130 years ago, the first jukebox debuted at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. Called a “Nickel-in-the-slot player,” it was built by the Pacific Phonograph Company, and premiered to rave reviews. (1889)

Photo of 1958 jukebox by Todd Lappin, CC license

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • French mathematician, scientist, and religious philosopher Blaise Pascal experienced an intense mystical vision that marked his life (1654)
  • The clipper Cutty Sark was launched from Scotland, the only one still surviving to this day (1869)
  • The first edition of Life magazine was published by Henry Luce (1936)
  • The first all-female expedition to the South Pole began their 70-day, 1287-km ski trek —  3 American women, 1 Japanese woman and 12 Russians (1990)

And, on this day in 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman head of state to lead an African country.Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-CC-Antonio Cruz-ABr

Sirleaf was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with two other women for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” In 2010, Sirleaf released her first book, This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President.

Also, on this day in 1936, bluesman Robert Johnson was, for the very first time, recorded—in a San Antonio studio. Only 41 takes of the musician were ever recoded during his lifetime, but the mysterious talent inspired a blues-rock revolution in the decades that followed through young fans like Eric Clapton and Keith Richard. HEAR his performance of Crossroads…