Fun Facts for Today – January 18

January 18

It’s Thesaurus Day and Winnie the Pooh Day


0350 General Magnentius deposes Roman Emperor Constans and proclaims himself Emperor
1486 King Henry VII of England marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV
1535 Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, the capital of Peru
1670 Pirate Captain Henry Morgan defeats the Spanish and captures Panama
1773 The first polar bear is exhibited in the US
1778 Captain Cook discovers what he called the Sandwich Islands but the natives called Hawaii
1788 The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay
1861 Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in seceding from the US
1886 The Hockey Association was formed in England – field hockey, that is
1896 The x-ray machine was exhibited for the first time
1911 The first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place in San Francisco Harbor
1919 Bentley Motors Limited is founded
1929 Walter Winchell made his debut on radio
1936 The first live giant panda to be seen outside China was brought to the US
1940 Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday opens in the US
1943 In Poland the first Jewish uprising against Nazis occurs in the Warsaw Ghetto
1943 The US bans the sale of pre-sliced bread for the duration of World War II
1944 The seige of Lenningrad, in the USSR, by the Germans ends after over two years
1945 The Budapest ghetto is liberated by the Red Army
1948 The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour debuts on the Dumont TV network
1950 The federal tax on oleomargarine was repealed
1964 The Incredible Mr. Limpet starring Don Knotts opens the US
1964 The plans for the World Trade Center in New York City are announced
1964 The Beatles make their first appearance on the Billboard charts with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which debuted at #35
1973 Pink Floyd began recording “Dark Side of the Moon”
1974 The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors premieres on ABC-TV
1975 The Jeffersons make their debut on CBS-TV
1975 Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago officially declares today Bobby Vinton Day
1977 Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA first announced that they had sufficient laboratory evidence to implicate a bacterium as the cause of Legionnaire’s Disease
1981 Wendy O. Williams, of the punk band The Plasmatics, is arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity
1985 The Coen Brothers first directorial effort, Blood Simple, opens in the US
1986 The AIDS charity record “That’s What Friends are For” hits #1 on the Billboard charts
1994 The US Department of Energy announced production of solar panels giving nearly twice the efficiency of existing panels
1996 Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson


1779 Peter Mark Roget, physician, who, in 1814, invented a “log-log” slide rule for calculating the roots and powers of numbers and upon retirement, from age 61 to 73, produced his famous Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1852)
1782 Daniel Webster, statesman / US Secretary of State (1841-1843, 1850-52)
1799 Joseph Dixon, inventor and manufacturer who pioneered the industrial use of graphite and whose company produced the first pencil made in the US
1813 Joseph Farwell Glidden, farmer who developed the design for the first commercial barbed wire
1825 Sir Edward Frankland, chemist who was one of the first investigators in the field of structural chemistry, invented the chemical bond, and became known as the “Father of Valency”
1854 Thomas Augustus Watson, telephone pioneer and shipbuilder, one of the original organizers of the Bell Telephone Company
1861 Hans Goldschmidt, chemist who invented the thermite (alumino-thermic) process which was adopted worldwide for welding railroad and streetcar rails, and is still in use for on-site welding
1882 A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh and all of his friends in the 100 Aker Woods
1888 Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, aircraft pioneer whose firm was famous for British WWI military aircraft
1892 Oliver Hardy, actor (Bonnie Scotland, Sons of the Desert)
1904 Cary Grant [Archibald Leach], actor (Arsenic and Old Lace, Topper, Charade)
1908 Jacob Bronowski, mathematician and man of letters who eloquently presented the case for the humanistic aspects of science
1913 Danny Kaye, actor (The Kid from Brooklyn, The Court Jester)
1920 Constance Moore, actress (Buck Rogers, Charlie McCarthy, Detective)
1921 Belding H. Scribner, physician who invented the Scribner shunt, making long-term kidney dialysis possible
1922 Bob Bell, Bozo the Clown
1933 Ray Dolby, physicist, engineer, and inventor of the Dolby Noise Reduction Systems
1933 Dr. David Bellamy, botanist, author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner, and a global warming sceptic
1933 John Boorman, director (Excalibur, Hope and Glory, The Emerald Forest)
1934 Raymond Briggs, illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author (The Snowman, When the Wind Blows, The Bear)
1941 Bobby Goldsboro, singer / entertainer (The Bobby Goldsboro Show, “Honey”)
1941 David Ruffin, singer (The Temptations)
1943 Paul Freeman, actor (New Street Law, Hot Fuzz, Without a Clue)
1944 “Legs” Larry Smith, musician (The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band)
1947 Takeshi Kitano, actor / writer / director (Boiling Point, Violent Cop)
1955 Kevin Costner, Academy Award-winning director / actor (Dances with Wolves, Fandango)
1961 Jeff Yagher, actor (V, Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly)
1962 Alison Arngrim, actress (Little House on the Prairie, For the Love of May)
1963 Jane Horrocks, actress (Little Voice, Absolutely Fabulous)
1968 Frank Quitely [Vincent Deighan], comic book artist (Judge Dredd Megazine, Batman: The Scottish Connection, Sandman: Endless Nights)
1983 Samantha Mumba, singer / actress (The Time Machine, Nailed)


1865 James Beaumont Neilson, inventor who introduced the use of a hot-air blast instead of a cold-air blast for the smelting of iron, dies at 72
1873 Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, originator of the now infamous line “It was a dark and stormy night”, dies at 69
1908 Herman Snellen, ophthalmologist whose Snellen Chart imprinted with lines of black letters is used for testing visual acuity, dies at 73
1923 Wallace Reid, actor (Excuse My Dust, The Birth of a Nation), dies of influenza at 31
1936 Rudyard Kipling, author / poet / recipient of Nobel Prize for Literature (1907), dies at 70
1952 Jerome “Curly” Howard, Stooge (Disorder in the Court, Three Little Beers), dies at 51
1954 Sydney Greenstreet, actor (The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Woman in White), dies at 74
1966 Kathleen Norris, author (Rose of the World, My Best Girl), dies at 85
1968 Bert Wheeler, actor / vaudevillian (Diplomaniacs, Hips, Hips, Hooray!), dies at 72
1972 George Mitchell, actor (Kid Galahad, Face of the Screaming Werewolf), dies at 66
1980 Cecil Beaton, 3-time Academy Award-winning set & costume designer (My Fair Lady, Gigi), dies at 76
1982 Trent Lehman, child actor (Nanny and the Professor), commits suicide by hanging at 20
1985 Wilfrid Brambell, actor (Steptoe and Son, A Hard Day’s Night), dies at 72
1995 Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, biochemist who was the co-winner (with Leopold Ruzicka) of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1939) for pioneering work on sex hormones, primarily the isolation of estrone, dies at 91

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *