<< 1860-1869
1880-1889 >>
Date Event Subjects
1870 In viewing a solar eclipse at Jerez, Spain, on December 22, 1870, Charles Augustus Young (1834-1908) observed that the sun's dark spectral lines briefly reverse at totality. In this he is credited with discovery of the "reversing layer." [0426] Astronomy / Physics
1870 William Healey Dall (1845-1927) published Alaska and Its Resources (Boston). [0427] General or Miscellaneous / Geography and Cartography
1870 Standard Oil Company was established by John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937). In 1972, Standard Oil (New Jersey) took the name Exxon Corporation. [0428] General or Miscellaneous / Organizations—Industry
1870 John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) was put in charge of a Congressionally enacted survey that in 1876 became known as the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region. Powell continued at the head until it was ended in 1879. For a time associated with the Smithsonian Institution, in 1874 the Survey was transferred to the Department of Interior. [0429] Government—Federal / Geology
1870 Congress effectively assigned to the Army's Signal Service the task of providing meteorological information and weather forecasting, the beginnings of a national weather service, with part of its mission being aid to agriculture and business. At the time, the Signal Service was under the charge of Colonel Albert J. Myer (1829-1880). In 1871, Cleveland Abbe (1838-1916) became associated with the enterprise as a civilian meteorologist. [0430] Government—Federal / Meteorology and Climatology
1870 Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880) published his Linear Associative Algebra as a memoir of the National Academy of Sciences. It was issued in lithographed form in a limited edition and has been considered the earliest mathematical work of first importance to appear in the United States. After Peirce's death, his son, Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), published the work in the American Journal of Mathematics 4, no. 2 (1881): 97-229; it was published separately in 1882 (New York). [0431] Mathematics
1870 Louis Francois de Pourtales (1823/24-1880) prepared a chart that showed the distribution of ocean-floor sediments from Cape Cod to Florida. Pourtales published results of his work in "Der Boden des Golfstroms und der Atlantischen Kuste Nord Amerika's," A. Petermanns Mittheilungen aus J. Perthes geographischer Anstalt 16. [0432] Oceanography
1870 Simon Newcomb (1835-1909) recommended the establishment of a body to plan for observations of the transits of Venus of 1874 and 1882. The result was the Transit of Venus Commission, of which Newcomb was secretary. [0433] Organizations / Astronomy
1870 By act of Congress, the limitation on the number of members in the National Academy of Sciences was removed. [0434] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1870s Before this date, there were few laboratory facilities available for college students. Microscopes were not very often available in college laboratories for students before 1870. [0435] Organizations—Academic / Instruments and Instrumentation
1870s William James (1842-1910) and Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), in the context of the Metaphysical Club which they founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, gave early formulation to pragmatism. [0436] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Philosophy
1870-1885 With the assistance of the government, Benjamin Apthorp Gould (1824-1896) founded the Argentine National Observatory, at Cordoba. During his years in Argentina Gould carried out mapping of the stars of the southern skies and also assisted in a range of projects that helped to establish science in Argentina. [0437] Astronomy
1870s and 1880s During this period, the neo-Lamarckian approach to evolution, as promoted by Alpheus Hyatt (1838-1902) and Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897), characterized the American biological community. [0438] Evolution
1871 Edward Palmer (1831-1911) published "Food Products of the North American Indians," Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture. [0439] Anthropology and Ethnology / Agriculture
1871 The National Academy of Sciences received the residue of the estate of Alexander Dallas Bache, who had died in 1867. The funds were to be used for the support of scientific research. [0440] Funds and Funding / Organizations—Societies and Associations
1871 The U.S. Fish Commission was established. Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823-1887) was made head of the Commission, serving without salary. Baird established a research program and later developed a station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, which was supported by university and private funds. The Commission was significantly involved in economic interests with its hatcheries and work in relation to fish culture. In 1903 the Commission was made a Bureau of Fisheries in the Department of Commerce and Labor, and in 1940 was incorporated into the newly founded Fish and Wildlife Service. [0441] Government—Federal / Ichthyology and Pisciculture
1871 Louis Francois de Pourtales (1823/24-1880) published Deep-Sea Corals (Cambridge). [0442] Oceanography / Zoology
1871 Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey) was established. It became a center of training and research in mechanical engineering. [0443] Organizations—Academic / Engineering and Applied Science
