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1851: Business and industry; science; education; philosophy and religion.

The Young Men's Christian Association, founded in England in 1844, came to North America in 1851 with the organization of chapters in Boston, Mass., and Montreal, Canada. Other U.S. cities soon formed similar groups. The first convention of the North American association was held in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1854. In 1858 chapters for students were formed at the universities of Michigan and Virginia. The organization emphasized the improvement of the spiritual and moral well-being of young men. It also sponsored social and athletic activities.

The first electric fire alarm in America was installed in Boston by Dr. William P. Channing and Moses Gerrish Farmer.

Jan. 28

Northwestern University was chartered in Evanston, Ill., under Methodist auspices as North Western University. The words North and Western were combined in 1867.

Jan. 29

Ripon College was chartered in Ripon, Wis., as Brockway College under the joint auspices of Congregational and Presbyterian groups. The name was changed to Ripon College in 1864. Its first degrees were awarded in 1867.

Feb. 13

The University of Minnesota was established by an act of the new territorial legislature, but it did not begin instruction until 1869. Its first degrees were granted in 1873. It is now one of the largest of American universities.

Feb. 13

Heidelberg College, founded in 1850, was chartered in Tiffin, Ohio, under German Reformed auspices. Its first degrees were awarded in 1854. The college was a university between 1890 and 1926.

Feb. 18

Westminster College was chartered in Fulton, Mo., under Presbyterian auspices as Fulton College. Its name was changed to Westminster College in 1853. It issued its first degrees in 1855.

May 6

The first U.S. patent for an ice-making machine was awarded to John Gorrie. He died in 1855 after exhausting and futile efforts to raise capital for manufacture of his machine.

May 15

The longest railroad line in the world up to this time, the Erie Railroad, opened with a 483-mile route between Piermont, N.Y., on the west side of the Hudson R. and Dunkirk, N.Y., on Lake Erie.

July 10

The College of the Pacific was chartered in Santa Clara, Calif., as California Wesleyan College. Established under Methodist auspices, it was renamed the University of the Pacific in 1852. It granted its first degrees in 1858, was transferred to San Jose, Calif., in 1871, integrated with Napa College of Napa, Calif., in 1896, and became the College of the Pacific in 1911. It was moved to Stockton, Calif., in 1924.

Aug. 12

A patent for a practical sewing machine was granted to Isaac Merrit Singer, who quickly organized I. M. Singer & Company. The unique feature of Singer's machine was its continuous stitching action. Elias Howe, whose machine was then the most popular, initiated a royalty suit against Singer for producing a machine similar to Howe's. Singer lost and was forced to make a settlement of $15,000; his machine in the meantime had achieved a leading position. It was improved in the next decade by additional patented devices.

Dec. 16

The first patent for a process of shaping brass into bowls was issued to Hiram Hayden of Waterbury, Conn. Dishes of brass, fastened to spinning dies, were pressed to the shape of the die.
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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