20 February-Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an escaped African-American slave. He escaped from slavery in the state of Maryland on September 3rd 1838. Following his escape Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement in America.  He travelled first to New York and later settled in Massachusetts. In the years following his escape he travelled the northern states to speak at rallies demanding the abolition of slavery.

In 1845 Douglass visited Ireland, where he met Daniel O Connell. He gave lectures, which were very popular, in several locations across Ireland. In a letter to the abolitionist William Garrison, Douglass wrote: I have travelled almost from the hill of Howth to the Giant’s Causeway and from the Giant’s Causeway to Cape Clear. Plaques in Waterford and Cork commemorate visits by Douglass to those cities.

During his travels Douglass spoke at meetings in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Wexford and Waterford. He described the great sense of freedom which he felt while visiting Ireland. “I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breathe, and lo! The chattel becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult”.

Frederick Douglass, who was an escaped African-American slave, died in Washington DC in the year 1895 On This Day.




28 September-Pasteur

The town of Dole in France was twinned with the town of Carlow in Ireland in 1992. Dole which is the birthplace of scientist Louis Pasteur lies in the Dijon Region of eastern France. The twinning of the two towns was arranged under the European Town Twinning project. The European Parliament established the Town Twinning scheme in 1989. The aim of the project is to foster new links between local authorities and local communities in Europe.

Louis Pasteur was a chemist and microbiologist who came up with a process that destroyed the bacteria which caused the souring of wine, beer and milk. The process, which is known as pasteurisation involves heating liquid food and then allowing it to cool. Pasteur was also responsible for the creation of vaccines for anthrax, rabies, cholera, TB and smallpox. Often referred to as the ‘father of microbiology’ the discoveries made by Pasteur are responsible for saving countless lives.

Having attended secondary school in Besançon about 50km from Dole, Louis Pasteur graduated with a baccalauréat (BA) degree from the Collège Royal de Besançon in 1840. He was awarded a doctorate from the École Normale in Paris in 1847. Having spent some time doing research and teaching at Dijon Lycée, Pasteur was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in 1848. He was appointed professor of Physics and Chemistry at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1862 and established the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1887.

Louis Pasteur, a chemist and microbiologist who came up with a process that destroyed the bacteria which caused the souring of wine, beer and milk (pasteurisation), died aged 72 in the year 1895 On This Day.


Sorcha’s Birthday


31 August-von Zeppelin

Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship in which the structure is supported by a framework usually made of aluminium. They are named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who was a native of Germany.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born in Konstanz, Grand Duchy of Baden on July 8th 1838. He served as army officer from 1855 to 1890. In 1895 he was given a patent for his navigable balloon. He made his first flight in a ‘lighter than air’ aircraft over Lake Constance on July 2nd 1900.

Over 100 Zeppelins were used during World War I. However the widespread use of Zeppelins came to an end with Hindenburg Disaster in 1939.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, designer and manufacturer of airships, was granted a patent for his navigable balloon in the year 1895 On This Day.




09 February-Volleyball

Volleyball is a game played by two teams separated by a net. Each team consists of six players. A point is scored when a team successfully grounds the ball in the court of the other team. The game which was invented in the USA was, at first called Mintonette. Volleyball is now an international sport.

William George Morgan invented volleyball as indoor sport for businessmen in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895. He was at the time physical education director with the Young Men’s Christian Association. The game spread rapidly throughout the United States. It was introduced to Europe by American soldiers during World War I. Volleyball was first played at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.

Volleyball was created in the USA by William Morgan in the year 1895 On This Day.





08 November-X-Ray

Wilhelm Röntgen was a German physicist who discovered X-rays. His discovery brought about a revolution in diagnostic medicine. For his discovery Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born in Lennep (now Remscheid), Rhine Province, Germany on March 27th 1845. He was educated at technical school in Utrecht. Having failed to gain entry to the University of Utrecht he studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. He graduated with a PhD in 1869.

In 1874 Röntgen was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg. He was appointed as Professor of Physics at the same institution in 1876. He later served as Professor of Physics at the Universities of Giessen (1879–88), Würzburg (1888–1900) and Munich (1900–20). Röntgen carried out research on various subjects including elasticity, the conduction of heat in crystals and the absorption of heat by various gases.

During 1895 Röntgen was observing what occurred when and electric current was passed through a gas of extremely low pressure. His experiments led him to discover new and different kind of rays. During an experiment in November 1895 he discovered that the rays made certain objects seem transparent. He called the new rays, X-Rays because at the time their nature was not known. The first X-Ray Röntgen took was of his wife’s hand. He died at the age of 77 on February 10th 1923.

Wilhelm Röntgen produced the first medical X-Ray in the year 1895 On This Day.

Image from page 601 of “American X-ray journal” (1899) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1899-01-01 00:00:00

X-Ray by Dreaming in the deep south on 2012-04-25 16:03:05