The HMS Challenger engraving by William Frederick Mitchell (1845-1914) © DeAgostini/Getty Images
1676 – Microorganisms observed for first time
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek spots ‘animalcules’ using handmade microscopic lenses.
Van Leeuwenhoek viewed rainwater runoff from a roof under a lens, and found it contained single-celled organisms. His powerful magnifying lenses were spheres created from molten glass, with the smallest spheres giving the highest magnifications. Van Leeuwenhoek was also the first person to observe muscle fibres, bacteria, and blood flow in capillaries. His important biological discoveries mean he is considered the ‘Father of Microbiology’.
1876 – Challenger expedition returns home
The HMS Challenger returns to England after its four-year exploration of the Earth's oceans.
The world’s first oceanographic expedition, Challenger covered almost 130,000km around the globe, and recorded over 4,000 new marine species. Its key finding was the discovery the Challenger Deep at the southern end of the Mariana Trench – the deepest known point of the ocean floor. The crew recorded a depth of 8,184m, but modern measurements are closer to 11,000m.
The HMS Challenger was previously a British Naval ship, but for the expedition she was stripped of all but two cannons, and was fitted out with several laboratories, storage for collected specimens, and a dredging platform.
1927 – Last Model T Ford Car produced
The 15 millionth, and last, Model T Ford rolls off the production line.
Thanks to Henry Ford’s efficient assembly line production, the Model T is regarded as the first affordable automobile.
James May takes the Ford Model T for a test drive
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