BROWSE DECADES
   
 

1880'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:

Colonial expansion into Africa: Germans annex Tanganyika and Zanzibar; Belgians found Congo State;
Brits protect Niger, North Borneo and Brunei; Lagos becomes separate British colony from Nigeria; France annexes Tahiti
2 1/2 year French war with Madagascar
Indian Wars end in America
War of Pacific between Chile and Peru
Brazil becomes a republic
Independence for Transvaal where gold is discovered
Population figures in millions:
U.S. 53
Germany 45.2
France 37.6
Italy 28.4
Britain 29.7
Ireland 5.1
50,000 Private telephones in use in U.S.
Emigration to U.S.
from Great Britain 807,357
Ireland 655,482

Who's 'In':

President James Garfield
President Chester Arthur
President Grover Cleveland
President Benjamin Harrison
Oscar Wilde
British PM: W.E. Gladstone, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil
President Porfirio Diaz of Mexico
Otto von Bismarck
King Frederick III of Prussia
Emperor William II of Germany
King Alfonso XIII, Bourbon king of Spain
Czar Alexander III of Russia

Who Died:

300,000 in North Vietnam cyclone
The animal species "Quagga," Zebra-like mammal
Polygamy outlawed in U.S.
Flogging banned by British armed forces
36,380 dead in tidal wave aftermath of Krakatoa volcano eruption
2,200 in the Johnstown Flood
Gustave Flaubert, 58
Jacques Offenbach, 61
George Eliot, 61
President James Garfield
Feodor Dostoievsky, 60
Modest Moussorgsky, 42
Benjamin Disraeli, 77
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 75
Robert Browning, 77
Alexander Borodin, 53
Alfred Krupp, 75
Franz Liszt, 75
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 54
Charles Darwin, 71
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 78
Giuseppe Garibaldi, 74
Anthony Trollope, 67
Richard Wagner, 70
Karl Marx, 65
Édouard Manet, 51
Victor Hugo, 83
Ulysses S. Grant, 63
Ivan Turgeniev, 65
Gen. Charles "Chinese" Gordon of Khartoum
Gustave Doré, 51
Edward Lear
Archduke Rudolf of Austria
Whistler's mother
Belle Starr
Louisa May Alcott
Czar Alexander II
Jesse James
Emily Dickinson
Ludwig II Bavaria
Fredrich III Germany
John Sutter
Allan Pinkerton
Paul Morphy
Billy the Kid
General Tom Thumb
Jumbo the Elephant
Jenny Lind
Ned Kelly
Emma Lazarus
Carl Zeiss
Jefferson Davis

Bad Guys:

Secret Irish terrorist societies
The James Brothers
Billy the Kid
Ned Kelly, Australian outlaw and killer
Jack the Ripper
Irish money-grubbing landlord Charles Boycott
Apache leader Geronimo

What's 'In':

Edison makes electric light
1885-Lever Brothers launches Sunlight, world's first branded and packaged laundry soap.
Coca-Cola, Hire's Root Beer and Dr. Pepper
Canadian Pacific Railroad
The hamburger
Electric powered elevators
The hot dog
Central heating and plumbing
Picture postcards
12 story is tallest building in New York - later to become Chelsea Hotel
The game of Bingo
The brass cylinder Music Box or idiophone
Listerine antiseptic mouthwash from Lambert Pharmaceutical - St. Louis
Smith brothers and Luden cough-drops
Mum's underarm antiperspirant
Morton Salt
Scott's toilet paper
Mr. Burpee's flower and vegetable seeds
Mr. Gregg's shorthand system
Ready-mixed paints
Brown paper bags
Mr. Waterman's fountain pen and the first ball-points
Store-bought pancake mix
Major changes in the game of football: scrimmage line , teams reduced to 11 players, field goes from 140 to 100 yards, quarterback position comes in, tackling below waist OK
Stealing bases in baseball
Parcel Post and postal orders in Britain
Oklahoma territory
Smokeless gunpowder invented in France
Canned fruits, salmon and meats in England
World's first beauty contest at Spa, Belgium
Contract Bridge
Tesla's A.C. electric motor made by Westinghouse
Eastman's "Kodak" box camera and roll film
The Eiffel Tower for the Paris World Exhibition - world's tallest structure
Mr. Dunlop's pneumatic tires
Refrigerated railway carriages
Safety bicycles and the bicycle built for two
Electric street lighting in New York
American Federation of Labor (AFof L)
U.S. Lawn Tennis championships and amateur golf championship
Canadian Pacific Railway
Married women's right to own property in Britain
First hydro-electric plant
American Baseball Assn.
The Orient Express
The first skyscraper - 10 Story Home Insurance Bldg in Chicago
Divorce in France (abolished in 1816)
Tournament of Roses parade
Knights of Columbus
National Geographic Society
Benz's one-cylinder gasoline-driven car, the Motorwage in Germany
Aluminum manufacturing process
American Red Cross
Brooklyn Bridge
The Roller coaster
Statue of Liberty presented to U.S. by France
First bullfight in America and first rodeo
Savoy Hotel in London.
Burroughs's adding- subtracting machine.
The Pledge of Allegiance
Emile Berliner's gramophone
Gottlieb Daimler's motorcycle
Other new inventions: Player piano, jukebox, ball-bearing roller skate, ball-point pen
bicycle with back-pedal brake, cigar rolling machine
the hearing aid, the metal clarinet, linotype machine, revolving door, coin operated telephone, electric iron, the electric spark-plug

