That wacky millennium!


Stuff That Happened from 1001 C.E. to 2000 C.E.

Now that the Second Millennium has drawn to a close, let us sit back and savor our memories of the events that shaped our world.  Or shaped our country.  Or didn't shape much of anything.  And of course, these probably won't really be memories to you unless you're around a thousand years old.  But don't let that stop you.  Just pause for a moment with me here, won't you, and reflect on these Days Gone By.

At the end of the First Millennium, Rome had long since fallen.  The Dark Ages were drawing to a close and the Medieval Period was beginning (although the term "dark ages" wasn't actually coined until the Renaissance, as part of an effort to make the past look bad).  The stirrup had changed the face of warfare.  Somebody had just invented that, that thing, what do you call it, that harness that goes around a horse's neck and puts the load on the animal's shoulders?  That thing.  And it changed the course of history, too, believe you me!  Also, the modern notion of "progress" pretty much didn't exist; the view of the future was that every day was bleaker than the next, so hurry up and end, world, we're rootin' for that Second Coming.  Or at least that's what somebody told me, and it sounded like a good story so I'm reprinting it here.  In fact, all of my alleged historical facts pretty much belong in the hearsay category.  I ain't a historian.  I don't need to be.  All I need to do is publish false information on a webpage and everybody will send me e-mail correcting it, won't you?  Ah, the beauty of modern technology.

And if there's a favorite Historical Event of yours that happened in this millennium but that I left out (no, your first date does not count), send it to and I may or may not get around to reading it. 

1001 – The First Millennium officially ends and the Second Millennium begins.  The world does not come to an end.  The Book of Revelation fails to come true, despite widespread predictions that it would.  Those wacky doomsayers!

1009 – The first European paper mill is built by the Moors in Xativa, Spain.  Paper is a lot cheaper than parchment or vellum, and thus lays the groundwork for the eventual invention of the printing press, bureaucracy, the bookmobile, and junk mail.  That wacky strained pulp!

1066 – The Normans conquer England, laying the foundation for the eventual evolution of the modern English language (and the coining of the word "wacky").  Those wacky Frenchmen!

1095 – Pope Urban II receives a request from the Byzantine Empire for a few extra soldiers, which he turns into an excuse to recruit an enormous army and send it to "reclaim the Holy Land" of Jerusalem from the Turks.  And the Moslems and Jews, of course.  Lots of people die.  That wacky First Crusade!

1139 – The Second Lateran Council prohibits Catholic priests from marrying.  This restriction lasts through the end of the millennium and beyond, resulting in a whole lot of sexually frustrated priests.  That wacky Pope Innocent II!

1160 – Leonin, at the College of Notre Dame, starts writing music featuring two or more voices/instruments that don't always have to be in consonant harmony with one another.  It's called Melismatic Organum, and it paved the way for pretty much all later Western modal and tonal harmony.  Those wacky polyphonists!

1206 – Everybody in Mongolia unites under Genghis Khan, which is Mongolian for "Universal Ruler".  He eventually gets a Star Trek villain named after him.  That wacky spiked fur hat!

1206-1260 – The "Great" Mongol War happens.  Lots of people die.  Those wacky empire builders!

1215 – King John of England and his subject Barons sign the Articles of the Barons, which the barons make a few little revisions to and publish as the Magna Carta (Latin for "Big Letter").  It protects certain personal rights from being usurped by later laws, and lays the foundation for later turning England from an absolute monarchy into a representative democracy.  Of course, American historians will later claim that the U.S. Constitution invented the whole thing.  Those wacky Parliamentarians!

1231 – Pope Gregory IX publishes a decree calling for life imprisonment with salutary penance for heretics who confessed and repented, and capital punishment (by burning at the stake) for heretics who persisted.  Along with confiscation of all the heretic's property, of course.  This begins the Papal Inquisition.  That wacky Order of Friars Preachers!

1248 – Roger Bacon finally figures out an old Chinese invention, and describes the composition of gunpowder to primitive, backward Europe.  Captain Kirk will later use this knowledge to defeat the lizard-like Gorn.  That wacky charcoal-sulphur-saltpeter mixture!

1258 – The Mongolians take over Baghdad.  They do to several of its libraries what Arabs had done to the great library at Alexandria six centuries earlier.  The first inklings of the scientific method, which had taken a tenuous hold in the Arab world for the first time since the age of Hellenistic Greece, are likewise snuffed out.  It will be over three centuries before the sparks of the scientific revolution will be independently rekindled in Europe.  Those wacky Hordesmen!

