BROWSE DECADES
   
 

1850's

1650  1660  1670  1680  1690  1700  1710  1720  1730  1740  1750  1760  1770  1780  1790  1800  1810  1820  1830  1840  1850  1860  1870  1880  1890  1900  1910  1920  1930  1940  1950  1960  1970  1980  1990  2000 

     
 
 

Events of the Decade:

Anglo-Kaffir War and Anglo-Persian War
Crimean War between Britain, France, Austria, Turkey, Sardinia, Prussia, and Russia
Exploration of Africa by Richard Burton and John Speke; Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria discovered
2nd Anglo-Chinese War
Dred Scott case in U.S.; Supreme Court says slavery is legal
Beginning of the Second Empire in France under Napoleon III
John Brown's abortive raid on Harper's Ferry
Gold rush in Australia
British Columbia constituted a British Crown Colony
South African Republic organized
Population Stats:
China 430 million
German States 34 million
France 33 million
Great Britain 20.8 million
Ireland 6.5 million
Italy 24 million
U.S. 23 million inc. 3.2 million slaves
Austria 16 million
Emigration to US from
Britain - 423,964
Ireland - 914,119

Who's 'In':

President Millard Fillmore
President Franklin Pierce
President James Buchanan
Emperor Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III)
British PM's: Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, George Hamilton Gordon, Henry John Temple
Sir Richard Burton
Czar Alexander II
Commodore Perry
Thomas Cook the travel man
Charles Darwin
Charles XV of Sweden
First American World Chess Champ Paul Morphy
Nurse Florence Nightingale

Who Died:

President Zachary Taylor
William Wordsworth, 80
100,000 Japanese in Tokyo earthquake and fire
Tuberculosis epidemic kills 250,000 in England
Robert Peel, 62
Honoré de Balzac, 51
Louis Philippe, 76
Louis Daguerre, 62
James Fenimore Cooper, 61
Washington Irving, 76
Charles Alexis de Tocqueville, 53
Prince Metternich
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 53
Thomas de Quincey, 74
Thomas, Lord Macaulay, 59
J.M.W. Turner, 76
Thomas Moore, 72
Nikolai Gogol, 41
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, 83
Czar Nicholas I, 58
Charlotte Brontë, 39
Søren Kierkegaard, 42
Henrich Heine, 58
Robert Schumann, 46
Oscar I of Sweden
Louis Braille 1852
John James Audubon
Mary Shelley
Czar Nicolas I Russia
George Jean Nathan
Madame Toussaud
Henry Clay
Thomas Mann
Daniel Webster
John Brown
Wilhelm Carl Grimm
Louis Braille
40 whites killed by Sioux at Spirit Lake Massacre, Iowa.
14,000 French, Sardinians and Austrians killed at Battle of Solferino

Bad Guys:

What's 'In':

Mr. Singer's sewing machine, Mr. Otis" Elevator, Mr. Yale's lock and key and Mr. Bessemer's steel-making process
First elevator installed in 5 storey New York department store
Victoria and Albert Museum in London
Crystal Palace exhibition hall in London
Worcestershire sauce
The calliope
Paper bags
George Crum's potato chips in Saratoga Springs, NY
Thomas Cook tours from England to Europe - first package holidays
Sea bathing in England
Borax
Billiards in America; first tournaments
Gold used to fill dental cavities
Street-cleaning machines
Gail Borden's condensed milk and crackers
Also Borden's lazy susan
First oil well in America
Alfalfa from Chile
Frankfurters
First commercial laundry in Oakland, CA
Sparrows imported to Brooklyn to eat caterpillars
Samuel Colt's revolvers (patented 1836)
Modern embalming methods
Ice hockey in Canada
Double-decker buses in England
University of Sydney, Australia
Potato chips
First toilet paper a marketing failure
Other new inventions: Rotary motion washing machine, can opener, safety matches, the folding theatre chair, the ophthalmoscope, shoe manufacturing machine, the cable car, pencil with attached eraser, the magnetic electric fire alarm, telescope, the electric stove, and the "Caliope," recharge- able storage battery, and the foot-driven dentist's drill, electric whale killing machine, self-cocking pistol
Also machines to fold envelopes, make shoes, paper bags and cancel postage stamps
Powdered milk
Steamrollers
Aluminum
Interest in the country of Japan
Covent Garden Opera House
The Steam Roller
First fire engine goes into service in Cincinnati.
First public lavatory with flushing toilets opens in London on Fleet Street.
First burglar alarm installed in Boston, Mass
First photograph of a solar eclipse
Process for making kerosene
Los Angeles incorporated as a city.
First national convention of Republican party in Philadelphia
World's first dog show in England.
Darwin's natural selection and evolution theories
Mailboxes on the streets of New York and Boston
The source of the Nile
Ottawa as the capital of Canada
First railroad passenger station at Indianapolis
Mr. Macy's Store
Ice hockey
YMCA's and YWCA"s
Big Ben, 13.5 ton bell, in London

