Teeth and Innovation

Dentist’s office for employees, Cheney Brothers, Manchester, 1918. Connecticut Historical Society collections.

Dentist’s office for employees, Cheney Brothers, Manchester, 1918. Connecticut Historical Society collections.

On this day 149 years ago, the American Dental Association established their code of ethics. In Connecticut, compared to Horace Wells’ anesthesia of the 1840s, other innovations may prove lesser known but just as intriguing. Continue reading

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In Lieu of Virtual Keys…

While many of us have become accustomed to the world of virtual keys on tablets, phones and laptops, we often forget about the technologies that came before them, such as the typewriter. In 1868, a man by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for his invention of the typewriter, which spawned a booming industry in Hartford. One of the major typewriter manufacturers of the 1900s was the Royal Typewriter Company. Continue reading

Blinded by the Glare

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David F. Armstrong of Groton, Connecticut patented the device in this photograph in 1906.  At that time, most automobiles were equipped with acetylene headlights, which apparently gave an impressive amount of light.  The concept of low beams did not exist; drivers simply coped with the dazzling light of oncoming cars as best they could.  Accidents were not infrequent.  Armstrong’s device consisted of a tinted shield that could be lowered to cut the glare.  Armstrong also suggested using a clear shield in the device when driving during the day for protection from dust and wind.  This was in the days before windshields.  The introduction of electric headlights and low beams—not to mention windshields—soon rendered Armstrong’s invention obsolete.  Armstrong, his wife Helen, and his daughter Muriel, appear in a series of photographs taken by the commercial photographer William G. Dudley during the 1910s and 1920s. Volunteers at the Connecticut Historical Society have been working to digitize this collection and make it available to the public. Look for photos of Armstrong and his family in the CHS online catalog in weeks to come.