1886, a Year in History

Posted by Daniel on Jan 6, 2010 - 1 comment

Vancouver historian Chuck Davis writes:

I confess: I’m a date freak. That’s why, when I first noted, decades ago, that Vancouver was incorporated in 1886, I wanted to find out what else was going on that year outside the city.

Well, the first CPR passenger train from the east pulled into Port Moody on July 4, 1886. (The first passenger train into Vancouver itself wouldn’t arrive until May of 1887.) Here and elsewhere in Canada in 1886, inspectors were assigned to enforce labor laws that forbade women and children from working more than sixty hours per week. Pope Leo XIII named Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau the first ever Canadian Cardinal. The whipping of female prison inmates was abolished in this country.

The Nova Scotia legislature passed a resolution moved by Premier William Fielding for the release of the province from Confederation. (Wonder how that turned out?)

A new national trade union umbrella group, the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, was formed. C.D. Howe (“The Minister of Everything”) was born. Manitoba farmer Angus Mackay showed that Red Fife wheat was a winner: he got 35 bushels of hard wheat per acre. And Salada Tea was introduced by Canada’s Peter Larkin, who named it for a small tea garden in India.

In the US, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland. U.S. troops captured the Apache chief Geronimo. The “tuxedo” dinner jacket was introduced, named for Tuxedo Park, a New York State hangout for rich folk. (The word itself is Algonquian and may mean “wolf”.) Coca-Cola first went on sale in Atlanta, devised by pharmacist John Pemberton as a headache and hangover remedy. Johnson’s Wax was introduced. Sears, Roebuck began. Maxwell House Coffee got its name from the Nashville hotel that served it.

Born in 1886: entertainers Al Jolson and Ed Wynn, actress Spring Byington, jazzman Kid Ory, poet Joyce Kilmer ("Trees"), baseball’s Ty Cobb, mystery writer Rex Stout (creator of Nero Wolfe) and movie director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca).

Elsewhere in the world: Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile. Johannesburg, South Africa was incorporated. The Folies Bergere began in Paris. Robert Louis Stevenson’s horror novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appeared. Das Kapital, by Karl Marx, was published in English. The Georges Seurat pointillist painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte", was first shown. Sculptor Auguste Rodin’s "The Kiss" was unveiled. In music, Mussorgsky’s "Night on Bald Mountain" was first heard. And Israeli politician (its first prime minister) David Ben-Gurion was born, as was Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.