Friday, February 1, 2008


1884. Congress establishes a Bureau of Labor in the Department of the Interior as severe coal strikes occur in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

1884. Montgomery Ward issues a 249-page catalog offering nearly 10,000 items.

1884. Electric streetcars employing overhead wires appear in Germany.

1884. New York physician Edward Trudeau pioneers open-air treatment of tuberculosis in America.

1884. The Fabian Society founded in January by young London intellectuals aims to reconstruct society "in accordance with the highest moral responsibilities." Recognizing that deciding what courses to pursue will require "long taking of counsel," they take the name Fabian from the 3rd century B.C. Roman statesman Quintus Fabius Maximus, called "Cunctator" (delayer) because of his cautious delaying tactics against Hannibal. George Bernard Shaw joins in May as does Beatrix Potter ("Peter Rabbit").

1884. The Waterman pen invented by New York insurance man Lewis Waterman is the first practical fountain pen.

1884. Overhand pitching gains acceptance for the first time in major league baseball, but a batter will be allowed until 1887 to call for a high pitch or a low pitch.

1884. The first roller coaster opens at Coney Island, NY.

1884. Chinese farm workers account for half of California's agricultural labor force, up from 10% in 1870. The chinese have raised dikes at the mouths of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers and are reclaiming millions of acres of rich farm lands.

With Fire and Sword. Henryk Sienkiewicz. Polish. 1884. Novel. Trilogy. History of Poland from 1648 to end of 17th century. War between Poland and the Ukraine. Poland vs. Sweden. Poland vs. Turkey. Best seller in Poland.

Ramona. Helen Hunt Jackson. American. 1884. Romance. Ramona. Of mixed Scottish and Indian blood, Ramona marries an American Indian. Harassed by whites, he dies tragically. Novel helped change American attitudes toward native Americans.

Esther. Henry Adams. American. 1884. Novel. Esther, free-thinking painter, falls for clergyman. Alienated by his orthodox views, she breaks engagement.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. American. 1884. Novel. Picaresque. Adventures on a raft on the Mississippi River. Life of the river. Social commentary. Portrays vividly the moral blindness of the respectable slave-holding society's decaying social order.

Against the Grain (Against Nature). Karl Huysmans. French. 1884. Novel. The quest of the decadent hero for the rare and perverse in sensation. Seeks release from the ennui of existence.

Obiter Dicta. Augustine Birrell. British. 1884. Essays. Three books of essays. "Incidental comments."

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