1860

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"Cry Havoc!" Lincoln Wins a Smaller Union

With the slogan of "Free labor, Free Land, Free men," Abraham Lincoln becomes the first Republican to win the presidency. Voter turnout is 81.2% the second largest turnout in history. It is a clear victory for the anti-slavery vote. Lincoln had three opponents, but if you combine all of their electoral votes, Lincoln still wins. Seven states threaten to leave the Union before Lincoln can take office. Since inauguration day is March 4th, 1861, there is still time to pull everyone back from the brink, but you already know how that is going to turn out. South Carolina begins the break this year. Calls for Lincoln to take the role of commander-in-chief before taking office will go unheeded. Lincoln is about compromise, so he quietly supports the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution that would (amongst other things) protect slavery from being abolished in the current slave states... FOREVER. The Senate will pass the amendment before inauguration day and send it out to the states for ratification. It will be unsuccessful. The wheels are coming off this little wagon train and there is nothing anyone can do about it. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
No one wants to hear this but Lincoln was perfectly willing to leave every slave in torment unto death if that would preserve the Union. He didn't like slavery and he ran on a platform to limit slavery and to call it bad, but NOT to abolish slavery. Here is the relevant passage from Abraham Lincoln's inaugural address of 1861...
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that... "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." [5]

Folgers in Your Cup

Benjamin Franklin's mother was Abiah Folger. As families go, the Folgers have an impressive pedigree. How coffee came into the picture is a matter of chance. During the California Gold Rush, the family agreed to pay passage for three boys to seek their fortunes in California. (A 14-year-old and a 15-year-old qualify as boys, right? Their older brother is 20.) Unfortunately, they don't have enough money to pay for the entire trip, so the youngest, James Folger, stays behind in San Francisco. Luckily, the Pioneer Coffee and Spice Company needs some carpentry work done, so James applies for the job. He builds a coffee and spice mill for them, and stays on as a clerk and salesman. He earns enough money to join his brothers in panning for gold but he agrees to take along samples of coffee and to take orders. When he returns he is in the coffee business and business is booming. This year James Folger becomes a full partner in the firm. He is 24 years old. He will eventually buy out his partners and rename the company J.A. Folger and Company. He will run the company reasonably well, and his children will run it even better. The apostrophe will be removed from the "Folger's Coffee" brand name when the company is bought out by Proctor and Gamble in 1963. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Having coffee roasted, ground, and ready to be brewed was a major innovation and a big time-saver when the only way you could make coffee was to buy raw coffee beans and roast them yourself. During a gold rush, people had more important things to do than spend all morning making coffee. Time is money. A few weeks ago I was getting on the bus when the bus driver warned me that I was not allowed to bring a coffee cup on the city bus. Apparently I might spill. I told him that coffee is so expensive now, the coffee company ought to come onto the bus and put the coffee cup into my hand for that price. And they should clean up any mess if someone should spill. Imagine that franchise. It is such a good idea, I am sure the government won't like it. It might make the ride on the city bus more tolerable and someone might make money at it. We sure can't have that.

FYI, on a sadder note, Abigail Folger, heir to the Folger fortune, was murdered in 1969 by Charles "Tex" Watson as part of the Charles Manson murders. Watson's next parole hearing is in November 2016. Mark your calendars. [8]

A Birdseye on Invention

Most automotive mechanics will recognize this innovation as a fan belt or a water pump belt, but at this time, the trapezoidal belt is used to power factory machinery. It is patented by Henry Underwood. In the Industrial Age most applications that require a transfer of power from a steam engine or a water wheel is performed through a series of gears or belts. Unfortunately, a belt will slip unless it has enough surface area to connect to the pulleys or drums to transfer that power. Up until this time that surface area was provided by wide belts that tended to flex and often break, resulting in serious injury or death. Underwood patented the idea of a v-shaped belt that not only provided the same surface area for transferring power but made the belt thicker, stronger and thus less likely to break. His invention appears in the April 1860 edition of Scientific American. [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Henry Underwood was the maternal grandfather of Clarence Birdseye Jr., the inventor of flash freezing that preserves the fresh taste and texture of foods. Clarence Birdseye was an adventurer and he liked to tell stories, so one must take his reports with a grain of salt. What is undeniable is that he inherited his inventive spirit from his Grandfather Underwood. In Birdseye's youth, he started a fox-breeding business in Labrador which, at the time, was a difficult place to live. There was no fresh food except fish, and frozen foods were always mushy and half destroyed when defrosted. He wanted to give his family good food, so he had to solve this problem. Through his experiments in food preservation he realized that the freezing process was taking so long that more crystals were forming. By freezing foods quickly and at lower temperatures, the damage to the texture of frozen foods was kept to a minimum and the taste was preserved. Eventually he patented the process, started a frozen food company and then sold the business to a larger company that eventually became General Foods. He made millions and the Birdseye brand lives on. [10] [11]

