1911 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1911 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Top Ten Baby Names of 1911

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

US Life Expectancy

(1911) Males: 50.9 years, Females: 54.4 years

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

The Morton Salt Company began adding magnesium carbonate to its product, which stopped the salt from caking during damp or humid temperatures. Hence their tagline, “When it rains, it pours.”

The first use of a rear-view mirror was at the first Indy 500 in Ray Harroun’s car. #hewon

George Seldon, a patent lawyer, and possibly the first patent troll, was granted the patent (#549,160) to cars in 1895. He got a % of every sale in the US until 1911, when it was overturned, mainly through the efforts of Henry Ford. He never built a functioning automobile.

Crisco Shortening was introduced by Procter & Gamble.

The world’s first official airmail flight was piloted by Henri Pequet, who flew with 6,500 letters a distance of 13 km (8.1 mi) from Allahabad to Naini – the nearest station on the Bombay-Calcutta line in British India, on February 18, 1911

The Carnegie Corporation of New York was founded.

The first airplane to land on a ship occurred on January 18, 1911. Eugene Ely landed on the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay.

Samuel J. Battle became the first black police officer in New York City.

The Most Popular Singers and Artists of 1911 include

The American Quartet, Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, Enrico Caruso, Arthur Clough, Arthur Collins, Byron G. Harlan, Victor Herbert, and His Orchestra, Ada Jones, Fritz Kreisler, The Lyric Quartet, Harry Macdonough, Lucy Isabelle Marsh, John McCormack, Reed Miller, Eddie Morton, Billy Murray, Will Oakland, The Peerless Quartet, Prince’s Orchestra, Blanche Ring, Bob Roberts, Frank Stanley, That Girl Quartet, Sophie Tucker, Walter Van Brunt, Victor Light Opera Company, Reinald Werrenrath, Elizabeth Wheeler


“It is a safe rule to apply that when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.”
– Albert Whitehead, An Introduction to Mathematics

Pop Culture Facts & History

Vincenzo Peruggia, wanting to bring the Mona Lisa back to Italy after “Napoleon stole it,” just walked into the Louvre Museum, removed the painting, took it to a service staircase, removed the frame, put it under his smock, and walked out with it in plain sight. It sat in his apartment for two years. The theft helped make the Mona Lisa famous.

Richard III is a 1911 film adaptation of the Shakespeare play, became the oldest surviving American feature-length film when, in 1996, a former projectionist found and donated an intact copy to the AFI. The film was thought lost since the 1920s

Women in China with small feet were deemed beautiful. China’s foot-binding custom lasted over 1,000 years but was banned in 1911.

Pittsburgh was officially changed to “Pittsburg” from 1891-1911.

A series of books were published featuring a fictional boy inventor named Tom Swift. One of these books was 1911’s Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. Many years later, this indirectly led to naming the TASER that police now carry – “Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle.”

Parks Canada was established on May 19, 1911, as the Dominion Parks Branch under the Department of the Interior, becoming the world’s first national park service.

The US House of Representatives has had 435 seats since 1911, when the population of the United States was 94 million. Today, the population is over 325 million.

Francis H. Holton filed a patent (#1000000) for a tubeless vehicle tire.

In 1911/1912, the United States endured one of the coldest winters on record. Niagra Falls was frozen solid enough for people to cross.

California was initially called The Grizzly Bear State. The bear on the California flag is modeled after “Monarch,” a Grizzly Bear that was held in captivity in California until he died in 1911.

The fastest temperature drop in recorded history occurred in South Dakota in 1911. The temperature fell by 49°F in 15 minutes.

Hugo Gernsback’s novel Ralph 124C 41+ successfully predicted the invention of television, videophones, airlines, solar energy in practical use, sound films, synthetic foods, artificial cloth, tape recorders, and spaceflight. It contained the first accurate description of radar.

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City burned, and 145 (mostly young girls) died. Doors were locked to prevent theft.

The Odd News

A colony of Adélie penguins was discovered to have homosexual and necrophilic behaviors by explorer George Murray Levick. It was at the time considered too indecent for publication. The findings were finally published in 2012.

Paul Geidel served the longest prison sentence in history: 68 years, 245 days, from 1911-1980, for the second-degree murder of a 73-year-old man when he was 17. He was granted parole after 63 years but voluntarily chose to serve the remainder of his sentence.

The first movie to show an actor’s penis on screen was the 1911 Italian film Dante’s Inferno.

In 1976, the mummified body of Elmer Mccurdy was found in a funhouse in California. McCurdy had died in a shootout in 1911, and his body had been used ever since as a sideshow attraction. His discoverers only realized it was a human body when his arm broke off, revealing bone and muscle.

United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola was a 1911 federal court case in which religious fundamentalists argued that caffeine was causing sexual transgression.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Wilhelm Wien
Chemistry – Marie Sklodowska-Curie
Medicine – Allvar Gullstrand
Literature – Count Maurice Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck
Peace – Tobias Asser Alfred Hermann Fried

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1911

Fiction Bestsellers

1. The Broad Highway, by Jeffrey Farnol
2. The Prodigal Judge by Vaughan Kester
3. The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright
4. Queed by Henry Sydnor Harrison
5. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter
6. The Iron Woman by Margaret Deland
7. The Long Roll by Mary Johnston
8. Molly Make-Believe by Eleanor Abbott
9. The Rosary by Florence Barclay
10. The Common Law by Robert W. Chambers

Other Books of Note

Principles of Scientific Management by F.W. Taylor
The Mind of Primitive Man by Franz Boas
Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm


World Series Champions: Philadelphia Athletics
Challenge Cup Champs: Ottawa Hockey Club
U.S. Open Golf: John McDermott
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): William Larned/Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Laurence Doherty/Dorothea Lambert Chambers
NCAA Football Champions: Princeton & Penn State
Kentucky Derby Winner: Meridian
Boston Marathon Winner: Clarence DeMar Time: 2:21:39

More 1911 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us) 
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1911
1911 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com 
Fact Monster
1911 in Movies (according to IMDB) 
Wikipedia 1911