10th Annual (?) Year in Review (100 Years Later): Round 1

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By Aaron Boyes and Sean Graham

We offer our two cents on the biggest events of 1922, but ultimately the decision on what moves on is up to you

It’s hard to believe that this year marks our 10th year of the Year in Review (100 Years later) bracket. We could not have imagined back in 2013 when we wrote the first bracket that this would actually become an annual event (hence the question mark in each year’s title), but that little joke has grown into something so much more.

This year, in celebrating our 10th year, we wanted to do something a little different. In the past, we have written about what we think is the most important person/event of a given year and then have asked for your thoughts in comments. This year, however, YOU get to help decide what is the most important event of 1922. This will be done by voting. As always, we will provide a brief history of the events, but now you will vote to determine which event will move forward. Voting can be done in several ways: by voting in the Twitter polls included here, commenting on the post (at the bottom of the page); by email (historyslam@gmail.com); or sending us a Tweet (@theseangrahamr and @aaronboyes1). Plus, if you see us on the street, tell us what you think. We will tabulate the votes and announce the winners the following week. The process will then recommence.

The Sweet Sixteen are presented below for your consideration. We have given our two cents, which may sway your opinion, or, more likely, not.

The Elite Eight will be presented on Friday, December 2.

The Final Four on Friday, December 9.

And the Enrico Palazzo Pre-Memorial Championship will be held on December 16. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter so make sure you vote early and vote often!

In all sincerity, thank you to everyone who has read and continues to read these posts. We truly love preparing it each year and we hope that you enjoy this year’s entry.

Discoveries Bracket

(1) King Tut’s Tomb Discovered


(4) Vitamin D Isolated

Sean: Around 1324 BCE, King Tutankhamen died following a decade-long reign as Egyptian pharaoh. Only 19 at the time of his death, King Tut did reverse some religious reforms during his life, but was largely forgotten in the centuries after he died. That all changed in November 1922, however, when British archaeologist Howard Carter and his team found the young pharaoh’s tomb. Appearing to still be sealed and largely undisturbed, the discovery provided a previously unavailable wealth of information for researchers about life in ancient Egypt. Many of the objects, which were placed in the tomb to accompany King Tut into the afterlife, toured around the world and generated a newfound interest into antiquity, an interest that is still fueling new digs and discoveries at the site.

Aaron: In the early 1920s at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, biochemist Elmer McCollum and John Howland noted that rickets – the condition of soft bones in children – could be caused by a poor diet, as observed in rats. McCollum and Howland fed the rats a pure cereal diet and noted the onset of rickets; through trial and error, they found that cod-liver oil could prevent rickets in rats. Testing their theory, they heated cod-liver oil so that Vitamin A was destroyed, and found that cod-liver oil indeed cured rickets. McCollum named the discovery after the next available letter in the alphabet – letters A, B, and C already in use – Vitamin D. McCollum and Howland also postulated that sunshine could also prevent rickets, and they were proved correct. Because of this discovery, a new generation of children grew up on cod-liver oil and rickets was basically eliminated.

Sean: King Tut has been dead for over 3,000 years. Vitamin D is essential to daily life. One of these two things is, therefore, much more relevant to billions of people around the world than the other. As a result, I don’t see much of a contest between these.

Aaron: Indeed, King Tut has been dead for over 3,000 years, but the discovery of his tomb in 1922 ushered in a wave of Egyptology, which has greatly increased our knowledge of this ancient society. Without this discovery, I also fear that we would not have the brilliant 1999 movie, The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. So not only was a long-dead pharaoh’s corpse discovered, but the wonder of haunted mummys. 

Sean: That might be the dumbest response in 10 years of brackets.

King Tut’s tomb is a curiosity, a trivia question even, that, sure, generated interest, but it’s not like the Egyptians were a completely unknown entity in 1922. Vitamin D, on the other hand, was a complete unknown.

Aaron: Good to know that your sense of wonder is as dead as King Tut. 

Sean: I think it died about the same time.

