World History 1892

About the history of the world in 1892, the first escalator was invented, Jim Corbett beat John Sullivan, the first telephone switchboard went into operation.



* American vocalist Lottie Collins incorporated a new song into her act while performing in London. The tune, "Ta-ra-ra-bom-der-e," written by Henry J. Sayers the previous year, became an instant hit in England. As the London correspondent for the New York Herald put it, "London has gone stark mad over the refrain....In drawing rooms and hovels one hears "Ta-ra-ra-bom-der-e' and there is hardly a theater in London in which the refrain is not alluded to at least once during the night." Collins returned to America, where she belted out the tune to audiences every bit as enthusiastic as the British. Songwriter Sayers conceded that he had not actually created the melody, however. Rather, he had first heard the melody (which was to become the theme song for the Howdy Doody Show in the 1950s) in a St. Louis brothel.

Mar. 15 Jesse W. Reno of New York patented the first escalator, which was installed at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island four years later.

Sept. 7 Challenger James J. Corbett, 26, of San Francisco, defeated John L. Sullivan, 34, of Boston, for the world heavyweight boxing championship (the first gloved match under the Marquis of Queensberry Rules) at the Olympic Club in New Orleans. Sullivan, outclassing his opponent in all the statistics, went into the ring a 4-1 favorite over the slim Corbett, who just six years before had lived the quiet life of a bank teller. But from the opening bell, Gentleman Jim made it clear that he would be no easy mark. Sullivan, in classic style, lumbered across the canvas trying to land the big punch early. Corbett ignored the boos of the crowd as he bobbed and weaved away from the champ's ill-timed haymakers. The first scientific boxer, Corbett had actually sketched out, choreographed his evasive footwork weeks before the bout. His homework served him well in New Orleans, for by round five he had drawn first blood from Sullivan's battered nose. Lightning body punches, punctuated by hard rights to the head and face, sent the stunned Sullivan to the ropes several times. With the first nine rounds clearly Corbett's, the Great John L. answered the next bell determined to put his tap-dancing opponent away for good. But Corbett never remained in one spot long enough for the slow-moving champ to fix his target. Sullivan did get off a few good blows in the 15th round, but Corbett took them in stride, and by the end of the 17th, Sullivan's face flushed beet-red as he struggled to his corner, panting heavily. Still the Boston Strong Boy held on. Even under severe pummeling in the 20th, Sullivan's buckling knees refused to give further. The end finally came in the following round: Corbett stalked the champ to the ropes and unmercifully landed a series of rapid-fire lefts and rights to an already mangled face. After rising from two knock-downs, Sullivan pitched forward for the third and last time. Some Sullivan die-hards sneered at the "dancer who wouldn't stand still and fight the Great John L.," but few could deny Corbett credit for so methodically earning the championship. As for John L. himself, he bore no grudge. After resting in his corner for a few moments, he strode to the center of the ring and told his fans, "I fought once too often. But I'm glad it was an American who beat me and that the championship stays in this country."

Nov. 3 The first automatic telephone switchboard went into operation at La Porte, Ind.

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