1871 Henry Pickering Bowditch (1840-1911) was appointed an assistant professor in the Harvard Medical School and about this time established the country's first physiological teaching laboratory. In doing so, Bowditch drew upon his own experience as a student in Europe, especially at Leipzig. [0444] Organizations—Medicine / Physiology
1871 The American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers was founded at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1957, it was reorganized into three constituent societies: Society of Mining Engineers, The Metallurgical Society, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. [0445] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Engineering and Applied Science
1871 Joel Asaph Allen (1838-1921) published "On the Mammals and Winter Birds of East Florida, with an Examination of Certain Assumed Specific Characters in Birds, and a Sketch of the Bird Faunae of Eastern North America," Bulletin of Museum of Comparative Zoology 2:161-450. The work was significant for its contributions to thinking on biogeography. [0446] Zoology
1871-1872 Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) led a U.S. Coast Survey dredging expedition, aboard the Hassler, along the coast of South America. Louis Francois de Pourtales (1823/24-1880) was in charge of the dredging operations but equipment failure limited the success of the venture. [0447] Oceanography / Zoology
1872 The first photographic spectrum of a star, Vega, was produced by Henry Draper (1837-1882). [0448] Astronomy / Photography
1872 The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was established by Congress as a national preserve. [0449] Government—Federal / Environment and Conservation
1872 Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914) published Injuries of Nerves and Their Consequences (Philadelphia). This was an expansion of a work he wrote in 1864 with William W. Keen, Jr. (1837-1932) and George R. Morehouse (1829-1905) entitled Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of Nerves (Philadelphia). [0450] Medicine / Neurobiology
1872 The American Public Health Association was founded. [0451] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Public Health
1872 Popular Science Monthly was established by Edward Livingston Youmans (1821-1887). [0452] Periodicals and Publishing
1872 Elliott Coues (1842-1899) published Key to North American Birds (Salem, Mass., and New York), which introduced to zoological interests the artificial key. The work also included a significant revision in taxonomy. The Key eventually reached a fifth edition, the last appearing posthumously in 1903. [0453] Zoology / Ornithology
1872 Henry Pickering Bowditch (1840-1911) undertook a study of the growth rates of Boston children, and showed that environmental and nutritional factors were of more likely importance than race in deterMining size. Results of his study appeared in the eighth Annual Report of the Massachusetts State Board of Health (Boston, 1877), pp.275-325, and in Transactions of American Medical Association 32 (1881): 371-377. [0454] Zoology—Human / Physiology
1872 (October) English physicist John Tyndall (1820-1893) arrived in the United States to undertake a lecture tour, having been invited by a group of twenty-five American scientists, to promote the values of scientific research. He arrived in New York and remained until the early part of 1873. The profits of the lectures were given to endow the Tyndall Fund that supported study of science by Americans in Europe. [0455] General or Miscellaneous / Funds and Funding
1872-1874 Zoologist and oceanographer Alexander Agassiz (1835-1910) published "Revision of the Echini," Illustrated Catalogue of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College, 7. [0456] Zoology
1873 The American Association for the Advancement of Science received its first endowment for the support of research. It was in the amount of $1000, donated by New York philanthropist Elizabeth Thompson (1821-1899). [0457] Funds and Funding / Organizations—Societies and Associations
1873 The Anderson School of Natural History, on Penikese Island (Massachusetts), was founded by Louis Agassiz (1807-1873). In June and July of that year, Agassiz gave the first marine biology course. [0458] General or Miscellaneous / Education in science, Natural History
1873 Raphael Pumpelly (1837-1923) made what may have been the first use in the United States of thin sections in a petrographic investigation. The work related to his study of copper ores in Michigan. [0459] Geology
1873 A scientific school was organized at Princeton University. This was part of a trend in higher education at the time, one observer reporting that the number of scientific schools appended to academic institutions increased from seventeen in 1870 to a high of seventy in 1873. [0460] Organizations—Academic
1873 The American Metrological Society was established at Columbia University. It had as a primary goal to determine or promulgate standard weights, measures, and money. It also undertook to promote the metric system. [0461] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1873 Addison Emery Verrill (1839-1926) carried out a close study of animal life in Vineyard Sound, the largest such ecological undertaking in the country up to that time. (He was assisted by Sidney I. Smith, 1843-1926, the brother of his wife.) The result was "Report upon the Invertebrate Animals of Vineyard Sound and the Adjacent Waters, with an Account of the Physical Characters of the Region," Report of United States Commissioner of Fisheries 1:295-747. [0462] Zoology
