Fun Facts for Today – February 19

February 19

It’s National Chocolate Mint Day


1674 England and the Netherlands sign the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War; a provision of the agreement transfers the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, which renamed it New York
1807 Former US Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama; he was later tried and acquitted on charges of treason
1831 The first practical US coal-burning locomotive made its first trial run in Pennsylvania
1846 The Texas state government was formally installed in Austin
1855 M. Le Verrier presented the first weather map at the French Academy of Sciences
1856 The tintype camera was patented by Professor Hamilton L. Smith
1863 The first pipeline running from an oilfield to a refinery was completed at Oil Creek, PA
1878 Inventor Thomas Alva Edison patents his latest (and personal favorite) creation, the phonograph
1881 Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages
1915 During the First World War, the Battle of Gallipoli began
1922 William Faulkner completes Light in August
1922 Ed Wynn became the first big-name, vaudeville talent to sign on as a radio talent
1937 H.G. Wells’ the Man Who Could Work Miracles starring Roland Young and Ralph Richardson opens in the US
1941 Disney’s Technicolor feature Fantasia opens in Chicago, IL
1941 The Afrika Korps, the corps-level headquarters controlling the German Panzer divisions in North Africa, was formed
1942 US President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans
1942 The New York Yankees announced that they would admit 5,000 uniformed servicemen free to each of their home ball games during the coming season
1945 During World War II, about 30,000 US Marines landed on Iwo Jima
1959 Cyprus was granted its independence with the signing of an agreement with Britain, Turkey and Greece
1960 “The Family Circus” comic strip by Bil Keane debuted in newspapers
1963 The Soviet Union informed US President Kennedy it would withdraw “several thousand” of its troops in Cuba
1964 Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland wed
1970 Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart guest starred onn ABC-TV’s Bewitched
1971 In London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Paul McCartney’s lawsuit against his fellow ex-Beatles begins; McCartney’s suit seeks to remove Allen Klein as manager of the group’s financial affairs
1972 Sammy Davis Jr. makes his notorious guest appearance on CBS’ All In The Family, giving the show’s main character, white bigot Archie Bunker, a big kiss
1972 Paul McCartney released “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”; the song was immediately banned by the BBC
1974 KISS made thier TV debut on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert
1977 Fleetwood Mac releases their album “Rumours” in the US
1981 George Harrison was ordered to pay ABKCO Music the sum of $587,000 for “subconscious plagiarism” between his song, “My Sweet Lord” and the Chiffons “He’s So Fine”
1985 Cherry Coke was introduced by the Coca-Cola Company
1986 The U.S. Senate approved a treaty outlawing genocide; the pact had been submitted 37 years earlier for ratification
1986 The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station
1993 “Hail to the king, baby.” Army of Darkness starring Bruce Campbell opens in the US
1999 “Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler…” Office Space opens in the US

