The United States has had 44 presidents. Richard Hamilton lived through all or part of the administrations of 19 of them. When Richard was born on Thursday, June 30, 1904 Teddy Roosevelt was president! In 1904 St. Louis was hosting the World’s Fair, work had just begun on the Panama Canal and the Russo-Japanese War was underway in the Far East.
The modern era of baseball had just begun. This was the year that Ty Cobb began his professional baseball career. On May 5, 1904 Cy Young pitched baseball’s first perfect game. On November 4 Harvard University opened the world’s first stadium built specifically for the new game of football.
Meet Me in St. Louis and Frankie and Johnny were popular songs in 1904.
It was a year marked by a number of firsts involving things that today we take for granted. This was the year when ice cream cones, hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter, iced tea, cotton candy and Dr. Pepper were first introduced to mass audiences at the World’s Fair.
French’s Mustard, Campbell’s Pork and Beans and Post Toasties were all introduced that year. And it was in 1904 that Emil Brach opened a candy store in Chicago.
The first vacuum tube was patented, as was the Gillette razor. Ultraviolent lamps were introduced that year. Stainless steel, offset printing, the automobile speedometer and caterpillar tracks were all invented in 1904.
Madam Marie Curie discovered radium.
A forester in New York discovered that some strange fungus had started killing off the chestnut trees.
The Cadillac Motor Car Company was started.
Jack London published Sea Wolf. Beatrix Potter published The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.
Helen Keller graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe.
September 15 was the Wilbur Wright’s first flight at Kitty Hawk.
September 28 a woman was arrested in New York City for smoking a cigarette in a car on 5th Avenue.
October 4 the first underground stretch of the New York subway system was opened to the public.
October 28 the St. Louis Police Department made the first use of the new science of fingerprinting in a police investigation.
And on New Year’s Eve, 1904 crowds gathered in Time Square to celebrate the coming of the new year for the very first time.
And when the market on Wall Street closed at year’s end the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 69.61—up from 49.11 on January 1.
Cary Grant, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Dr. Seuss, Sir John Gielgud, Robert Oppenheimer, Salvador Dalí, Peter Lorre and Greer Garson are among the better known luminaries born in 1904. Richard Hamilton outlived them all—by decades.
Richard joined Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church on April 1, 1945 at the age of 40. When he died he had been a member for 66 years, 2 months and 9 days.
According to the Social Security Administration’s actuarial tables, only one American male in 4,167 lives to see his 106th birthday. One in 8,333 makes it to 107. Richard missed seeing his 107th birthday by only 21 days.