Beer and electricity had a common admirer…

October 11, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

All of the Founders are worthy of a great deal of respect however, some grab your attention more than others.  From George Washington’s noble bearing to Jefferson’s nation building writing.  I would argue none capture the imagination more than Benjamin Franklin.  Larger than life, with his bifocals and kite in a lightning storm, he makes a great historical figure for kids to study while inspiring adults with his witty wisdom such as, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Among the many issues  we have at Rare Newspapers covering Franklin is one which is described as follows:

”The earliest account of the electrical experiments made by Benjamin Franklin, at Philadelphia (where he was then the post-master) appeared anonymously in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine for January, 1750‘.”

This article mentions several of Franklin’s important discoveries, including: “…that it will live in water…that it is more strongly attracted by slender sharp points than by solid blunt bodies…that bodies replete with this fire strongly attract such as have less of it, and repel such as have an equal quantity…”.

Beer, electricity, bifocals and chess –  take a look at this brilliant, yet quirky Founder with new eyes by reading about him in the papers of his day.

It’s amazing what one often finds buried in old newspapers…

June 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Flowers, leaves, photos, clumps of hair, historic trinkets… The list of what might be found buried within and among the inside pages of historic newspapers continues to foster our love for the collectible. The latest discovery? As we were scanning a September 22, 1880 issue of The Boston Investigator hoping to find a mention of Thomas Edison (which turned out to be successful), we noticed an article titled: “Strange Tribe Of Jews Discovered In The Caucasus”, which turned out to be quite interesting:

The things we take for granted… Let there be light…

March 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hofstra University maintains a Facebook page where staff from their special collections department can post interesting finds. We recently discovered yet another interesting post – this one showing a late 19th century image from a January 14, 1882 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  It sure brings to light one of the joys of the hobby – reading contemporary reactions to inventions and advancements of which we now take for granted. For an interesting historical journey, do a little internet research on the electric battles between Tesla and Edison.

A shocking cure for what ails you…

February 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Here’s an interesting medical devise which never seemed to catch on, as reported in the Scientific American” issue of March 14, 1891. I wonder how many investors in this product were shocked when this one went belly-up?

Topsy the elephant… Thomas Edision vs. Nikola Tesla…

April 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Each day at Rare Newspapers brings new discoveries.  Today we found an item which is quite historic.  In 1903, the battle between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla (and Westinghouse) as to which form of electrical current (DC or AC) was to become the standard, was largely decided – with Edison’s DC current being the loser.  Not willing to give up without a fight, Edison attempted to win public and political support by stressing the greater danger of death by electrocution from contact with AC current.  In a highly publicized dramatic event, Edison organized and helped supervise the  filming and electrocution by AC current of Topsy, a Coney Island circus elephant which had recently killed three men.  While the execution was successful, and was overseen by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Edison was highly criticized for the event which did not accomplish his desired goal.  The report was found on the front page of the ALLEGHENY COUNTY REPORTER, Wellsville, New York, January 6, 1903.  I wonder if the S.P.C.A. would support such an action today?