Editor's Note: Michael J. Boyle is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers Camden and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
STRASBURG, PA. Replica sailing ships and historic buildings are commonplace; I have lost count of the number of reproduced Santa Marias . Locomotive replicas are much more rare. During the past 70 years or so, only three have been built in the United States, so it was newsworthy when Stanley P. Gentry, an industrialist of Ribbing, Minnesota, decided to build a replica of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s first locomotive, the Lyon .
Mary Phelps Jacobs was only 19 when she became dissatisfied with the confining corset-style under-garments of the era. It was 1910, and the wealthy socialite wanted to wear a revealing gown to a debutante ball. But her tight and restrictive corsets, a typical fashion of the day, poked out from under the plunging neckline.
Struck with inspiration, she asked a maid to bring her two silk handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon and transformed them into a comfortable undergarment suitable for backless gowns.
We are so pleased to be able to once again produce an issue of Invention & Technology, especially one chronicling the lives of 50 women inventors.
In early September 1900, a tropical storm crossed Cuba, its precise location and intensity largely unknown to weather services, and intensified over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It smashed into the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane, destroying the low-lying town of Galveston with a 12-foot storm surge. An estimated 8,000 people died.
As a child, Vera Rubin spent hours peering through a telescope at the stars visible from her bedroom window. Her parents weren’t sure what to do about this interest in stargazing. Her mother felt young Vera was wasting her time spending hours gazing at the stars through a little cardboard telescope. Her father – a mathematician and electrical engineer – recognized that she had a gift for science, but he knew women weren’t welcome in technical fields, and that she’d encounter hostility and rejection if she pursued her interest in astronomy.
Whether she was bicycling with a colleague’s child, cheering at a baseball game, or taking flying lessons, Virginia Apgar always kept the following things on her person: a penknife, an endotracheal tube, and a laryngoscope, just in case someone needed an emergency tracheotomy. Even when she was off-duty, she was on: “Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me.”
The world was stunned when the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957 and successfully orbited the earth with two satellites. Luckily for America’s efforts to catch up, a mathematician named Irene K. Fischer had been working for five years to build the nascent science of geodesy, the measurement and representation of earth in three dimensions.