Entertainment:

Henrik Ibsen's "Catalina"
P.T. Barnum presents Jenny Lind in U.S.
First World's Fair in London at Crystal Palace sponsored by Queen Victoria
Paris World's Fair
America's World's Fair in New York
Henry Irving's London stage début
Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope
Great Exhibition opens in Hyde Park, London
Alexandre Dumas fils "La Dame aux Camélias," "Le Demi-Monde"
Chinese theatre in San Francisco

Music:

Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" comes into fashion as music to start weddings
Verdi's operas "Rigoletto," "Il Trovatore," (Premiere in Rome) "La Traviata," (Premiere in Venice)"Amelia, or the Masked Ball," (Premiere in Rome) "Les Vêpres Siciliennes"
Johannes Brahms Piano Sonata in C
The accordion invented
Steinway Piano Company and Karl Bechstein's piano factory founded
New York Symphony orchestra
Hit songs: Dixie, I Gave My Love a Cherry, Old Folks at Home (or Way Down Upon the Swanee River), Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair, The Yellow Rose of Texas
Wagner's text of "The Ring."
He conducts concerts in London at Crystal Palace. Writes operas "Tristan & Isolde," "Lohengrin"
Offenbach's opera "Orpheus in the Underworld"
Franz Liszt produces Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin"
Writes "Mazeppa," "A Faust Symphony,"
Schumann's 3rd Symphony ("The Rhenish")
Gounod's Operas "Faust" and "Sappho"
Berlioz's oratorio "The Childhood of Christ" and operas "Sicilian Vapors" and "Benvenuto Cellini"
George Bristow's opera "Rip Van Winkle"

Literature:

Cheap sensationalist paper- backed books, "Dime Novels" in U.S., "Penny Dreadfuls" in England are all the rage
Thoreau's "Walden" or "Life in the Woods"
Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species"
Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities," "Little Dorrit," "Bleak House"
John Greenleaf Whittier "Maud Muller," "The Barefoot Boy," "Telling the Bees"
Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du Mal"
Herman Melville's "Moby Dick"
Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
"Westward Ho!" by Kingsley
Beaudelaire's collection of poems "The Flowers of Evil"
"Sonnets from the Portuguese," "Aurora Leigh" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
George Eliot "Scenes from Clerical Life," "Adam Bede"
Victor Hugo's "La Légende des siècles"
Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Scarlet Letter," "The House of the Seven Gables," "Tanglewood Tales,"
"In Memoriam" Alfred Lord Tennyson (new poet laureate), "Maud and Other Poems," "Idylls of the King"
"The Charge of the Light Brigade"
William Makepeace Thackeray's "Pendennis," "The History of Henry Esmond," "The Rose and the Ring," "The Virginians"
John Stuart Mill "On Liberty"
Karl Marx's "Criticism of Political Economy"
Anthony Trollope "The Warden," "Barchester Towers"
Ivan Turgeniev's "A Sportsman's Sketches," "Rudin"
Longfellow's "The Golden Legend," "The Song of Hiawatha"
Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"
Gustave Flaubert "Madame Bovary"
Victor Hugo "Les Contemplations"
Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Representative Men"
Sir Richard Burton's "Pilgrimage to Mecca"

