Tag Archives: historical artifacts

Photo Of A Man Born In 1749

Conrad Heyer in 1852


The man above was born in Maine in 1749 and was 103 years old when this picture was taken. Over that span of time, he had fought in the Revolutionary War, crossed the Delaware with George Washington, then bought a farm and settled down in his native Maine. When he was born, the world population was a thousand times less than it is now, and in his lifetime the steam engine was invented, along with railroads, the telegraph, and of course, the photograph. His birthdate, like most people’s in that time, is hardly certain; but if true, he would likely be the earliest-born person ever photographed.

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From Doug’s Darkworld, via Neatorama

World’s Oldest Naval Vessel, USS Constitution, Can Still Sail

The USS Constitution was built in 1797, making it 215 years old. She has been a commissioned vessel in the US Navy that entire time, though she was retired from active service in 1881, and has been a museum ship since 1907. The last time the Constitution sailed under her own power was in 1997, for her 200th birthday. On Sunday, she  sailed again — for 17 minutes at 3 knots — this time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her defeat of the British ship HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812, which was the first time an American vessel sunk a British one of that size. During the battle, a cannonball bounced off the Constitution without causing damage, which led to her nickname of ‘Old Ironsides’ — her sides are actually made of wood, as per the usual.

USS Constitution sailing on August 19, 2012. Photo by Steven Senne/AP.


Given her construction at the dawn of the republic, the USS Constitution is the American version of the Ship of Theseus (the namesake for the famous paradox). The former has been maintained in the Boston harbor for over a century, whereas the latter was supposedly in the Athens harbor for several centuries, so there’s still a lot of life in the Constitution.

From CBS Boston

The World’s Oldest Running Car

A French count named Jules-Albert de Dion built the world’s oldest car that’s still fully functional, La Marquise, in 1884 and entered it in the first car race ever three years later, where de Dion turned out to be the only entrant. Karl Benz patented the gasoline engine in 1886, so La Marquise was running before today’s cars were even invented; and it was actually de Dion’s second attempt at car-making, after the first one caught on fire. He was the first to sell cars, in catalogs, and his family tried to get injunctions against his company because they saw it is a waste of time playing with toys.

It seats four people and is steam-powered, so it has a boiler filled with water and a furnace where it burns coal, wood or whatever else you dump in there in order to boil the water. It takes about 30 minutes to start up and its top speed is 38mph. Also it has no roof, so you could call it a convertible that doesn’t convert. Below is an interesting five-minute video about the car that shows it running:


It will be auctioned on October 7th in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the famous RM car auction as lot #259.

From Gizmag and RM Auctions, via Slashdot