1260 – The Mongolians take over China and Uzbekistan, and leave a Golden Horde lying around in western Russia.  Out of spite, everybody else uses the term "Mongoloid" to mean "deformed person".  So there.  That wacky Yuan Dynasty!

1275 – Marco Polo (and a bunch of other guys nobody remembers) visit Kubla Khan in China, giving primitive, backward Europe its first glimpse of the bustling east-Asian economy.  This eventually causes the Age of Exploration.  Those wacky Mongolian Chinese!

1284 – Salvino D'Armate, an Italian craftsman, invents eye glasses, allowing those far-sighted people who could afford them to read as well as everybody else.  The eventual invention of distance-vision glasses, and the resulting decline in selection pressure, will result in a 25% near-sighted population by the end of the millennium.  Those wacky concave lenses!

1297 – Mel "Braveheart" Gibson single-handedly defeats the entire English army at Stirling Bridge in Scotland by shooting fireballs out of his eyes and lightning from his arse.  His enemy, king Patrick "Longshanks" McGoohan, was an evil Satan-worshipping tyrant who reinstituted the jus primae noctis and sucked the blood out of babies at night.  Or maybe the Scottish were exaggerating juuuuust a wee bit.  Those wacky bagpipes!

1300 – A big cold wave hits Europe.  Even big fancy expensive houses now need to be heated during the winter.  The chimney is invented as a result.  Those wacky central-heating enthusiasts!

1307 – King Philip "the Fair" of France accuses the Knights Templar of heresy, tortures them until they confess to being Mohammed worshippers, then burns them at the stake.  All so that he could get out of his debts to them.  Those wacky military monks!

1347 – The Black Death breaks out.  Over a third of the people living in Europe die from the Plague.  Cats, which look sort-of demonic, are blamed.  And since rats carry bubonic-Plague-infested fleas to humans, cats could have halted its progress; but nooooooo.  Those wacky superstitions!

1370s – Pope Gregory XI's monks become obsessed with devoting each possible instant of their lives to correctly worshipping God, which causes them to invent the second (1/60 of a minute, the way a minute was 1/60 of an hour).  Those wacky timekeepers!

1378 – The Catholic church gets two popes.  Hilarity ensues.  Every country has to decide whether to side with the Roman Pope or the French Pope.  Pity those poor countries that happen to pick the wrong side.  That wacky Schism!

1390-ish – Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales, which may have single-handedly saved the English language from oblivion.  That wacky suggestive poet!

1409 – The Council of Pisa declares both Catholic popes to be deposed and elects a new one.  However, the other two popes refuse to step down, so now the Catholic Church has three popes.  Those wacky Popes in the Pizza!

1437 – Mukhammad Tarag'ay Ulug'bek compiles the first revised star map since the time of Hipparchus.  Twelve years later, he gets his head chopped off by Muslim extremists in Afghanistan for saying "Religion disperses like a fog, kingdoms perish, but the works of scholars remain for an eternity."  You tell 'em, Ulug.  That wacky observatory builder!

1450 – Johannes Gutenberg re-invents the movable type printing press.  Mass communication suddenly becomes much, much cheaper and more reliable.  Sorta like what the web is allegedly doing today.  This eventually causes literacy to be commonplace and inadvertently dethrones the Catholic church.  Those wacky typebars!

1453 – Constantinople finally falls to the Ottoman Turks, partly thanks to the invention of cast-bronze gunpowder-propelled cannons that pack a much bigger wallop than plain old catapults.  This seals the coffin on the last living vestige of ancient Greek and Roman civilization.  The invaders rename Constantinople "Istanbul," which means "The City."  Now the Roman Catholic Church has no competition anywhere in the world in the Christianity business.  On the plus side, the invading Ottomans did bring this esoteric cleansing substance called "soap" with them.  Those wacky Byzantines!

1481 – Tomas de Torquemada invents the Spanish Inquisition.  Those wacky Catholic fundamentalists!

1484 – German Inquisitors Sprenger and Kramer publish the Malleus Maleficarum, giving the budding Inquisition industry a new target: witches.  Pope Innocent VIII, giving new meaning to the term "papal bull", grants the authors broad powers to root out, try, convict, torture, and incinerate anyone suspected of witchcraft.  Those wacky pagans!

