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Cyrus McCormick

Cyrus Hall McCormick was an American inventor and businessman who founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which became part of the International Harvester Company in 1902. From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, he and many members of his family became prominent residents of Chicago. McCormick has been simplistically credited as the single inventor of the mechanical reaper, he was, one of several designing engineers who produced successful models in the 1830s. His efforts built on more than two decades of work by his father Robert McCormick Jr. as well as the aid of Jo Anderson, a slave held by his family. He successfully developed a modern company, with manufacturing, a sales force to market his products. Cyrus McCormick was born on February 1809 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he was the eldest of eight children born to Mary Ann "Polly" Hall. As Cyrus' father saw the potential of the design for a mechanical reaper, he applied for a patent to claim it as his own invention, he worked for 28 years on a horse-drawn mechanical reaper to harvest grain.

Cyrus took up the project. He was aided by an enslaved African American on the McCormick plantation at the time. A few machines based on a design of Patrick Bell of Scotland were available in the United States in these years; the Bell machine was pushed by horses. The McCormick design cut the grain to one side of the team. Cyrus McCormick held one of his first demonstrations of mechanical reaping at the nearby village of Steeles Tavern, Virginia in 1831, he claimed to have developed a final version of the reaper in 18 months. The young McCormick was granted a patent on the reaper on June 21, 1834, two years after having been granted a patent for a self-sharpening plow. None was sold, because the machine could not handle varying conditions; the McCormick family worked together in a blacksmith/metal smelting business. The panic of 1837 caused the family to go into bankruptcy when a partner pulled out. In 1839 McCormick started doing more public demonstrations of the reaper, but local farmers still thought the machine was unreliable.

He did sell one in 1840, but none for 1841. Using the endorsement of his father's first customer for a machine built by McPhetrich, Cyrus continuously attempted to improve the design, he sold seven reapers in 1842, 29 in 1843, 50 in 1844. They were all built manually in the family farm shop, he received a second patent for reaper improvements on January 31, 1845. As word spread about the reaper, McCormick noticed orders arriving from farther west, where farms tended to be larger and the land flatter. While he was in Washington, D. C. to get his 1845 patent, he heard about a factory in Brockport, New York, where he contracted to have the machines mass-produced. He licensed several others across the country to build the reaper, but their quality proved poor, which hurt the product's reputation. In 1847, after their father's death and his brother Leander moved to Chicago, where they established a factory to build their machines. At the time, other cities in the midwestern United States, such as Cleveland, Ohio, St. Louis and Milwaukee, were more established and prosperous.

Chicago had no paved streets at the time, but the city had the best water transportation from the east over the Great Lakes for his raw materials, as well as railroad connections to the farther west where his customers would be. When McCormick tried to renew his patent in 1848, the U. S. Patent Office noted that a similar machine had been patented by Obed Hussey a few months earlier. McCormick claimed he had invented his machine in 1831, but the renewal was denied. William Manning of Plainfield, New Jersey had received a patent for his reaper in May 1831, but at the time, Manning was evidently not defending his patent. McCormick's brother William moved to Chicago in 1849, joined the company to take care of financial affairs; the McCormick reaper sold well as a result of savvy and innovative business practices. Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant markets. McCormick developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a wide network of salesmen trained to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field, as well as to get parts and repair machines in the field if necessary during crucial times in the farm year.

A company advertisement was a take-off of the Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way mural by Emanuel Leutze. After his machine harvested a field of green wheat while the Hussey machine failed, he won a gold medal and was admitted to the Legion of Honor, his celebration was short-lived after he learned that he had lost a court challenge to Hussey's patent. Another McCormick Company competitor was John Henry Manny of Illinois. After the Manny Reaper beat the McCormick version at the Paris Exposition of 1855, McCormick filed a lawsuit against Manny for patent infringement. McCormick demanded that Manny stop producing reapers, pay McCormick $400,000; the trial scheduled for Chicago in September 1855, featured prominent lawyers on both sides. McCormick hired the former U. S. Attorney General Reverdy Johnson and New York patent attorney Edward Nicholl Dickerson. Manny hired Edwin M. Stanton; because the trial was set to take place in Illinois, Ha

Toxopneustes roseus

Toxopneustes roseus is a species of sea urchin from the East Pacific. It is sometimes known as the rose the pink flower urchin. Like the related flower urchin, they are venomous. Toxopneustes roseus is one of the four species in the genus Toxopneustes, it was first described by the American zoologist Alexander Emanuel Agassiz in 1863 as Boletia roseus. The generic name Toxopneustes means "poison breath", derived from Greek τοξικόν and πνευστος; the specific name roseus means "rosy" in Latin. Though it does not have a used common name, it is sometimes known as the "rose flower urchin" or the "pink flower urchin". More it is called a "flower urchin", though that name applies only to the related Indo-West Pacific species, Toxopneustes pileolus. Toxopneustes roseus is similar in appearance to the more widespread flower urchin, Toxopneustes pileolus, it can be distinguished by having a rigid "shell", a solid pink, red, or purple in color, in contrast to the variegated coloration of the test of Toxopneustes pileolus.

Like other members of the genus, its most conspicuous feature are its numerous pedicellariae which gives it the appearance of being a cluster of flowers. Toxopneustes roseus is the only member of the genus found in the East Pacific, it can be found from Peru, up along the coast of Central America, as far north as California. They can be found in the waters around the Galapagos Islands, they are common in coral reefs, rhodolith beds, rocky environments, at depths of 2 to 50 m. They can be found in sand and mud substrates. Toxopneustes roseus feeds exclusively on rhodoliths, a coralline algae, they are mobile. They feed throughout the day and night, though they seem to be more active at night. Toxopneustes roseus are among the numerous species of sea urchins known as "collector urchins", so named because they cover the upper surfaces of their bodies with debris from their surroundings; this behavior is referred to as "covering" or "heaping". A 1998 study has postulated that the debris collected by the sea urchins may serve as ballast, preventing them from being swept away by wave surges when feeding Like other members of the genus, Toxopneustes roseus is venomous.

The flower-like pedicellariae can deliver a painful sting. Fire urchins Photos of Toxopneustes roseus on Sealife Collection

Baseball Magazine

Baseball Magazine is a now-defunct baseball magazine, the first monthly baseball magazine published in the United States. The magazine was founded by Boston sportswriter Jake Morse prior to the 1908 season, it continued publishing through 1957. The magazine was based in Boston. Morse stated that his mission in starting Baseball Magazine was to "fill the need of a monthly organ filled with the highest thought surrounding the game, well edited, well printed, filled with first class illustrations." The magazine strove to provide human interest stories about baseball stars, such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson. F. C. Lane became the magazine's editor in 1911 and remained in that post until 1937. One of Lane's first issues was devoted to Cobb, including stories about him and a Q&A session with him. Morse had devoted issues to Cy Young in 1908, shortly after baseball commemorated Cy Young Day, to Addie Joss in 1911, shortly after Joss' death. Despite the magazine's reverence for Young and Mathewson, in 1909 Morse wrote an article in Baseball Magazine proclaiming former Providence Grays pitcher Charles Radbourn to be "the greatest pitcher who lived."

Another famous article from the magazine's early days described how difficult it was to be a catcher in baseball's early days. During the 1920s the magazine complained about players being paid to act as baseball writers. Biography of Jake Morse from the SABR Biography Project Digitized archive of Baseball Magazine 1908-1920 at the LA84 Foundation