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#ModernMarvels - #Locomotives - #HistoryChannel

Modern Marvels - Locomotives (Season 2 Episode 4)

Original air date: May 23, 2008

Zip through the French countryside at nearly 300 MPH on the TGV--the fastest locomotive in the world. Ride on the little engines that could as they guide giant ships through the Panama Canal. Watch two locomotives crash head-on as the federal government monitors safety.

  • 1804 - the steam locomotive arrives
  • The "Fireman" shovels coal into the train's fire to produce steam only when needed
  • He shovels about 1.5 tons of coal per hour
  • The Fireman is on duty 12 hours a day (that could be up to 15 tons of coal a day!)
  • The temperature is around 2500 degrees!
  • The Railroad Engineer is also a technician and may have to make repairs when necessary
  • When 2 locomotives crash head-on, the one with the most momentum will move up/over the second one

Check your local library for a copy or you can buy one from here:

You can also view it via Streaming here:

#Tribes of #Native #America - #Apache

Apache (Tribes of Native America Series) by Marla Felkins Ryan, Linda Schmittroth

ISBN-13: 978-1567116045

Publisher: Blackbirch Press (October 2002)

The Tribes of Native America series from Blackbirch Press delve into the major tribes that have helped shape and form the America we know today in an easy-to-read format and loaded with factual tidbits. This particular book from the series concentrates on the Apache Indian tribe and a handful of famous Apaches (such as Geronimo and Cochise).

  • The word "Apache" comes from a Zuni word, "apachu" which means "enemy"
  • 1540 - Spanish explorers meet the Apache natives for the first time
  • Late 1500's, the Spanish built settlements and missions and forced Apaches into slavery
  • Geronimo (1827 - 1909) was a medicine man and warrior. In 1858, Mexican raiders killed his mother, wife and children.
  • In 1861, the Chiricahua tribe leader, Cochise, is arrested on false kidnapping charges. He escapes but his people are murdered which triggers the Apache Wars.
  • 1874 - Cochise dies.
  • 1886 - Geronimo's band surrenders, effectively marking the end of the Apache's war against white settlement.
  • 1913 - Most of the surviving Chiricahua natives move to the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico.
  • Apaches build single-family homes called wickiups which are cone or dome-shaped frames covered with brush/skins/mats.
  • Since a lot of Apache bands lived near the Mexican border, they adopted Mexican-style dress and customs.

Find a copy at your local library or you can order one through Amazon:

#AmericanHeroesChannel - #Gunslingers - Pious #JimMiller

The Gunslingers series on the American Heroes Channel is rather enjoyable and entertaining to watch. This particular episode (Season 2, Episode 6) titled "Deacon Jim Miller - The Pious Assassin" revealed some interesting facts that I hadn't found before and will share here.

Original air date: August 23, 2015

Series Description:
The 19th century territory west of the Mississippi was a rough place, swarming with outcasts, murderers, thieves and bounty hunters. From bank-robbing outlaw Butch Cassidy and hard-nosed enforcer Seth Bullock, to infamous Dodge City sheriff Bat Masterson and lone-ranger Bass Reeves, the unforgivable Wild West kicks into high gear in this season of Gunslingers.

Episode Description:
His neighbors saw a devout family man. The last thing his victims saw was a shotgun aimed at their heads. If there's an outlaw who was born to kill it's DEACON JIM MILLER – the Bible-thumping psycho-killer.

  • Jim Miller, also known as "Killer Jim" killed 51 men.
  • He acted like a mobster - scared or paid off witnesses (or had them killed).
  • Although he was a murderer, he didn't drink or use foul language and he attended regular church services. This clean appearance gave him the nickname "Pious Jim Miller".
  • His first crime was murdering his grandparents at 8 years old. He was never charged with the crime.
  • July 30, 1884 - he killed his sister Georgia's husband, John Coop, during church service.
  • In 1891, Jim Miller became deputy of Pecos; the sheriff Bud Frazer eventually stripped him of his badge after Jim murdered a Mexican prisoner.
  • Jim plots to kill Bud Frazer to get him out of the way, but Bud's friend overhears the plot and it is foiled. Eventually, Bud loses it and starts shooting Jim at close range but Jim was protected by a steel plate. Bud was fired.
  • Miller was appointed to town marshal (a pretty important position similar to today's police chief).
  • Eventually, Miller becomes a killer-for-hire. His payment starts at $50 and eventually grows to $2000 a job.
  • Jim's downfall started when he is hired by a group of corrupt cattlemen in Oklahoma to kill a cattleman and former Deputy U.S. Marshal named Gus Bobbitt. Gus's wife spots Jim and he is eventually tracked down and thrown in jail. Now, Jim has a history of getting acquitted from his crimes based on technicalities or lack of witnesses, so this time the angry locals take matters into their own hands and hang Jim and his gang.

