Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Little Presidential History For Thursday...!

Sometimes we tend to forget that some of the folks in the White House were, for the most part, regular people... sometimes!

Like many of us, they often struggled to become comfortable with the latest technology and that's understandable. I often have some of those same struggles. Here's one story about one such case.

Benjamin Harrison’s Fear Of Electricity

Benjamin Harrison served as president from 1889–1893. While he didn’t have the most remarkable tenure, he embraced the technology of the era. He was the first president whose voice was recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder, and he modernized the US Navy, which only had two warships in its arsenal when Harrison took office. He also introduced electric lighting into the White House, although he and his wife were too afraid of being electrocuted to actually touch the switches.

In historical context, this was not such a silly notion. The 1890s was the time of the so-called “War of the Currents,” when even scientific heavyweights like Thomas Edison staged all kinds of horrifying publicity stunts to demonstrate just how dangerous alternating current electricity could be. On August 6, 1890, the electric chair was used to execute William Kemmler, who had murdered his common-law wife with a hatchet. Unfortunately, the execution was botched, and the first jolt failed to kill Kemmler. He was then hit again, resulting in an “unbearable” stench as his flesh began to singe. The fact that Harrison would rather sleep in a bright room than risk a similar fate hardly seems strange in retrospect.

I guess that being the Prez doesn't exclude you from having a few cases of the jitters with the latest in gadgetry. Sort of makes those guys seem a little more likable...sorta.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming back today.


linda m said...

I think all of us have a few "jitters" when it comes to new gadgetry, especially those of us baby boomers. I am always a little hesitant when trying something new and really enjoy having someone "walk" me thru it. Looks like our rain has finally stopped after 3 days of the stuff. Sun is out here this AM. Put on a big pot of coffee as I woke up tired and sleepy this morning.

Chickenmom said...

New inventions usually are looked upon with a wary eye - then we get to love most of them. Coffee in the kitchen is fine - we don't want the Dunkin's to get wet!

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda M...
We may be slow to warm up to new stuff, but I think we manage to spend a lot of time with them once we get started!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Phyllis...
Gotta keep those donuts from getting soggy at all cost!

Doesn't seem to take long to become a lover of gadgets, right?

Thanks for coming over today!

JO said...

Good story. I wish I had more no how with downloading stuff. I needed to upgrade Java the other day. system was a mess since and that's why I'm late this morning. Had to do a system restore.

We never did get any rain of course we didn't hold our breath either.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Most people prefer to stay with what they are comfortable with. Sometimes they are right when some new things are found out to be flawed and some even dangerous.

Mamahen said...

Never considered how folks looked at electricity when it was first made available ...interesting :))