1492 – Ferdinand and Isabella, having united Spain, overthrow the Spanish moslems.  Jews living in Spain, who have been treated poorly under Moslem rule, are now treated poorly under Catholic rule.  Spanish Jews are given 3 months to convert to Catholicism or pack their bags and get the heck out.  To root out the Jews that said they'd converted to Catholicism but were still celebrating the sabbath on Saturday (or other such blasphemous heresies), Torquemada's Spanish Inquisition gets nasty.  As Mel Brooks will later remark, you can't torq 'em ada anything.  In fact, the only thing that will be worse than the Inquisitors is the Protestant press's exaggeration of their atrocities.  Those wacky torturers!

That very same year – Cristoforo Colombo, an avid fan of Marco Polo's writings, cajoles Ferdinand and Isabella into giving him a miniscule fleet of ships so he can sail around the world and plunder Japan.  Fortunately, everyone who can read at the time knows that the world is round.  Unfortunately, there is a continent in the way between Spain and Japan, and when Columbus bangs into it he thinks he's missed Japan and landed one one of the other islands off the east coast of Asia, which at the time was called India.  (He even calls the people "Indians" and an island chain the "East Indies".  Today we've corrected this mistake and now call the island chain the "West Indies".)  Years later, after ransacking several small native villages and returning with a few boatloads of slaves (all in the name of the Church, of course), he ends up broken and in prison because the land and people he's plundered don't have any gold.  That wacky capital of Ohio!

1498 – Somebody or other in Augsburg, Germany invents rifling: spiral grooves in the barrel of a gun that spin the bullet and greatly increase the gun's accuracy.  Real rifles won't actually be used on the battlefield for nearly another three centuries, however.  That wacky Kentucky windage!

1512 – Nicholas Copernicus publishes his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, in which he says (1) that the planets probably go around the sun instead of the Earth, because this is the best way to explain their perceived motions across the sky, and (2) that the Earth also goes around the sun, because, hey, it's neater that way.  He calculates tables to predict where a given planet will be on a specific date using this new model, and they end up being no more accurate than tables calculated according to the old model.  That wacky Index of Forbidden Books!

1530 – Germany decides it's had enough with the Catholic Church, and starts up its own church.  It's pretty much the same as the Catholic church, witch-trials and all, except they write their bibles in German (with 12 Old Testament books omitted) and don't take orders from the Pope.  That wacky Martin Luther!

1540 – Pope Paul III gives the go-ahead for Ignatius of Loyola to invent the Jesuits.  They build lots of schools and get lots of widows' inheritances.  That wacky Society of Jesus!

1542 – As if the Papal and Spanish versions of the Inquisition weren't enough, Pope Paul III invents the Roman Inquisition.  Fortunately, this new "Holy Office" is more concerned with academic orthodoxy than with burning heretics — at least until the next Pope takes over.  That wacky Protestant Reformation scare!

1545 – The Catholic Church retaliates against the Protestant Reformation by instigating the Counter-Reformation.  All the Catholic leaders sit down in Trent and decide what to do about the fact that Catholicism is no longer as popular as it used to be and, in a marketing ploy no less savvy than the invention of "New Coke", make their Church even meaner and stricter than it was before.  That wacky Commission of Cardinals!

1555 – Michele de No[s]tredame gets a reputation as a clairvoyant, and writes The Centuries.  Four hundred years of vague, failed predictions have not diminished a gullible public's need to view this work as Divine, Inerrant Prophecy.  Those wacky seers!

1563 – Remember that plague we had in 1347?  Well, it's back.  That wacky Black Death!

1580-ish – The Snaphaunce company invents the flint-lock.  That wacky sure-fire trigger!

1582 – Pope Gregory XIII takes credit for a new Calendar that omits the Leap Year on 3 out of every 4 years that end with 00.  That wacky 10-day calendar adjustment!

1590 – Antony van Leeuwenhoek invents the microscope, or ar the very least improves it significantly.  That wacky Saturday Night Live "Bad Musical"!

1607 – The Virginia Company of Great Britain sets up permanent base camp on the east coast of North America, becoming (I believe) the first British colony on the continent.  One of the colonists is actually named John Smith, which probably causes all sorts of giggles when he and his wife register at a hotel.  Those wacky Jamestowners!

1609 – Johannes Kepler publishes his Astronomia Nova, in which he lays down his 3 laws of planetary motion.  Unlike Copernicus's attempt 97 years earlier, when Kepler calculates planetary-position tables based on this model, his results are 100 times more accurate than any work previously published.  The heliocentric universe finally gets its time in the sun, so to speak.  Those wacky elliptical trajectories!