You might find this episode on the American Heroes Channel or check your local library or you can view it through Streaming:

#ModernMarvels - #Saws - #HistoryChannel

Modern Marvels - Saws (Season 3 Episode 4)

Original air date: June 27, 2008

They have the sharpest teeth known to man, but only bite on command. They brought down the forests and built up the pyramids. Some have used them to torture, others to cure. They're a cut above for construction, salvage, demolition - and they even make music.

  • Prehistoric flint stone saws have been discovered
  • 4900 BC - Egyptians created metal/copper saws (eventually replaced with bronze and iron)
  • 700 BC - The teeth on the saw are designed in the direction of the cut
  • 1730's - Amputation Saws are used (sawing back and forth). Unfortunately, they were not properly cleaned or sanitized and spread disease.
  • 1930's - Crosscut saws are introduced
  • Interestingly (and sadly) - Timber Cutting is one of the most lethal jobs in America with 110 deaths per 100,000 workers

Check your local library for a copy or you can buy one from here:

You can also view it via Streaming here:

#America - Facts vs Fiction - Fool's Gold - #AmericanHeroesChannel

America: Facts vs Fiction - Fool's Gold (Season 2 Episode 1)

The real facts behind America's biggest economic boom and biggest bust will shock you. On this episode of America: Facts vs. Fiction, discover a treasure of nuggets about the California gold rush and the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

  • North Carolina experienced the first gold rush in the U.S. (in 1799)
  • Georgia experienced the second gold rush in the U.S. (in 1828)
  • The California Gold Rush was actually the third god rush in the U.S. (1849), but two things made it so memorable and lasting: the gold was found on Federal land (making it available to any one to mine) and the amount of gold was massive
  • Interestingly, the biggest danger was Disease (thanks to poor sanitation practices and lack of clean water)
  • One in Five miners died in the first six months
  • One in Four miners arrived in California from outside the U.S.
  • The people who actually became rich were the store or supply owners.
  • A store owner named Sam Brannan was California's first millionaire
  • The California Gold Rush pretty much died down around 1860

Check your local library for a copy or you can watch it via Stream here:

The Texas Rangers - #TheRealWest on the #HistoryChannel

History Channel - The Real West - The Texas Rangers
A & E Home Video
VHS Release Date: January 23, 2001
VHS format

Join host Kenny Rogers as the myths, legends and realities of one of our most fabled eras come to life through authentic diaries, period accounts, rare photos and footage and expert commentary in THE REAL WEST. It's been said that a Texas Ranger could "ride like a Mexican, trail like an Indian, shoot like a Tennesean, and fight like the very devil." Stephen F. Austin formed the Texas Rangers in 1826 to protect American settlers in the Texas Territory. Later, the Rangers turned to upholding the law. They tracked down murderers, smugglers and robbers across the wide-open spaces of the newly born Lone Star State. Join up with the TEXAS RANGERS and get set for a manhunt through the Old West.

