On This Day

What Happened in February 1879

Historical Events

  • Feb 5 Joseph Swan demonstrates light bulb using carbon glow
  • Feb 8 Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute
  • Feb 10 1st electric arc light used (California Theater)
  • Feb 12 1st artificial ice rink in North America (Madison Square Garden, NYC)
  • Feb 12 News about British loss at Battle of Isandlwana to Zulu attack (Anglo-Zulu War) reaches London
  • Feb 14 Chilean troops occupy Antofagasta
  • Feb 15 US Congress authorizes women lawyers to practise before Supreme Court
  • Feb 18 Arabs capture Egyptian premier Nabar Pasha

Statue of Liberty

Feb 18 Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi is awarded a patent for his design for the Statue of Liberty

  • Feb 22 1st 5 cent & 10 cent store opened by Frank W. Woolworth in Utica, New York (failed almost immediately)
  • Feb 25 US Congress passed 1st Timberland Protection Act
  • Feb 27 Russian Chemist Constantin Fahlberg discovers saccharin (artificial sweetener) [1]
  • Feb 28 "Exodus of 1879" southern blacks flee political and economic exploitation

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 3 Charles Follis, 1st African American NFLer (Shelby, Ohio)
  • Feb 5 Edward Rigby, British actor (Star Look Down, Young & Innocent), born in Ashford, Kent, England (d. 1951)
  • Feb 6 Carl Ramsauer, German physicist (Ramsauer-Townsend effect), born in Oldenburg, Germany (d. 1879)
  • Feb 6 Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Chilean educator, lawyer, and politician (President of Chile, 1938-41; Senator for Concepción, 1921-27), born in Pocuro, Chile (d. 1941)
  • Feb 9 [Carl] Natanael Berg, Swedish composer, born in Stockholm (d. 1957)
  • Feb 9 Jacques Bainville, French historian/essayist/journalist
  • Feb 10 Franz Carl Bornschein, American composer, born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1948)
  • Feb 11 Jean Gilbert [Max Winterfeld], German composer, born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 1942)
  • Feb 13 Sarojini Naidu, Indian freedom fighter and poet, born in Hyperbad, India (d. 1949)
  • Feb 17 Dorothy Canfield Fisher, American novelist (Book-of-Month-Club)
  • Feb 22 Norman Lindsay, Australian artist and novelist (The Magic Pudding), born in Creswick Victoria (d. 1969) [1]
  • Feb 23 Agnes Arber, English biologist/philosopher (Mind & the Eye)
  • Feb 24 Herman Teirlinck, Belgian writer (Sun)
  • Feb 25 Otakar Ostrcil, Czech composer, born in Prague (d. 1935)
  • Feb 26 Frank Bridge, English violinist, composer, conductor and tutor of Benjamin Britten, born in Brighton, England (d. 1941)
  • Feb 27 José Sancho Marraco, Spanish composer, organist and chapel master (Cathedral of Barcelona, 1923-57), born in La Garriga, Spain (d. 1960)
  • Feb 28 James "Soup" Perkins, American jockey (Kentucky Derby 1985; winningest jockey in America 1895), born in Lexington, Kentucky (d. 1911)

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 11 Honore Daumier, caricaturist/painter, dies
  • Feb 11 Willem Josephus van Zeggelen, Dutch author, dies at 67
  • Feb 21 Peter van Bosse, Dutch liberal minister of Finance, dies at 69
  • Feb 23 Albrecht von Roon, Prussian soldier and statesman (Minister of War), dies at 75