This Day in History – August 7th, 1888


Van Kannel’s Patent Design

On this day in 1888, Jack the Ripper claimed his second victim, Martha Tabram as part of the Whitechapel murders . . . London’s first serial killer! 

Meanwhile, on a much lighter note, on the same day Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia received his patent for the revolving door.

A year later after being recognized by the Franklin Institute, the Van Kannel Revolving Door Company, was formed and was then later bought out by the International Steel Company in 1907.

Van Kannel also invented and owned Witching Waves, a popular amusement ride introduced at Luna Park, Coney Island, in 1907. The ride consisted of a large oval course with a flexible metal floor. There were hidden reciprocating levers that produced a wave-like motion. The floor itself did not move but the moving wave propelled two seated small scooter-style cars with two seats, which could be steered by the riders.

The Witching Waves at Coney Island

The Witching Waves at Coney Island

But back to the revolving doors . . . years later, the image of the revolving door has become a metaphor for a number of things including political corruption, “In politics, the “revolving door” is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.

In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.” (Wikipedia)

And as for Jack the Ripper . . . we shall have more about him in the days to come.


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