Home School Online

Homeschooling Online – Together At Home!


Old Record Players

I had always believed that there was a difference between two types of pre-electric record players. I thought there was a victrola, which has an internal speaker sort of like a drum or modern speaker, and a phonograph which had the big external bullhorn speaker.

However, as I look through Wikipedia, I’m not finding that this is a valid distinction.  Grrr.

I am pleased to see, and report, that Carbon Paper continues to be available for sale at Office Depot. And now, it’s cool!

Lastly, for those of us who attented schools prior to 1990, we remember that photocpies were expensive and rare. Most coying of paper for worksheets and tests used to be done by  mimeograph machines.


The Gilded Age from the Story of Us (History Channel)

I’m watching the History Channel, the Story of Us. I’ll take notes (and enhance them with some research). It’s an odd program tonight which is more a collection of interesting information about an era that a tightly integrated narrative. Still, I really like it.

Otis invented the first truly safe elevator.

Carnegie learned about how to make steel a lot more efficiently in the UK and pioneered these at a new scale in the US.

A New York Police Inspector, named Burns, came up with the idea of a “Third Degree”  at the end of the 1800s.  The first degree interrogation, the second degree was intimidation, and the third degree was pain. He popularized the idea of photographic mug shots. He also started using background profiles on wanted criminals.  Today, 12 million mug shots are taken annually in the US.

George E. Waring, Jr. (1833 – 1898) was an American sanitary engineer and civic reformer. He was an early American designer and advocate of sewer systems that keep domestic sewage separate from storm runoff. (wikipedia).

Thomas Edison’s story of the Light Bulb and the 6000 tests of things that didn’t work, is told again. Invention is 99% perspiration.  He had huge financial backers in one of the world’s first research labs.  Not unlike today’s VCs.  1879 was the creation of the successful light bulb.

Triangle Waist Shirt Factory Fire in  NYC in 1911 killed 146 girls, mostly immigrant teenagers. It led directly to the movement to make owners and employers responsible for safety including outward opening doors, multiple exits, automatic sprinkler systems and so on.

1901 – Oil is discovered in Spindletop Texas, oil becomes cheap, and the US becomes the top oil producer in the world.

Gustav Eiffel designed the structure of the Statue Of Liberty.  The copper skin was sculpted by Bartholdie.  When the French sent over the gift for NYC, there were no funds to assemble and mount it. Other cities asked for it.

Just when the outlook seemed darkest to the American Committee, an efficient champion of the cause appeared. Joseph Pulitzer became owner and editor of the New York World in 1883 and immediately undertook to popularize the campaign for’ funds to construct the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. He endeavored to “nationalize” the project, pointing out through his newspaper that the statue was a gift to the whole American people. Despite his ardent championship of the cause, his efforts to arouse public interest and generosity were not too successful for 2 years. During that time, however, his own prestige grew. He successfully backed the candidacy of Grover Cleveland for President and became famous for his liberal point of view. The World became known as a people’s paper.

Meanwhile, other cities displayed an interest in securing the statue Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, and Cleveland offered to pay all the cost of the erection, if the statue were presented to their particular city. A committee from Boston reportedly approached the French Committee. The Baltimore American printed a story that the money for the pedestal could easily be secured in Baltimore, were the statue erected there Minneapolis and other cities displayed a similar interest.

Then, on March 16,1885, the World renewed its pedestal fund campaign in grim earnest. Throughout its columns Pulitzer continued to storm at men of wealth who failed to finance the pedestal construction and at the same time criticized the mass of citizens of lesser means who had been content to depend upon the rich to do the job. He assailed the provincial attitude which withheld assistance because the statue was to stand in New York Harbor and called upon every citizen of the country to assist in averting the shame of rejecting what he considered the most generous gesture one nation had ever offered to another. School children weir appealed to, and their contributions appreciably aided the fund. The campaign took on the character of a popular crusade. Benefit theatrical performances, sporting events, entertainments, and balls were sponsored. In April, word was received that the statue was being packed for shipment to America, and new impetus was given to the drive. The press of many other cities rallied to the cause. Contributions came from as far away as California, Colorado, Florida, and Louisiana. On May 11, the American Committee, encouraged by the World’s success, ordered work resumed on the structure. Thirty-eight of the forty-six courses of masonry were yet to be built.

New enthusiasm was generated by the arrival of the statue on June 19 at the island in New York Harbor then known as Bedloe’s Island. By August 11, less than-5 months after it had launched its latest fund drive, the World was able to announce that the pedestal fund had been completed, and the placing of the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe’s Island was assured. (quoted from http://www.libertystatepark.org/statueofliberty/sol3.shtml)


Compare the Transcontinental Railroad with the Internet

In 1869, a one word telegraph message, “done,” signaled  the completion of the transcontinental railway.  Previously, a six week perilous trip on horseback or horse carriage was required to cross the country. With the railroad, it became a predictable six day trip.  However, the biggest impact was on commerce.

In the 1990s, the network of computers developed as Arpanet or NFSNET , became available to individuals and consumers as the Internet. Initially,  it was available to consumers n as audio over the analog telephone network through dial-up modems.  In the first few years of the new millennium, the nation was rapidly rewired giving most businesses and families always-on high speed digital access.  Previously, communication and directories was limited to telephone calls, to physical mail, to paper-bound directories, or to limited computer networks.

Compare and contrast these two networks in forming America.

This question and vision is loosely based on my watching Heartland (the part about Railroads), an episode of  The Story of Us on The History Channel.