1869 – The Mount Washington Cog Railway opens, making it the world’s first mountain-climbing rack railway.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway (rack-and-pinion railway). The railway is still in operation, climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA. It uses a Marsh rack system and one or two steam locomotives and six biodiesel powered locomotives to carry tourists to the top of the mountain. Its track is built to 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm) gauge, which is technically a narrow gauge, as it is a 1⁄2-inch (12.7 mm) less than 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge.
It is the second steepest rack railway in the world after the Pilatus railway, with an average grade of over 25% and a maximum grade of 37.41%. The railway is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long and ascends Mt. Washington’s western slope beginning at an elevation of approximately 2,700 feet (820 m) above sea level and ending just short of the mountain’s summit peak of 6,288 feet (1,917 m). The train ascends the mountain at 2.8 miles per hour (4.5 km/h) and descends at 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h). It takes approximately 65 minutes to ascend and 40 minutes to descend although the diesel can go up in as little as 37 minutes.
Most of the Mount Washington Cog Railway is in Thompson and Meserve’s Purchase, with the part of the railway nearest to Mt. Washington’s summit being in Sargent’s Purchase.
The railway was built by Sylvester Marsh who grew up in Campton. Marsh came up with the idea while climbing the mountain in 1852. His plan was treated as insane. Local tradition says that the state legislature voted permission based on a consensus that harm resulting from operating it was no issue — since the design was attempting the impossible — but benefits were guaranteed. He was putting up $5,000 of his own money, and that (plus whatever else he could raise) would be spent locally, including building the Fabyan House hotel at nearby Fabyan Station to accommodate the expected tourists. The railway is sometimes called “Railway to the Moon” because one state legislator remarked during the proceedings that Marsh should be given a charter—not merely up Mount Washington but also to the moon.
Marsh obtained a charter for the road on June 25, 1858, but the American Civil War prevented any action until May 1866. He developed a prototype locomotive and a short demonstration section of track, then found investors and started construction.
Despite the railroad’s incomplete state, the first paying customers started riding on August 14, 1868, and the construction reached the summit in July 1869. The early locomotives all had vertical boilers, like many stationary steam engines of the time; the boilers were mounted on trunnions allowing them to be held vertically no matter what the gradient of the track. Later designs introduced horizontal boilers, slanted so that they remain close to horizontal on the steeply graded track.
In August 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant visited New England to escape the Washington heat. During his tour he rode the cog railway to the top of Mount Washington.
Running the Railway
Sylvester Marsh died in 1884 and control of the Cog passed to the Concord & Montreal Railroad, which ran it until 1889 when the Boston & Maine Railroad took over.
Control by the Teagues began in 1931 when Col. Henry N. Teague bought the Cog. He died in 1951, and Arthur S. Teague became general manager, then gained ownership in 1961. (Arthur Teague was the colonel’s protégé but no relation.) After he died in 1967, the ownership passed to his wife Ellen Crawford Teague who ran the Cog as the world’s first woman president of a railway. In 1983, Mrs. Teague sold the railway to a group of New Hampshire businessmen. Since 1986, the Cog Railway has been controlled and owned by Wayne Presby and Joel Bedor of Littleton, New Hampshire. The Bedor and Presby families also owned the Mount Washington Hotel and Resort in Bretton Woods for the period 1991-2006. In 1995, the railway appointed Charles Kenison the General Manager. These individuals were responsible for a complete revitalization of the railroad, with the assistance of Al LaPrade, a mechanical engineer whose career began at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The Cog has been in continuous operation since 1869, with service interruptions only during the World Wars.
In the summer of 2008, the Cog introduced its first diesel locomotive. The Great Recession and the 2000s energy crisis led to fewer passengers, and the Cog sought to cut costs with the diesel, which could make three round trips for the cost of one steam train round trip. 
In December 2016, the owner of the Cog proposed building a 35-room hotel along the line, about a mile below the summit and two miles above the station. They propose to open the facility in 2019 for the 150th anniversary of the train. The proposal quickly drew public opposition due to its location in the alpine zone of the mountain.
1910 – Vivien Thomas, American surgeon and academic (d. 1985)
Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome (now known as cyanotic heart disease) in the 1940s. He was the assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock in Blalock’s experimental animal laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and later at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as supervisor of the surgical laboratories at Johns Hopkins for 35 years. In 1976 Hopkins awarded him an honorary doctorate and named him an instructor of surgery for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country’s most prominent surgeons.
A television film based on his life, Something the Lord Made, premiered in May 2004 on HBO.
Thomas was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, the son of Mary (Eaton) and William Marco Thomas. The grandson of a slave, he attended Pearl High School in Nashville in the 1920s. Thomas had hoped to attend college and become a doctor, but the Great Depression derailed his plans. He worked at Vanderbilt University in the summer of 1929 doing carpentry but was laid off in the fall. In that same year, Thomas enrolled in the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College as a premedical student. In the wake of the stock market crash in October, Thomas put his educational plans on hold, and, through a friend, in February 1930 secured a job as surgical research technician with Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. On his first day of work, Thomas assisted Blalock with a surgical experiment on a dog. At the end of Thomas’s first day, Blalock told Thomas they would do another experiment the next morning. Blalock told Thomas to “come in and put the animal to sleep and get it set up”. Within a few weeks, Thomas was starting surgery on his own. Thomas was classified and paid as a janitor, despite the fact that by the mid-1930s, he was doing the work of a Postdoctoral researcher in the lab.