1873 (February 1) Oceanographer and meteorologist Matthew Fontaine Maury (b.1806) died at Lexington, Virginia. [0463] General or Miscellaneous / Meteorology and Climatology, Oceanography
1873 (December 14) Geologist and zoologist Louis Agassiz (b.1807) died at Cambridge, Massachusetts. [0464] General or Miscellaneous / Geology, Zoology
1873-1876 Edward Charles Pickering (1846-1919) published Elements of Physical Manipulation (New York), in two volumes. Drawing upon his experience in having set up the first instructional physics laboratory in the United States, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this work was the first American physics laboratory manual. [0465] Physics
1874 The Smithsonian Institution's program for the collection of meteorological data was transferred to the U.S. Army Signal Service. [0466] Government—Federal / Meteorology and Climatology
1874 A trust was established by California philanthropist James Lick (1796-1876) that was the foundation for the Lick Observatory. The first director was Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914). [0467] Organizations—Observatories / Astronomy
1874 The American Association for the Advancement of Science was chartered in the state of Massachusetts, thus signifying its permanent character. In the same year, the category of Fellow, emphasizing research involvement, was instituted, and eligibility to hold office was restricted to this group. The Association divided into sections for (a) mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and (b) natural history. Further sectioning took place in 1892, 1895, and 1961. [0468] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1874 Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899) published "Fossil Horses in America," American Naturalist 8:288-294. [0469] Paleontology / Zoology
1874 John Fiske (1842-1901) published The Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy Based on the Doctrine of Evolution (London). [0470] Philosophy
1874 John William Draper (1811-1882) published History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (New York). [0471] Religion and Theology
1875 John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) published a report on the Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries (Washington, D.C.). [0472] Exploration and Surveying
1875 The state of Connecticut contributed to the establishment of the country's first agricultural experiment station. First located at Wesleyan University in Middletown under the headship of Wilbur Olin Atwater (1844-1907), it was moved to New Haven in 1877 where Samuel W. Johnson (1830-1909) took charge. At that time it became fully state funded. [0473] Government—State / Agriculture
1875 Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901) was made professor of physics in the new Johns Hopkins University and went to Europe for a year to examine laboratories and to procure apparatus. [0474] Organizations—Academic / Physics
1875 The Agassiz Association, for the promotion of nature study, was established. The chief organizer was Massachusetts schoolteacher Harlan H. Ballard (1853-1934). By the 1890s, there were some 1,200 "chapters" (often quite small) with a membership that consisted largely of children. [0475] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Natural History
1875 Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) published The Vertebrata of the Cretaceous Formations of the West, Report of the U.S. Geological Survey of the Territories (Hayden Survey), II. [0476] Paleontology
1875 The Botanical Gazette (for a short time, Botanical Bulletin) began publication. It was established by John Merle Coulter (1851-1928) and initially had the intention to serve the Midwest in a way similar to the New York-based Bulletin of Torrey Botanical Club. Instead, it stressed professional interests and concerns, unlike the amateur sympathies of the Bulletin. [0477] Periodicals and Publishing / Botany
1875 Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), founder of the Christian Science Church, published Science and Health with Key to the Scripture (Boston). [0478] Religion and Theology / Medicine
1875 John Call Dalton (1825-1889) published Experimentation on Animals, as a Means of Knowledge in Physiology, Pathology, and Practical Medicine (New York). [0479] Zoology / Physiology
1875 Russell Henry Chittenden (1856-1943) published in Liebig's Annalen his discovery of the natural occurrence of free glycine. Working on scallops, Chittenden's work was done while an undergraduate student of Samuel W. Johnson (1830-1909) at the Sheffield Scientific School (Yale University). [0480] Zoology / Physiology
1876 Charles A. Young (1834-1908) measured the rotation rate of the sun, the first effective gauge of this phenomenon. [0481] Astronomy
1876 With the assistance of clergyman George Frederick Wright (1838-1921), Asa Gray (1810-1888) collected his essays on evolution and on related religious concerns in Darwiniana (New York). [0482] Evolution / Religion and Theology
1876 The first national conference on engineering education took place at the Franklin Institute. It was organized by Alexander Holley (1832-1882). [0483] General or Miscellaneous / Engineering and Applied Science
