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Telephone is Patented, Pluto is Discovered and More Good News in History for The Week February 13 to 19

Read on for some of the feel good news in history for the week.


February 13

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologises to Aboriginal Australians

Image of Kevin Rudd

On February 13 2008, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, said sorry to Indigenous Australians. The apology was made because of a time in history where Aboriginal children were taken away from their families by the Australian government, and placed with white families. These children were known as the “stolen generations”. Kevin Rudd said that he was sorry for what had happened and that it was wrong. This apology was a big step towards fixing things between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. People were happy that the Prime Minister said sorry and it was seen as a way to start healing the hurt caused by the past.

February 14

Telephone is patented in 1876

First telephone. Image from amcad.org

Alexander Graham Bell was successful in his application for the patent of the telephone on February 14 1876. Interesting fact: Elisha Gray applied for a patent for the telephone on the same day. He was unsuccessful, yet, recent authors say that Bell stole the idea of the ‘liquid transmitter’, a device for converting sound into electric current, from Gray.

February 15

Largest peaceful protest in history takes place in 2003

Anti-war protest in London. Image courtesy of William M. Connolley

On 15 February 2003, around estimated 10 million people participated in a global protest organized by the anti-war movement.

The protests took place in over 600 cities across the world, including London, Rome, New York, Sydney, and Tokyo.

The aim of the protest was to voice opposition against the impending invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies. Rome attracted the largest crowd, with over 3 million people protesting, and is listed in The Guinness Book of records as the largest anti-war protest in history.

February 16

God Bless you! Pope Gregory coins the term in 900 CE

On February 16, a long time ago in the year 600, Pope Gregory the Great said that when someone sneezes, you should say “God bless you”. Back then, people believed that when you sneeze, your soul might try to escape from your body. By saying “God bless you”, they thought that they could protect you from any harm that might come to your soul.

February 18

Pluto is discovered in 1930

Pluto has been classified as a dwarf planet since 2006. Image from NASA’s New Horizons probe

Although Pluto’s status as a planet has since been revoked, in 1930, people were excited at the idea of a new planet in our solar system. On February 18 Clyde W Tombaugh, who was an American with no formal training in astronomy, discovered the planet, using a 13 inch telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Pluto has since been downgraded to a dwarf planet.

February 19

Thomas Edison is granted a patent for the gramophone (phonograph) in 1878

Image from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division

On February 19, 1878, Thomas Edison was granted a patent for the phonograph, which was later referred to as a gramophone.

This groundbreaking invention revolutionized the way sound was recorded and played back. The phonograph was the first device capable of recording and reproducing sound, and it worked by etching sound waves onto a rotating cylinder coated with a thin layer of tinfoil.

This allowed people to listen to music, speeches, and other sounds repeatedly, and opened up a new era of communication and entertainment.

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