15 June 1896

The deadliest tsunami in Japan’s history kills more than 22,000 people.

1896 Sanriku earthquake
Sanriku Great Tsunami.JPG
Devastation caused by the tsunami at Sanriku.
1896 Sanriku earthquake is located in Japan
1896 Sanriku earthquake
Local dateJune 15, 1896 (1896-06-15)
Local time19:32:30 JST (UTC+09:00)
Magnitude8.5 Mw, 7.2 Ms[1]
Epicenter39°30′N 144°00′E / 39.5°N 144.0°E / 39.5; 144.0Coordinates: 39°30′N 144°00′E / 39.5°N 144.0°E / 39.5; 144.0
Areas affectedJapan, United States
Total damageTsunami
TsunamiUp to 38.2 m (125 ft)
in Ryori, Kesen, Iwate, Tōhoku
Casualties22,066 people dead or missing[2]

The 1896 Sanriku earthquake (明治三陸地震, Meiji Sanriku Jishin) was one of the most destructive seismic events in Japanese history.[2] The 8.5 magnitude earthquake occurred at 19:32 (local time) on June 15, 1896, approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi) off the coast of Iwate Prefecture, Honshu. It resulted in two tsunamis which destroyed about 9,000 homes and caused at least 22,000 deaths.[3] The waves reached a then-record height of 38.2 metres (125 ft); this would remain the highest on record until waves from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake exceeded that height by more than 2 metres (6 ft 7 in).[4]

Seismologists have discovered the tsunami's magnitude (Mt = 8.2)[5] was much greater than expected for the estimated seismic magnitude. This earthquake is now regarded as being part of a distinct class of seismic events, the tsunami earthquake.[6]


Houses heavily damaged by the earthquake

The epicenter lies just to the west of the Japan Trench, the surface expression of the west-dipping subduction zone. The trench forms part of the convergent boundary between the Pacific and Eurasian plates.[7]


The unusual disparity between the magnitude of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami may be due to a combination of forces:[7]

  1. the tsunami was caused by a slope failure triggered by the earthquake
  2. the rupture velocity was unusually low

Scientists believe the effect of subducted sediment beneath the accretionary wedge was responsible for a slow rupture velocity. The effects of a 20° dipping fault along the top of the subducting plate was found to match both the observed seismic response and tsunami, but required a displacement of 10.4 m.[7] The displacement was reduced to a more reasonable value after the extra uplift caused by the deformation of sediments in the wedge and a shallower fault dip of 10° was considered. This revised fault model gave a magnitude of Mw =8.0–8.1. A figure much closer to the estimated actual tsunami magnitude.[8] A magnitude of 8.5 on the moment magnitude scale has also been estimated for this event.[1]


On the evening of June 15, 1896, communities along the Sanriku coast in northern Japan were celebrating a Shinto holiday and the return of soldiers from the First Sino-Japanese War. After a small earthquake, there was little concern because it was so weak and many small tremors had also been felt in the previous few months. However 35 minutes later the first tsunami wave struck the coast, followed by a second a few minutes later.[2][9] Damage was particularly severe because the tsunamis coincided with high tides. Most deaths occurred in Iwate and Miyagi although casualties were also recorded from Aomori and Hokkaido.

The power of the tsunami was great: large numbers of victims were found with broken bodies or missing limbs.[2] As was their normal practice each evening, the local fishing fleets were all at sea when the tsunamis struck. In the deep water the wave went unnoticed. Only when they returned the next morning did they discover the debris and bodies.[10]

Wave heights of up to 9 meters (30 ft) were also measured in Hawaii. They destroyed wharves and swept several houses away.[3][11]


Preventive coastal measures were not implemented until after another tsunami struck in 1933. Due to higher levels of tsunami awareness, fewer casualties were recorded following the Sanriku earthquake.[2] Nevertheless, the earthquake of 11 March 2011 caused a huge tsunami that resulted in thousands of deaths across the same region and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