1876 Darwin's promoter, English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), visited the United States where he lectured on evolution. He was orator at the inauguration of Daniel Coit Gilman (1831-1908) as first president of Johns Hopkins University. [0484] General or Miscellaneous / Evolution
1876 Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) moved his private laboratory to Menlo Park, New Jersey, and there set up the first establishment in the world for the production of inventions, a harbinger of the industrial research laboratory. Eleven years later it was moved to West Orange, New Jersey. [0485] General or Miscellaneous / Technology and Invention
1876 The Johns Hopkins University was opened. Of the six departments in the new institution, half were in the sciences: chemistry and physics; mathematics; and natural science, encompassing geology, mineralogy, botany, and zoology. Among the professorial appointments were Ira Remsen (1846-1927) in chemistry, who helped to promote the incorporation of laboratory research with teaching, and British mathematician James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897). [0486] Organizations—Academic
1876 The Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia was notable especially for its displays of technology. Many collections from the Exposition afterward went to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum where a new building was provided for them by Congress. [0487] Organizations—Fairs and Expositions / Organizations–Museums
1876 The American Chemical Society was established. Initial interest was for a local organization in New York City, with Charles F. Chandler (1836-1925) taking the lead, but the outcome was a broader-based group. John William Draper (1811-1882) was made the first president. In spite of its name, however, the Society met in New York until 1891, when the annual meeting was held at Newport, Rhode Island, and thereafter a more truly national structure for the Society evolved. [0488] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Chemistry
1876 James Orton (1830-1877) published Comparative Zoology, Structural and Systematic, for Use in Schools and Colleges (New York). [0489] Zoology
1876 David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) published Manual of the Vertebrates of the Northern United States (Chicago). A thirteenth edition appeared in 1929. [0490] Zoology
1876 Alpheus Spring Packard, Jr. (1839-1905) published a pioneering American work in comparative embryology, Life Histories of Animals, Including Man; or, Outlines of Comparative Embryology (New York, 1876). It also appeared as Outlines of Comparative Embryology (New York, 1878). [0491] Zoology / Embryology
1876 Alpheus Spring Packard, Jr. (1839-1905) published A Monograph of the Geometrid Moths or Phalaenidae of the United States (Washington, D.C.), as one of the reports of the U.S. Geological Survey of the Territories (F. V. Hayden, in charge). [0492] Zoology / Entomology
1876 (March) Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) patented the telephone. [0493] Technology and Invention / Electricity and Electronics
1876-1878 Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839-1903) published his major scientific contribution, "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances," Transactions of Connecticut Academy of Sciences 3. The memoir, consisting of two papers, was some 300 pages in length. Copies were sent to scientists throughout the world by Gibbs. The paper included Gibbs's important phase rule and made fundamental contributions to various topics, becoming a foundation for physical chemistry. In 1878, he published an abstract in American Journal of Science, 3rd series 16. [0494] Chemistry / Physics
1876-1880 William Henry Brewer (1828-1910), Sereno Watson (1826-1892), and Asa Gray (1810-1888 published a two-volume work on Botany of the state in conjunction with the California geological survey (Cambridge, Mass., 1876, 1880). [0495] Botany
1877 Ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) published Ancient Society, or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization (New York). [0496] Anthropology and Ethnology
1877 John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) published Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages (Washington, D.C.). [0497] Anthropology and Ethnology
1877 Ephraim George Squier (1821-1888) published Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas (New York and London). He related his discovery of Latin American civilizations that predated the Inca. [0498] Archaeology
1877 The two satellites of Mars were discovered by Asaph Hall (1829-1907). He named them Deimos and Phobos. [0499] Astronomy
1877 Charles Darwin's The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species was dedicated to Asa Gray (1810-1888). [0500] General or Miscellaneous / Botany
1877 Outbreak of locusts led to the appointment of a U.S. Entomological Commission (in the Department of Interior), headed by Charles V. Riley (1843-1895). In 1880, the Commission was incorporated in the Department of Agriculture and became its Division of Entomology. (The Division became the Bureau of Entomology in 1906.) [0501] Government—Federal / Entomology
1877 Bell Telephone Company (after 1899, American Telephone and Telegraph Company, AT&T) was founded. [0502] Organizations—Industry / Electricity and Electronics