Entertainment:

Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance," "Iolanthe," "Ruddigore," "The Gondoliers," "The Mikado." and "Yeoman of the Guard"
World Exhibition in Moscow
World Exhibition in Amsterdam
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts," "Enemy of the People," "The Wild Duck," "Rosmersholm"
Sarah Bernhardt leaves Comédie-Française to go on her own; makes U.S. stage debut in "La Dame aux Camelias"
D"Oyly Carte's new Savoy Theatre in London-1st building to use electricity
Sardou's "Féodora," "La Tosca"
Auguste Strindberg's "Miss Julie," "Lucky Per's Travels," "Sir Bengt's Wife," "The Father"
P.T. Barnum's circuses; ships Jumbo, an African elephant to U.S.

Music:

New instrument: the celeste (first used by Tchaikovsky in Nutcracker's "Dance of Sugar Plum Fairies"
Verdi's opera "Othello" first produced in Milan
Berlioz's opera "The Damnation of Faust"
"Tales of Hoffmann" Opera by Offenbach opens in Paris
Dvorák's Symphony No. 1 in D. No. 4 in G., ,oratorio "Stabat Mater,"
Paderewski gives recitals
Debussy's orchestral suite "Le Printemps"
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Italian Capriccio, Symphony No. 5 in E minor
César Franck's piano quintet and symphonic poem "Les Djinns"and Symphony in D. minor
Brahms" Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Symphony No. 3 in F, Concerto in A minor for violin & cello
Richard Strauss tone poem "Don Juan," symphonic poem "Death and Transfiguration" and operetta "The Gypsy Baron"
Gustav Mahler directs the Budapest opera
Gounod's oratorio "The Redemption"
Rimsky-Korsakov opera "The Snow Maiden," symphonic suite "Scheherezade"
Wagner's opera "Parsifal"
Berlin Philharmonic, New York Metropolitan Opera and Royal College of Music, London founded
Hit songs:
"When Strolling Through the Park One Day," "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," "In the Evening by the Moonlight," "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers," "I"ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," "

Literature:

First Oxford English Dictionary
Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," "The Prince and the Pauper," "Life on the Mississippi," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"
Dostoievsky's "The Brothers Karamazov"
Longfellow's "Ultima Thule"
Joel Chandler Harris" "Uncle Remus" books
Guy de Maupassant "Boule de Suif," "La Maison Tellier," "Une Vie," "Pierre et Jean"
Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," "Treasure Island," "A Child's Garden of Verses," "Kidnapped," "The Master of Ballantrae"
Henry James "The Bostonians," "The Princess Casamassima," "Washington Square," "The Portrait of a Lady," "The Aspern Papers"
Émile Zola "Nana," "La Terre,"
W.B. Yeats "The Wanderings of Oisin"
Andre Gide's "Journal"
Rudyard Kipling "Plain Tales from the Hills," "The Man Who Would be King"
Flaubert's "Bouvard et Pécuchet"
Henry James "Portrait of a Lady"
Rosetti's "Ballads and Sonnets"
Thomas Hardy "The Woodlanders"

Art:

"Les Vingt" society, formed to exhibit paintings, endorsed by Seurat, Gauguin, Cézanne & van Gogh
Eighth (last) Impressionist Exhibition in Paris
New English Art Club founded by Whistler, Steer and Sickert
Alfred Sisley "Timberyard at Saint Mammès"
Mary Cassatt "Young Mother Sewing," "Woman Reading in a Garden"
Henri Fantin-Latour's "Roses and Lilies"
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's "Place Clichy"
Degas" painting "At the Milliner"s," "Actresses in their Dressing Room," "Bath,"
Georges Seurat's "Gray Weather, Grande Jatte," "Bathers at Asnières," "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte"
Van Gogh's "La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a Cradle)" "Sunflowers," "The Yellow Chair," "Landscape with Cypress Tree," "The Potato Eaters," "Still Life with Bible," "Still Life With Fruit," "Hospital at Saint Rémy" "The Sower," "Lilacs," "Wheat Fields with Cypresses"
Monet's "Sunshine and Snow"
Manet's "Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère"
John Singer Sargent's "El Jaleo," "Carnation," "Lily," "Rose," and "Dr. Pozzi at Home"
Cézanne's "Rocky Landscape,"
"Portrait of Boyer," "the Blue Vase," "The Bather," "Château de Medan," "Self Portrait," "Mont Sainte-Victoire"
Renoir's "Dance at Bougival," "Umbrellas," Portrait of his nephew Edmond, "The Umbrellas," "Boating on the Seine," "Motherhood or a Woman Nursing her Son"
Rodin's sculptures "The Thinker," "Burghers of Calais" "The Kiss"
Daniel Ridgeway Knight's "Afternoon Tea"
Pissarro's "The Outer Boulevards," "Beside the Seine in Paris,"