Amazon.com Review -
The popular image of the American cowboy--tall in the saddle, six-shooter in hand, skin and soul dried to leathery ruggedness by the blazing desert sun--finds its best real-life representation in the Texas Rangers, those fearsome dispensers of absolute frontier justice. Founded as a ragtag volunteer militia charged with protecting Texas settlers from Comanche raids (services that paid the going rate of $15 monthly, "payable in property"), the Rangers were by their disbanding and reorganization as a state police force in the early 1900s perhaps the most effective and certainly the most legendary lawmen in U.S. history. This superficial but jaunty documentary gives a breezy chronicle of the institution, and it's hard not to enjoy such colorful characters as .44 revolver designer Sam Walker and Robert "Three-Legged Willie" Williamson, forced to wear a peg leg from a bout of childhood polio, whose stirring declamations of freedom and justice are favorably compared to Patrick Henry's. Still, one wonders if the mystique of the Rangers isn't so outsized and self-consciously macho that it needs a bit more critical probing than it receives here. The Texas Rangers have plenty to answer for to modern sensibilities: routinely committing illegal cross-border raids after quarries who had fled to Mexico, fighting in the Mexican-American war with such frank brutality that horrified witnesses labeled them los diablos Texanos. These concerns are mostly brushed aside by the talking heads assembled here, most who can barely restrain their glee at the grislier exploits they relate. Without dismissing the very real heroism of the Rangers, a more balanced presentation would have been preferred by anyone not already convinced of their righteousness; the messy truth makes for a better story than a tall tale every time. --Bruce Reid


Ranger tradition goes back to 1400's England (to monitor the King's forests)
1820's, Southerners brought the tradition to Texas
1835 - Rangers were paid $1.25/day, furnished their own horses and weapons, elected own officers, served 3-6 months
Rangers learned the Comanche (and other tribe) tactics in order to even the fights
Texas Rangers became special force and border control
1901 - Texas Rangers became a State Policy force

Some notable rangers:
Bill McDonald (Ranger Captain)
Robert McKalpin Williamson (Ranger Commander) - had polio as a child which bent his leg requiring a cane to walk
Captain Jack Hays - made men shoot at boards, ranger training sessions
Dick Ware - captured Sam Bass (train robber)
Commander McNelly - Las Cuevas War, died of tuberculosis
John B. Armstrong - arrested John Wesley Hardin ($4,000 reward)

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Everyday Items throughout #History - #TheEpicHistoryofEverydayThings #HistoryChannel


A&E Home Video - History Channel - The Epic History of Everyday Things
DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013

Everything around us has a story to tell. Shoes, cans, string, mirrors; everything we see and touch has an epic tale of how it came to be invented or discovered, and the dramatic moments throughout history at which it played an important role. But few of us know these stories. We go through our days blissfully ignorant of the deadly and dangerous road brave men traveled in order to bring coffee to the world, or the pivotal part beer played in the civilizing of mankind. These stories and many more are brought vividly to life in this two-hour special, which follows one man on a journey through the last day of his life, examining and recounting the epic tales of the everyday items he encounters before his ignorance of their stories leads him to his ultimate doom.


Until 1700s, forks were considered unmanly so only fingers were used
1750 - First factory production of salt
1765 - Industrialization of beer (Note: Sumerians wrote recipe for beer on 4000 BC tablet)
1777 - First funeral home in America
1780 - First American bank formed
1787 - First American alarm clock - only rang at 4am
1790 - Sewing machine invented
1790 - Shoe laces are invented (Note: the earliest pair of shoes date from about 3500 BC)
1797 - U.S. enters spice trade
1810 - Tin Cans were invented to store food (interesting stories of lead contamination)
1846 - Kerosene used for lighting (Seven years later they are used for street lamps)
1848 - Can opened was invented!
1858 - First traffic light; exploded next day and killed policeman
1875 - Electric street lights
1886 - Dishwasher was invented by a socialite
1904 - Safety razor invented (King Gillette)
1917 - The "sneaker" is invented
1926 - SPAM was invented
1928 - Electric razor invented
1946 - The string bikini is invented

1200-1300 - Island of Murano becomes home of fine glassmaking
1291 - Italian guards glass-making secrets
1450 - First completely clear glass developed
1608 - The first glass arrived in U.S.
1900 - Automatic glass-blowing machine invented (early forms of glass making were dangerous and secretive)

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Metal Detectors and Mouse Traps - Interesting #Gadgets from the #WildWest #History

History Channel - Wild West Tech - Gadgets
A&E Television Networks - Released July 17, 2008 - 50 minutes

They could be violent...wicked...or downright absurd. Whether they helped to take down outlaws, save a life, or just plain amuse, these techno gizmos revolutionized the unruly frontier. This episode looks at contraptions practical--and not--devised to tame the frontier. Objects include Wild West mouse traps, lie detectors, a metal detector (to locate bullets), an Elgin Cutlass Pistol (a Bowie/Revolver in one), kerosene headlamp, electrified brass rails, a self-containing breathing device, stream heat, a syringe, rubber condoms, a donkey engine and much more of the good, the bad and the technologically ugly.