See also


  1. ^ a b Nishimura, T.; Miura S.; Tachibana K.; Hashimoto K.; Sato T.; Hori S.; Murakami E.; Kono T.; Nid K.; Mishina M.; Hirasawa T. & Miyazaki S. (2000). "Distribution of seismic coupling on the subducting plate boundary in northeastern Japan inferred from GPS observations". Tectonophysics. 323 (3–4): 217–238. Bibcode:2000Tectp.323..217N. doi:10.1016/S0040-1951(00)00108-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nakao, Masayuki. "The Great Meiji Sanriku Tsunami June 15, 1896, at the Sanriku coast of the Tohoku region". Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  3. ^ a b USGS. "Today in Earthquake History: June 15". Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  4. ^ "March 11th tsunami a record 40.5 metres high NHK". .nhk.or.jp. 13 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ Abe, K. (1981). "Physical size of tsunamigenic earthquakes of the northwestern Pacific". Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 27 (3): 194–205. Bibcode:1981PEPI...27..194A. doi:10.1016/0031-9201(81)90016-9.
  6. ^ Kanamori, H. (1972). "Mechanism of tsunami earthquakes" (PDF). Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 6 (5): 346–359. Bibcode:1972PEPI....6..346K. doi:10.1016/0031-9201(72)90058-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-14.
  7. ^ a b c Tanioka, Yuichiro; Sataka K. (1996). "Fault parameters of the 1896 Sanriku Tsunami Earthquake estimated from Tsunami Numerical Modeling". Geophysical Research Letters. 23 (3): 1549–1552. Bibcode:1996GeoRL..23.1549T. doi:10.1029/96GL01479. hdl:2027.42/95213.
  8. ^ Tanioka, Y.; Seno T. (2001). "Sediment effect on tsunami generation of the 1896 Sanriku tsunami earthquake" (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters. 28 (17): 3389–3392. Bibcode:2001GeoRL..28.3389T. doi:10.1029/2001GL013149.
  9. ^ Corkill, Edan, "Heights of survival", Japan Times, 12 June 2011, pp. 9–10.
  10. ^ Kusky, Timothy M. (2003). Geological hazards: a sourcebook. Greenwood Press. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-57356-469-4.
  11. ^ Hatori, Tokutaro (1963). "On the Tsunamis along the Island of Hawaii" (PDF). Bulletin of the Earthquake Research Institute. 41: 49–59. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-06.

4 June 1896

Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.

Ford Quadricycle
ManufacturerHenry Ford
Also calledThe horseless carriage
Production1896–1901 Ford sold his first Quadricycle for $200 in 1896 to Charles Ainsley. He later built two more Quadricycles: one in 1899, and another in 1901. He eventually bought his first one back for $60.[1] (according to Ford Museum records)
DesignerHenry Ford
Body and chassis
Body style2-seat roadster
Transmission2-speed (no reverse)[2]
Wheelbase49 in (1,200 mm)
Curb weight500 lb (230 kg)[2]
SuccessorFord Model A (1903–1904)

The Ford Quadricycle was the first vehicle developed by Henry Ford. Ford's first car was a simple frame with a gas-powered engine and four bicycle wheels mounted on it.[3]

The earliest cars were hand built, one by one, and very expensive. The peculiar machines were seen as toys for the rich.[3] In the 1890s, the "horseless carriage" was a relatively new idea, with no one having a fixed, universal idea of what a car should look like or how it should work. Most of the first car builders were inventors, rather than businessmen, working with their imaginations and the parts they had on hand.[3] Thus, the invention of the Quadricycle marks an important innovation as a proto-automobile that would lay the foundation for the future, with more practical designs to follow.

On June 4, 1896 in a tiny workshop behind his home on 58 Bagley Avenue, Detroit,[2][4] where the Michigan Building now stands, Ford put the finishing touches on his pure ethanol-powered motor. After more than two years of experimentation, Ford, at the age of 32, had completed his first experimental automobile. He dubbed his creation the "Quadricycle," so named because it ran on four bicycle tires, and because of the means through which the engine drove the back wheels.[5] The success of the little vehicle led to the founding of the Henry Ford Company and then later the Ford Motor Company in 1903.[6]

The two cylinder engine could produce 4 horsepower.[7] The Quadricycle was driven by a chain. The transmission had only two gears (first for 10 mph (16 km/h), 2nd for 20 mph (32 km/h)), but did not have a reverse gear. The tiller-steered machine had wire wheels and a 3 US gal (11 L) fuel tank under the seat.[2] Ford test drove it on June 4, 1896, after various test drives, achieving a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).[2] Ford would later go on to found the Ford Motor Company and become one of the world's richest men.[3]

Today the original Quadricycle resides at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

See also


  1. ^ Herndon, Ford: An Unconventional Biography of the Men and Their Times, (New York: Weybright & Talley, 1969), p. 62; also Flammang et al., Ford Chronicle, (Publications International, 1992), p.9 (as cited in Brinkley, David, Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress, (New York: Penguin Group, 2003), p.23
  2. ^ a b c d e Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877–1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.58.
  3. ^ a b c d Doeden, Matt (2007). Crazy Cars. Lerner Publications. ISBN 978-0-8225-6565-9.
  4. ^ "Henry Ford Story Timeline - Henry Ford Heritage Association". hfha.org. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  5. ^ Brinkley, David, Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress, (New York: Penguin Group, 2003), p.22
  6. ^ The Showroom of Automotive History: 1896 Quadricycle Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ 1896 Ford Quadricycle RemarkableCars.com

External links

4 June 1896

Henry Ford finishes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile.

At approximately 4:00 a.m. on June 4, 1896, in the shed behind his home on Bagley Avenue in Detroit, Henry Ford unveils the “Quadricycle,” the first automobile he ever designed or drove.

