A Year In History: 1897

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This Year in History:


Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

February 2

Black inventor Alfred Cralle patents the first ice cream scoop

On February 2, 1897, Black inventor and businessman Alfred Cralle patents the first ice cream scoop. His popular creation is part of a surge in patents by Black inventors after the end of the Civil War. While working as a porter at the Markell Brothers drugstore in Pittsburgh, Alfred Cralle noticed his fellow employees struggling […]

April 30

British physicist J.J. Thomson announces the discovery of electrons

On April 30, 1897, British physicist J.J. Thomson announced his discovery that atoms were made up of smaller components. This finding revolutionized the way scientists thought about the atom and had major ramifications for the field of physics. Though Thomson referred to them as “corpuscles,” what he found is more commonly known today as the […]

May 19

Poet and playwright Oscar Wilde is released after two years in prison

On May 19, 1897, writer Oscar Wilde is released from jail after two years of hard labor. His experiences in prison were the basis for his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898). Wilde was born and educated in Ireland. He studied at Oxford, graduated with honors in 1878, and remained in London. He […]

August 31

Thomas Edison patents the Kinetograph

Thomas Edison receives a patent for his movie camera, the Kinetograph. Edison had developed the camera and its viewer in the early 1890s and staged several demonstrations. The camera was based on photographic principles discovered by still-photograph pioneers Joseph Nicephone Niepce and Louis Daguerre of France. In 1877, inventor Edward Muybridge developed a primitive form […]