Commentary

SPOILIN’ THE BROTH

1914: War looms; $5 a day labor; hello Tarzan, Raggedy Ann, Panama Canal
Bill Cooke

Neighbor Grover sez knowledge is what you have left after you’ve forgotten your education. T he date at the top of this page is Jan. 9 which means we’re in the second week of 2014 and it’s time to see what happened in our country just a short century ago, in 1914.

So, thanks to our reference book Chronicle of America, here we go:

• In Detroit, Ford stunned rival automakers as Henry Ford doubled the minimum wage of automakers to $5 a day. Ford also said it would share $10 million of last year’s profits and change its workers’ schedule from two 9-hour shifts to three round-theclock 8-hour shifts.

• President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress designating Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May) as an annual holiday.

• President Wilson, in response to the growing European war, reiterated his earlier statement that the U.S. was remaining neutral. But pressure was mounting for Wilson to support either the Central Powers (Germany and Austria) or the Allies (England, France and Russia). This war was dividing many German Americans on their loyalty.

• Because of that war, the London Stock Exchange closed down, followed by others around the world, and finally Wall Street.

• The U. S. National Security League was founded to upgrade national defense.

• Edgar Rice Burroughs, 39, a former light-bulb vendor and door-todoor book salesman, writes Tarzan of the Apes which becomes a best seller.

• When Marella Gruelle, 8, approached her father with a faceless rag doll, he put his creativity to work. John Gruelle, a political cartoonist, wanted to please his terminally-ill daughter so he drew a face on the doll. His wife restuffed it, resulting in a cheery soft, warm rag doll with a mop of red hair. Thus, the lovable Raggedy Ann doll was created.

• One of the greatest engineering feats in history was completed with the opening of the Panama Canal. A shipboard of officials aboard the freighter Ancon made the 40-mile journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a shortcut that would lessen the voyage between the West and East coasts of North America by 7,000 miles.

• A major victory for labor was won with the passage, after much bitter debate, of the Clayton Antitrust Act, termed by unionist Samuel Gompers as “the Magna Charta of American labor.”

• The Federal Trade Commission Act passed Congress, designed to regulate against price-fixing, misleading advertising, false labeling and unfair competition.

• In New York City, the American Society of Composers, Authors and publishers (ASCAP) organized to improve and protect copyright laws.

• A Washington DC court decides litigation over an airplane-balancing patent in favor of the Wright Brothers and against Glenn Curtiss.

• Congress passes Smith-Lever Act, providing federal aid for agricultural extension programs created by landgrant colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The act formalized cooperative farm production.

• In Detroit, Cadillac develops a V-8 automobile engine.

• The Boston Red Sox swept the World Series 4- 0 over the Philadelphia Athletics. bill@rockdalereporter.com


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2014-01-09 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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