1610 – Galileo turns the recently-invented telescope toward the heavens and sees spots on the sun.  Years later, he goes blind from glaucoma and cataracts, but that doesn't discourage people from blaming it on his staring at the sun so damn much.  Those wacky non-smoked lenses!

1620 – Sir Francis Bacon publishes his Novum Organum, in which he comes out and says what's been "in the air" among the scientific community for some time: that inductive reasoning by experiment is how you find out about stuff.  He also writes all of Shakespeare's plays, then changes his first name to Kevin and becomes the center of the Hollywood universe.  That wacky scientific method!

1660 – Robert Boyle publishes New Experiments Physio-Mechanical, Touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects, marking the first time that inductive scientific reasoning is applied to the topic of chemistry.  Everything chemical that had gone before was pretty much the rantings of horny alchemists.  That wacky Boyle's Law!

1687 – Hooke and Halley (of Hooke's Law and Halley's Comet fame) publish Newton's Principia Mathematica, whose title is actually a slam at Descartes' Principia Philosophiae.  Physics will never be the same.  Those wacky Laws of Motion!

1692 – The witch-hunting craze in Europe finally reaches the good ol' U.S. of A..  Or Massachusetts, at least.  21 residents of Salem Hill are hanged for allegedly being witches.  Those wacky possessed schoolgirls!

1753 – Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod.  Big tall gothic church spires, which provide wonderful lightning targets and used to be the first things to get hit in a thunderstorm, are now immune to that ol' Holy Fire from the Sky.  This unfortunately undermines one of the bigger superstitions many churches were based on ("That other church got hit by lightning as punishment from God; we're the holiest!"), and as such was initially denounced as Tampering in God's Domain.  Those wacky Leiden jars!

1762 – John Montagu(e), the fourth Earl of Sandwich, invents his own namesake.  This leads to Subway and Togos restaurant chains, and the peanut butter industry.  It's the best thing since sliced bread — which, by the way, won't be invented until 1928.  That wacky compulsive gambler!

1776 – 13 British colonies in North America decide they're sick and tired of being British colonies and declare independence.  By sheer coincidence, the same year, Adam Weishaupt invents the Bavarian Illuminati; this little club for intellectuals eventually gets blamed for every economic policy worldwide, even the ones put into practice before the club was founded.  Those wacky Radical Freemasons!

1776-1781 – The American Revolutionary War happens.  Lots of people die.  That wacky Continental army!

1777 – The U.S. Battle of Saratoga happens, in which British general Burgoyne surrenders — thanks, in part, to a Continental sniper using one of those newfangled Kentucky rifled muskets.  As a result, France and Spain, neither of whom can stand Great Britain, decide that having Britain lose 13 colonies would be a great way to thumb their noses at the British, and start helping the Continental Army.  This eventually allows the U.S. to win what would have otherwise been a hopeless struggle, thus leading to U.S. presidents for the kids to memorize the names of and the Civil War and the Transcontinental Railroad and Laverne & Shirley.  That wacky General George!

1781 – The 13 former British colonies ratify the Articles of Confederation, which was inspired by Iroquois society and as far as I know has never actually been formally dissolved.  That wacky Continental Congress!

1783 – The U.S. wins its first war.  Colonists who were loyal to the Brits during the war are sentenced to hang by Judge Lynch.  Those wacky patriots!

1787 – Just six years into the deal, the 13 former British colonies decide they need something a little "stronger" than the Articles of Confederation.  Their delegates draw up a new Constitution, under which they'll voluntarily sign away some of their powers to a new central Federal government ("Federal" being a French word meaning "like a Confederation but missing the first syllable").  That wacky Constitutional Convention!

That very same year – Antoine Lavoisier builds on Robert Boyle's primitive chemical work, producing the first chemistry textbook recognizable to a modern chemist.  Just about everybody before him, Oersted included, was a raving loony in the chemical department — or should I say, the alchemical department.  And the scientific method has already been around for what, 167 years?  Geez, these guys were dense.  That wacky Caloric!

1788 – Despite cries of "There'd be no limit to this new Federal government's taxing power!", the required number of states ratify the U.S. Constitution (with the understanding that there are going to be 10 or 12 amendments added which will protect some of their rights).  That wacky three-ring government!

1789 – George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States.  This means that both the U.S. and its old enemy, Great Britain, are now led by a guy named George.  That wacky cherry tree chopper-downer!

1789-1792 – The French Revolution happens.  Lots of people die.  Lots more people get Guillotined afterwards.  Those wacky cake-eaters!