(2) Steel Tape Measure Invented


(3) Good Humor Bar Invented

Aaron: As any builder – professional or DIYer – will tell you, having an accurate measurement for a cut is essential. Tape measures have been around for a while; some of the earliest date to the mid-19th century. In 1922, American inventor Hiram A. Farrard received U.S. Patent #1,402,589 for his concave-convex steel tape measure. This patent greatly improved the design of a spring-retractable tape measure and became the standard for which tape measures were based moving forward. At my house, I think we have at least six tape measures; but can we find one when we need it? Of course not. It’s not like they are a binder clip 

On a hot summer day, how many of us have reached for an ice cream dipped in chocolate? While it goes by many different names depending on where you are in the world, the patent for the first chocolate-dipped ice cream, known as the Good Humor Bar, was submitted by American confectioner Harry Burt. In the 1920s, Burt owned an ice cream parlour in Youngstown, Ohio, when he created a chocolate that could coat, and stick, on an ice cream. According to Burt’s wife, Burt was also the first to insert a stick into the ice cream. In 1923, Burt was granted U.S. Patent #1,470,524, which gave him the patent for the method of manufacturing the cold treat and the equipment used, but not the Good Humor Bar itself.

The sheer universality of the tape measure *checks over left shoulder for wife* and the importance of this tool for builders, both professional and DIYers alike *checks over right shoulder for wife* to me make this a clear winner. (Megan nodding in the background) I enjoy an ice cream treat as much as the next fella, but I don’t think that frozen cream dipped in chocolate should move past round one.

Sean: Whose sense of wonder is dead now, fella? There is nothing better than an ice cream bar on a hot Christmas morning. Also, this isn’t just about the ice cream, it’s about how it’s made and the innovation that came with Burt’s technique. Besides, tape measure existed before – even ones you could carry in your pocket, so I’m not just not seeing it.

Aaron: Look, if the measuring tape doesn’t win here Megan is going to be VERY upset. You wouldn’t do that to me, would you readers?

Sean: Here’s hoping they do!

Around the World Bracket

(1) USSR Founded


(4) Mussolini Becomes Prime Minister of Italy

Aaron: After many years of brutal fighting during the Russian Civil War, in 1922 the Bolsheviks had prevailed in defeating the White Army. In of that year, delegates from the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasian SSR (which consisted of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), the Ukrainian SSR, and the Byelorussian SSR met in Moscow and jointly created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). For the next seven decades until its dissolution in 1991, the USSR played critical roles in world affairs, from helping to defeat Nazi Germany during the Second World War, to the Cold War between the East and West, space exploration and the race to the moon, in sports, culture, and many more areas. Indeed, the formation of the USSR in 1922 was an immense event in the history of the twentieth century.

The end of the First World War in 1918 had plenty of reverberation across Europe, leading to a major shift in the continent’s balance of power. In 1919, Benito Mussolini formed the Italian Fasces of Combat and spent the next several years attempting to gain power in Italy. In October 1922, Mussolini led what is now known as the March on Rome, demanding that he and his Fascist party become the ruling party in Italy. King Victor Emmanuel III, fearing a civil war, refused the government’s request to declare martial law, which led to the defeat of the sitting government, and Mussolini was handed over power. On October 31, 1922, Mussolini was sworn in as Prime Minister of Italy. Under Il Duce’s leadership, Italy would side with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Mussolini himself was executed in April 1945.

In terms of importance, I think the USSR wins easily. What say you, Dr. Graham?

Sean: In Soviet Russia, bracket writes you.

(2) Ottoman Empire Collapses


(3) British Mandate of Palestine Begins

Aaron: The Ottoman Empire was, at its peak, a massive trans-continental empire that stretched from the Balkans in Europe to Egypt in Africa and composed all of modern-day Turkey. It was a formidable Empire whose culture, military, and economic power played significant roles in world history for more than six hundred years. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the Ottoman Empire was considered to be the Sick Man of Europe (a term coined by Emperor Nicholas I or Russia); by the early twentieth century, it became more evident that the Empire was in decline. After the First World War, in which the Ottoman Empire allied itself with the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Empire was on its death knells. On November 1, 1922, in Ankara, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey voted to abolish the monarchy, effectively ending the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Turkey was established in 1923.

