Magazine article Insight on the News

A Partial Timetable of Achievements in American History

Magazine article Insight on the News

A Partial Timetable of Achievements in American History

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Goode, INSIGHT

A Partial Timetable Of Achievements in American History

The Old Farmer's 2003 Almanac supplies a fount of information over which for the people pores from time to time. Much of that estimable publication's most interesting data is Americana about which it's easy to wax nostalgic. Consider the following achievements and when they occurred.

* "The dual-temperature refrigerator, with separate compartments for frozen and chilled foods, arrived in 1947." That makes it only 56 years old, but it seems like it's been around forever.

* Four years later, folks no longer had to leave the family automobile to open garage doors in order to park, for now "drivers could coast into garages equipped with the first electric garage doors." That was just the year after the Korean War began.

* In 1952 the motorized mechanical lawn mower made its appearance but maybe didn't get as much use as it otherwise might have received were it not for the fact that, in that same year, almost suddenly, there were more than 15 million TV sets in American homes, up from 4 million only two years before.

* Six years earlier, in 1946, there had been just 7,000 TV sets in the whole of the United States. And viewers now had more to watch than they had early. In 1952 there were 108 TV stations in America, whereas in 1947 there had been just 17.

* But the figures that amazed this column most of all involved the state of U.S. highways in 1903, in the very early days of the automobile. The nation had about 2.3 million miles of roads that year. But fewer than 150 miles of those were paved, which meant the vast amount of mileage was driven on dirt, the better to accommodate horses and the stuff horses leave behind.

Perhaps the fact that gives one most pause is that, on those 2.3 million miles of roads, "road signs were virtually nonexistent," according to Dayton Duncan, writing in the Almanac. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.