1845 – The first issue of Scientific American magazine is published.
Scientific American (informally abbreviated SciAm) is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles in the past 170 years. It is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States.
Scientific American was founded by inventor and publisher Rufus M. Porter in 1845 as a four-page weekly newspaper. Throughout its early years, much emphasis was placed on reports of what was going on at the U.S. Patent Office. It also reported on a broad range of inventions including perpetual motion machines, an 1860 device for buoying vessels by Abraham Lincoln, and the universal joint which now can be found in nearly every automobile manufactured. Current issues include a “this date in history” section, featuring excerpts from articles originally published 50, 100, and 150 years earlier. Topics include humorous incidents, wrong-headed theories, and noteworthy advances in the history of science and technology.
Porter sold the publication to Alfred Ely Beach and Orson Desaix Munn a mere ten months after founding it. Until 1948, it remained owned by Munn & Company. Under Munn’s grandson, Orson Desaix Munn III, it had evolved into something of a “workbench” publication, similar to the twentieth-century incarnation of Popular Science.
In the years after World War II, the magazine fell into decline. In 1948, three partners who were planning on starting a new popular science magazine, to be called The Sciences, purchased the assets of the old Scientific American instead and put its name on the designs they had created for their new magazine. Thus the partners—publisher Gerard Piel, editor Dennis Flanagan, and general manager Donald H. Miller, Jr.—essentially created a new magazine. Miller retired in 1979, Flanagan and Piel in 1984, when Gerard Piel’s son Jonathan became president and editor; circulation had grown fifteen-fold since 1948. In 1986, it was sold to the Holtzbrinck group of Germany, which has owned it since.
In the fall of 2008, Scientific American was put under the control of Nature Publishing Group, a division of Holtzbrinck.
Donald Miller died in December 1998, Gerard Piel in September 2004 and Dennis Flanagan in January 2005. Mariette DiChristina is the current editor-in-chief, after John Rennie stepped down in June 2009.
Scientific American published its first foreign edition in 1890, the Spanish-language La America Cientifica. Publication was suspended in 1905, and another 63 years would pass before another foreign-language edition appeared: In 1968, an Italian edition, Le Scienze, was launched, and a Japanese edition, Nikkei Science (日経サイエンス), followed three years later. A new Spanish edition, Investigación y Ciencia was launched in Spain in 1976, followed by a French edition, Pour la Science, in France in 1977, and a German edition, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, in Germany in 1978. A Russian edition V Mire Nauki was launched in the Soviet Union in 1983, and continues in the present-day Russian Federation. Kexue (科学, “Science” in Chinese), a simplified Chinese edition launched in 1979, was the first Western magazine published in the People’s Republic of China. Founded in Chongqing, the simplified Chinese magazine was transferred to Beijing in 2001. Later in 2005, a newer edition, Global Science (环球科学), was published instead of Kexue, which shut down due to financial problems. A traditional Chinese edition, known as 科學人 (“Scientist” in Chinese), was introduced to Taiwan in 2002. The Hungarian edition Tudomány existed between 1984 and 1992. In 1986, an Arabic edition, Oloom magazine (مجلة العلوم), was published. In 2002, a Portuguese edition was launched in Brazil.
Today, Scientific American publishes 18 foreign-language editions around the globe: Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian (discontinued after 15 issues), Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.
From 1902 to 1911, Scientific American supervised the publication of the Encyclopedia Americana, which during some of that period was known as The Americana.
It originally styled itself “The Advocate of Industry and Enterprise” and “Journal of Mechanical and other Improvements”. On the front page of the first issue was the engraving of “Improved Rail-Road Cars”. The masthead had a commentary as follows:
Scientific American published every Thursday morning at No. 11 Spruce Street, New York, No. 16 State Street, Boston, and No. 2l Arcade Philadelphia, (The principal office being in New York) by Rufus Porter. Each number will be furnished with from two to five original Engravings, many of them elegant, and illustrative of New Inventions, Scientific Principles, and Curious Works; and will contain, in high addition to the most interesting news of passing events, general notices of progress of Mechanical and other Scientific Improvements; American and Foreign. Improvements and Inventions; Catalogues of American Patents; Scientific Essays, illustrative of the principles of the sciences of Mechanics, Chemistry, and Architecture: useful information and instruction in various Arts and Trades; Curious Philosophical Experiments; Miscellaneous Intelligence, Music and Poetry. This paper is especially entitled to the patronage of Mechanics and Manufactures, being the only paper in America, devoted to the interest of those classes; but is particularly useful to farmers, as it will not only appraise them of improvements in agriculture implements, But instruct them in various mechanical trades, and guard them against impositions. As a family newspaper, it will convey more useful intelligence to children and young people, than five times its cost in school instruction. Another important argument in favor of this paper, is that it will be worth two dollars at the end of the year when the volume is complete, (Old volumes of the New York Mechanic, being now worth double the original cost, in cash.) Terms: The Scientific American will be furnished to subscribers at $2.00 per annum, – one dollar in advance, and the balance in six months. Five copies will be sent to one address six months for four dollars in advance. Any person procuring two or more subscribers, will be entitled to a commission of 25 cents each.
