On This Day

What Happened in May 1851

Historical Events

  • May 1 First public flushing toilets the 'Monkey Closets' unveiled by George Jennings as part of The Great Exhibition at Hyde Park, London, costing one penny
  • May 1 Great Exhibition opens in the Crystal Palace, at Hyde Park, London
  • May 3 Sixth major fire in San Francisco destroys 1500-2000 buildings
  • May 6 Dr John Gorrie patents a "refrigeration machine"
  • May 6 Linus Yale patents Yale lock
  • May 6 New slave regulations go into effect in Suriname
  • May 6 San Francisco Chamber of Commerce starts
  • May 15 King Mongkut [Rama IV or Phra Chomklao Chaoyuhua] crowned in Siam (Thailand)
  • May 18 Amsterdam-Nieuwediep telegraph connection linked

Conference of Interest

May 29 Sojourner Truth addresses 1st Black Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio


Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Laza Lazarević, Serbian writer (Prvi put s ocem na jutrenje) and psychiatrist, born in Šabac, Serbia (d. 1891)
  • May 15 Herbert Lawford, British tennis player (Wimbledon 1887; first exponent of topspin), born in Bayswater, England (d. 1925)
  • May 18 James Budd, American politician, Governor of California (1895-99), born in Janesville, Wisconsin (d. 1908)
  • May 20 Emile Berliner, German inventor (flat phonograph record)
  • May 20 Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, American nun/daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • May 21 Léon Bourgeois, French politician, French Prime Minister (1895-96, Nobel 1920), born in Paris, France (d. 1925)
  • May 23 Antoni Stolpe, Polish pianist and composer, born in Pulawy, Poland (d. 1872)
  • May 28 Dick Barlow, English cricket all-rounder (17 Tests, 2 x 50, 34 wickets, BB 7/40; Lancashire CCC), born in Bolton, England (d. 1919)

Famous Deaths

  • May 17 Adriaan van Bevervoorde, Dutch journalist (Treason), dies at 31
  • May 22 Mordecai Manuel Noah, American writer, journalist (b. 1755)
  • May 23 Lucas Pieter Roodbaard, architect, dies at 69
  • May 24 Stanko Vraz [Jakob Frass], Slovenian-Croatian poet (Grammatica), dies at 40