Thursday, March 29, 2012

History in a Nutshell

Yesterday was my book store volunteer day.  I chose to read a real light-weight book, "Girl Cook."  It was a real chick book which I chose because its cover promised to give a glimpse into the kitchens of New York restaurants.  It did that, perhaps in more detail than the average diner wants to know, but the basic story was pretty slim and predictable -- the story of a 28 year old's search for meaningful employment in a misogynistic world and a man in her life.  How many thousands of books are written about that?

It was something like 225 pages long and I polished it off with an hour to spare.  I was going to give up and read the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle, despite my self-imposed principles about not reading an electronic book while working in a real book store.  But it was raining and we had very few customers and..who was going to see me? And who, but me, cared about my principles anyway?

I got out the kindle but then I happened to glance up to one of the top display shelves in the store and saw this book:

GSBook.jpg (72113 bytes)

Now I need another "complete Gilbert & Sullvan" book the way I need another Judy Garland book.  But those are the two subjects that most draw me when I see them.  This is a big plush book which traces the history of theater in England along with the development and the stories behind the G&S operettas was only $8.  Such a deal!

So I bought it, paying my weekly dues for the privilege of working at Logos Books (there have been very few weeks when I did not buy at least one book!).

Last night, as we were watching Dancing with the Stars--the results show (the right person was voted off first...I predict there will be no little house on the DWTS prairie at next week's elimination), I started just thumbing through the book during commercials and discovered that toward the end there is an eight page chronological table of the most important events in the history of Gilbert and Sullivan, in the Arts, and in the World from 1836 (when W.S. Gilbert was born) to 1913 (when Helen Carte, the wife of Richard d'Oyly Carte died).  It was such a weird list of things that I had to share it here.  I'm just posting what the writers of this book think are the most important world events in various years--I won't use all the years.  There are usually 4-5 entries for each year; I'm just choosing the most interesting.

1836 Battle of the Alamo
1837 Queen Victoria comes to the throne
Beginnings of Economic Depression
Euston Station opens in London
1839 General growth of railroad
Rugby rules devised
1840 Victoria & Albert married
First postage stamps
Afternoon tea made fashionable by Duchess of Bedford
Hypnosis discovered
1843 Typewriter invented
Appearance of the first Christmas cards
1846 Invention of ice cream
1848 Revolutions in Paris, Vienna, Prague, Rome
Waterloo station opens
1849 California Gold Rush
Bowler hat invented
Harrods founded
1850 Last salmon caught in Thames--too polluted afterwards
Tea overtakes coffee in popularity
1854 First distillation of petrol
Vatican ruling of papal infallibility
1858 Lecture on survival of the fittest by Darwin and Wallace
Bernadette of Lourdes has her vision
Big Ben opened by Queen
First refrigerator invented
1860 Garibaldi uprising in Italy
First pasturization of milk
1862 Abolition of slavery
Britain runs out of cotton due to American Civil War
Cotton and crop famine in Britain
Cross & Blackwell introduce canned soups
1864 Charing Cross station opens
First fish and chips shops opened
1866 Invention of Dynamite
Cook's tours begin
1872 First motion picture invented
First chewing gum invented
1874 End of fist Gladstone ministry
Lawn tennis patented
1876 Queen Victoria made Empress of India
Invention of "Lily the Pink's" compound for "women's ills"
Player piano invented
1877 Women allowed to practice medicine
First telephones sold
First Wimbledon tennis matches
1880 First newspaper photos
First successful shipment of frozen Australian beef to England
1881 Venetian gondola outmoded by vaporetto
Death of Disrali
1882 Street lighting by electricity begins
First psychoanalysis experiments
Married Women's Property Act passed
1883 Invention of the machine gun
First Buffalo Bill Wild West Show
1886 Gold rush to the Transvaal
Coca-Cola is sold as headache remedy
1888 Jack the Ripper murders
Invention of Esperanto
1891 Amazingly there were NO world events of note during this year!
1899 Boer War begins
aspirin and sticking plaster invented
1906 The word "allergy" is coined
San Francisco earthquake
1907 Hoover vacuum cleaner invented

I dont know if that was as interesting to you as it was to me, but I hope you enjoyed it.


Mary Z said...

Re "Lily the Pinks" tonic: That's a nickname for Lydia Pinkham Vegetable Compound - one of those high-alcohol things for women.

My mother's name was Lydia. When she and my father started dating (or whatever passed for that in the late 1920s), he nicknamed her "Pink" - and it stuck. My sister and I always called her Pink, as did all our grandchildren. AND, you can still find it in drugstores.

Kwizgiver said...

As a history buff, I love this!