180 years ago today, the superstar British scientist Sir John Herschel, who first used the word ‘photography’, took the first photograph on a glass plate. The ‘negative’ photograph (a term he also coined) used a layer of silver chloride to react with light—and it still survives today. The image, now faded and kept in The Science Museum in London, shows the structure used to support a 40-ft telescope owned by his astronomer father in Slough, England.
Herschel’s glass-plate method was ideal for photographing the skies and it was used well into the 1990s. The astronomer, mathematician, chemist, inventor, musician, and artist, also named seven moons of Saturn and four Uranus moons. During his work with color and light waves a few years later, Herschel invented the ‘Cyanotype’ printing method, isolating ferric salts through a photochemical process that produces the cyan—Prussian blue—color for use in printing images, thus inventing blueprints. WATCH a video about Herschel’s influence on Darwin—and mentorship of a great female photographer… (1839)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The Continental Congress officially named its union of states the United States (1776)
- Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was named after President George Washington (1791)
- Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time (1956)
- The first U.S. civil rights bill was signed into law by US President Dwight Eisenhower (1957)
- The British Ambassador, Geoffrey Jackson, was freed 8 months after capture by guerrillas in Uruguay (1971)
- In Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, a Cave Research Foundation exploration and mapping team discovered a link between the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems, making it the longest known cave passageway in the world (1972)
- Tajikistan gained Independence from USSR (1991)
- The Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Israel returns mutual recognition for the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinian people (1993)
- The Irish Republican Army‘s political arm, Sinn Fein, formally renounced violence and took a seat at the table with British and Irish leaders to plan a negotiated settlement to end Northern Ireland’s civil unrest—seven 7 later, that’s exactly what happened (1997)
Harland David Sanders began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in North Corbin, Kentucky, during the Great Depression. Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by the governor, he had a “Secret Recipe” for frying chicken in a pressure fryer, which cut cooking times. He recognized the potential of the restaurant franchising concept, and, with a product that evoked the imagery of Southern hospitality, the first KFC franchise opened in Utah in 1952. At age 65, Sanders had little money so decided to search for new franchisees, often sleeping in the back of his car as he traveled the country. Sanders later used his stock holdings to create the Colonel Harland Sanders Trust and Charitable Organization, which used the proceeds to aid charities and fund scholarships.
And, on this day in 1941, soulful singer Otis Redding was born. At 15, he quit school to work in music and support his parents in Macon, Georgia. Three days before his tragic death in a plane crash at age 26, he recorded the iconic song, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,’ which shot to #1 on the charts.
The year prior, he released ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’ the song that epitomizes his signature sound. He also wrote ‘Respect,’ and had a major influence on Aretha Franklin. Artists from many genres have named Redding as a musical influence, like the Rolling Stones. George Harrison called “Respect” an inspiration for “Drive My Car”, and others have covered or mixed his songs, notably Kanye West and Jay-Z in their Grammy-winning “Otis”.
His bandmate and co-writer on Dock of the Bay, Steve Cropper, said, “I don’t think anybody I’ve ever worked with had the impact that Otis Redding did. He was the only artist on the label that everybody–all the musicians, all the secretaries, all the employees–looked forward to seeing at the studio. Otis was your best friend when he was with you and he made you feel wanted, needed and all that.”