1882 - "Wild West Mouse Trap" - 6 shooter and a metal rod configured to trigger (could be rigged to a door, so the gun would fire when it opened)
Palm Pistol - hideout gun that fits in palm of hand, 32 caliber bullet, 7 shots, "squeezer" (squeeze palm to fire), good for close range
Blakeslee Quick Loader - Spencer Rifle - .56 caliber, 7 shot, spring-loaded magazine, excellerated reloading
1883 - Bridgeport Rig - a plate riveted to gun belt where you attach gun and can swivel to fire; U.S. Army orders 500 of these for men in Southwest but leaves guns exposed to elements (as opposed to being stored in a holster) so the project is abandoned
1889 - Jukeboxes - San Francisco Palace Royale, box with headphones that plays one song

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

True Grit - A Story of Revenge - Learn What Was Fact and Fiction #TheRealStory from the #OldWest

Smithsonian - The Real Story - True Grit

In "True Grit," the line between good and evil was blurred. But what about the line between fact and fiction? Runtime: 49 minutes Original air date: August 5, 2012


"True Grit" was a story about 14 year old Maddie Ross who hires a man to avenge her father's death. It was written by Charles Portis in 1969.
1851 - Colt invented revolving cylinder (cap and ball) revolver. The handle was shaped like a plow handle. It took about 3 minutes to reload (powder in front end, ball, packed down, oil and grease), but it was accurate almost 50 feet.
1873 - Winchester Rifle - lever-action, 14 rounds per load, accurate about 400 yards
Deputies did not have salaries but worked on commission and had to cover all their own expenses. They often made money with side-gigs and with bringing someone/criminal in for justice.
Fort Smith, Arkansas - "Hanging" Judge Isaac Parker, Hanging Day was a big town event and thousands of people and hawkers came to witness a hanging. By 1870s the jail was overcrowded.
1870s - James-Younger Gang, 10 year crime spree.
Dalton Gang - 3 started as deputy marshals but learned that crime made more money; first gang to attempt to rob 2 banks at same time on October 5, 1892 (but the townspeople were ready for them and retaliated).

Check your local library for a copy or you can stream it here:

Video Review - History Channel - Cowboys and Outlaws - The Real Wyatt Earp

History Channel - Cowboys and Outlaws - The Real Wyatt Earp

They were the quintessential American heroes: the embodiment of rugged individualism and independence. For a century and half, cowboys ruled the frontier, settling the American West and carving their way into American mythology forever.
A powder keg of history, the American Frontier was a period of conquest, war and money. In this short era, men and women endured the Buffalo Hunters Wars, range wars, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War. For most, it was a time of incredible stress and hardship. But for a few extraordinary men, it was a time of unbelievable opportunity. Cowboys brought six million steers from the southernmost tip of Texas along cattle trails to railroad heads, and settled the West, solidifying their stature as heroes whose strength and individuality made them the ultimate icons of their time.
Discover the legendary qualities of these amazing men in this visually stunning series from HISTORYTM. Using recovered letters, journals and books, as well as archaeological and forensic evidence, COWBOYS & OUTLAWS focuses on the true tales and heroes of the American West.