Ford was working as the chief engineer for the main plant of the Edison Illuminating Company when he began working on the Quadricycle. On call at all hours to ensure that Detroit had electrical service 24 hours a day, Ford was able to use his flexible working schedule to experiment with his pet project—building a horseless carriage with a gasoline-powered engine. His obsession with the gasoline engine had begun when he saw an article on the subject in a November 1895 issue of American Machinist magazine. The following March, another Detroit engineer named Charles King took his own hand-built vehicle—made of wood, it had a four-cylinder engine and could travel up to five miles per hour—out for a ride, fueling Ford’s desire to build a lighter and faster gasoline-powered model.

As he would do throughout his career, Ford used his considerable powers of motivation and organization to get the job done, enlisting friends–including King–and assistants to help him bring his vision to life. After months of work and many setbacks, Ford was finally ready to test-drive his creation–basically a light metal frame fitted with four bicycle wheels and powered by a two-cylinder, four-horsepower gasoline engine–on the morning of June 4, 1896. When Ford and James Bishop, his chief assistant, attempted to wheel the Quadricycle out of the shed, however, they discovered that it was too wide to fit through the door. To solve the problem, Ford took an axe to the brick wall of the shed, smashing it to make space for the vehicle to be rolled out.

With Bishop bicycling ahead to alert passing carriages and pedestrians, Ford drove the 500-pound Quadricycle down Detroit’s Grand River Avenue, circling around three major thoroughfares. The Quadricycle had two driving speeds, no reverse, no brakes, rudimentary steering ability and a doorbell button as a horn, and it could reach about 20 miles per hour, easily overpowering King’s invention. Aside from one breakdown on Washington Boulevard due to a faulty spring, the drive was a success, and Ford was on his way to becoming one of the most formidable success stories in American business history.

26 May 1896

Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index that indicates the value of 30 large, publicly owned companies based in the United States, and how they have traded in the stock market during various periods of time. These 30 companies are also included in the S&P 500 Index. The value of the Dow is not a weighted arithmetic mean and does not represent its component companies’ market capitalization, but rather the sum of the price of one share of stock for each component company. The sum is corrected by a factor which changes whenever one of the component stocks has a stock split or stock dividend, so as to generate a consistent value for the index.

It is the second-oldest U.S. market index after the Dow Jones Transportation Average, created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow. Currently owned by S&P Dow Jones Indices, which is majority owned by S&P Global, it is the best known of the Dow Averages, of which the first was originally published on February 16, 1885. The averages are named after Dow and one of his business associates, statistician Edward Jones. The industrial average was first calculated on May 26, 1896.

The Industrial portion of the name is largely historical, as many of the modern 30 components have little or nothing to do with traditional heavy industry. Since the divisor is currently less than one, the value of the index is larger than the sum of the component prices. Although the Dow is compiled to gauge the performance of the industrial sector within the American economy, the index’s performance continues to be influenced by not only corporate and economic reports, but also by domestic and foreign political events such as war and terrorism, as well as by natural disasters that could potentially lead to economic harm.

28 July 1896

The city of Miami, Florida, USA is incorporated.


In 1894, Henry Flagler had no immediate plans to extend his Florida East Coast Railway from West Palm Beach to the mosquito-ridden pioneer outpost. Only a few families lived there, and they got their mail from men who spent three days walking the beach from Lake Worth.

But two influential and visionary women had established homes in the area and saw great potential for future growth. Julia Tuttle moved to the area in 1891 and purchased land that included the former site of Fort Dallas, established on an abandoned plantation during the Second Seminole War of the 1830s.

Across the river from Tuttle lived William and Mary Brickell. They arrived in the 1870s and quickly established themselves as successful traders and real estate investors. Their holdings included considerable acreage around the New River where Fort Lauderdale would soon be built.

But then came two devastating freezes during the winter of 1894-95 that destroyed farm crops as far south as West Palm Beach. One story says that Julia Tuttle sent Henry Flagler, then wintering in Palm Beach, a bouquet of orange blossoms to prove that crops in her area had survived the freeze. Another story states that Tuttle cabled Flagler in March 1895 and asked him to come see for himself that the freeze left crops in the area untouched. Flagler instead sent an associate who returned to Palm Beach with produce and fruit.

The end result was that Flagler agreed to extend his railroad to Miami in exchange for hundreds of acres of prime real estate from Tuttle and the Brickells. Flagler also agreed to build a posh hotel on the Miami River and plat streets around the new railroad depot that became the foundation of the new city.

The first train rolled into Miami on April 13, 1896. On July 28, 344 registered voters, including many black laborers, crowded into a building called The Lobby near the Miami River and voted to incorporate a town.

They called the town Miami after the Miami River, the name of which may have derived from a word describing a Native American community from Florida who arrived in Cuba in 1710.