Art:

Corot's "Une Matinée," "Danse des Nymphes," "Macbeth"
Scottish National Gallery opens in Edinburgh
Whisler's "At the Piano"
Honoré Daumier's "The Drinkers"
Tenniel's drawings for Punch
Ruskin's "The Stones of Venice"
Delacroix's "Christ on the Sea of Galilee"
Courbet's "The Stone Breakers" and "L"Atelier" (exhibited at his Pavillon du Réalisme at Paris World Fair), "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet"
Millais" "Christ in the House of his Parents," "Ophelia"
Manet's "Le Concert aux Tuileries," "Absinthe Drinker"
Goya's engravings "Proverbios"
Jean Françoise Millet's "The Gleaners," "L"Angélus," "The Sower," "The Reaper,"
National Portrait Gallery in London opens
Wilhelm Busch's cartoons
John Frederick Kensett's "Niagara Falls"
Ingres's "La Source"

Fashion & Beauty:

Men:
Paper collars
Bowler hats
Cardigan sweaters
Cutaway coats are "out"
Broadcloth coats
Ruffled shirts
Large top hats
Sideburns
Derby hats in America
Women:
Crinoline underskirts of horsehair and linen
Hoops in skirts
Bloomers take off (baggy pants gathered at ankles)
Big, puffy sleeves
Shawls with patterned edges
Soft felt hats

Media:

New York Times and Daily News founded
Le Figaro, Paris
Daily Telegraph of London
Saturday Review
Wells Fargo Company
Harper's Weekly, New York
Frankfurter Zeitung
The Daguerreian Journal, photography magazine
The Birmingham Post
Atlantic Monthly
"Uncle Sam" first depicted in cartoon in the New York Lantern
Reuters new agency started in England when Paul Julius Reuter straps a share price to a carrier pigeon
First sports story about baseball in New York Mercury

Money:

Florin introduced in Britain
Financial and economic crisis in Europe caused by speculation in U.S. railroad shares
Business boom in U.S. until Panic of 1857
Three and fifty dollar gold pieces, three cent silver coin

Religion:

Virgin Mary vision makes Lourdes a pilgrimage center
Christians massacred at Jedda
Pope Pius IX declares Doctrine of Immaculate Conception of Mary
United Presbyterian Church of North American formed

Science:

Mr. Bunsen's Burner and experiments with spectrum analysis
Royal Meteorological Society of London
Discovery that heat rays vary in length
Neanderthal skull discovered near Düsseldorf
The term "evolution" first used.
Sperm entering ovum first observed
Louis Pasteur's experiments with fermentation
George Boole's Boolean algebra developed
Hemoglobin in blood
Ophthalmoscope invented
The cell as center of disease process and that cell division is responsible for tissue growth
Isolation of cocaine
Lord Kelvin's mirror galvanometer
Clausius" second law of thermodynamics and kinetic theory of gases
Lister's observances of the coagulation of blood
Florence Nightingale's book "Notes on Nursing"
The gyroscope

New Slang Words:

Something is about right (=correct)
As every schoolboy knows...
A one-horse town
To do some mischievous
shenanigans
Twist someone around one's little finger
Start the ball rolling
Somewhere is off the beaten track/path
To meet one's Waterloo
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
To knock the spots off something
Beyond belief
To burn the candle at both ends
Cut to the quick
The die is cast
To escape by the skin of one's teeth
A feather in one's cap
Like a fish out of water
To be in (or out) of character (theatrical)
To keep a stiff upper lip
To lick one's chops
Something makes one's blood boil
To nip something in the bud
"not theirs to reason why" (Tennyson)
To have one foot in the grave
Follow your nose
"nuff said?
Is that so?
To get one's beauty sleep
To put one's best foot forward
Something is a dead certainty

 

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An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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