On this day:
1845 – “The Raven” is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references.
Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay, “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett’s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”, and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.
“The Raven” was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated. Critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s literary status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.
The Raven 
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“‘Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
—Edgar Allan Poe
Born on this day:
1846 – Karol Olszewski, Polish chemist, mathematician, and physicist (d. 1915)
Karol Stanisław Olszewski (29 January 1846 – 24 March 1915) was a Polish chemist, mathematician and physicist.
Olszewski was a graduate of Kazimierz Brodziński High School in Tarnów (I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Kazimierza Brodzińskiego). He studied at Kraków’s Jagiellonian University in the departments of mathematics and physics, and chemistry and biology. He carried out his first experiments using a personally improved compressor, compressing and condensing carbon dioxide.
Olszewski defended his doctoral dissertation at Heidelberg University, then returned to Kraków, where he was made profesor nadzwyczajny (associate professor).
In 1883, Zygmunt Wróblewski and Karol Olszewski were the first in the world to liquefy oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a stable state (not, as had been the case up to then, in a dynamic state in the transitional form as vapor).
In 1884, in his Kraków laboratory, Olszewski was the first to liquefy hydrogen in a dynamic state, achieving a record low temperature of −225 °C (48 K). In 1895 he liquefied argon. He failed only to liquefy then-newly discovered helium.
In 1896, on hearing of Wilhelm Röntgen’s work with X-rays, within a few days in early February Olszewski replicated it, thus initiating the university’s department of radiology.
1901 – Allen B. DuMont, American engineer and broadcaster, founded the DuMont Television Network (d. 1965)
Allen Balcom DuMont, also spelled Du Mont, (January 29, 1901 – November 14, 1965) was an American electronics engineer, scientist and inventor best known for improvements to the cathode ray tube in 1931 for use in television receivers. Seven years later he manufactured and sold the first commercially practical television set to the public. In June 1938, his Model 180 television receiver was the first all-electronic television set ever sold to the public, a few months prior to RCA’s first set in April 1939. In 1946, DuMont founded the first television network to be licensed, the DuMont Television Network, initially by linking station WABD (named for DuMont) in New York City to station W3XWT, which later became WTTG, in Washington, D.C. (WTTG was named for Dr. Thomas T. Goldsmith, DuMont’s Vice President of Research, and his best friend.) DuMont’s successes in television picture tubes, TV sets and components and his involvement in commercial TV broadcasting made him the first millionaire in the business.
In 1932, DuMont proposed a “ship finder” device to the United States Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, that used radio wave distortions to locate objects on a cathode ray tube screen, a type of radar. The military asked him, however, not to take out a patent for developing what they wanted to maintain as a secret, and so he is not often mentioned among those responsible for radar.
Magic Eye tube used for tuning in a 1939 Mission Bell Model 410 radio. (green glow)
In 1932 DuMont invented the magic eye tube also known as the Electron Ray Tube, used as a tuning accessory in radios and as a level meter in mono and stereo home reel-to-reel tape recorders. In the 1930s the manufacture of mechanical panel meters were labor-intensive and expensive. Magic eye tubes provided radio designers with a less expensive and more profitable way to add a feature usually found in higher price equipment. The general public reception was a success as customers like the green glow and the seemingly magical way it worked. He released information on his invention the following year. He sold the patents and rights to RCA for $20,000 to help fund his other projects.
DuMont produced black and white televisions in the 1940s and 1950s that were generally regarded as offering highest quality and durability. Many of these premium sets included a built in AM/FM radio and record player.
DuMont sold his television manufacturing division to Emerson Radio in 1958, and sold the remainder of the company to Fairchild Camera in 1960. Fairchild later developed semiconductor microchips. Robert Noyce, a co-founder of Intel, originally worked for DuMont as an engineer.
NSFW, well said.
Our aim in this course is to teach you how to think critically about the data and models that constitute evidence in the social and natural sciences.
Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West