Fashion & Beauty:

Women:
Avon calling
Woolen underwear
Red, white and green are popular colors
Flowers and scarves on hats instead of feathers
Combinations of different materials
Scarves and hankies emblazoned to imitate medieval banners
Ostrich and osprey feather trim on dresses
Men:
The Fedora soft felt hat
Tail-free dinner jackets - The Tuxedo
Spats, wide lapels, collar pins, vests
Overalls for the working man
Full suits for the businessman
Chesterfields
Odd garb for golfers becomes the fashion

Media:

Mr. Dow and Mr. Jones's "Wall Street Journal"
Half-tone photographs first appear (New York Daily Graphic pioneers)
Freedom of the press in France "in" again
The American Angler, first fishing magazine
Harper's Weekly publishes Thomas Nast cartoon of Santa Claus which sets the look for Clauses to come
Britain - Evening News, People, Financial Times, Star
La Tribune and Le Matin in Paris
Linotype first used by New York Tribune
New Magazines: Collier's Weekly, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and The Golden Argosy, later just Argosy Magazine and the National Geographic
Joe Pulitzer's St. Louis Post Dispatch; buys New York World
Los Angeles Times debuts

Money:

Bank of Japan founded
Eastman Kodak's portable camera $25.00
Exxon Corporation founded by John D. Rockefeller makes huge profits

Religion:

Jesuits disbanded in France
Jews persecuted in Russia
Sir Thomas More, John Fisher and other English Roman Catholic martyrs canonized
First Baptist church in Russia; to become largest Protestant denomination
Term "Zionism" first used

Science:

Louis Pasteur discovers streptococcus; produces the first artificial vaccine; develops anti-rabies shot and chicken cholera vaccine; Pasteur Institute, Paris founded
Pancreas seen to secrete insulin preventing diabetes
Radio and light waves belong to same family
Sterilization of surgery tools by steam and first use of rubber gloves in surgery
Individuality of fingerprints noticed by Galton
First seismograph exhibited at Lick Observatory
Daimler builds engine which uses gasoline
Dr. Breuer uses hypnosis to treat hysteria; first psychoanalysis
Tetanus bacillus discovered
Cocaine used as an anesthetic
Discovery of Germanium, fluorine, pyramidon, antifebrin, caustic soda, fructose
Preparation of aluminum
Identification of typhoid bacillus and creation of vaccine
Tuberculosis bacteria identified-first link of germ with disease
Discovery of blood platelets
Parathyroid gland described
First synthetic fibers produced
Natural History Museum opens in London

New Slang Words:

"hello" as a greeting (perhaps first by Thomas A. Edison)
"a knockout" in boxing
Sit like a bump on a log
To have a screw loose
Flog a dead horse
Send someone on a wild goose chase
Mad as hops
Live the life of Riley
Something is a hard nut to crack
To act in cold blood
To be at a person's beck and call
Something is dead-on
Be that as it may...
To bury the hatchet
Something is (accelerating) by leaps and bounds
Let's call a spade a spade
To clear the air
A conspiracy of silence
To cry over spilt milk
To dot one's i's and cross one's t"s
Dressed to the nines or dressed to kill
As a matter of fact...
To give short shrift to
To grin and bear it
The heart of the matter
To hold forth
An incontrovertible fact
The ins and outs of something
The lady of the house
To lay down the law
To leave much to be desired
Left to one's own devices
To be the life of the party
Let the punishment fit the crime
To be on speaking terms with someone
The rank and file
To read between the lines
Ships that pass in the night
Be a social butterfly
To stew in one's own juices
To be taken aback about something
An unsolved mystery
To do something accidentally on purpose
A fate worse than death
Have a heart...
Here we go again...
Watch your step
Not on your life
Now you"re talking
That takes the cake
That's no lady, that's my wife
There ain't no such animal
Two heads are better than one.
To upset the apple cart
Blue Monday
To be bone tired
To chew the fat

 

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About These Tools
An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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