Record Makers and Record Breakers by Nick Iversen

An excerpt from the book Record Makers and Record Breakers by Nick Iversen a look at firsts to set and break records including the youngest college graduate and the designer of the bra.

RECORD MAKERS AND RECORD BREAKERS by Nick Iversen. Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1977.

About the Book: The publishers claim they are not competing with The Guinness Book of World Records. "This book," they say, "is primarily about the people who established or broke a record that had already been established." And, indeed, in categories ranging from "Artists and the Arts" to "Adventurers and Daredevils," the author does put his emphasis on the persons who created some sort of record or other. The book has solid, standard entries like: First Oscar for Best Actress (Janet Gaynor, 1928-1929). But there is also some beautiful offbeat material like: Most Curtain Calls (Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, in 1964, Vienna, did Swan Lake and received 89 curtain calls). The book is fun as well as educational.

From the Book:

Designer of the Brassiere. Caresse Crosby--Also known as Mary Phelps Jacobs, this outgoing American heiress first patented the brassiere in November of 1914. Many claims have been made to its invention, but Caresse Crosby, descended from inventor Robert Fulton, said she invented a brassiere because she objected to corsets. Caresse and her French maid fashioned the garment from two handkerchiefs and some pink ribbon sewn together with thread. They named it the "backless brassiere." The patent was sold to Warner Brothers Corset Company for $15,000, beginning an industry that is today worth over $15 million.

Youngest College Graduate. Baron Kelvin--William Thomson (1824-1907) entered Glasgow University at the age of 10 and matriculated one month later. The British physicist became a professor at Glasgow and was made Baron Kelvin by Queen Victoria in 1892. A pioneer in the field of thermodynamics, Kelvin was instrumental in the laying of the transatlantic cable and in making improvements on navigational equipment for ships. He also devised the Kelvin scale, a scale of temperature measured in degrees centigrade from absolute zero. He was president of the Royal Society, a British scientific organization, from 1900 to 1904.

First Black to See New World. Pedro Alonzo Nino--When Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic to the New World in 1492 in three ships, the navigator of one of those ships--the Nina--was Pedro Alonzo Nino (1470?-1524?). Nino, a black man, had "signed on" with Columbus in the summer of 1492. He was chosen by the ship's captain, Vicente Pinzon, to act as the navigator of the Nina.

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