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Flashback calendar

Georges Claude dies

Georges Claude died at age 90. He was a French engineer and inventor, noted for his early work on the industrial liquefaction of air, for the invention and commercialization of neon lighting, and for a large experiment on generating energy by pumping cold seawater up from the depths.

NASA contacts Explorer 1 for the last time

First U. S. satellite stopped to transmit data. It was launched after Russian satellites Sputnik 1 and 2 as a part of American participation in the International Geophysical Year. Explorer 1 was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt. It remained in orbit until 1970 and has been followed by other probes in Explorer series.

German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal is born

Lilienthal was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful flights with unpowered airplanes. Lilienthal financed his experiments with aircraft from his commercially successful earlier inventions, such as a small steam engine that worked on a system of tubular boilers designed for safety.

Benjamin Franklin invents bifocals

One of the founding fathers of the USA, Benjamin Franklin, described bifocals in a letter to his friend. For Franklin, the bifocals were a way how to avoid wearing two pairs of glasses. Franklin wrote, “I had the glasses cut and half of each kind associated in the same circle. I have only to move my eyes up and down.”

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