1908 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1908 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Top Ten Baby Names of 1908

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

US Life Expectancy

(1908) Males: 49.5 years, Females: 52.8 years

Firsts, Inventions and Wonders

Adolph Spreckels, of the Spreckels Sugar Company, was the first Sugar Daddy, nicknamed by his 24-years-younger wife, Alma de Bretteville.

The word “empathy” did not enter the English language until 1908.

I Got the Blues, published by New Orleans musician Antonio Maggio, and it is probably the first published “Blues” song.

Gideon Bibles started appearing in Hotel rooms.

The first ‘spork’ (cutting spoon) was patented (#904553A) 1908.

Around 400 BC, the Greek philosopher Democritus codified four basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter). No one challenged this until Auguste Escoffier, who claimed another, un-named taste, until a Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, ‘discovered’ the fifth flavor (umami) in L-glutamate.

Sunshine made Hydrox Cookies in 1908, and Oreo copied it in 1912.

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf came up with the name Rolex when, as he said, “I tried combining the letters of the alphabet in every possible way. This gave me some hundred names, but none felt right. One morning, a genie whispered’ Rolex’ in my ear while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London.”

Tea Bags became popular.

The American term “Melting Pot” was first used in Israel Zangwill’s play of the same name.

The recipe for Tootsie Rolls calls for the previous day’s batch to be mixed with the new batch each day. Theoretically, this means there could be a bit of the first, starting in 1908, Tootsie Rolls in every new roll made today.

Until 1908, Philadelphia City Hall was the tallest building in the world.

The Most Popular Singers and Artists of 1908 include

John Beiling, Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, Enrico Caruso, Arthur Collins, Emilio DeGogorza, Geraldine Farrar, Byron G. Harlon, The Hayden Quartet, Harvey Hindermyer, Ada Jones, Harry Macdonough, Isabelle Marsh, Eddie Morton, Billy Murray, The Peerless Quartet, Arthur Pryor’s Band, Antonio Scotti, Frank Stanley, Cal Stewart, Elise Stevenson, Alan Turner, The Victor Orchestra, Reinald Werrenrath

Pop Culture Facts & History

London was the first city to have ever hosted the Olympics three times. 1908, 1948, and 2012.

The Tunguska Event, an explosion in Siberia in 1908, was 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, wiped out 80 million trees, and some say it was from a Nikola Tesla experiment. #itwasnt #probablyameteor

“SOS” (· · · – – – · · ·) distress signal officially became the worldwide standard for help.

Six thousand two hundred ten fans showed up to see the Cubs win the 1908 World Series, the smallest crowd for a World Series game. Chicago Cubs playoff games are scheduled at 7:08 pm or 19:08 in military time, and this is because 1908 was the last year the Cubs won the World Series. Merkle’s Boner was an incident in which rookie baseball player Fred Merkle of the New York Giants failed to advance to second base on what should have been a game-winning hit. This would lead to the Giants losing the National League pennant to the Chicago Cubs.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, which has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball.

HIV made the jump from chimps to humans around 1908.

Ford’s Model T went on sale, at $825.00.

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis of West Virginia in 1908. It soon became so commercial that Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.

Sears sold mail-order homes, 75,000 between 1908 and 1940, as part of their Modern Homes program. They arrived as a kit and included many modern conveniences, such as indoor plumbing.

In 1908 in England, William “Bigfoot” Anakin, a local champion, was taken to court by a defense lawyer to help demonstrate that darts were not gambling but a game of skill. He threw three darts in the center; no other court official could do the same. The judge ruled that darts were a game of skill.

The Phaistos Disc was discovered in 1908 by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier

1908 Olympics

The United States is the only country that does not ‘dip’ its flag to the host country at the Olympics opening ceremonies. When the US flag-holder, Ralph Rose, was asked to do so for King Edward VII at the 1908 London games, he supposedly responded, “This flag dips to no earthly king.”

Pistol dueling was a sport in the 1908 Summer Olympics. Contestants used wax bullets and metal masks for safety.

The United Kingdom won 146 medals in their 1908 London Olympic Games – 56 were gold medals, more than every other country in that year.

The 1908 Olympics were moved from Rome to London due to the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

A marathon is 40.195 km (26.2 miles) because the British Queen Alexandra wanted the Olympic marathon in the 1908 Olympics in London to finish on the grass field. This changed the then-current distance of a marathon, but it was later formalized as the official distance and never changed back.

Finland and Sweden are the only countries that have earned a medal at every Olympic game since 1908.

When introduced to the Olympics in 1908, figure skating was part of the Summer Games. It remained so until 1924.


The Russian Olympic team arrived at the Olympics in London 12 days late because it was still using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.

English newspaper The Daily Telegraph printed an interview with Germany’s Emperor Wilhelm II, who characterized himself as ‘personally friendly’ to Britain but suggested the German people are hostile. It did not go well in either country, which is why, even today, it refers separately between governments and citizens of nations.


In his 1908 South Pole expedition, Ernest Shackleton included in his supplies cigars, 42 cases of alcohol, a car, and cocaine.


One hundred seventy-two students died in the Collinwood School Fire. One hundred seventy-one people died in a fire at the Rhoads Opera House. The crush of the crowds toward the exit made it impossible to open the inward-swinging doors. This is why doors now open outward in the United States.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Gabriel Lippmann
Chemistry – Ernest Rutherford
Medicine – Élie Metchnikoff, Paul Ehrlich
Literature – Rudolf Christoph Eucken
Peace – Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Fredrik Bajer

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1908

Fiction Bestsellers

1. Mr. Crewe’s Career by Winston Churchill
2. The Barrier by Rex Beach
3. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox Jr
4. The Lure of the Mask by Harold MacGrath
5. The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
6. Peter by F. Hopkinson Smith
7. Lewis Rand by Mary Johnston
8. The Black Bag by Louis J. Vance
9. The Man from Brodney’s by George Barr McCutcheon,
10. The Weavers Critically Acclaimed and Historically Significant by Gilbert Parker

Other Books of Note

The Wind and The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Process of Government by Arthur Bentley
Materialism and Empirio-Criticism by Vladimir Lenin
Human Nature and Politics by Graham Wallas
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
Hind Swaraj by Mohandas Gandhi
The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill


World Series Champions: Chicago Cubs
Challenge Cup Champs: Montreal Wanderers
U.S. Open Golf: Fred McLeod
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): William Larned/Maud Barger-Wallach
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Arthur Gore/Charlotte Sterry
NCAA Football Champions: Pennsylvania & LSU
Kentucky Derby Winner: Stone Street
Boston Marathon Winner: Thomas Morrissey Time: 2:25:43

More 1908 History Resources

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us) 
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1908
1908 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster 
1908 in Movies (according to IMDB) 
Wikipedia 1908