1791 – In Paris, Nicholas LeBlanc invents a way to make sodium carbonate out of sodium chloride, leading to large-scale manufacture of soap.  No single invention in this millennium has probably had a greater or more far-reaching impact than abundant soap.  The difference it made in ones chance of surviving to adolescence, due to the vastly improved sanitary conditions it allowed (not to mention its action as a minor disinfectant) was astounding.  The all-encompassing lifestyle change that came with soap was so profound that unless you're living in a 4th-world country as you read this, you probably can't even imagine life without it.  That wacky fat-and-soda-ash mixture!

1793 – Lavoisier, the founder of true chemistry and discoverer of the modern chemical elements, gets rewarded by having his head chopped off by the French revolutionaries since he was an "intellectual".  That wacky Guillotine!

1798 – Eli Whitney invents interchangeable parts.  That wacky Industrial Revolution!

1803 – Under President Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. Congress exceeds its Constitutional authority by buying the Louisianna Territory.  I mean, sure, it was a great real estate deal and all, but what ever happened to the Tenth Amendment, huh, guys?  That wacky Federal government!

1812 – Jean Samuel Pauly invents the all-in-one metallic firearm cartridge, which will eventually lead to the machine gun.  The U.S. celebrates by declaring war on Great Britain.  Meanwhile, Napoleon's "invincible" army gets its derrierre kicked by the Russians.  That wacky Tchaikovsky overture!

1814 – We took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip'.  The U.S. gets its capitol building burned down before it says "uncle" to the Brits, but still doesn't count the war as a "loss" because it got to keep its border at the 38th parallel.  Or maybe that was Korea.  Anyway, they sign the treaty in Belgium for some reason.  That wacky Ghent!

1815 – Napoleon's army is defeated in Abba's first hit song.  That wacky power-mad dictator!

1832 – Michael Faraday invents the electric motor and electric generator, all without using any algebra.  He eventually gets two physics units named after him, both of which require algebra to use and neither of which has anything to do with motors or generators.  That wacky innumerate!

1833 – Charles Babbage comes up with the idea for the first general-purpose computer.  It's identical in principle to modern computers except for its separate storage for instructions and data, and even that idea is getting a boost amongst cache designers.  (It also is designed to use those icky Jacquard loom punched cards that still run on IBM mainframes).  Sadly, his design is far too complex for the machine-making capabilities of the time.  That wacky analytical engine!

1834 – The Act of June 28, 1834 re-defines the U.S. "dollar" from 27.5 grains of 900-fine gold to 25.8 grains of 900-fine gold.  (So, no, FDR wasn't the first person in U.S. history to devaluate the dollar.)  That wacky Gold Standard!

1845 – Ireland, which had become dependent on homegrown potatoes as its primary food source, has a great big potato crop failure.  It has another crop failure next year, and the year after that.  This leads to massive Irish emigration, bringing Irish Celtic traditions, Irish accents, and Irish whiskey to Europe and America.  That wacky Lucky the Leprechaun!

1851 – The U.S. starts minting its first coin whose metal content is worth less than its face value.  It's a silver 3-cent piece made out of 2-and-a-half cents worth of silver.  Thus begins the long slide down the path toward Perdition — or down the path away from U.S. specie money, at least.  That wacky Treasury department!

1855 – The Springfield rifle company perfects a rifled musket for military use, which will become the standard "rifle" in the American Civil War.  This greatly increases the effective range of infantry fire and obsoletes the bayonet-troop-charge tactic.  Those wacky telescopic sights!

1856 – Henry Bessemer invents a converter that can produce 60 tons of steel per hour.  Somebody else improves on the process immediately, so the original Bessemer Converter patent is never used commercially, but the ensuing Age of Steel wouldn't have happened without Bessemer's invention.  This turns ironclad ships into steelclad ships, reduces the costs of laying railroads, and spawns a football team in Pittsburg.  That wacky decarbonizing air blower!

1857 – New Yorker Joseph C. Gayetty invents toilet paper.  U.S. stops minting the large bronze 1-cent piece (which was midway in size between a quarter and a half-dollar coin), and starts minting small 1-cent pieces made out of 12% nickel.  This nickel content supposedly makes up for their size, 'cause a bronze coin of the same size would be worth less than half a cent.  Those wacky Indian-head pennies!

1861 – 11 U.S. states decide they're sick and tired of being U.S. states and declare independence.  Those wacky States' Rights!

1861-1865 – The American Civil War happens.  Enormous numbers of people die.  Those wacky Battle-Hymn-of-the-Republic singers!

