Joe W. Kittinger became the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon. He left Caribou, Maine, on September 14, 1984, and landed near Capbreton, France, on September 17, 1984. He broke his ankle when he was thrown from the gondola during the stormy landing. The 3,535-mile trip also established a new record for solo distance.
Earmuffs were patented by Chester Greenwood of Farmington, Maine, in 1877. He was fifteen years old when he invented the Champion Ear Protectors. He had his grandmother add some fur at the ends of a piece of wire. He received patent #188,292. His invention became a factory, employing community members.
Maine became the twenty-third state of the United States in 1820. Vikings explored the area around AD 1000. Originally Maine was a part of the Massachusetts colony. Augusta is the state capital, and the state nickname is the “Pinetree State.” People who live in Maine are called Down-Easters. Today fishing, lumbering, and growing potatoes are strong sources of income. It is home to Acadia National Park. The moose is the state mammal. Children can visit an Internet site at: Maine. Idea: Children could find out when and why Maine separated from Massachusetts.
Spanish-American War began in 1898. At that time Spain ruled Cuba, and many Americans had heard that the conditions on the island were intolerable. The United States sent the battleship Maine to protect Americans living there. In February the ship exploded, and 260 people on board died. “Remember the Maine” became a popular expression. War was declared, and battles occurred not only in and around Cuba but around the Philippines as well. Teddy Roosevelt became famous as one of the leaders of the Rough Riders. The war ended on August 12, 1898. Children could learn more at: Spanish-American War.
Forest fire lookout stations, erected in Greenville, Maine, in 1905, were the first of their kind. The towers rose in popularity during the 1930’s to the 1950’s. During World War II, fire towers along the Pacific Ocean were used to spot enemy craft. Today the number of lookout stations has declined because of other technology.
Doughnut cutter was patented by J. F. Blondel of Thomaston, Maine in 1872. Blondel did not invent doughnuts, but he patented a spring-loaded cutter that sped up the doughnut-making process. Now about ten billion doughnuts are consumed in the United States each year.