On This Day, September 3rd

1. 1982: Us Music Festival put on by Steve Wozniak kicks off

Photo: vintage

Photo: vintage

Wozniak posing with Fleetwood Mac Photo: pinterest

Wozniak posing with Fleetwood Mac
Photo: pinterest

It was on this date in 1982 that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak put on one of the biggest music festivals since Woodstock. It was called the Us Festival, as in the pronoun not the initials, and it was fairly spectacular. At least on paper. It was three days of music from some of the biggest bands and performers of that era. The first day featured the new wave music and punk rock bands like The Ramones, the Police and Talking Heads. Day two was was the more mainstream rock like Tom Petty and Santana. Day three was set aside for the ’60s legends like Grateful Dead and the festival headliner, Fleetwood Mac. It was meant to bring the cultures of music and technology together at a time when they couldn’t be further apart. The problem was it was located in San Bernadino, California and the weather just so happen to be hot, really hot. It was reported that the temperature was over 110 degrees and the only way to keep people from having heat stroke out there was to have massive water trucks with water cannons, pass out thousands of spray bottles and also over a half acre of free showers. There was a total of five tents behind the main stage that housed the Us Festival Technology Exposition that had air conditioning but that wasn’t nearly enough for the estimated 425,000 people in attendance. Featured in those tents however was some pretty cool stuff, apparently they were filled with vintage video games, actual movie props from the Empire Strikes back and E.T. as well as many other unique bits of technology. When all was said and done it reportedly cost over $13 million, which Wozniak covered a great majority out of his own pocket.

2. 1777: Battle of Cooch’s Bridge

Painting of Cooch's Bridge  Photo: delewareonline

Painting of Cooch’s Bridge
Photo: delewareonline

Photo: pbs

Photo: pbs

About a week before the major Battle of Brandywine during the Revolutionary War, there was a somewhat smaller skirmish known as the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge near Newark, Delaware. It’s also been referred to as the Battle of Iron Hill and it was fought on this date in 1777. The battle took place between the British Army with German reinforcements and part of the Continental Army with help from a few American Militia Groups. It was reported that German troops were leading the advance of the British Army when they suddenly found themselves faced with musket fire. The Americans were in the trees on both sides of the road leading up to Cooch’s Bridge. Somehow the Germans managed to send for reinforcements and soon the British arrived and flushed the Americans out of the trees and eventually across the bridge. The fighting would last for almost a day, even though the Americans were greatly outnumbered they still fought like hell. They fought until they ran out of ammunition and then they pulled out the swords and bayonets. But the militia had very little experience with those weapons and soon the Americans were forced to retreat so they could live to fight another day. They regrouped back at Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania where they met up with General George Washington and the main force of the Continental Army. According to many reports the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge was the first time the Stars and Stripes American Flag was raised in battle.

3. 1935: Sir Malcolm Campbell becomes the first person to hit 300mph

Sir Malcolm Campbell behind the wheel of Blue Bird Photo: telegraph

Sir Malcolm Campbell behind the wheel of Blue Bird
Photo: telegraph

It was on this date in 1935 that Sir Malcolm Campbell became the first human being to drive an automobile over 300mph. This incredible achievement took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Campbell had held the land speed record numerous times throughout his career and most of his major records were behind the wheel of his streamlined masterpiece he called Blue Bird. Not only was Blue Bird extremely aerodynamic with its long sleek body lines, but it had a massive engine. When I say massive I mean it makes the engine that powers the Bugatti Veyron look like a lawnmower engine, and that has 1,200hp. Underneath the hood of the Blue Bird sat a 36.7L V12 Rolls Royce engine, as if that wasn’t enough they added a supercharger that brought the horsepower up to a staggering 2,500! As a point of reference that Bugatti engine is 8.0L W16. Campbell had to install a new engine cover that had two massive knuckles down the middle just to cover the cam boxes of that beast. In early 1935, Malcolm took Blue Bird out to Daytona Beach, where he had made record runs before, and he managed to reach 276.7mph. The car had more than enough power but the main problem he had was the surface he was running on. He needed a very long straight, at least 5 miles or more to reach these speeds safely, and it had to be a surface strong enough to handle the ferocious power of the Blue Bird. Enter the Bonneville Salt Flats where there is miles upon miles of flat nothing, where still today land speed cars compete. The surface is very course salt and by the end of the summer firms up almost similar to concrete but with the slightest bit of give. To set the official Land Speed Record you take the average of two runs, and you only have one hour between runs. At the end of Campbell’s first run he blew a tire going more than 300mph that almost ended in disaster for him and his beloved car. However he managed to keep old Blue Bird under control and then got it fixed and made his second run within the hour time limit. His new record, 301.129mph. The current land speed record is 763.035mph, that’s faster than the speed of sound, held by Andy Green.