Today In History Spotlights Feb. 5, 1919, United Artists is Founded

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Today’s History Spotlight

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United Artists (UA), now called United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, the studio was premised on allowing actors to control their own interests, rather than being dependent upon commercial studios.

UA was repeatedly bought, sold, and restructured over the ensuing century. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the studio in 1981 for a reported $350 million ($1 billion today).

What Happened On This Day – February 5

  • 1924 The Greenwich Time Signal is broadcast for the first time. The “BBC pips” are 5 short and 1 long tones that are broadcast by many BBC radio stations to mark the precise start of the hour.
  • 1909 The world’s first synthetic plastic is developed. Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announced his invention of Bakelite at a meeting of the American Chemical Society that day.
  • 1869 The biggest gold nugget in history is found. The “Welcome Stranger” was found at Moliagul in Australia and had a calculated refined weight of 71.081 kg.
  • 1852 The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg opens to the public. It is one of the world’s largest and oldest museums and was originally founded in 1764.

Births On This Day – February 5

  • 1985 Cristiano Ronaldo – Portuguese footballer
  • 1969 Michael Sheen – Welsh actor
  • 1900 Adlai Stevenson – American politician, 31st Governor of Illinois
  • 1878 André Citroën – French engineer, businessman, founded Citroën
  • 1840 John Boyd Dunlop – Scottish businessman, co-founded Dunlop Rubber

Deaths On This Day – February 5

  • 2010 Harry Schwarz – German/South African lawyer, politician, diplomat, 13th South African Ambassador to the United States
  • 2008 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Indian guru
  • 1993 Joseph L. Mankiewicz – American director, screenwriter, producer
  • 1938 Hans Litten – German jurist
  • 1881 Thomas Carlyle – Scottish historian

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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