1877 The first three quarries of large dinosaurs in the country were discovered in Colorado and Wyoming. (Among the early workers in all three was Samuel Wendell Williston, 1851-1918, who was collecting for Othniel Charles Marsh, 1831-1899.) [0503] Paleontology
1877 Ira Remsen (1846-1927) published the text, Principles of Theoretical Chemistry: With Special Reference to the Constitution of Chemical Compounds (Philadelphia). [0504] Chemistry
1877-1880 Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925) was professor of zoology in Tokyo University. [0505] General or Miscellaneous / Zoology
1878 Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) published "Photometric Researches," Annals of Harvard College Observatory. The work related to the shape of the Milky Way galaxy. [0506] Astronomy
1878 Thomas J. Burrill (1839-1916) established that bacteria were responsible for "fire blight," a Disease of apple and pear orchards. His work led to a new conceptualization of plant Disease. [0507] Botany / Pathology
1878 John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) published Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States, with a More Detailed Account of the Lands of Utah (45th Congress, 2nd Session, HR Executive Document 73; Washington, D.C.). [0508] Geology
1878 Joseph LeConte (1823-1901) published Elements of Geology: A Textbook for Colleges and for the General Reader (New York). A fifth, revised edition appeared in 1903, partly redone by Herman LeRoy Fairchild (1850-1943). [0509] Geology
1878 At the request of the government, initiated by Representative Abram S. Hewitt (1822-1903) of New York, the National Academy of Sciences undertook a review of the several geological and natural history surveys at work in the West. James Dwight Dana (1813-1895) chaired the committee. The committee report was adopted by the Academy in November 1878. Though the Congress failed to endorse the Academy's recommendations, the report was a prelude to the abolition of the various existing surveys and formation of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1879. [0510] Government—Federal / Geology, Natural History
1878 The United States Coast Survey was changed to the Coast and Geodetic Survey. [0511] Government—Federal / Geophysics and Geodesy
1878 The second college-level teaching laboratory in physics in the country, at Wellesley College, was established by Sarah Frances Whiting (1847-1927). Her preparation for this undertaking had involved study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where laboratory physics had been established. [0512] Organizations—Academic / Physics
1878 The American Microscopical Society was established. [0513] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Microbiology and Microscopy
1878 The American Journal of Mathematics was founded by James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897) at Johns Hopkins University. It was the earliest mathematical research journal in the United States. The first issue of the Journal contained the article, "Researches in the Lunar Theory" by George William Hill (1838-1914), an innovative approach to the study of three mutually-attracting bodies that became a foundational piece for celestial mechanics. [0514] Periodicals and Publishing / Mathematics
1878 Alfred Marshall Mayer (1836-1897) reported the results of his experiments on magnetized needles floating in corks on water in a magnetic field. The stable patterns that were demonstrated came to be cited in relation to later interests in illustrating atomic structures. Mayer published in: American Journal of Science, 3rd series 15 and 16, and in Scientific American, supplement 5, all in 1878. [0515] Physics
1878 Albert Abraham Michelson (1852-1931) carried out his first measurement of the speed of light, a subject he continued to study for the rest of his life. [0516] Physics
1878 (May 13) Physicist and head of the Smithsonian Institution Joseph Henry (b.1797) died at Washington, D.C. [0517] General or Miscellaneous / Physics
1878 (October 15) Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931) established the Edison Electric Light Company in New York, although the achievement of a viable incandescent lightbulb did not come until 1879. With the financial input of J.P. Morgan, in 1892 the company combined with Thomson-Houston to form the General Electric Company. [0518] Organizations—Industry / Electricity and Electronics
ca.1878 William Henry Welch (1850-1934) established the first teaching laboratory in pathology in the United States, at the Bellevue Hospital medical school in New York. [0519] Medicine / Pathology
1878-1906 The Chesapeake Zoological Laboratory convened each summer at various marine locations along the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies. [0520] Organizations—Research Institutions / Zoology
1879 Saccharin was developed at Johns Hopkins University and was subsequently patented by Constantin Fahlberg (1850-1910), a research fellow of Professor Ira Remsen (1846-1927). The two debated the fact of who was originator. Fahlberg devised means to manufacture the substance and produced it commercially in Germany. [0521] Chemistry
1879 Arthur Michael (1853-1942) was the first to achieve synthesis of a natural glucoside. The work appeared in "On the Synthesis of Helicin and Phenolglucoside," American Chemical Journal 1:305-312. [0522] Chemistry
1879 Samuel Hubbard Scudder (1837-1911) published Catalogue of Scientific Serials of All Countries ... 1633-1878 (Cambridge, Mass.). [0523] General or Miscellaneous / Information Access