Before meeting Blalock, Thomas married Clara and had two daughters. When Nashville’s banks failed nine months after starting his job with Blalock and Thomas’ savings were wiped out, he abandoned his plans for college and medical school, relieved to have even a low-paying job as the Great Depression deepened.
Working with Blalock
Thomas and Blalock did groundbreaking research into the causes of hemorrhagic and traumatic shock. This work later evolved into research on crush syndrome and saved the lives of thousands of soldiers on the battlefields of World War II. In hundreds of experiments, the two disproved traditional theories which held that shock was caused by toxins in the blood. Blalock, a highly original scientific thinker and something of an iconoclast, had theorized that shock resulted from fluid loss outside the vascular bed and that the condition could be effectively treated by fluid replacement. Assisted by Thomas, he was able to provide incontrovertible proof of this theory, and in so doing, he gained wide recognition in the medical community by the mid-1930s. At this same time, Blalock and Thomas began experimental work in vascular and cardiac surgery, defying medical taboos against operating upon the heart. It was this work that laid the foundation for the revolutionary lifesaving surgery they were to perform at Johns Hopkins a decade later.
Working at Johns Hopkins
By 1940, the work Blalock had done with Thomas placed him at the forefront of American surgery, and when he was offered the position of Chief of Surgery at his alma mater Johns Hopkins in 1941, he requested that Thomas accompany him. Thomas arrived in Baltimore with his family in June of that year, confronting a severe housing shortage and a level of racism worse than they had endured in Nashville. Hopkins, like the rest of Baltimore, was rigidly segregated, and the only black employees at the institution were janitors. When Thomas walked the halls in his white lab coat, many heads turned. He began changing into his city clothes when he walked from the laboratory to Blalock’s office because he received so much attention.
Blue baby syndrome
In 1943, while pursuing his shock research, Blalock was approached by pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig, who was seeking a surgical solution to a complex and fatal four-part heart anomaly called tetralogy of Fallot (also known as blue baby syndrome, although other cardiac anomalies produce blueness, or cyanosis). In infants born with this defect, blood is shunted past the lungs, thus creating oxygen deprivation and a blue pallor. Having treated many such patients in her work in Hopkins’s Harriet Lane Home, Taussig was desperate to find a surgical cure. According to the accounts in Thomas’s 1985 autobiography and in a 1967 interview with medical historian Peter Olch, Taussig suggested only that it might be possible to “reconnect the pipes” in some way to increase the level of blood flow to the lungs but did not suggest how this could be accomplished. Blalock and Thomas realized immediately that the answer lay in a procedure they had perfected for a different purpose in their Vanderbilt work, involving the anastomosis (joining) of the subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery, which had the effect of increasing blood flow to the lungs. Thomas was charged with the task of first creating a blue baby-like condition in a dog, and then correcting the condition by means of the pulmonary-to-subclavian anastomosis. Among the dogs on whom Thomas operated was one named Anna, who became the first long-term survivor of the operation and the only animal to have her portrait hung on the walls of Johns Hopkins. In nearly two years of laboratory work involving 200 dogs, Thomas was able to replicate two of the four cardiac anomalies involved in tetralogy of Fallot. He did demonstrate that the corrective procedure was not lethal, thus persuading Blalock that the operation could be safely attempted on a human patient. Blalock was impressed with Thomas’s work; when he inspected the procedure performed on Anna, he reportedly said, “This looks like something the Lord made.” Even though Thomas knew he was not allowed to operate on patients at that time, he still followed Blalock’s rules and assisted him during surgery.
By Mallory Shelbourne: Houston mayor to immigrants: If you face deportation for seeking safety, I’ll represent you
Comments on price gouging during emergencies?
By Ryan Felton: Texas Store Sold Gas At $20 Per Gallon Following Hurricane Harvey
By Erik Shilling: You Must Read This Story About The Family Who Survived Hurricane Harvey In A Truck
By Gary Price: All Sixteen Presentations From IFLA Digital Humanities Satellite Meeting Now Available Online
Arctic Journey: Ghosts of the Northwest Passage
Aug 23–Sep 01, 2018
11 days, 10 nights
By Adele Peters: How Houston Can Become More Resilient To Future Floods
By Ben Paynter: A Field Guide To Truly Audacious Philanthropy
By Adele Peters: These Maps Show Which U.S. Streets Are Named After Confederate Leaders
By Tom McParland: You Can Get An NC Mazda Miata For Surprisingly Little Money
Widget not in any sidebars
Widget not in any sidebars
Widget not in any sidebars
Widget not in any sidebars