1926 Important News and Significant Events, Key Technology, Fashions and Popular Culture
Major News Stories From the year include Great Miami Hurricane, Henry Ford announces the 40-hour week, U.S. Route 66 created, European High Unemployment, John Logie Baird public demonstration of a television, General strike in England, National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) is launched, Gangsters fighting increase as each try to control Illegal Alcohol Sales
Jump To First television demonstration
- - Treaty of Berlin
- - Hirohito Crowned
- - Henry Ford 40 Hour Week
- - China Wanhsien Incident
- - first SAT college admissions test
- - Popular Culture
- - Technology
- - Fashions
- - World Leaders
- - 1926 Calendar
UK -- General strike
More Information and Timeline for UK General Strike
- General strike in England begins in support of the coal miners strike on May 3rd and ends May 12th.
1. Mine owners in the United Kingdom announce their intention to reduce miners' wages and increase hours for workers.
2. The Samuel Commission publishes a report on March 10th
, 1926 that recommended the nationalization of the mining industry and a decrease of miners wages of 13.5 percent.
3. Mine owners announce on May 1st, that if workers do not accept new terms, including a longer work day and less wages then there would be a lock-out.
4. Last minute negotiations fail between miners and mine owners and over one million mine workers are locked out on May 1st
5. The Trades Unions Congress announces a general strike to begin at around midnight on May 3rd in support of mine workers. On May 4th, up to 1.75 million workers went on strike, bringing transportation in the UK to a halt.
6. Workers strike until May 12th, when they call off the strike after failing to negotiate with mine owners to change the terms.
7. In 1927
the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act is put in place to prevent another general strike as it banned mass picketing and sympathetic strikes.
United States -- Great Miami Hurricane
1. Miami went through a huge boom in the early 1920s and at the time of the storm the population of the city was over 100,000 people. Many people in the rapidly expanding population were new to the region and did not know much about hurricanes so there was a lot of uncertainty on how to prepare for and react to large storms.
2. The hurricane formed on September 11, 1926.
3. Ships observed it in the ocean and reported it to the US Weather Bureau when it was about 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
4. The storm passed by Puerto Rico September 15, 1926.
5. The US Weather Bureau issued the storm warning about 12 hours before the storm started to hit Miami.
6. The Category 4 Storm hit Miami on September 18, 1926 early in the morning, it had winds recorded at 128 MPH and 12 to 15 foot high storm surges.
7. It was reported that many people went outside in the eye of the hurricane as they thought the storm was over and were caught off guard when the winds picked back up.
8. The storm also stuck Alabama and Mississippi on September 20th and September 21st, although it was not as intense as it had been in Miami.
9. The hurricane dissipated on September 22, 1926.
10. 372 people died in the storm and about 6,000 people were injured.
11. Approximately 43,000 people were homeless afterwards.
12. This was one of the most destructive storms in US history in terms of the cost of the property damage. The devastation of the hurricane caused Miami to start experiencing the effects of the Great Depression a few years earlier than the rest of the country.
Note - A particularly useful source on this information is the National Weather Service which provides a brief summary of the event and links to original documentation and reports of the storm with much more detail.
On January 27th John Logie Baird conducts the first public demonstration of a television.
More Information for the first television demonstration.
Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gives the first public demonstration of his television system in London during January of 1926. Baird developed his "televisor" off of the work of several other inventors and improved upon their progress. Baird's was the first to be able to show live moving images while maintaining a tone variation in grayscale. He presented his invention by demonstrating it to a reporter from The Times newspaper and several Royal Institute members. Baird continued to work on improving his television system but his technology was soon surpassed by the work of other inventors.
UK -- Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle
More Information for Gertrude Ederle
- Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel during August of 1926. Ederle swam from Cap Griz-Nez, France to Dover, England with a time of fourteen hours and thirty-four minutes. Ederle was a professional swimmer who had won medals at the 1924 Olympics and set and broken various swimming records as she worked towards conquering the English Channel. She finally made history at the age of nineteen when she completed her English Channel swim under the guidance of T.W. Burgess. She was only the sixth person to do so.
Germany -- Treaty of Berlin
More Information and Timeline for Scopes Monkey Trial
- Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Treaty of Berlin.
The Treaty of Berlin, also known as the German-Soviet Neutrality and Non-aggression Pact, was created and agreed upon during April of 1926. The treaty stated that Germany and the Soviet Union would agree to be neutral with each other if one was attacked by any third party within the following five years. The Treaty of Berlin marked a short term improvement in the relationship between Germany and the U.S.S.R. and the treaty was extended in 1931. The improvement would not last long as Hitler rose to power in Germany and tensions between the nations re-emerged.
Japan - Hirohito Crowned Emperor
1. Hirohito was crowned Emperor of Japan in December of 1926 following the death of his father Yoshihito.
2. Hirohito reigned over Japan during the lead up to World War II and his level of involvement in the rising militarism of the nation remains a controversial subject among historians.
