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Do you play video games? Then your life had been touched by the work of Ralph Baer.
In 1966, Baer convinced his employers at a military electronics company to let him experiment with creating games connected to television sets. Their invention: the first multiplayer, multi-program video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey.
With approximately 350,000 units sold, Magnavox Odyssey was not considered a commercial success, especially in comparison with Pong’s runaway popularity. However, Baer continued to work on video game programs, both for his employers and on his own. One of Baer’s most successful games? Simon, the electronic memory game.
While Baer’s inventions were a fun part of many people’s youths, Baer’s young life was no game. Baer was born in Germany in 1922, a dangerous time and place for Jewish children and their families. The Baer family immigrated to the United States, where Baer graduated as a radio service technician in 1940 and worked in the field for three years until he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After World War II, Baer attended the American Television Institute of Technology in Chicago on the G.I. Bill.
#JAHM #JewishHistory #AmericanHistory #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth #JewishHeritageMonth #Judaism #Jewish #Innovation #VideoGameHistory #Gaming #HistChild #HistTech #BusinessHistory
1. 📦 The “Brown Box,” a prototype for the first multiplayer, multi-program video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey.
2. 🎮 Odyssey, the first multiplayer, multi-program video game system, released in 1972.
3. 🔴 While not a video game, Baer developed Simon while consulting with Marvin Glass & Associates in Chicago. The game was released by Milton Bradley in 1978 with much fanfare, including a midnight release party at Studio 54
This one cent copper Keneta or “One Cent” features the profile of King Kamehameha III of the Hawaiian Islands. It was the first of only five coins issued for general circulation in the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
In the early 1800s, merchants relied on foreign coinage, but had frequent problems with currency shortages. In 1847, Kamehameha III commissioned 100,000 copper one cent coins.
Designed and engraved by Edward Hulseman, the obverse of the coin depicts an image of Kamehameha III with the words “Ka Moi” or “the King” while the reverse features a laurel wreath with the words “Aupuni Hawaii” or “Kingdom of Hawaii” along the edge and the words “Hapa Haneri” or “one penny” in the center. The coins were unpopular due to the poor casting of Kamehameha’s features and the misspelling of “Hapa Hanele.” While the coins were a disappointment to the Hawaiians, they remained a legal tender until 1884 and circulated even later.
#HawaiianHistory #Hawaii #Numismatics #CoinHistory #Coins #AsianPacificHeritageMonth #APHM #AmericanHistory
“The Miller ritual slaughter blades and circumcision knives are the best and most beautiful in the whole world guaranteed never to rust.”
This sign stood on the Lower East Side in the 1920s, advertising the Joseph and David Miller’s shop at 25 Canal Street.
Like many traditional American shop signs, this sign incorporated both the objects the shop sold and written language (in this case Yiddish), to both advertise the wares and help language-challenged customers understand what the shops offer.
What do the store windows you see reflect about your community?
#JAHM #Judaism #Jewish #JewishHistory #AmericanHistory #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth #JewishHeritageMonth #NYHistory #NYCHistory #LowerEastSide #1920s
"Self confidence gets the business" announces this 1928 work incentives poster. We have confidence in you! Go get 'em this week!
Employers used motivational posters like this one from 1928 to encourage the behaviors they wanted to see in their staff.
#BusinessHistory #LaborHistory #MondayMotivation #MotivationalPoster #GraphicDesign #1920s #Typography #PosterDesign [💼: Randolph Collection, Archives Center]
Born in 1935, pitcher Sandy Koufax used this glove as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to being one one of baseball's greatest pitchers, Koufax was a person of principles.
Koufax was signed to his hometown Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 and started pitching regularly for them when they moved to Los Angeles. In 1961, with hard-won control and a wicked curve ball, Koufax won 18 games and triggered one of the most exciting five-season performances ever seen on a mound. This included three seasons of 25 wins, the lowest earned-run average in baseball for five straight years, a no-hitter in each of four consecutive seasons, and three World Series championships. In 1965, Koufax racked up 382 strikeouts—a tally only bested by Nolan Ryan.
But Koufax's influence went well beyond the mound. In 1965, he chose not to pitch the opening game of the World Series because the game fell on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Some criticized him for missing such an important game, however, Koufax came back to play in three of the remaining six games, pitching a shut-out victory in the seventh and deciding game to win the Series.
Stricken with a debilitating arthritic condition, Koufax retired after the 1966 season at the age of 30.
#AmericanHistory #BaseballHistory #Baseball #NoHitters #Pitchers #WorldSeries #SportsHistory #ReligiousHistory #Judaism #JewishHistory #JewishHeritageMonth #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth #BrooklynDodgers #Dodgers #LosAngelesHistory #WorldSeries
Do you keep kosher? Or have you ever noticed a little symbol on your food's packaging—a U or a K with a circle around it—and wondered what that means? Kosher foods are approved to eat under Jewish dietary laws. Groups like the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations work with the food distribution industry to certify some foods as kosher, especially during Passover, when many people who don't usually keep kosher follow the dietary restrictions. Advertisements like this one from 1940, selling "Kosher for Passover" Pepsi, demonstrate how American Jewish communities became integrated into American consumer culture.
#JAHM #Judaism #Jewish #JewishHistory #AmericanHistory #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth #JewishHeritageMonth #Advertising #AdvertisingHistory #FoodHistory #SmithsonainFood #Kosher #Pepsi #1940s
This 1880s porcelain sculpture conveys a sobering message about race, immigration, and exclusion in American history. It was made by the Union Porcelain Works of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York.