Sean: Following the First World War, Great Britain was granted a Mandate for Palestine. Formally approved by the League of Nations in 1922, the mandate gave the British a dual obligation towards both Arab and Jewish populations in the region. Palestine had been part of Ottoman Syria before the British occupation during the First World War, throughout which the British had made contradictory agreements related to the region. These included the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence, in which the British agreed to recognize Arab independence after the war, and the Balfour Declaration, in which the British committed to a national home for the Jewish people. WIth the Mandate in place, the British set Palestine’s borders based on its international agreements. Within these borders two different social systems developed under a singular political structure, leading to a series of violent confrontations throughout the 1920s and 1930s. A major Arab revolt in 1936, which was concurrent to increased Jewish migration following Hiter’s rise to power in Germany, led to a Royal Commission and ultimately a White Paper in 1939. With increasing violence in Palestine and disapproval of the mandate at home, Great Britain terminated the Mandate in 1947.

Between these two I’m going to have to lean towards the Mandate for Palestine. In the years following the First World War, there were plenty of international agreements and treaties signed in the hopes of maintaining the peace. Of course, peace was not achieved as colonial powers continued to battle over their empires. In Palestine, the British oversaw decades of protests, riots, and revolts before the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was passed in 1947.

Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire…they had a whole empire entirely devoted to putting your feet up?

Aaron: I disagree. The Ottoman Empire’s impact on world history cannot be understated here. Plus, I feel like I’ve seen that Palestine Mandate thing before…

Entertainment Bracket

(1) Nosferatu Released


(4) First Little Rascals Short Films

Sean: If you were a Berlin moviegoer in March 1922, one of your friends would have probably suggested you head out to the premiere of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. From F.W. Murnau, the film saw Count Orlok emerging upright from his coffin to create a sense of shock and horror from the audience. Widely considered the first horror movie and first film monster, Orlok’s image is immediately recognizable 100 years later. Many theories have emerged as to why the film resonated so strongly, including the idea that he represented the trauma of the First World War, but what is clear is that Nosferatu ushered in a new genre of filmmaking, even if it had to overcome as copyright infringement case from the widow of Bram Stoker.

On the other end of the spectrum, 1922 also saw the introduction of The Little Rascals. Produced by MGM, the Our Gang shorts were silent films that followed the adventures of a group of poor neighbourhood children. In an effort to make the shorts feel as real as possible, the actors were encouraged to be as natural as possible, so much so that improvisation was regularly included in the films. Noted for being one of the first film series portraying friendships between black and white children, the shorts continued through the Second World War. In the 1950s, The Little Rascals television series debuted, ensuring that the kids would continue to reach North American audiences.

This could potentially be a hot take, but I’m not a big fan of either of these franchises, if vampire movies can be considered a franchise. Both have certainly passed the test of time, but on a personal note, neither really speak to my sensibilities. As a result, we must go to the numbers. The highest grossing vampire movie made $300 million. The highest grossing Little Rascals movie made $67 million. The answer to all your questions is money.

Aaron: I’m not a huge horror fan, but I’m a big fan of Nosferatu. I saw this movie for the first time when I was in high school and, for a silent film made in 1922, I was pretty spooked. There are two scenes that stick out in my mind: when we encounter Count Olaf outside his castle, and the famous scene where we see his shadow progressing up the stairs. When I think of a vampire movie, I think of Nosferatu, even though there are dozens of other vampire movies out there. Plus, my only connection to The Little Rascals is from the 1994 film of my childhood, which, while entertaining, isn’t as high on my list.

Nosferatu GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(2) TV Receiver Patented


(3) BBC Founded

Aaron: Where would we be without TV? Philosophers can debate the impact on society, but I appreciate that I can sit on my couch and watch a sporting event that is occurring hundreds of kilometers away thanks to television. The history and development of the television is long and complex, but in March 1922 inventor Charles F. Jenkins became one of the first to submit a patent request for a television transmitter and receiver. On June 30, 1925, Jenkins received U.S. Patent #1,544,156 for his invention, which enabled pictures to be communicated wirelessly by scanning and transmitting silhouette images.