1836 - a six shooter gun is invented with a revolving cylinder; becomes popular gun of choice in the west.
Buffaloing is to pistol whip someone with the butt of a gun. Wyatt becomes adept at this method.
1874 - Wyatt Earp (26 years old), Virgil Earp, and James Earp arrived in Wichita, Kansas. Wyatt is hired as a part-time deputy for $60/month. His brothers work in saloons and bordellos.
Bodge City - Wyatt is hired as assistant marshal to police saloons. The merchants help pay his salary.
The Earps head to Tombstone, Arizona where money is pouring out of the silver mines (about $30 million have been mined so far). Wyatt works as a card dealer in the saloon. The Clantons and McLaurys are irked by the newcomers. Virgil Earp becomes the deputy marshal.
1881, October 26 - Shootout at OK Corral (actually a vacant lot behind the OK Corral) which lasted about 30 seconds. Ike Clanton fled. Wyatt was the only man left standing. His brothers are injured.
Morgan Younger is shot during a late night game of pool. Earp guns down their enemies. The people of Tombstone want Earp arrested, but he escapes.
1920's - Wyatt tries to sell his story to Hollywood. Reporter Stuart Lake writes a book, "Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshal"
The shootout at OK Corral lasted about 30 seconds.

Check your local library for a copy, search on YouTube, or you can find the DVD set here:

Book Review - Frontier Living by Edwin Tunis

Frontier Living by Edwin Tunis - ISBN#978-0690010640
Hardcover, 165 pages, Publisher: HarperCollins; 1St Edition edition (January 21, 1976)

Describes the daily lives of American pioneers who explored and settled the territories west of the Appalachians.


1710 - the first shipload of Palatine Germans reached Philadelphia (known incorrectly as "Pennsylvania Dutch")
1727 - Newly designed rifle became known as the "Kentucky Rifle" - it was a little under 5ft long with an octagonal outer barrel and was browned with acid. The stock was maple wood and darkened with soot and polished. The butt of the stock was protected with a brass plate. On the right side, there was a hollowed out area that was filled with a brass cover for patch box (for bullets and grease).
After 1827, most emigrants heading to California used Independence, Missouri as a starting point (and a place to purchase all they needed for the journey).
1836 - Colt's Patent Repeating Pistol - used percussion caps, single barrel and five muzzle-loading chambers bored into a revolving drum.
1849 - Pioneer Stage Line ran through much of California with imported Concord coaches and eventually ran over the Sierra to Genoa, Nevada. The roads were graded enough to make them passable at 6 mph.
Before 1844, only pack trains cross the Sierras (about 50 mules in a train to carry food, dry goods, mining supplies, mail, etc.). It took 16 days to reach Carson City from Sacramento.
Overland Mail: U.S. President James Buchanan gave the $600,000/year award to his friend, John Butterfield (a known man in the eastern freight business who'd never operated stage coaches). John built 165 change stations with wells, corrals, and blacksmith shops for 100 vehicles pulled by 1200 horses and/or 600 mules. He hired 750 men. September 15, 1858 the first coaches began to go out twice a week. They changed horses every 8 miles or so in rough country or 25 miles in good country and rode at about 5.5 mph. At larger "home stations" the coach drivers changed out. It was a 21 day trip from St Louis to San Francisco (over 2800 miles)!

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Video Review - History Channel - 51 Amazing Facts about America

History Channel - 51 Amazing Facts about America

Amazing people, amazing places and amazing things! This special zips across the US looking for the facts.
Runtime: 41 minutes
Original air date: October 11, 2014


Maine is closer to African than Florida
Maine is the only state that borders one other state.
In 1824 there was oyster-flavored ice cream
The U.S. has no official language
The Library of Congress records all tweets from twitter
Highway 550 through Colorado is the "Million Dollar Mile" because it contains gold - please don't try to dig it up either
President Hayes had the first telephone and the first typewriter installed in the White House
Florida has some 8,000 year old bones which date 2,000 years before the Pyramids in Egypt
Alaska - more people walk to work than anywhere else
1 in 8 Americans have worked at a McDonalds restaurant
There is a desert in Maine (due to farm erosion). The largest desert in the world is Antarctica.
Grover Cleveland was a deputy sheriff and executioner. He is the only President to marry in the White House.
Alaska is the most-Eastern, most-Western and most-Northern state.
Alaska also has the longest coast line.
Hawaii keeps growing (thanks for volcanic activity)
President Harrison was the oldest President elected, his inaugral speech was the longest, and he died after 1 month in service from a cold.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)
Einstein's brain was sliced up and portioned into jars and sent to different labs for research

Check your local library for a copy, youtube, your cable provider, or you can find view it through Amazon here: