World History 1928

About the history of the world in 1928, Fleming discovers penicillin, the first tv programming schedule and color tv transmission.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1928

* Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming, 47, discovered penicillin. (See "Accidental Scientific Discoveries," Chap. 17.). Fleming's compound, however, remained stable for only a couple of days and could be produced only in very small quantities at a time. At the outbreak of W. W. II, an Oxford team under Australian Howard Florey joined the effort and made some improvements, but it was not until the Northern Regional Research Laboratory in Peoria, III. took up the hunt that the real breakthrough occurred. Every day a woman was sent out to the markets of Peoria to gather up rotting produce. One day, "Mouldy Mary," as she came to be called, returned with an overripe melon that produced a culture in which penicillin flourished. Production grew by leaps and bounds, and although the first batches were restricted to battlefield hospitals, by 1944 army surpluses were diverted to civilian use. Much of today's penicillin is a descendant of Mouldy Mary's melon culture.

May 11 Station WGY, Schenectady, N. Y., began the first scheduled TV programming, three times a week. Three months later this same station televised the first remote pickup as it covered the ceremony in Albany which officially conferred the Democratic presidential nomination on Al Smith. And in September, the General Electric-owned station presented the first televised play, The Queen's Messenger.

July John Logie Baird transmitted the first color television pictures at his studios in London. One week later in Rochester, N. Y., George Eastman first demonstrated color motion pictures.

Aug. 27 Fifteen nations, including the major powers, signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact binding the contracting governments to settle all differences peacefully without resorting to war. Although over 60 countries eventually ratified the pact (only a few South American states and Yemen refused), lack of enforcement power rendered the treaty meaningless in the next decade.

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