3. He saw the rise of Japan as a military and economic power, led the country through the war, weathered the post-war collapse, and saw Japan regain stability through a rapid post-war economic boom.
4. He was not charged with war crimes following WWII, unlike many other Japanese leaders, but he did see his powers greatly diminished and was reduced to a symbolic figure.
5. Hirohito was in power until his death in 1989.
United States -- first successful liquid fuel rocket
- Robert Goddard launches the first successful liquid fuel rocket.
During March of 1926, physicist Robert Goddard successfully launched the first liquid fueled rocket. Goddard's rocket was about ten feet tall and built out of pipes and the fuel that he used was a combination of liquid oxygen and gasoline. During the test the rocket traveled to a height of forty-one feet, landed about 184 feet from the launch site, and it was in the air for about two and a half seconds. Goddard continued to work on creating rockets throughout the rest of his life and many of his accomplishments contributed to the development of space travel in the 1960s.
United States -- Henry Ford 40 Hour Week
More Information and Timeline for Ford 40-hour week
- Ford announces the 40-hour week.
1. Henry Ford announces his plans for the Ford Motor Company in 1907. He intends to manufacture vehicles that are affordable to the masses.
2. The first Model T vehicles is produced in October of 1908, a very basic and quite affordable vehicle that can be easily mass produced.
3. Ford creates the first large-scale assembly line for manufacturing his Model T cars in 1913.
4. On January 5th
of 1914, Henry Ford announces that his workers' wages will be raised to $5 for an eight hour day of work.
5. The Ford Motor Company announces the creation of a 40-hour work week for factory workers in 1926.
6. The final Model T rolls off the assembly line in 1927
, and new vehicles are introduced and designed.
7. Ford manages to resist union efforts in their factories due to fair and competitive work policies until June 20th of 1941
when the company signs a contract with the United Auto Workers union.
United States -- Harry Houdini Dies
More Information and Timeline for the Harry Houdini
- Escape artist and famous entertainer Harry Houdini dies at the age of 52.
1. Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz, was the son of Hungarian immigrants.
2. He grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and moved to New York City, beginning his career as a trapeze artist and vaudeville performer.
3. He soon changed his focus to creating dazzling escape tricks which would draw huge crowds.
4. Houdini was well known for being a master of escape tricks and had developed a reputation as one of the best entertainers of the early 20th Century.
5. He also spent much of his career debunking other magicians and exposing fraudulent performers who claimed to have supernatural abilities like psychics and mediums.
6. The famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini dies at the age of 52 after suffering from peritonitis related to a burst appendix.
United States -- Greta Garbo Debut
More Information for Greta Garbo
- Actress Greta Garbo makes her American film debut in "Torrent."
Greta Garbo makes her American film debut in the silent film "Torrent" when it was released in February of 1926. Garbo began her career in Sweden but eventually moved to Hollywood where she quickly became one of the most popular and iconic actresses of the 1920s and 1930s. Garbo did not speak English well and did not appear in a talking picture until 1930 with her role in "Anna Christie." Garbo's mysterious and alluring persona paired with her beauty and talent made her into one of the biggest and highest paid stars in the early days of film. She retired in the 1940s and is still consistently ranked as one of the best actresses of all time.
China -- Wanhsien Incident
More Information and Timeline for Wanhsien Incident
- British warships battle for control from China of the Yangtze River in the Wanhsien Incident.
1. General Yang Sen seizes the British merchant ship, the SS Wanhsien, in August of 1926 along the Yangtze River near the Wanzhou District port.
2. The HMS Cockchafer naval ship goes to investigate the reports of the seizure and is able to release the SS Wanhsien after an argument with Chinese soldiers.
3. General Yang's troops try to board the SS Wanliu on August 29th
, but the Wanliu makes a U-turn and the wooden boat of the Chinese troops is capsized, killing 58 soldiers.
4. General Yang sends troops to seize the SS Wantung and SS Wanhsien, which are then captured. The HMS Cockchafer enters a stand-off with the Chinese troops.
5. The HMS Widgeon arrives on September 1st to provide backup and negotiate with the Chinese troops. No resolution is reached and they decide to resolve the issue with force.
6. The British merchant ship SS Kiawo is armed and camouflaged and rescues the crew of the Wanhsien while under fire.
7. British troops on the naval ships are forced to abandon the two merchant ships after heavy fighting for an hour.
8. The death toll is estimated at one-hundred Chinese civilians, two-hundred and fifty Chinese soldiers and seven British soldiers. Though there are also other sources that estimate the death toll in the thousands.
United States -- first SAT college admissions test
More Information for the SAT.
- The first SAT college admissions test is given to high school students.
1. The first SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) college admissions test is administered to high school students during June of 1926.
2. The test was created by psychologist Carl Brigham after he adapted the Army Alpha test to feature more difficult questions.
3. The original Army Alpha test had been created in the early 1900s by Robert Yerkes and was the first mass intelligence test.
4. After the SAT's initial success in the 1920s it would soon become one of the go-to examinations required for acceptance into college and in the 1930s Harvard began using the test to assess scholarship candidates.
