On This Day

Historical Events in 1853

  • Jan 1 1st practical fire engine (horse-drawn) in US enters service
  • Jan 3 Solomon Northup, author of the memoir "Twelve Years a Slave, is freed after 7 illegal years in slavery with aid of Washington Hunt, Governor of New York

Historic Event

Jan 6 Franklin Pierce, the President-elect of the United States at the time, and his family are involved in a train wreck in Massachusetts

  • Jan 8 1st US bronze equestrian statue (of Andrew Jackson) unveiled, Washington
  • Jan 10 Charles Reade's play "Gold" premieres in London

Music Premiere

Jan 19 Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" premieres in Rome

Historic Event

Jan 23 John Wilkes Booth is baptized at St. Timothy's Protestant Episcopal Church

  • Jan 27 US whaling and sealing vessel the Levant captained by Mercator Cooper, makes the first known landing on mainland Antarctica at Oates Coast, Victoria land
  • Feb 21 US authorizes minting of $3 gold pieces
  • Mar 2 Territory of Washington organized after separating from Oregon Territory
  • Mar 2 15th Grand National: Tom Oliver aboard Peter Simple wins his third GN Steeplechase and the stallion's second; oldest horse to win event at 15
  • Mar 3 Transcontinental railroad survey is authorized by US Congress
  • Mar 3 US Assay Office in NYC authorized
  • Mar 4 Pope Pius IX recovers Catholic hierarchy in Netherlands
  • Mar 4 William Rufus de Vane King (D) sworn in as 13th US vice-president

Steinway & Sons Piano

Mar 5 Piano company Steinway & Sons founded by Heinrich Steinweg (later Henry Steinway) in New York City

Historic Publication

Mar 24 Anti-slavery newspaper "The Provincial Freeman" first published in Windsor, Ontario, edited by Samuel Ringgold Ward and Mary Ann Shadd Cary, first black woman publisher in North America

  • Apr 1 Cincinnati becomes 1st US city to employ fulltime professional firefighters
  • Apr 11 Steamboat ferry 'Jenny Lind' boiler explosion kills at least 31 passengers in San Francisco Bay, California
  • Apr 15 Protestant church questions king Willem III RC bishops
  • Apr 16 1st passenger railway opens in India, from Bori Bunder (Bombay) to Thane (34 km)
  • Apr 17 Johan Rudolf Thorbecke's government in the Netherlands resigns
  • Apr 17 US Marine Hospital at Presidio, San Francisco forms
  • Apr 19 Netherlands Van Hall government forms
  • Apr 26 Dutch King William III disbands 2nd Chamber
  • Apr 29 Comet C/1853 G1 (Schweizer) approaches within 0.0839 AUs of Earth
  • May 1 Argentina adopts its constitution
  • May 2 Franconi's Hippodrome opens in New York City
  • May 6 1st major US rail disaster kills 46 (Norwalk, Connecticut)

Historic Invention

May 14 Gail Borden, land surveyor, newspaper publisher and inventor, patents his process for condensed milk

  • May 17 Thorbeckes liberals win 2nd-Parliamentary election
  • May 23 Buenos Aires gains independence from Argentina (reunited 1859)
  • May 31 Elisha Kane's Arctic expedition leaves NY aboard Advance
  • Jun 21 Envelope-folding machine patented by Russell Hawes in Worcester, Massachusetts [1]
  • Jun 24 US President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase, buying 29,670 square-miles (76,800 square km) from Mexico for $10 million (now southern Arizona and New Mexico)

Conference of Interest

Jul 6 National Black convention meets in Rochester NY, ex-slave Frederick Douglass attends

  • Jul 6 William Wells Brown publishes "Clotel", 1st novel by an African American

Historic Event

Jul 8 Commodore Matthew C. Perry sails his frigate Susquehanna into Tokyo Bay, opening Japan to Western influence and trade

  • Jul 9 Commodore Matthew Perry and four US Navy vessels visit Japan to force them to open up to American trade and end their policy of isolation
  • Jul 14 Commodore Perry requests trade relations with Japan
  • Jul 14 US President Franklin Pierce opens World Fair - Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York
  • Jul 14 New Zealand holds its first general election
  • Jul 18 Completion of Grand Trunk Line, trains begin running over 1st North American railroad between Portland, Maine and Montreal

Historic Event

Jul 21 Central Park in New York created when New York State Legislature puts aside more than 750 acres of land on Manhattan Island

  • Jul 25 Joaquin Murrieta, the famous Californian bandit known as "Robin Hood of El Dorado", is killed by California Rangers

Historic Invention

Jul 31 First night time surgery performed at Lychakiv Hospital in Lemberg (now Liviv, Poland), using new paraffin oil lamps invented by Ignacy Łukasiewicz

  • Aug 8 Russian fleet appears at Nagasaki, Japan
  • Aug 24 1st potato chips prepared by chef George Crum at Moon's Lake House, near Saratoga Springs, New York (popular legend says he invented though earlier recipes exist)
  • Sep 11 1st electric telegraph used - Merchant's Exchange, San Francisco to Pt Lobos, California
  • Sep 15 Antoinette Blackwell is the first US woman to be ordained a minister

Sports History

Sep 24 1st round-the-world trip by yacht (Cornelius Vanderbilt)

  • Sep 24 France annexes New Caledonia
  • Sep 24 Northern Daily Times, 1st provincial daily newspaper, starts in London
  • Sep 29 Emigrant ship "Annie Jane" sinks off Scotland, drowning 348
  • Oct 2 Austrian law forbids Jews from owning land
  • Oct 4 Ottoman Empire declares war on the Russian Empire starting the Crimean War after various disagreements including Russian occupation of the Ottoman controlled Danubian Principalities
  • Oct 6 4th National Women's Rights Convention opens in Cleveland Ohio
  • Oct 12 John Morrissey wins boxing title, when Yankee Sullivan leaves ring after 36th round to slug Morrissey's fans
  • Oct 19 First flour mill in Hawaii begins operations
  • Oct 23 Maastricht-Aken railway in Netherlands opens
  • Nov 9 Origin of Carrington rotation numbers for rotation of Sun
  • Nov 17 Street signs authorized at San Francisco intersections
  • Nov 28 Olympia forms as capital of Washington Territory
  • Dec 30 Dinner party held inside life-sized model of an Iguanodon (ornithopod dinosaur), created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in South London