The U.S. Patent Office issues a patent for the Spalding Adding Machine. The precursor of calculators and computers, mechanical adding machines could do simple arithmetic and were popular in businesses until supplanted by computers in the 1960s.
Amelia Earhart becomes the first person, man or woman, to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
Glenn Curtiss flies the first flying boat, a pusher with a canard surface.
The world’s first underground railway service opened in London, the Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon. Approximately 40,000 Londoners ride the trains the first day.
W.K. Dickson, an employee of Thomas Edison’s movie studio, receives a copyright for a motion picture film. The 5 second demonstration was a 47-frame film showing a man sneezing. This man, Fred Ott, is now most famously known for having this sneeze recorded in film. “Fred Ott’s Sneeze” is the earliest surviving film to receive a copyright in the United States. While technically a copyright for a film had been granted to Edison’s studio in the previous year, the records for what film it was have been lost.
January 5, 1948
The first color newsreel seen by movie theater audiences in the United States is presented, showing clips from the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football game, shot just 4 days earlier. The entire newsreel is available on YouTube, although inexplicably, the date listed on the video states 1940.
Construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.
January 4, 1972
Hewlett-Packard introduces the first handheld scientific calculator, the HP-35. The precision of the calculator was greater than most mainframe computers of its time. For such a technological achievement, the name of the calculator is simply derived from the fact that it has 35 buttons. I wonder if they had to use the calculator to figure that out.