What Happened On August 29th?
August 29th marks the day several significant individuals were born – one of which is a famous scientist with over 20 patents. But this day is also the birth of motorcycles, Kit Kat, Netflix, and unfortunately, atomic weapons as well. The 241st day of the year is an exciting one, so join us as we explore all that went down on August 29th throughout history.
1935: The British confectionery company Rowntree’s introduced the Kit Kat chocolate bar. The bar was made of three layers of crispy wafer, covered in smooth milk chocolate. The Kit Kat brand is now owned by Nestlé, one of the biggest chocolate brands in the world, and is sold in over 80 countries worldwide.
2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The hurricane caused widespread damage and flooding in coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with New Orleans being one of the most severely affected cities. Many homes and businesses were destroyed and the loss of life of over 1,800 people.
1885: German inventor Gottlieb Daimler filed a patent application for a “riding car” with a gasoline engine mounted on a frame. This invention, which is now known as the motorcycle, revolutionized transportation and paved the way for the development of the modern motorcycle.
1982: Meitnerium (Mt), atomic number 109 was synthesized by a team of German scientists led by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg in a research facility in Germany. The element was named after Lise Meitner, an Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on nuclear physics and was a key figure in the discovery of nuclear fission.
1949: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan. The test was known as RDS-1 or “First Lightning” (Joe 1), and it marked a major milestone in the Soviet Union’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The success of the event raised concerns since back then, only the U.S. had been the only country to possess atomic weapons.
1991: The Soviet Communist Party suspended all activities, effectively ending its 74-year rule in the Soviet Union. The decision to suspend the party’s activities followed a failed coup attempt by hardliners who sought to overthrow Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The end of the Communist Party’s rule marked a significant turning point in Soviet and world history, as it marked the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era of politics and diplomacy.
1997: Netflix was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. The two co-founders initially came up with the idea for Netflix after Hastings was charged a $40 late fee for returning a movie rental late. This sparked the idea for a subscription-based DVD rental service that would allow customers to keep DVDs as long as they wanted without incurring late fees. As technology advanced, Netflix began to offer streaming services.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809–1894) – An American physician, poet, and polymath. He is known for his medical writings and poetry, such as “Old Ironsides”. Holmes served as a professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard Medical School and was a leading figure in the field of medicine.
- Barry Sullivan (1912–1994) – An American actor who appeared in over 100 films and television shows. He had a successful career on Broadway before transitioning to Hollywood, where he worked on films such as “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “Planet of the Vampires”.
- Charlie Parker (1920–1955) – An American jazz saxophonist and composer, Parker was a central figure in the development of bebop, a style of jazz characterized by fast tempos, complex chord progressions, and improvisation. Parker, also known as “Bird,” is considered one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
- Otis Boykin (1920–1982) – An African American inventor and engineer who was responsible for developing numerous electronic devices. He invented an improved electrical resistor used in pacemakers and a control unit for the guided missile, among other things. Boykin was awarded over 20 patents during his career and is considered one of the most significant inventors of the 20th century.
- Richard Blackwell (1922–2008) – An American fashion designer and critic who was best known for his annual “Worst Dressed” list, which he released every year from 1960 until his death in 2008. Blackwell was a regular on television shows such as “The Tonight Show” and “The Joan Rivers Show”.
- John McCain (1936–2018) – An American politician and military veteran who served as a United States Senator from Arizona for over 30 years. He was a member of the Republican Party and was the party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, where he lost to Barack Obama. McCain was a decorated military veteran who served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War and was a prisoner of war for over five years.
- Robin Leach (1941–2018) – An English journalist and television host best known for his work on the television show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. He was a frequent contributor to newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the New York Daily News.
- Rebecca De Mornay (1959) – An American actress best known for her roles in films such as “Risky Business” and “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”. She has also had a successful television career, appearing on shows such as “ER” and “The Practice”. De Mornay is a Golden Globe nominee and has won awards for her work in independent films.
- Lea Michele (1986) – An American actress best known for her role as Rachel Berry on the television show “Glee.” She has also appeared in films such as “New Year’s Eve” and “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return”.
Although August 29th is a “More Herbs, Less Salt” day, this day has been nothing but a trailblazer of events that created and restructured the fabric of society. We salute our ancestors for their intelligence, creativity, and perseverance because honestly, it is nearly impossible to imagine a life without sweet treats and Netflix.