On April 3, 1860 Pony Express began mail service.

Pony Express was a short-lived but emblematic mail and small package carrier service that operated during the mid-1800s. It still remains a symbol of American westward expansion. The service began in 1860 as a means to move messages and parcels from St. Joseph, Missouri (then the western terminus of the nation’s rail system), to Sacramento, California, and all points between. The Pony Express trail was 2,000 miles (just over 3,200 kilometers) long and could be traveled in eight to 10 days by a series of riders.

Pony Express service was the fastest way to get messages across the frontier at the time; the only alternatives were transport by stagecoach or boat. But when the first transcontinental telegraph line was completed on October 24, 1861, the Pony Express folded only two days later.

“Pony Express.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 804. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

For more information about Pony Express click here.

Pony Express 1


This week in history William Morris was born on March 24, 1834.

Writing is only one element of William Morris’s diverse achievement. He designed textiles, wallpapers, stained glass, rugs, tapestries, and embroidery; and he founded and managed a company to produce them. He was a leading influence on the Arts and Crafts movement in England and America and, through the work of his disciples, a major force in the reform of art education. He was a pioneer in the causes of historic preservation and environmentalism. His work as a typographer and printer produced some of the finest Victorian books and encouraged the revitalization of the art of printing. His activities as a revolutionary Socialist helped shape the direction of the British party system; the example of his commitment to socialism influenced the movement even when it took directions Morris himself had not envisioned.

“William Morris.” Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Biography in Context. Web.

To learn more about William Morris, visit his company’s website which is still in business today.



This week in history on March 17, 1845 a method of manufacturing elastic (rubber) bands was patented in Britain by Stephen Perry and and Thomas Barnabas Daft of London (G.B. No. 13880/1845). In the early 19th century, sailors brought home items made by Central and South American natives from the sap of rubber trees, including footwear, garments and bottles. Around 1820, a Londoner named Thomas Hancock sliced up one of the bottles to create garters and waistbands. By 1843, he had secured patent rights from Charles Macintosh for vulcanized india rubber. Stephen Perry, owner of Messrs Perry and Co,. patented the use of india rubber for use as springs in bands, belts, etc., and also the manufacture of elastic bands by slicing suitable sizes of vulcanized india rubber tube. Vulcanization made rubber stable and retain its elasticity.

To view Stephen Perry’s patent click here.

To learn more about rubber harvesting and processing , click here.

Rubber Band


This Week in History: March 9 – 15

Movie Filmed in a Town Called Hollywood

American film director D. W. Griffith thought he had found the perfect location to film In Old California, but he had to battle to get his producer’s reluctant agreement to rent the old barn in the small town where some of the action was shot. His discovery of a spot with the near-perfect natural light the cameras crave would start studio stampede to the Los Angeles area.

On this day : the history of the world in 366 days. New York, NY : Crescent Books. (1992.).

To learn more about Hollywood’s place in American culture click here.

Baers, Michael. “Hollywood.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 431-434. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

To learn more about D. W. Griffith click here.

Merritt, Russell. “Griffith, D.W.” International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 4th ed. Vol. 2: Directors. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 399-403. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.