100 years old today, the zipper was first patented by Gideon Sundback. The Swedish engineer who emigrated to the US at age 25, perfected the “Separable Fastener” while working as an engineer at the Universal Fastener Company in New Jersey. (1917)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Holy day for the Bahá’í Faith annually; New Year (calendar began in 1844)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach, the German composer was born (1685)
  • Journalist Henry Stanley began his trek to find missing missionary/explorer David Livingstone (1871)
  • British troops liberated Mandalay, Burma from WW II occupation (1945)
  • In Cleveland, Ohio, Alan Freed presented the first rock and roll concert — a mix of black and white musical performers and audience members billed as Moondog Coronation Ball, in an era when almost all performances, radio stations and record labels were segregated by race (1952)
  • With President Johnson providing 4,000 troops to ensure their safety, civil rights protesters began their 54-mile, 5-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand voting rights, which later that year they won–with the Voting Rights Act (1965)
  • San Francisco proclaimed the first Earth Day (1970)
  • After 12 years, Randall Adams was released from prison when his murder conviction was overturned thanks to the film The Thin Blue Line, which challenged evidence (1989)
  • Namibia gained independence after 75 years of South African rule (1990)
  • Twitter was launched as a micro-blogging service by Jack Dorsey, who planned it for eight days until the first tweet was sent: “I am trying to install my twitter” (2006)
  • The US Congress passed a Health Care Reform bill to reform insurance practices that deny coverage to sick Americans and dependent children up to the age of 26 (2010)

rick hansen


And, on this day in 1985, Canadian paraplegic athlete Rick Hansen began his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair to raise money for spinal cord injury medical research. After a 26-month trek through 34 countries, four continents, and along 40,000 km (25,000 miles), Hansen arrived back in Vancouver to cheering crowds at the BC Place Stadium on May 22, 1987. His Man In Motion World Tour raised $26 million.

Zipper photo by Amanda Fernandes, (CC)