I happen to be one of those Italian boys who grew up in Chicago in an all Irish neighborhood. I must admit it was a cultural shock for a young boy of 9. Leaving the Italian patch was probably the most dramatic challenge in a 9-year-olds life. It seemed everything in life changed immediately. The language still English, but different, the food, the companionship of scores of cousins and buddies. The Parish church, and of course the enrollment in a Catholic School. I never knew the expression "a fish out of water" until that spring of 1949. The move was less than 20 minutes away by car but it may as well been 3 days. I was as different from the new neighborhood kids as they were to me. It wasn't until the following year with the advent of the baseball season that finally I was somewhat accepted reluctantly, but the need for a good shortstop overcame our differences and lifelong friendships finally took hold. I even had the distinguished honor of being a guest on the "IRISH HOUR" from Hanleys House of Happiness, 79th and Loomis, hosted by Tom McNamara.RIP Tom and Helen.
I learned about the Irish culture and listened to the stories of their parents coming to America from the "OLD SOD" and forging a new life, surprisingly familiar to the same stories of my Italian relatives. That single move by my parents shaped the rest of my life. Adulthood brought life-long friendships that last to this day. I was the best man in 7 weddings, I traveled to the "OLD SOD" with my first Irish Wife (RIP) at least 12 times over the course of 10 years. Her parents were from County Armagh. I saw first hand and up close just what they meant by "THE TROUBLES" British rule at it's most punitive. The Brits considered me Irish Trash, even though I was, as they described, a DAGO COPPER.
While all this was happening my Irish buddies and I still held on to our heroes. Myself of course Joe DiMaggio, Enrico Fermi, and Guglielmo Marconi the inventor of the Wireless Radio, and many more. The Irish guys of course Knute Rockne, The Gipper, and the fighting Irish, St Patrick, and Bing Crosby to name a few. However, up until this week while reading the Life story of Guglielmo Marconi I learned something that I never knew before. Marconi himself was Half Irish. I'm not sure if any of us knew that before or I'm sure he would have been counted among the great Irish Inventors in our history.
Marconi's MOTHER ANNIE JAMESON WAS IRISH WHO MOVED TO BOLOGNA WITH HER HUSBAND before young Guglielmo was born. She was from County Wexford Ireland and was from the famous Jameson Whiskey family and heir to the family company. So for all of those years of taking credit for Marconi and not sharing, I decided to introduce you to some other great but unknown Irish inventors -- So to all of you, the Geraghty's, Fitzpatricks, Hoban's, Boyles, Collins, Morley's, Lynches, Broderick's, Tullys, McKeown's, Dowds, Brennans and all the rest. Sorry for the late recognition.
- In 1911 Winston Churchill who was Home Secretary at the time commissioned the production of an Armoured Vehicle. Designed to withstand bullets and shrapnel, crossing trenches and breaking through barricades of a no man's land. Irish Major Walter Gordon Wilson designed a vehicle that would transform warfare to this day. Today tanks look a bit different but Wilson's original prototype of the BATTLE BUGGY BUGGY remains the same
- Ireland ordinarily is a very peaceful nation, so it comes as a surprise that they have such an affinity for producing warfare equipment. The next Irish invention we're going to look at is the GUIDED MISSLE. Louis Brennan from County Mayo created the steerable torpedo system originally to defend the coastline from invading ships. Brennan was a creative mechanical engineer and Irish inventor. He went on to create the world's first gyroscopically balanced monorail and early vision of the helicopter.
- A Dublin doctor called Francis Rynd performed the first subcutaneous injection in 1844 using a syringe he made himself. His patient Margaret Cox had been suffering from acute facial pain for years and the morphine pills were giving her little relief. He produced a narrow tube with a hollow needle so he could inject the morphine under her skin close to the supra-orbital nerve. Her pain disappeared immediately. After a few more injections her pain ceased permanently. No other Irish innovation had a greater impact on human life. The syringe literally changed the face of medicine.
- The Dublin born John Joly is arguably the most productive of Irish inventors. His initial discoveries involved measuring heat. He invented a device to measure the melting points of minerals called the meldometer. He even contributed to the use of radiation in cancer treatments. His most successful Irish invention has to be color photography. He discovered a way to produce color photos on one plate. The Irish discovery brought color to the world and changed people's perceptions forever.
- In 1836 an Irish priest from Darver in Ireland produced one of the most significant Irish innovations of all time. Father Nicholas Callan wrapped two long wires around the end of an electromagnet and connected one end to a battery. By interrupting the current he could produce a magnified spark at the other end of the coil. What he had created was the first primitive induction transformer or induction coil. It is widely used in X-RAY machines and other medical equipment and today is still used in internal combustion engines in their ignition systems.
- Sorry for the late recognition but as someone said once PROBABLY an Irish person. Better late than never.
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