The Lawnmower was invented by Edwin Budding of Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. In 1830 he commissioned John Ferrabee of the Phoenix Iron Works, Thrupp, near Stroud to manufacture "machinery for the purpose of cropping or shearing the vegetable surface of lawns". Budding worked in a textile factory and his inspiration for the invention is said to have been a machine designed to shear the nap off cloth. His first recorded customer was Mr. Curtis, Head Gardener of Regent's Park Zoo, who bought a Ferrabee machine in 1831, paying 10 guineas (about 650 today) for the large model. A smaller Ferrabee machine, costing 7 guineas (about 450), was also available and was aimed at "country gentlemen" who, Budding claimed, "will find in my machine, an amusing, useful and healthful exercise". Although the machine was heavy and inefficiently geared, but it was clearly an improvement on cutting the lawn with scythes, which could only be done effectively when the grass was wet. The growth of the new industry was slow, and only two firms exhibited machines at the Great Exhibition in 1851. However, the arrival of lawn tennis in the 1870s provided a new impetus and it was not long before lighter and more efficient models began to appear in suburban back gardens and playing fields all over late Victorian England.
In 1827, William Rowan Hamilton presented his Theory of Systems of Rays at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Although he was still an undergraduate, only 21 years old, his work is one of the important works in optics, for it provided a single function that brings together mechanics, optics and mathematics. It led to establishing the wave theory of light, which holds that light is a form of energy that travels in waves.
Thomas Drummond (1797-1840) was a Scottish inventor of limelight, or Drummond light, (the intense white light produced by heating a piece of lime [calcium oxide] in an oxyhydrogen flame) and the heliostatia (an apparatus containing a movable mirror and used to reflect sunlight in a fixed direction). Both were designed to make surveying possible through day or night. Limelight was first used in autumn 1825 during the survey of Ireland. In 1829, he applied his idea for use in lighthouses. The brilliance of the light surpassed the various lights then known. Drummond was still working on reducing the cost of its operation when he became a politician, and by 1835 was the de facto governor of Ireland, although not in an official sense. He died at an early age, of overwork, in Dublin.
Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899) was the German inventor of the Linotype typesetting machine in 1886. It was regarded as the greatest advance in printing since the development of moveable type 400 years earlier. He moved to the U.S. in 1872 and at the age of 32, he designed and built his first linotype machine. With it, the two operations of setting and casting type in lead lines were performed simply by touching the keys of a board similar to the keyboard of a typewriter. It enabled one operator to be machinist, type-setter, justifier and type-founder and was first used in 1886 by the New York Tribune. He subsequently produced many great improvements on the basic design before his early death at the age of 45.
In 1943, the hallucinogenic effect of the drug LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, was first observed. The Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman had five years before synthesized the drug but his hopes of using in the treatment of respiratory problems were not fulfilled, and he shelved the samples. On April 16th, he accidentally absorbed some of the drug through his skin as a result of touching its container. It affected his nervous system and produced dizziness with hallucinations. The drug is related to a substance in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is now known that LSD acts to block the action of serotonin (the indole amine transmitter of nerve impulses) in brain tissue. No safe clinical use had been found for te drug although its dangerous side effects are well known.
In 1895, the first motion picture shown on a screen was presented by Auguste and Louis Lumi re. An invited audience at 44 Rue de Rennes in Paris viewed the film La Sortie des ouvriers de l'usine Lumi re. As the title implies, the film they shot specially for the occasion showed workers leaving the Lumi res' own factory in Lyon. The factory made a variety of photographic products and had a large workforce. The film shows the workers streaming out of the factory gates. Most of them are on foot they were followed by those with bicycles and finally came those with cars. Several more private screenings followed before the first public showing, at the Salon Indien of the Grand Caf , 14 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris on 28th December. The Lumi res soon began opening cinemas in London, Brussels, Berlin and New York.
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