On This Day

Historical Events in May 1878

  • May 2 US stops minting 20 cent coin

Historic InventionThomas Edison's Phonograph

May 4 Thomas Edison's Phonograph shown for 1st time at Grand Opera House

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Thomas Edison with his second phonograph, photographed in 1878
Thomas Edison with his second phonograph, photographed in 1878
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  • May 8 1st unassisted triple play in organized baseball, by Paul Hines

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 8 David Edward Hughes' paper on the idea for a microphone is read before the Royal Society of London by Thomas Henry Huxley

  • May 13 Danvers State Lunatic Hospital, which served as the inspiration behind H.P. Lovercraft Arkham Sanitorium which in turn inspired DC Comics' Arkham Asylum, is opened in Danvers, Massachusetts
  • May 13 Danvers State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts, opens—later serves as inspiration for Arkham Sanitorium in the work of H.P. Lovecraft, which in turn inspired Arkham Asylum of the D.C. Batman universe
  • May 14 Vaseline is granted a patent (U.S. Patent 127,568)
  • May 19 Blanche Kelso Bruce appointed register of treasury by President Garfield
  • May 21 4th Kentucky Derby: Jimmy Carter aboard Day Star wins in 2:37.25
  • May 23 Attorney John Henry Smyth named US minister to Liberia
  • May 24 CA Parker (Harvard) wins 1st American bike race at Beacon Park in Boston

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 25 W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "H.M.S. Pinafore" premieres in London, their first international success

English Dramatist William Schwenck Gilbert
English Dramatist
William Schwenck Gilbert
  • May 27 6th Preakness: C Holloway aboard Duke of Magenta wins in 2:41.75
  • May 27 Australians Cricket 41 & 12-1 defeat MCC 33 & 19
  • May 31 German battleship SMS Grosser Kurfürst sinks, 284 killed
  • May 31 US Congress accepts decrease in dollar circulation