On This Day: April 15th
April 15th might be a normal day for you in 2019, but previously, April 15th has been fraught with tension, fear and invention. In this blog, we will be delving into the past to discover what happened on April 15th in years passed.
In 1755, Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in London. This dictionary was incredibly influential and signalled the beginning of a new era for written communication in the English Language.
Before Johnson’s dictionary, language was less constrained by the rules we use today. For example, there is no single spelling of the word ‘sword’ in the text The Faerie Queene, published around 1590. Instead, you will find spellings such as swerd, as well as the variant we use today, sword. There is also often an extra ‘e’ attached to the end of words like ‘ear’, and even the doubling of letters in the same word – like spelling ‘martiall’ instead of ‘martial’. Though for the people of the time it wouldn’t be strange at all, they may even regard our spelling as having a strange case of ‘singling’ letters.
Spelling wasn’t always consistent before Johnson’s Dictionary was released, but since its publication, we have seen a culmination of new rules in spelling and grammar that weren’t present centuries ago. Back then, spelling needed to be legible and understood. Nowadays, to spell Cornwall as ‘Cornewaile’ would lead to confusion. For this, we have the popularity of the dictionary to be thankful.
This was the year that the first telephone ever was installed in Boston-Somerville in Massachusetts, America. This phone was created by the Bell Company, and the year prior to this, the first long-distance call between Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA) was made by Bell himself. You can read more about the invention of the phone on our blog.
The mobile phone is an invention that has become an important factor of modern human interaction across the globe. It allows us to stay in touch with loved ones whilst far away, and to contact emergency services in dangerous situations for immediate remediation. Many people use mobile phones for work but upgrading them can lead to the issue of how to dispose of them safely. You don’t want to be left with the worry that any confidential data could be illegally lifted after you’ve thrown your device. For reverse logistics services or safe IT asset disposal, you can bring your electronics to us for a deep deletion that is safe and eco-friendly.
Inventor Thomas Edison expanded his enterprises to create the Edison Portland Cement Company. Edison had some rather imaginative concepts for the uses of cement, including concrete furniture, fridges and even pianos. While we don’t see many of these today, the use of concrete has grown exponentially, proving Edison’s investment to be a sound one. Sadly, his company was lost to the Great Depression in the 1920s.
April 15th this year saw the tragic sinking of the Titanic, which took place over two hours and forty minutes, starting at twenty-minutes to midnight on April 14th, finally taking the plunge in the early hours of April 15th. One issue facing the Titanic was the failing communication technology which caused some of the final transmissions from the ship to be rendered un-intelligible. Whilst the hubris present in the tragedy of the Titanic is not something that humanity can profess to have left behind just yet, our technological improvements are making waves to minimise the risks of such a horrific tale occurring again any time soon.
This was a joyous year for April 15th, seeing the world’s first all-colour TV station in Chicago. The WNBQ-TV. This was the beginning of a long chain of TV stations turning to colour, and it signalled a brighter future for entertainment and technology.
April 15th has been a day of tragedy, but it has also been full of invention. Johnson’s dictionary allowed us to record our language, followed by Bell’s phone which allows us to transmit those words across the ocean. It might be strange to think that there are only 112 years between the publication of the dictionary and the first telephone installation, but it’s also quite empowering to think that a hundred years from now our technology could be more advanced than we could ever imagine.