1473 Nicolas Copernicus, astronomer who proposed that the planets have the Sun as the fixed point to which their motions are to be referred; that the Earth is a planet which, besides orbiting the Sun annually, also turns once daily on its own axis; and that very slow, long-term changes in the direction of this axis account for the precession of the equinoxes
1526 Charles de L’Écluse, botanist who introduced the tulip to Holland
1626 Francesco Redi, physician and poet who demonstrated that the presence of maggots in putrefying meat does not result from spontaneous generation but from eggs laid on the meat by flies
1717 David Garrick, actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century
1789 Sir William Fairbairn, civil engineer who was first to use wrought iron for ships, bridges, mill shafts, and structural beams
1792 John Locke, geologist, surveyor and scientist who invented tools for surveyors, including a surveyor’s compass, a collimating level and a gravity escapement for regulator clocks
1804 Baron Karl Rokitansky, pathologist whose contributions helped to establish pathology as a recognised science
1859 Svante Arrhenius, physical chemist who was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered to the advancement of chemistry by his electrolytic theory of dissociation”
1873 John Reed Swanton, anthropologist who is recognized as the greatest authority upon ethnology, including the development of languages and civilization among men
1887 Paul Terry, animator and creator of Terrytoons characters Farmer Al Falfa (aka Farmer Grey), Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, Gandy Goose, Slippery Sam, Dinky Duck, Rudy Rooster and many more
1893 Sir Cedrick Hardwicke, actor (King Solomon’s Mines (1937), Rope, The Ten Commandments, Around the World in Eighty Days)
1895 Louis Calhern, actor (Executive Suite, The Prisoner of Zenda, Heaven Can Wait (1943), Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet)
1908 Susan Fleming, wife of Harpo Marx for 28 years
1910 William Grey Walter, neurologist who linked learning with a particular brain wave as revealed by measurements by electroencephalograph
1911 Merle Oberon, actor (The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Wuthering Heights)
1913 Frank Tashlin, writer/director/producer/animator (The Disorderly Orderly, Son of Paleface, Porky the Fireman)
1917 Carson McCullers, author (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding)
1917 John Fenton Murray, screenwriter (The Red Skelton Show, The Atomic Kid, Lidsville, The Bugaloos)
1924 Lee Marvin, Academy Award-winning actor (Cat Ballou, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Gorky Park, The Big Red One)
1930 John Frankenheimer, director (The Manchurian Candidate, Seconds, Prophecy, Ronin)
1940 Smokey Robinson, R&B and soul singer, producer, former record company executive, and songwriter (“The Tears of a Clown”, Shop Around”, “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”, “Going to a Go-Go”)
1946 Karen Silkwood, labor union activist and chemical technician
1952 Amy Tan, author (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses)
1955 Jeff Daniels, actor (The Purple Rose of Cairo, Something Wild, Speed, Pleasantville)
1956 Dave Wakeling, musician (The English Beat, General Public)
1957 Falco (Hans Hölzel), musician (“Rock me Amadeus”, “Der Kommissar”)
1957 Ray Winstone, actor (Sexy Beast, Beowulf, Nil by Mouth, Robin of Sherwood)
1960 Prince Andrew, Duke of York, member of the British Royal Family, the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II
1960 Leslie Ash, actress (Quadrophenia, Men Behaving Badly, C.A.T.S. Eyes)
1963 Seal, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter (“Kiss from a Rose”, “Fly Like an Eagle”)
1963 Laurell K. Hamilton, author best known for her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series
1966 Justine Bateman, actress (Family Ties, Men in Trees)
1967 Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award-winning actor (Traffic, The Usual Suspects, Sin City)

1897 Karl Weierstrass, mathematician who is known as the “father of modern analysis” for his rigor in analysis led to the modern theory of functions, and considered one of the greatest mathematics teachers of all-time, dies at 81
1916 Ernst Mach, physicist and philosopher who established important principles of optics, mechanics, and wave dynamics, dies at 78
1936 Billy Mitchell, American general who is regarded as the father of the US Air Force, dies at 56
1969 Madge Blake, actress (Batman, Brigadoon, Singin’ in the Rain), dies at 69
1980 Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC, died in London at the age of 33 as a result of choking on his own vomit after drinking heavily
1983 Alice White, actress (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1928), Flamingo Road), dies at 78
1988 André F. Cournand, physician and physiologist who was one of three who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning heart catheterization and pathological changes in the circulatory system”, dies at 92
1990 Michael Powell, director, screenwriter, producer (The Thief of Bagdad (1940), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale), dies at 84
1998 Grandpa Jones, country music entertainer (Hee Haw, The Grand Ole Opry), dies at 84
2001 Stanley Kramer, director/producer (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, On the Beach, The Defiant Ones, Judgment at Nuremberg), dies at 87
2003 James Hardy, surgeon who headed teams that performed the first human lung transplant in 1963; the first animal-to-human heart transplant in 1964; and a double-lung transplant that left the heart in place in 1987, dies at 84

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