1879 Charles Otis Whitman (1842-1910) went as professor of zoology at the Imperial University of Tokyo, where he remained for two years. His influence was lasting and he has been referred to as the "father of zoology in Japan." [0524] General or Miscellaneous / Zoology
1879 John Shaw Billings (1838-1913) established Index Medicus, a classified index to current medical literature of the world. In 1880, Billings also began the Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, U.S. Army (Army Medical Library); Billings' continued his involvement with the publication until 1895. [0525] Information Access / Medicine
1879 Joseph Leidy (1823-1891) identified parasitic amoebae. [0526] Microbiology and Microscopy
1879 The American Chemical Journal began publication at Johns Hopkins University under the direction of Ira Remsen (1846-1927). Its emphasis was on pure research. The same year, the Journal of American Chemical Society began publication. Remsen served as editor of the American Chemical Journal. In 1913, it was merged with the Journal of American Chemical Society. [0527] Periodicals and Publishing / Chemistry
1879 Edwin Herbert Hall (1855-1938) discovered the "Hall effect" while a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. The Hall effect showed that a current in a conductor that was in a magnetic field produced an electromotive force, at right angles to both the current and the field. [0528] Physics / Electricity and Electronics
1879 Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) succeeded in operating a practical incandescent electric lamp using a carbon-thread filament. In the same year, Joseph Swan in England achieved a similar goal. [0529] Technology and Invention / Electricity and Electronics
1879 George Eastman (1854-1932) devised means of producing a photographic dry plate and went on to develop the Eastman Kodak Company (so named in 1893). By 1884, Eastman had perfected the initial version of his Kodak camera, including rolled film that took the place of the glass plate. The first Kodak was manufactured in 1888. [0530] Technology and Invention / Photography
1879 (March 3) The Bureau of American Ethnology (until 1894, the Bureau of Ethnology) was established at the Smithsonian Institution. This event was part of the government reorganization that consolidated the geological surveys into the U.S. Geological Survey, while transferring the anthropological work carried out by those surveys to the Smithsonian. John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) was put in charge of the Bureau, which was discontinued in 1964 when it was merged with the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology. [0531] Government—Federal / Anthropology and Ethnology
1879 (March 3) Legislation establishing the U.S. Geological Survey became effective. The new organization consolidated the existing federal surveys in the West that had been directed by Ferdinand V. Hayden (1829-1887), Clarence R. King (1842-1901), John Wesley Powell (1834-1902), and George M. Wheeler (1842-1905). It had been suggested by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences. Subsequently, King was appointed to head the Survey, situated in the Department of Interior; Powell succeeded him as director in 1881. One outcome of the reorganization was that Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) lost to Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899) access to paleontological patronage of the federal surveys. [0532] Government—Federal / Geology
1879 (March 3) The National Board of Health was established by Congress to prepare a national public health plan. The head of the Board was James L. Cabell who was president of the American Public Health Association; the representative of the U.S. Army, John Shaw Billings (1838-1913), was vice-chair and its most influential member. Grants were made to individual scientists for particular studies and a yellow fever commission was sent to Cuba. In June 1879, Congress gave the Board power and funds to direct quarantine relating to the yellow fever epidemic but its efforts met with difficulties and opposition. The quarantine power terminated in 1883. The Board continued in name until 1893, but it was long an ineffective body whose funds and mission were transferred to the Marine Hospital Service. Though of minimal immediate impact, the Board helped to establish a precedent for federal assistance for university research. [0533] Government—Federal / Public Health
1879-1881 Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) developed the temperature- sensitive bolometer to measure energy of radiation as related to wavelength. In 1881, he made an excursion to Mt. Whitney to conduct solar energy and atmospheric absorption studies with the instrument. The important outcome was given in "Researches on Solar Heat and Its Absorption by the Earth's Atmosphere, A Report of the Mount Whitney Expedition," Professional Papers of the Signal Service, no. 15 (1884). [0534] Physics / Instruments and Instrumentation
1879-1884 Leo Lesquereux (1806-1889) published his three-volume Description of the Coal Flora of the Carboniferous Formation in Pennsylvania and Throughout the U.S. (Second Geological Survey of Pennsylvania: Report of Progress, P) (Harrisburg, Penn.). [0535] Paleontology / Botany


Created and Maintained by Dr. Clark A. Elliott Waltham, MA
clark_elliott at verizon dot net / Content updated 16 June 2008
Technical presentation by Andrew J. Elliott.