World History 1864

About the history of the world in 1864, Karl Marx forms the an early communist party, the first accident insurnance policy, Pasteur invents pasteurization.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1864

* The International Workingmen's Association was organized in London, under the direction of Karl Marx, for the purpose of uniting world labor along the lines spelled out in the "Communist Manifesto" issued by Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848.

* James Bolter of Hartford, Conn., took out the first accident insurance policy. Issued by the year-old Travelers Insurance Company of that city, the $1,000 policy covered only accidents incurred by Bolter while walking between his home and the post office. It was an oral agreement and carried a 2 cent premium.

* Louis Pasteur, a 42-year-old French chemist, discovered how to retard the spoilage of various unstable beverages--a process that was to be known as pasteurization. Just two years earlier, he had decided that microscopic organisms called bacteria were responsible for the sourcing of milk. Enduring the jeers of contemporary scientists, who insisted that a chemical reaction in the milk converted sugar to lactic acid, Pasteur persisted in his belief. Although he soon discovered that the number of bacteria in wine and beer could be reduced if the fermentation process was conducted under strictly sanitary conditions, enough bacteria still crept into the vats and barrels to shorten shelf life. He first experimented with a variety of antiseptics. All proved ineffective. Then, reluctantly, he tried heating the wine, despite fears that rising temperatures would alter its flavor and bouquet. This test proved that wine simmered for 30 minutes at 55 deg.C--in the absence of oxygen--would remain virtually free of organisms and still retain its quality. Applying this same principle of partial sterilization to vinegar, milk, beer, and a variety of other liquids, Pasteur gave the world pasteurization. And he did this quite literally. Pasteur, not a wealthy man by any means, resisted the arguments of his wife and others who urged him to exercise his right to profit from the patents he had secured on his designs for industrial pasteurization equipment. Instead, he placed his inventions in the public domain and turned out treatises fully illustrating his devices to pasteurize liquids most efficiently. With pasteurization, humans first learned to control microscopic life.

Jan. 13 Stephen Foster, composer of such popular songs as "Oh, Susanna," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," died at 38 in the charity ward of a hospital in New York City with 38 cent--his life's savings--in his pocket.

Nov. 14 Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, after burning Atlanta, began to march his 60,000 men 300 mi. southeast through Georgia to Savannah. By Dec. 22 he had left behind him a 6-mi.-wide wake of utter destruction.

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