Sean: In the fall of 1922, a group of leading radio manufacturers came together to form the British Broadcasting Company. A private company at the time, only British manufacturers could hold shares in the BBC, which started daily broadcasts in November. One of the motivations for creating content was that if you wanted to sell somebody a radio receiver, you had to give them something to listen to. In its private form, the BBC only lasted a few years as it was ultimately liquidated and transformed into a public organization in 1927. Ultimately, the BBC has largely come to define broadcasting in the United Kingdom as well as shaping broadcasting administration internationally. In tracing its origins to what it is today, its influence within Europe would be hard to overstate.

To quote Bart Simpson, “TV sucks!” 

If we’re being completely honest here, the BBC’s founding is far, far more important. When you look at the breadth of the BBC’s operations, from establishing national broadcasting in Great Britain to leading the way in short wave transmissions through the middle of the 20th century, it has continually been a global leader in broadcasting. Networks in Australia and Canada were, at least somewhat, modeled on the BBC, and its partnerships with networks across the globe have helped shape how and what billions of people consume radio and television programs.

Aaron: Without the TV patent, the BBC wouldn’t have been able to become the television powerhouse that it is today. We wouldn’t have Sir David Attenborough’s incredible Earth series; we wouldn’t have Sherlock. And don’t start with me about how the BBC started in radio. Radio is a dying industry and anyone who studies it is clearly wasting their time and everyone else’s.

Sean: Why are you the way that you are? I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.

Aaron: I feel like I’ve also seen that before somewhere…  

Sean: Probably somewhere else where I was also clearly right and combatting your lunacy. 

Radio was, and remains, a critical form of communication, which has been fundamentally shaped by the BBC. Granted, that hasn’t always been a good thing, but in terms of pure influence, it has to move forward. I stake my full professional reputation on that.

Pot Pourri Bracket

(1) First Mid Air Collision of Commercial Airliners


(4) Japan Launches First Purposefully Built Air Craft Carrier

Sean: Planes!!

For as much as I love aviation and force aviation topics into the bracket every year, reading the history of air disasters is decidedly less fun than some of the other areas we have covered. But understanding these events is critical, however, as the industry gets safer every time there is a tragedy. Case in point, the 1922 collision between two planes about 100 kilometres north of Paris. A French Farman Goliath collided with a British DeHaviland DH-18. Both were traveling between London and Paris, running in opposite directions at low altitude (500 feet) owing to low visibility. Unable to see each other until it was too late, the seven passengers and crews aboard each plane were killed. Following the crash, protocols were put in place to improve safety, including the first air traffic control system.

That same year, Japan launched the Hosho, the world’s first commissioned aircraft carrier. While an ocean liner had previously been retrofitted into an aircraft carrier, but following the First World War, Japan launched its ‘eight-six’ fleet program, which included a seaplane carrier. Even if the ship was missing much of its aviation equipment when it first launched, it started to accept landings in 1923. Compared to today’s carriers, the Hosho pales in comparison, but it provided invaluable insight into the requirements for an aircraft carrier and mobile aviation, insights that were incorporated into future ships.

Aaron: Wait…how is there a planes-related event in here? It wasn’t on the original list. This is preposterous! I worked extremely hard to ensure that no planes-event would make it onto the bracket. Where’s the producer?!

Sean: He couldn’t be reached because he was in a plane.

Aaron: And, to make it worse, somehow BOTH of these are plane-related. I quit.

But since I have to continue, as I am contractually obligated to, I think the launch of the Mosho is the winner here. Sure, other aircraft carriers existed before it, but they were simply retrofitted ships that managed to be used to transport aircraft. The Japanese showed what a sincere investment in this technology could do. Plus, as Marge Simpson would say, I think they’re kinda neat. 

Sean: I have to disagree. As a long-time fan of Mayday, even watching it during a flight once, crashes, while tragic, have been imperative in improving the safety of aviation. Obviously, it would be better if they didn’t happen, but the safety record of the modern aviation industry has been built off the lessons learned from these tragedies. I would argue that that is even neat-er. 