1862 – Louis Pasteur links certain microorganisms to some diseases.  He calls these microorganisms "germs" (meaning origins or seeds) because he figures they're the starting points for these diseases.  Those wacky bacteria!

1864 – The non-Confederate U.S. issues the first currency with the motto "In God we trust" on it.  It's on a new bronze 2-cent piece that, ironically, contains less copper than the large 1-cent pieces minted before 1858.  They make up for this by making the new small 1-cent pieces out of bronze too, as everybody miraculously seems to have forgotten about the old bronze Large Cents and about the nickel content of small 1-cent pieces through the year before.  Those wacky Yankees!

1865 – The Confederacy loses the Civil War, stops being the Confederacy, and gets 12 years of Northern occupation shoved down its throat.  Every single government conspiracy and government take-over theory invented by southerners since then claims that all the trouble began here.  That's right: the cover-up at Roswell, Income Tax, the Social Secuity administration, fluoridated water, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Grassy Knoll, Elvis, Project HAARP — they can all be traced back to the Civil War.  Learn something new every day, don'tcha?  That wacky Reconstruction Period!

That very same year – Lister invents disinfection.  Unlike his predecessor, Semmelweiss (who was about as charismatic as a raving loon), he draws a link between Pasteur's discovery of "germs" and infection, giving his technique of scrubbing with carbolic acid the oomph it needs to finally catch on.  Well, that, plus he successfully uses disinfection to operate on Queen Victoria.  That wacky surgical stench!

1866 – "In God we trust" added to the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coin in the U.S..  You'd think that after the Civil War, they'd be more amenable to "E pluribus unum", which was on some U.S. coins as early as 1796.  Those wacky religious fanatics!

1868 – J. W. Hyatt invents celluloid, the first artificial plastic.  This eventually leads to prefabricated houses, a reduction in the ivory market, credit cards, pictures you can project on a screen by shining light through them, lightweight versions of just about everything, and cheap toys in breakfast cereal boxes.  That wacky non-bio-degradable petroleum-based building material!

1869 – Ditchdiggers extend the Gulf of Suez so far north that it runs into the Mediterranean Sea.  The Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads finish construction, creating an uninterrupted 3000-mile-long choo choo train link between the east and west coasts of North America.  Along the way, every single Western town had the railroad coming through, if you believe those cowboy movies.  Those wacky gold and silver spikes!

Mid to Late 1800s – Nikola Tesla invents fluorescent lights, enormous transformers, the notion that AC electric power distribution is better than DC, the radio, and a whole bunch of other things that the patent office would probably reject if he tried to patent them nowadays.  That wacky . . . say, he really was wacky, wasn't he?

1870 – John D. Rockefeller forms Standard Oil, which turns crude sludge pumped out of the ground into valuable kerosene (and a useless waste by-product called gasoline) while liberating a few pollutants in the process.  He ruthlessly stomps out any upstart little oil company that tries to do the same.  That wacky Rockefeller Foundation!

1873 – Joseph Glidden, Jacob Haish and Isaac Ellwood invent barbed wire, spelling the end of the Cowboy Era and the beginning of a new defensive weapon for when we get around to having World War I.  Those wacky American plainsmen!

1879 – Brothers E. Irvin Scott and Clarence Scott invent toilet paper in Philadelphia.  Those wacky . . . hey, wait a minute, I thought toilet paper was invented in 1857 in New York!  I call foul!!

1880 – The British Perforated Paper Company invents toilet paper.  That wac— all right, what's going on here?!

Late 1800s – Thomas Alva Edison invents the phonograph, the concept of R&D Labs, the vacuum tube, and pre-packaged electric distribution networks.  He also takes credit for the invention of the lightbulb and motion pictures.  That wacky self-promoter!

1887 – A Polish eye-doctor named Ludoviko L. Zamenhof invents the world's second artificial language, which he simply calls "La Internacia Lingvo".  His primary aim is to give the 4 warring sectors of Poland a common language so that they can unite and throw off the yoke of Tsarist Russian occupation.  He publishes this in a book with green stars on the cover (the printer was sold out of all other binding designs) under the pseudonym "Doktoro Esperanto".  It goes on to become the only "living" artificial language in world history.  That wacky Fundamento!

1892 – John Hoberg invents toilet paper, calling it Charmin Tiss— oh, geez!  What's going on?!  Was toilet paper invented in 1857, 1879, 1880, or 1892?  Sheesh!

1901-2000 – The 20th century happens.  Stuff happens in it.  If you want more detail than this, read That Wacky Century.

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