What Happened on January 12?

  • The first person was cryogenically preserved. (1967) Dr. James Bedford was a psychology professor at the University of California, and became the first person to ever be cryogenically preserved with the intent of being resuscitated in the future. Notable people who followed Bedford include mathematician Thomas Donaldson and baseball player Ted Williams. Though rumors persist that Walt Disney was frozen, he was actually interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

  • The US House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote. (1915) The proposal was brought up repeatedly throughout the next four years before it finally passed in 1919 due to a great deal of influence from President Wilson.

  • The first public museum in America was established. (1773) The Charleston Museum was founded in response to the British Museum and has operated more or less continually since the Revolutionary War. The museum has hosted many prestigious collections, including some of the first specimens from the famous biologist Louis Agassiz.

  • The Harrisburg Six were charged with conspiracy. (1971) The Reverend Philip F. Berrigan was indicted, along with five other conspirators, for destroying draft records as well as planning to kidnap Henry Kissinger.

  • Henry Ford set a speed record in a publicity stunt. (1904) Ford drove a vehicle that consisted only of a wooden chassis — no body and no hood — across a frozen lake. He managed to reach speeds of 91 mph (146 kph). The publicity generated by the act helped to jump-start interest in the recently incorporated Ford Motor Company, and automobiles in general.

  • A long-distance radio signal was sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time. (1908) The tower became a major hub for both radio and television signals, and regularly works in conjunction with the United States Naval Observatory to provide research and documentation about weather.

  • Famous mystery author Agatha Christie died. (1976) Christie became famous for her twisted plots and endearing characters, including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. During her life, Christie published over 80 books, including some romance novels under a pseudonym. She is one of the most published authors in history.

  • US President Franklin Roosevelt re-established the National War Labor Board. (1942) The board was originally established by President Wilson to make sure that labor disputes didn't disrupt the war effort. Roosevelt's re-establishment was particularly important since the US was not only making their own supplies at the time, but also heavily supplementing the supplies of the Allies as well.

  • The British-Zulu War began. (1879) Though the British initially suffered terrible defeats, they eventually rallied and occupied Zululand. The war is best known for introducing a number of military innovations to the Zulu by the ruthless chief Shaka Zulu, who became a legendary figure for his powerful fighting abilities and military strategy.

  • The Royal Aeronautical Society formed in London. (1866) The society focuses on all aspects of aeronautics, and was instrumental in the development of the British aircraft industry.

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