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Celebration Days in February

February 20, 2024

If you look at the internet or listen to the news you’ve probably heard or seen information about various national day celebrations. Several calendars exist which can be referred to regarding these days, weeks and months. Here at IHS, we’ve decided to focus on’s list. There are over 100 celebrations for February, so here we share two of those days. We’ve decided to focus on one day that we can really explore deeply, and highlight one day visually, but less in-depth.

February 11 is National Inventors’ Day as declared by Ronald Reagan in 1983 to be celebrated annually on Thomas Edison’s birthday. I’ve selected three inventors to note, of the MANY that have made Indiana their home. These inventors are highlighted chronologically by the date of the invention shown.

James Oliver and his patented Chilled Plow. Indiana Historical Society, Printed Collections, cropped.

James Oliver lived in Northern Indiana, most prominently in South Bend, St. Joseph County. Oliver invented the Chilled
Plow. Preparing the soil required a durable plow. Farmers often cursed their plows when they broke against a stone or
when they had to stop and scrape away mud. In 1857, James Oliver patented “An Improvement in Chilling Plowshares”. His “chilled” plows were less brittle and would scour better than other plows. By 1880’s, Oliver’s South Bend factory was said to be the world’s largest plow manufacturer.

Elwood Haynes and his Pioneer automobile. Bass Photo Co. Collection, Indiana Historical Society.

Pioneer inventor Elwood Haynes (1857-1925) is shown here being honored by Howard County at Pumpkinvine Pike in 1922. In 1894, Haynes produced the first commercially built gasoline-powered automobile in Indiana, which was first driven at this site on the Pike. He is often referred to as the inventor of America’s first car. Haynes was also a metallurgist who invented stellite and stainless steel. Haynes made his home in Kokomo, Howard County.

Marjorie S. Joyner and her permanent wave machine. Madam C.J. Walker Collection, Indiana Historical Society, cropped

Marjorie S. Joyner was the first African American woman to graduate from the A.B. Molar Beauty School. She then went on to open her own beauty shop in Chicago, Illinois and became quite successful in setting Marcel Waves. She met Madam C.J. Walker when she went to see her speak in Chicago and by 1919, Joyner was working for Walker. She would go on to become the Madam C.J. Walker beauty school’s national advisor, she designed and developed the permanent wave machine shown here.

February 22: National Supermarket Employee Day: Established in 2021 by the Food Industry Association. As we are all generally familiar with supermarkets, here we highlight just a few images from our collections showing their employees at work.

Cashiers assisting customers, Marion County; Produce workers at Kroger, Vigo County; Two Our Market employees, Marion County. Indiana Historical Society, P0569, cropped; Martin Collection, Indiana Historical Society, cropped; Indianapolis Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society, cropped.

Please keep an eye on the IHS blog site for future monthly installments highlighting the National Day Calendar dates brought to you by the Reference Services Department here at the Indiana Historical Society.

Amy Vedra

Amy Vedra is the director of reference services. She is currently reading her way through the Great American Reads list.

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