What Happened on December 28?

  • The first commercial movie was screened. (1895) Two French brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumiere, had created the movie and the equipment it was shown on. They showed the movie in the Grand Cafe in Paris, and charged admission to a movie for the first time.

  • The first test tube baby was born in America. (1981) Elizabeth Carr was born to Judy and Roger Carr, the first people to attempt in vitro fertilization in the US. She was only the 15th IVF baby born in the world, and was born 3 years after the first ever IVF baby — Louise Brown — who was born in the UK.

  • Muriel Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. (1967) Siebert was also the first woman to own her own brokerage firm. At the time, women in finance was virtually unheard of, and many of the 1,365 male members of the exchange found her desire to join ridiculous. It took years of campaigning before Siebert was finally elected, but once she had her seat, she made many anti-sexist reforms.

  • Westminster Abbey was consecrated. (1065) The church was built by Edward the Confessor in penance for not having gone on a pilgrimage to Rome. It took more than 15 years to complete, and Edward died just 8 days after it was consecrated.

  • Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law. (1973) It was the first legislation in American history to focus on protecting animals and their habitats from economic encroachment.

  • The first chewing gum — containing rubber — was patented. (1869) Though people had been chewing on paraffin and sap for years, William Semple's version, complete with rubber, charcoal, and myrhh, was the first one to be patented.

  • Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea. (1950) The UN and South Korean forces had actually conquered all of North Korea earlier that year, and the war was expected to end soon. That didn't happen however, since after General MacArthur made an ill-advised invasion into China, Chinese forces began pouring over the border, and beat the Allies all the way back down to the bottom of South Korea. The fighting continued for another three years, before a cease-fire came into effect.

  • The first Labor Day was observed in the US. (1869) It was first observed by the Knights of Labor, a group of tailors in Philadelphia, which later became influential nationwide. The day did not become an official US holiday until more than 20 years later.

  • US Vice President John Calhoun resigned. (1832) Calhoun only served 16 days in office before he resigned, and he was the first vice president to do so. He resigned because of political differences with President Andrew Jackson, but still continued to be a major force in American politics and a big influence on the policies of the Confederacy.

  • American revolutionary writer Thomas Paine was arrested in France. (1793) Paine, most famous for his book Common Sense, had moved to France to join in the French Revolution. Though he was welcomed at first for his anti-royalist sentiments, he fell out of favor because of his vocal opposition to the death penalty. After he was released, he fell out of favor in America too, and died impoverished.

Discussion Comments


In relation to the first bullet point, it's very interesting to see that the first movie was screened so long ago. While the technology wasn't as advanced as it was in this day and age, I'm sure the first commercial screening was something that a lot of people were looking forward, especially since it was something not seen before.

Also, even though the tidbit doesn't go into too much detail about the movie, I can't help but wonder about the quality and the movie, and it's running time as well.

Besides, if I recall, when movies were first introduced, most (if not all) of them were in black and white, and they had a really short running time. Perhaps this is because they were just getting things started, and wanted to give a good example of quality over quantity.


@Chmander - Well, whether rubber is used in chewing gum or not, even if it were to be used in this day and age, it wouldn't make that much of a difference. After all, chewing gum isn't something that people swallow, it's just chewed repeatedly.

Out of all these tidbits however, the one that caught my attention the most was mentioning test tube babies. Not to mention that I'm surprised it's as early as 1981, as that's not too long ago. Just my opinion, but I've always been a bit skeptical about test-tube babies.

The reason being that I feel they don't come naturally, such as those who give birth in the hospital. I also feel that as time goes on, there are becoming more and more ways in which babies are born, which seem to break the natural cycle. However, while I believe it isn't right, this is just my stance on it. Does anyone else feel the same way?


From reading some of these tidbits, I can definitely see that chewing gum has a very interesting origin. However, considering how the first version contained rubber, I wonder if this was changed because that made it inedible, and like with some other products, adding rubber made it more of a test experiment, instead of an actual edible product.

Sticking with the topic, I feel like more than often, when some products are first introduced to consumers, before they can begin to become popular, they need to be introduced to the public first. If they fail to make sales, they have to be recalled. For example, does anyone remember Vanilla Coke? I can't find it anywhere in stores anymore. It's a shame, because that was actually quite popular.

Post your comments
Forgot password?