FYI July 18, 2018


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On This Day

1942 – World War II: During the Beisfjord massacre in Norway, 15 Norwegian paramilitary guards help members of the SS to kill 288 political prisoners from Yugoslavia.
The Beisfjord massacre (Norwegian: Beisfjord-massakren) was a massacre on 18 July 1942 at Lager I Beisfjord (German for “Beisfjord Camp No.1”, Norwegian: Beisfjord fangeleir) in Beisfjord, Norway of 288 political prisoners. The massacre had been ordered a few days earlier by the Reichskommissar for Norway Josef Terboven.[1]



Born On This Day

1915 – Roxana Cannon Arsht, American judge (d. 2003)
Roxana Cannon Arsht (July 18, 1915 – October 3, 2003) was an American judge. She was the fifth woman to be admitted to the bar in the U.S. state of Delaware, and the first to hold a judicial position in the state’s history. After retiring, she took part in a philanthropic career until the end of her life. Arsht received several awards for her work, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women in 1986.

Roxana Cannon was born in Wilmington, Delaware, at Second and Adams streets, to Samuel and Tillie Statnekoo Cannon.[1][2] Her father was an immigrant from Russia, and emphasized the importance of education.[3] After attending public schools across Wilmington, she received a bachelor of arts degree from Goucher College, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a degree in law in 1939;[2][4] she was one of two women to graduate in her class.[5] Cannon passed the Bar in 1941, but was unable to find a job,[6] which became even more difficult when she married fellow lawyer Samuel Arsht.[2] She became a mother of two daughters, and focused her attention on working for the reproductive rights of women, including through her involvement in the development of Planned Parenthood’s Delaware office.[6]

She began working for Delaware Family Court in 1962 in a volunteer master position. Nine years later, the Governor of Delaware Russell W. Peterson appointed Arsht as a judge in Delaware Family Court, making her the first woman to hold a judicial position in the state’s history.[6] She retired from the position in 1983, and started a new job in philanthropy.[4] Arsht and her husband contributed $2 million to the campaign towards the construction of Arsht Hall on the primary campus of the University of Delaware’s Academy of Lifelong Learning (now called Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). She was the first women to serve on the Medical Center of Delaware’s board between 1993 and 1997, and was a trustee of the Christiana Care Health System for nearly 30 years. Before the death of her husband, she donated $2.5 million in support of the construction of the Roxana Cannon Arsht Surgicenter.[6] She died at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware on October 3, 2003.[1]

Arsht was a role model for woman practicing law, and created a precedent which allowed others to follow. She described herself as “gutsy, independent and not afraid to challenge the status quo” and was considered one of Delaware’s most influential women in the past half-century.[6] She received numerous awards which included the First State Distinguished Service Award, the Josiah Marvel Cup, the Trailblazer Award, and was granted recognition from the National Conference for Community and Justice. In 1986, Arsht was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women.[4]




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By Carly Stern: The German Entrepreneur Who Took the Clump out of Coffee
Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz (31 January 1873 – 29 June 1950), born Amalie Auguste Melitta Liebscher, was a German entrepreneur who invented the coffee filter in 1908.

Bentz was born in Dresden. Her father was a publisher.

As a housewife, Bentz found that percolators were prone to over-brewing the coffee, espresso-type machines at the time tended to leave grounds in the drink, and linen bag filters were tiresome to clean. She experimented with many means, but ended up using blotting paper from her son Willi’s school exercise book and a brass pot perforated using a nail. When the grounds-free, less bitter coffee met with general enthusiasm, she decided to set up a business.[1] The Kaiserliche Patentamt (Imperial Patent Office) granted her a patent on 20 June 1908, and on 15 December the company was entered into the commercial register with 73 Pfennig as “M. Bentz.” After contracting a tinsmith to manufacture the devices, they sold 1,200 coffee filters at the 1909 Leipzig fair.[2]

Her husband Hugo and their sons Horst and Willi were the first employees of the emerging company. In 1910, the company won a gold medal at the International Health Exhibition and a silver medal at the Saxon Innkeepers’ Association. When the First World War erupted, metals were requisitioned for use in zeppelin construction, her husband was conscripted to Romania, paper was rationed, and coffee beans import was impossible due to the British blockade, disrupting the normal business. During this time she supported herself by selling cartons.[3]

Continuing expansion caused them to move their business several times within Dresden. By 1928 the demand for their products was so high that the 80 workers had to work in a double-shift system. As no satisfactory production facilities could be found in Dresden, the fast-growing company moved in 1929 to Minden in eastern Westphalia. By that time 100,000 filters had been produced.[3]

Horst took over the company, now “Bentz & Sohn,” in 1930. She transferred the majority stake in Melitta-Werke Aktiengesellschaft to Horst and Willi in 1932, but kept a hand in the business, ensuring that the employees were cared for, offering Christmas bonuses, increasing vacation days from 6 to 15 days per year, and reducing the working week to 5 days. Bentz fostered the company’s “Melitta Aid” system, a social fund for company employees.[3]

After the outbreak of World War II, production stopped and the company was ordered to produce goods to aid the war effort. At the conclusion of war, the workers relocated for a time to old factories, barracks, even pubs, because the surviving portions of the main factory had been requisitioned as a provisional administration for the Allied troops, a condition that held for twelve years. By 1948, production of filters and paper had resumed, and at the time of her death at Holzhausen at Porta Westfalica in 1950, the company had reached 4.7 million Deutsche marks.[3]

The grandchildren of Melitta Bentz, Thomas and Stephen Bentz, still control the Melitta Group KG headquartered in Minden in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, with some 3,300 employees in 50 companies.[3]
Two Nerdy History Girls: From the Archives: A Pretty, Witty Pineapple Reticule, c1800

or a zoomable view of the bag on the Kyoto web site, click here.


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