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July 26: Josef Ganz and the Volkswagen

Joseph Ganz, the Jewish car designer who created a prototype vehicle that helped inspire the Hitler-endorsed “Volkswagen” — a small, affordable “people’s car” — died at 69 on this date in 1967. Ganz, who had a Hungarian Jewish mother and a German Jewish father, became a fervent car designer in his early twenties and created […]

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June 23: Jonas Salk

The great medical researcher Jonas Salk, whose development of the first effective vaccine against polio brought about the end of one of the most terrifying diseases in the U.S., died at the age of 80 in La Jolla, California on this date in 1995. Salk grew up in the Jewish immigrant milieu of New York, […]

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June 7: Mad Libs

Leonard B. Stern, the co-inventor of the low-brow party word game, Mad Libs, died at 87 in Beverly Hills on this date in 2011. Stern was a television writer for Get Smart, The Honeymooners, The Phil Silvers Show, and The Steve Allen Show, and also wrote a couple of Abbott and Costello movies. More than […]

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May 8: Opera and Cigars

Oscar Hammerstein, an inventor, musician, and theater impresario who built several important opera houses and rekindled that classical singing art in American culture, was born in Prussia on this date in 1846. He was an eager young musician who ran away to New York to evade his punitive father (Hammerstein sold his violin to pay […]

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December 22: The First Modern Car

Emil Jellinek, an entrepreneur, diplomat, car dealer, and racing-car driver who ordered the construction of the first modern car engine, the Daimler-Mercedes — which he named for his daughter, Mercedes Jellinek (the name means “gifts” or “favors” in Spanish) — took delivery of the first one on this date in 1900. He sold the car to Baron […]

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November 25: The CAT-scan

Medical inventor Robert S. Ledley (Levy) was granted patent #3,922,522 for “diagnostic X-ray systems” known as the CAT-scan on this date in 1975. The equipment, which uses computer-processed x-rays to allow doctors to see inside tissue surgery, was a great advance on the diagnostic capacity of simple x-rays. Ledley (1926-2012) was a professor of physiology, […]

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October 21: Designer of the Trimline Phone

Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss’ Trimline telephone was put into service (in Michigan) for the first time on this date in 1963. The Trimline moved the dial and a hang-up button away from the phone’s base and onto the handpiece, which made it possible to make calls without hovering near the phone. In 1977, Fortune magazine […]

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July 6: The Tumblr Millionaire

David Karp, creator and CEO of Tumblr, the popular blogging platform, was born in New York on this date in 1986. A dropout from Bronx High School of Science, he never earned his high school degree, but became a computer animator and software consultant in his early teens before launching Tumblr in 2007. As of […]

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July 1: Mergenthaler’s Linotype Machine

The Linotype machine, invented and patented by Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899), a German-born Jew [but there are doubts about this — see comments below –Editor], was put into commercial use in the U.S. for the first time at the New York Tribune on this date in 1886. Its success was immediate: Within a decade, seven thousand […]

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June 16: Berliner’s Helicopter

Officials of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics watched Henry Berliner pilot the first controlled, horizontal helicopter flight in the U.S. on this date in 1922 (some sources dispute that it was the very first such flight). Berliner was the son of the famous inventor Emile Berliner, who had built and flown the first helicopter […]

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