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Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!


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  • September 9 - John Dunlop is issued a patent for the first practical pneumatic tire. His tire provided the foundation for the Dunlop Tire Company and served as the genesis for the modern tire industry. Pneumatic tires became the standard for bicycles, and today are often used on manual wheelchairs. [1] [2]


  • Ralph Teeter - Blind inventor. Invented cruise control. During World War II, the government set the speed limit to 35 miles per hour to conserve gas and tires which prompted the idea of cruise control.


  • January 6 - Henry Syle - American priest. Syle was the first ordained deaf priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States.[3]
  • January 29 - William Withey Gull - English physician, first to describe the clinical signs of syringomyelia, a disorder in which a cyst or tubular cavity forms within the spinal cord which can lead to paralysis if untreated.
  • February 17 - Christopher Sholes, who with Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soule, invented the first practical type writing machine -- an alternative means to produce written communication for people who have trouble writing by hand. [4]
  • October 23 - Thomas Rhodes Armitage, founder of the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). [5]


  1. Wheel-Tire for Cycles. U.S. Patent #435,995.
  2. John Dunlop. National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  3. "THOMAS GALLAUDET & HENRY WINTER SYLE." The Lectionary. 3 August 2002. Accessed on April 1, 2008.
  4. The Great Idea Finder: Typewriter Accessed March 5, 2008.
  5. Thomas Rhodes Armitage - RNIB's Founder. Royal National Institute of the Blind. Accessed March 10, 2008.