The statuette consists of a male Caucasian figure wearing a Liberty cap seated beside a large eagle in a nest; the figure appears to be holding down the figure of African American male. Below them, what appears to be a figure of a Chinese man is either attempting to climb into or is falling from the nest. No documentation has been found to shed light on the meaning of this startling figure group, or to suggest why or for whom it was made. Large numbers of Chinese immigrants began moving to the eastern United States in the 1870s. By 1880, a local newspaper estimated that 1,000 Chinese lived in Brooklyn, where the Unions Porcelain Works factory was located, making it one of the largest Chinese populations on the East Coast. While the local community’s response to this influx was mixed, prejudice toward the newcomers was common. On the national level, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was the only law to block a specific group from entering the United States. It also was the first of many restrictive immigration laws. The act was repealed in 1943.
In the exhibition “Many Voices, One Nation,” this sculpture is paired alongside a statuette of Statue of Liberty from the same period, seen by many as a symbol of inclusion and acceptance.
#AsianPacificHeritageMonth #APHM #AmericanHistory #ImmigrationHistory #NewYorkHistory #ChineseAmericanHistory #AfricanAmericanHistory
Before the era of selfies, taking a self-portrait took some planning. This image shows photographer Dr. Erich Salomon at work, his preferred Ermanox camera in hand.
In 1886, Salomon was born to a prominent Jewish family in Berlin, Germany. He became a lawyer before the outbreak of World War I but was drafted into service. When he returned, his family had lost its fortune and he needed to work. Salomon became interested in photography and soon specialized in taking photographs where cameras were not allowed and without his subject’s knowledge. He was labeled the first “candid cameraman” and called himself a bildjournalist, still the German word for “photojournalist.” Swipe right to see a few samples of his work: (1) the U.S. Supreme Court in session (2) Elisabeth Schumann performing (3) the French Foreign Minister spotting Salomon. Interested in how Salomon's photos came to the Smithsonian? Follow the link in our bio to learn more.
#PhotoHistory #AmericanHistory #Photography #Candids #VintageCamera #JAHM #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth ##JewishHistory #JewishHeritageMonth
"Let's make our mothers our business partners!" reads the opposite side of this motivational poster. Employers used motivational posters like this one from 1927 (not to mention pulling on the heartstrings) to encourage the behaviors they wanted to see in their staff.
#BusinessHistory #LaborHistory #MondayMotivation #MotivationalPoster #GraphicDesign #1920s #Typography #PosterDesign #MothersDay
[👵: Randolph Collection, Archives Center]
More than a century ago, this sign may have advertised the availability of herbal medicines, foodstuffs, cookwares, or furnishings desired by the local Chinese American community in San Francisco. The sign was purchased by a North Beach second-hand shop from a proprietor in the neighboring Chinatown district of San Francisco; it is said to date from between 1890 and 1910.
The 1848 discovery of gold in California, a new U.S. territory, drew people from across the world—including Chinese migrants, who experienced hostility and restrictive laws. On arrival, Chinese immigrants found that tales of gold lying in the streets were a fantasy. To survive, these men and women adjusted their expectations and took on different forms of employment: excavating coal, mercury, and borax; building railway lines and tunnels; and working for fisheries and canneries throughout the region. Over time, Chinese Americans turned to such service industries as laundries and restaurants and specialized increasingly in trade abroad.
According to one volunteer translator, the sign could be translated as reading “Ginseng, Antler & Cinnamon.” It is currently on display in our exhibition, “Many Voices, One Nation.” Swipe right to see a street scene that shows similar signs on display in Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood. [📷: Library of Congress]
#AsianPacificHeritageMonth #APHM #AmericanHistory #CaliforniaHistory #SanFranciscoHistory #LAHistory #ChineseAmericanHistory #BusinessHistory #AdvertisingHistory #GoldRush #Chinatown
The discovery of gold in 1848 spurred a great wave of migration to California. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on the territory from across the continent and across the oceans.
Made in Wenkheim, Germany, this silk Torah mantle—used to cover and protect Torah scrolls when they are not in use—was brought to San Francisco by Jewish immigrants during the California gold rush and presented to Congregation Emanu-El. Founded in 1850, Emanu-El (Hebrew for "God is with us") was one of the first synagogues in San Francisco. It provided a spiritual and social community for German and central European Jews who came to California in search of economic opportunities and political freedom.
#GoldRush #CaliforniaHistory #ImmigrationHistory #AmericanHistory #JAHM #JewishHistory #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth #JewishHeritageMonth #Judaism
Step inside Lee B. Lok’s store, Quong Yuen Shing & Co., located on Mott Street in New York’s Chinatown. The general store sold medicinal herbs, silks, and other goods and served as a social center for the Chinese community. In this photograph, Mr. Lee stands behind the counter, selling and buying World War I liberty bonds.
What is your favorite place to shop like?
#AsianPacificAmericanHeritage #AsianPacificAmericanHeritageMonth #APAHM #APA #ChineseAmerican #ChineseAmericanHistory #AmericanHistory #Chinatown #LowerEastSide #BusinessHistory #ImmigrationHistory #MigrationHistory #Photography #BlackAndWhitePhotograph #WW1 #WWI #WW1Stories #NYCHistory #NYHistory [📷: Lee Chinese-American Family Papers, Archives Center]