1904 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1904 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Top Ten Baby Names of 1904

Mary, Helen, Anna, Margaret, Ruth, John, William, James, George, Robert

US Life Expectancy

(1904) Males: 46.2 years, Females: 49.1 years

Firsts, Inventions and Wonders

The term Banana Republic was created by author O. Henry while visiting Honduras. It describes a politically unstable country with an economy dependent upon exporting a limited-resource product like bananas.

Thomas Sullivan invented Tea Bags by accident. He wanted the small bags to be samples of the tea. People dunked them instead.

Peter Pan (or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up) by J.M. Barrie premiered at the Duke of York Theatre in London.

Order of Owls was founded in South Bend, Indiana.

King C. Gillette patented (#775,134) his Gillette razor blade.

On December 31, the first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then Longacre Square), New York City.

National Ski Association was formed in Ishpeming, Michigan.

Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity was founded at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (now the American Lung Association) was founded.

Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly premiered in Milan.

Several people in the US and UK began selling Ice cream in edible cones, each claiming to be the inventor. We know it was presented during the St Louis World Fair, by Charles E. Menches.

The Bank of Italy (now Bank of America) opened in San Francisco.

The term “hangover” came into the vernacular. Before that, people felt “crapulous.”

British newspaper The Daily Mirror began publishing.

The T-shirt was invented in 1904 by the Cooper Underwear Company and marketed to bachelors who couldn’t sew or replace buttons.

The Most Popular Singers and Artists of 1904 include

Henry Burr, Enrico Caruso, Arthur Collins, S.H. Dudley, George J. Gaskin, Byron G. Harlan, The Hayden Quartet, Mina Hickman, Richard Jose, Harry Macdonough, Corrine Morgan, Billy Murray, J.W. Meyers, Vess Ossman, The Peerless Quartet, Arthur Pryor’s Band, Bob Roberts, Frank Stanley, Cal Stewart

Pop Culture Facts & History

Panama Canal construction began.

Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis World Fair) from April 30 to December 1, 1904. 19 million people from 63 countries attended

The third modern Olympic Games opened in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the first Olympic Games held outside Europe. The US won 239 of the 280 medals available. #hometeamadvantage

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend was a strange newspaper comic strip by Winsor McCay, begun September 10, 1904, and ran through 1925.

George Eyser, an American gymnast with a wooden leg, won six medals, including three gold, in a single day at the 1904 Olympics.

Lane Bryant should have been named Lena Bryant after its founder, but a bank officer misspelled her name when she opened an account in 1904.

The Horrible

Ota Benga, a Mbuti pygmy, was kidnapped from Congo and taken to the US, where he was exhibited with monkeys. He was freed by 1906, and his planned return to Africa was canceled due to WWI. He killed himself on March 20, 1916.

The Great Baltimore Fire raged in Baltimore, between February 7 and February 8, 1904. One thousand five hundred buildings in central Baltimore were destroyed, yet no one was killed.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – The Lord Rayleigh
Chemistry – Sir William Ramsay
Physiology or Medicine – Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
Literature – Frédéric Mistral and José Echegaray
Peace – Institut de Droit International

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1904

Fiction Bestsellers: 
1. The Crossing by Winston Churchill
2. The Deliverance by Ellen Glasgow
3. The Masquerader by Anonymous (Katherine Cecil Thurston)
4. In the Bishop’s Carriage by Miriam Michelson
5. Sir Mortimer by Mary Johnston
6. Beverly of Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon
7. The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come by John Fox Jr
8. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
9. My Friend Prospero by Henry Harland
10. The Silent Places by Stewart Edward White

Other Books of Note

The Golden Bowl by Henry James
Mt.-St. Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams
Theory of Business Enterprise by Thorstein Veblen
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad


American League Baseball Champions: Boston Americans
National League Baseball Champions: Pittsburg Pirates
World Series Champions: Boston Americans
Challenge Cup Champs: Ottawa Hockey Club
U.S. Open Golf: Willie Anderson
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Holcombe Ward/May Sutton
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Laurence Doherty/Dorothea Douglass
NCAA Football Champions: Pennsylvania & Michigan
Kentucky Derby Winner: Elwood
Boston Marathon Winner: Michael Spring Time: 2:38:04

More 1904 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us) 
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1904
1904 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com 
Fact Monster
Wikipedia 1904