In Other News

  • Milton Bradley's "The Game of Life" is released. It looks like a checkerboard, so they call it "The Checkered Game of Life." It will morph into something more familiar in 1960. [12]
  • Linoleum is invented. Cork dust is added to make linseed oil less tacky as the whole mixture sets up like the surface skin over a bucket of paint. [13] [14]
  • Will Keith Kellogg is born in Battle Creek, Michigan. His brother, John, will invent corn flakes as a health food in 1894 and Will will set up the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company to sell it. [15] [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1860, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Alex Shrugged notes: Initial contributions provided by user: Jefferson-franklin.
  2. Julius Caesar (play) - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org (1599). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war. --Antony, scene 1.”
  3. United States presidential election, 1860 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “At most, a single opponent nationwide would only have deprived Lincoln of California and Oregon (both of which he only won via a plurality of the statewide vote), whose combined total of seven electoral votes would have made no difference to the result; every other state won by the Republicans was won by a clear majority of the vote.”
  4. Corwin Amendment - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would shield 'domestic institutions' of the states (which in 1861 included slavery) from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress.”
  5. Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses.. bartleby.com (1861). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that— I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
  6. Folgers - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 11 January 2016. “The precursor of the Folger Coffee Company was founded in 1850 in San Francisco, California, U.S., as the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. William H. Bovee, the owner of the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills, saw an opportunity to produce roasted and ground coffee ready for brewing. Before that, Californians had to purchase green coffee beans and roast and grind them on their own. To help build his mill, Bovee hired James A. Folger as a carpenter. James had arrived from Nantucket Island at the age of 15 with his two older brothers during the California Gold Rush.”
  7. Folgers Coffee History. Folgers Coffee (OFFICIAL SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “In the fall of 1849, the family sent James and his two older brothers to the West Coast to mine for gold. The Folger family had enough money to pay for their passage to San Francisco, but was unable to provide enough money for all three boys to travel from there to the mining towns. Therefore 15-year-old James remained in San Francisco to work for his travel costs while his older brothers proceeded to the mines.”
  8. Tex Watson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 January 2016. “His minimum eligible parole date was November 26, 1976, but he has been denied parole 14 times. Watson remains incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. His last hearing was in November 2011. He received a five-year denial, rather than a 7-10-15 year maximum. His next scheduled parole hearing is in November 2016.”
  9. Kurlansky, Mark. Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385535885. “Henry Underwood reasoned that the belts would stop slipping if they had more surfaces on the pulleys. So rather than a flat or rounded belt, he built a trapezoidal one to run in pulleys with angular grooves. It did not have the impact of electric lightbulbs or even frozen food, but it improved many machines and merited mention in Scientific American in its roundup of new inventions in April 1860, when Underwood patented his idea.” 
  10. Our History. Pinnacle Foods (OFFICIAL SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Innovator Clarence Birdseye invented the 'Quick Freeze Machine' in 1926, based on the principles of flash freezing he learned while traveling through the Arctic. Originally put to use on fish, it soon revolutionized the way Americans enjoyed fresh vegetables with the introduction of the Birds Eye® frozen vegetable brand.”
  11. Clarence Birdseye - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Conventional freezing methods of the time were commonly done at higher temperatures, and thus the freezing occurred much more slowly, giving ice crystals more time to grow. It is now known that fast freezing produces smaller ice crystals, which cause less damage to the tissue structure. When 'slow' frozen foods thaw, cellular fluids leak from the ice crystal-damaged tissue, giving the resulting food a mushy or dry consistency upon preparation. Birdseye solved this problem.”
  12. The Game of Life - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 28 July 2016. “The modern version was originally published 100 years later, in 1960. It was created and co-designed by toy and game designer Reuben Klamer[2] and was 'heartily endorsed' by Art Linkletter. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and an inductee into the National Toy Hall of Fame. It later spawned a book, The Game of Life: How to Succeed in Real Life No Matter Where You Land (Running Press), by Lou Harry.”
  13. Linoleum - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Between the time of its invention in 1860 and its being largely superseded by other hard floor coverings in the 1950s, linoleum was considered to be an excellent, inexpensive material for high-use areas.”
  14. 14.0 14.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 424-425. 
  15. Corn flakes - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 August 2016. “Corn flakes, or cornflakes, are a popular breakfast cereal made by toasting flakes of corn. The cereal was first created by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1894 as a food that he thought would be healthy for the patients of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan where he was superintendent.”

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