Aaron: Planes must have crashed into each other during the First World War, so why are we so focused on the first commercial event of this happening? The Mosho, on the other hand, proved that aircraft carriers were worth the investment and showed that they could make an impact in waging war.

Sean: Because commercial aviation has a very different purpose and target market. The expectations for military and civil aviation are not the same, so a significant air disaster for commercial planes receives very different levels of attention. 

Aaron: Maybe it’s a good thing that we’re letting the people decide.

(2) MLB Monopoly


(3) Canadian Tire Founded

Sean: Baseball!!

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 prohibits activities restricting interstate trade and market competition. In 1915, the Baltimore Terrapins of the Federal League sued the American and National Leagues, claiming they had violated the act. Though the Federal League closed shop in 1917, the lawsuit moved forward. In May 1922, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the case, deciding in favour of the major leagues by stating that baseball, despite having teams in different states, did not constitute interstate commerce. In doing so, the court provided Major League Baseball with an antitrust exemption, allowing it greater control over minor leagues, among other league benefits. Later justices have  noted that the decision is an anomaly, but the case has not been overturned and baseball continues to enjoy the benefits of its exemption.

A few hundred kilometres north in Toronto, J.W. and A.J. Biles purchased Hamilton Tire and Garage, which was located in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto. With the automotive market growing, the brothers saw an opportunity, shifting the garage’s focus to providing service for, primarily, Fords and Chevrolets. Their most popular promotion was their one-year unconditional guarantee on tires. At a time when tire blowouts were common, this significantly grew the business. Highlighting the importance of tires, the brothers incorporated the company of Canadian Tire a few years later, settling on the name because, according to A.J., it sounded big. In the 100 years since, Canadian Tire has become a cultural icon in Canada. It continues to offer automobile service while also selling everything tool belts to toys. And its own currency has developed its own cult following.

Aaron: I’m torn. The sports fan in me agrees, Baseball! But the nationalist in me says I should support the Canadian company. Besides, I was just at Canadian Tire on the weekend buying Christmas lights, whereas I haven’t watched baseball since the Blue Jays collapsed in the Wild Card series against the Mariners…and now I’m sad. 

Sean: Would you say you are more or less sad than a drawer full of $1.36 of Canadian Tire money?

Aaron: I actually have $2.26 thank you very much.

Sean: I feel like if everyone in the country pooled their Canadian Tire money, we might be able to split a bag of ice salt 38 million ways.

Aaron: I actually think that Canadian Tire should win here. The MLB monopoly, while it has worked out in terms of entertainment, really should have been broken under the anti-trust laws in the United States. Meanwhile, here in Canada, Canadian Tire is ubiquitous. It has, for the most part, everything you could need for home projects. Plus, its old-school Christmas ads could not be beat – Give like Santa, but save like Scrooge. 

Sean: I’ll give you the old-school ads, but if the new pitch man walks into the same room as me, you’ll see a Sean-shaped hole in the wall to get away from him.

Shockingly, I might agree, but for a slightly different reason. The monopoly contributed to the continued segregation of baseball in the first half of the 20th century while more recently the conditions endured by minor league players has received more and more attention. Perhaps in a more competitive environment, this could have been avoided.

Be sure to join us next Friday for the Regional Finals!

Past Winners

1910: Binder Clip Patented

1911: First International Women’s Day

1912: Titanic Sinks on Maidan Voyage

1913: Zipper Patent

1914: First Successful Non-Direct Blood Transfusion

1915: Women’s Suffrage Legalized in Kingdom of Denmark

1916: Margaret Sanger Opens First American Birth Control Clinic in Brooklyn

1917: Russian Revolution

1918: Spanish Flu Pandemic

1919: First Nonstop Transatlantic Flight

Winners at War: Women’s Suffrage in the Kingdom of Denmark

1920: Toaster Patent

1921: Discovery of Insulin

Aaron Boyes has a PhD from the University of Ottawa

Sean Graham is host of What’s Old is News and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca

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