Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in the United States in 1793. President George Washington and other officials watched the 46 minute flight, staged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He landed in New Jersey. Children can read an extensive article on the flight at: Blanchard. Children could also read The First Air Voyage in the United States: The Story of Jean-Pierre Blanchard by Alexandra Wallner.
Philadelphia established the first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, in the United States in 1751. Aided by Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Thomas Bond created the hospital where people received free medical care. Children can take a virtual tour of the old buildings at: Pennsylvania Hospital.
ENIAC was dedicated in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) was among the first general computers. A marvel during its time, ENIAC was the size of a room. It used vacuum tubes, resistors, and transistors. Today a laptop can do all that the ENIAC could do. ENIAC was powered down October 2, 1955. Parts of ENIAC are with the Smithsonian and other institutions.
Pencil with eraser was patented in 1858 by Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received patent number 19,783. Children can see the patent at: pencil with easer patent. About two billion pencils are produced each year. The pencil “lead” is really a form of graphite.
First United States mint was established in Philadelphia in 1792. It produced silver half-dismes and dismes (now spelled dimes). The mint is still active, and other mints are functioning in Denver and San Francisco. Children could visit the mint’s website, particularly the games section, at: http://www.usmint.gov/kids. Idea: Children could debate the idea of eliminating the production of the penny.
The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1775. This group was America’s first abolition society. Some of the early members were Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, and John Greenleaf Whittier. Renamed the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the group still exists, working for racial justice.
Electron microscope was first demonstrated in 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Idea: Children could compare the electron microscope with a traditional microscope.
Mother’s Day is today. Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first proposed the idea. She asked that her church hold a service in memory of all mothers. West Virginia was the first state to honor the day, and other states followed. In 1914 Congress voted to make the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. A Presidential Proclamation has been made every year since 1914, honoring the day. Children can learn more at: Mother’s Day. They can find some great Mother’s Day activities at: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/mom/games.htm.
First night baseball game was played in the major leagues. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies in 1935. Over 20,000 baseball fans attended the game in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1787. While the delegates came with ideas of revising the Articles of Confederation, they realized they had to create a new type of government. The Constitutional Convention concluded on September 17, 1787. Idea: Children could read Jean Fritz’s Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution. They could learn more at: Constitutional Convention.