription yet). This will be Cunard policy now, and White Star will follow suit in a couple of days.

Nikola Tesla thinks the Nobel Prize he is reported (wrongly) to be receiving must be for his discovery of the means to transmit electricity without wires, which he believes will change the world and make the deserts bloom and so on. “I also believe that ultimately all battles, if they should come, will be waged by electrical waves instead of explosives.”

Lord Kitchener will tour the eastern front, leading to rumors that he is resigning as secretary of war. He isn’t, but it may well be that his cabinet colleagues thought it would be a good idea to get him somewhere where he can’t do too much damage like the Balkans and, hey, Herb, maybe you should check out the action in Egypt too, as long as you’re heading in that direction anyway, take your time.

The Lamb, Douglas Fairbanks’ first movie, is released.

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