5. More and more universities would begin to require SAT scores for admission as they believed the test to be a more fair standard to assess intelligence regardless of the quality of a student's background education and it could consistently predict academic success for students who received higher scores on the test.
United States -- Rudolph Valentino Dies
More Information for Rudolph Valentino
- Silent film heart throb Rudolph Valentino dies August 23rd causing a worldwide frenzy among his fans.
Rudolph Valentino's final film before his death, "The Son of the Sheik," premiered in Los Angeles, California during July of 1926. "The Son of the Sheik" was a sequel to "The Sheik" a 1921 film that gave Valentino his break-out role. The sequel is considered by many to be one of Rudolph Valentino's better performances. Soon after the premiere, Valentino unexpectedly died at the age of thirty-one in August and was dramatically mourned by thousands of his adoring fans. The film was not released nationwide until September, just after his death, and it became a hit, solidifying the late star’s legacy as a Hollywood heartthrob of the silent film era.
United States -- Chicago Al Capone Turf Wars
More Information and Timeline for cars full of gangsters open fire at the Hawthorne Inn, headquarters of Al Capone in Chicago.t
- Gangster Turf Wars Chicago
1. Alphonse Gabriel Capone born in Brooklyn in New York on January 17th
2. Expelled from School at 14 and joined small-time gangs in New York
3. Gained the name "Scarface" following an incident in a Brooklyn night club and was cut 3 times on the face by Frank Gallucio
4. Capone left New York in 1922
to work with the Chicago "Five Points Gang" on bootlegging Alcohol following the beginning of Prohibition
5. Capone realized early on that to stay in business and expand he needed politicians in his control and in 1924
he used paid thugs at polling stations to ensure his puppet candidate for the Mayer of Cicero won the election
6. During the next couple of years rivalry between gangs ( Torrio-Capone organization, Genna crime family and the North Side Gang of Dean O'Banion ) to control the sale of liquor, gambling and prostitution increased
7. As the rivalry increased so did the number of gang related murders between the gangs increase as did the number and importance of politicians who were bought off.
8. On September 20th
, the North Side gang shot used drive by cars full of gangsters with Thompson submachine guns to shoot into Capone's entourage as he was eating lunch in the Hawthorne Hotel restaurant
9. Together with murders etc. the gangs were hijacking each others booze trucks bringing in the Alcohol
10. Three years later on February 14, 1929 Capone got his revenge with the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Chicago's North Side killing 7 of the North Side gangs members.
11. In 1929
the Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness began an investigation of Capone and his business, and although unable to gain a conviction for Prohibition violations, Murder the investigation led eventually to the conviction of "Al" Capone of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment plus heavy fines, and liens were filed against his various properties.
Calendar For The Year 1926
U.S. -- Pontiac - -
- Pontiac cars begin to be made.
U.S. -- Route 66 - -
- U.S. Route 66 is created and runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.
U.S.A. -- Kelly Blue Book - -
- Kelly Blue Book is first published.
U.S.A. -- NBC Launched - -
- Radio network National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) is launched.
U.S. -- Tornadoes - -
- 27 Tornadoes strike southern US states including including an F4 that struck the town of Heber Springs, Arkansas on Thanksgiving weekend killing 76.
US UK -- Population - -
- Population: US 115 million, Britain 45 million
US -- Miami Hurricane - -
- Miami Hurricane on - - September 20th - - (or Great Miami Hurricane or the Big Blow) was an intense hurricane that devastated Miami, Florida in 1926.
- Winnie-the-Pooh is published by Author A. A. Milne.
David Attenborough - - May 8th
Fidel Castro - - August 13th - -
Marilyn Monroe - - June 1st - -
Hugh Hefner - - April 9th - -
Inventions, Inventors and Country (or attributed to First Use)
Liquid Fuel Rocket
USA by Robert Goddard
Norway by Erik Rotheim
Major World Political Leaders / Elections
Australia - - Prime Minister - - Stanley Bruce
Brazil - - President - - Artur Bernardes - - until 15 November
Brazil - - President - - Washington Luís - - From 15 November
Canada - - Prime Minister - - William Lyon Mackenzie King - - until June 29,
Canada - - Prime Minister - - Arthur Meighen - - From June 29, 1926 until September 25,
Canada - - Prime Minister - - William Lyon Mackenzie King - - From September 25,
Italy - - Prime Minister - - Benito Mussolini - -
Japan - - Prime Minister - - Takaaki Kato - - until 28 January
Japan - - Prime Minister - - Reijiro Wakatsuki - - From 28 January
Mexico - - President - - Plutarco El Calles
Russia / Soviet Union - - General Secretary of the Central Committee - - Joseph Stalin
South Africa - - Prime Minister - - James Barry Munnik Hertzog
United States - - President - - Calvin Coolidge
United Kingdom - - Prime Minister - - Stanley Baldwin
Canadian Federal Election - - - - 1926 - - William Lyon Mackenzie King (Liberal) defeats Arthur Meighen (Conservative).