The commentary under the illustration gives the flavor of its style at the time:
There is perhaps no mechanical subject, in which improvement has advanced so rapidly, within the last ten years, as that of railroad passenger cars. Let any person contrast the awkward and uncouth cars of ’35 with the superbly splendid long cars now running on several of the eastern roads, and he will find it difficult to convey to a third party, a correct idea of the vast extent of improvement. Some of the most elegant cars of this class, and which are of a capacity to accommodate from sixty to eighty passengers, and run with a steadiness hardly equaled by a steamboat in still water, are manufactured by Davenport & Bridges, at their establishment in Cambridgeport, Mass. The manufacturers have recently introduced a variety of excellent improvements in the construction of trucks, springs, and connections, which are calculated to avoid atmospheric resistance, secure safety and convenience, and contribute ease and comfort to passengers, while flying at the rate of 30 or 40 miles per hour.
Also in the first issue is commentary on Signor Muzio Muzzi’s proposed device for aerial navigation.
1859 – Matilda Howell, American archer (d. 1938)
Lida Scott Howell (August 28, 1859 – December 20, 1938) was an American female archer who competed in the early twentieth century. She won three gold medals in Archery at the 1904 Summer Olympics in Missouri in the double national and Columbia rounds and for the US team.
Her father, Thomas Scott, is the oldest archer ever to have competed in the Olympics.
Beginning and Career:
Lida Scott was born in 1859. Her father was Thomas Foster Scott. She was an American archer who competed at the 1904 Summer Olympics. She was born in Warren, Ohio. Scott appeared as a competitor for the United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics, representing the Cincinnati Archers and competing in both the women’s double York round and the women’s double American round. The events were both held on September 19, 1904. In the women’s double American round, Scott was one of 22 competitors. She ranked in seventeenth place with a score of 562, hitting 135 targets across three phases, 40 yards, 50 yards, and 60 yards. The women’s double York round, where Scott was one of sixteen competitors, saw her rank in thirteenth place, having accumulated a score of 375, having managed to hit 99 targets again across three phases, this time 60 yards, 80 yards, and 100 yards. Scott, who competed in the events at the age of 71 years and 260 days, holds the distinction of being the oldest person to compete in an archery event at the Olympics. As of 2013, he is still the oldest.
Archery was an event in five of the earliest Olympics and, as it had been an acceptable leisure sport for upper class women for a long time, they were allowed to participate. America’s first female gold medalist in archery was Lida Scott. Lida Scott became interested in archery around 1878. It was a result of articles she had read that were written by Maurice Thompson. In 1881, she won the Ohio State archery championship. She repeated her victory in 1882. In the spring of 1883 she married Millard C. Howell and also won her first national championship. Her dedication to the sport continued and by 1907, she had won seventeen national titles. She competed in archery at the St Louis Olympic Games in 1904, winning two gold medals. Her score for the national round archery was 620 and for Columbia round archery, 867. Her scores in the 1895 championship set records which were not broken until 1931 – 36 years later. As an archer, she was clearly a woman ahead of her time. In 1904 a reporter from the Cincinnati Times Star interviewed Mrs. Howell after winning her 15th championship. When asked why she preferred archery over other sports, she replied, “Archery is a picturesque game, the range with its smooth green and distant glowing target with its gold and radiating red, blue, black, and white, the white-garbed players, with graceful big bows and flying arrows, makes a beautiful picture.” The reporter commented that the love of archery with her is surely inborn. She retired from National Competition in 1907. After the 1920 Olympics, archery was discontinued until 1972 due to a lack of standardized international rules.
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