150 years of light: Surprising things that are as old as UC Berkeley

Annika Constantino/Staff

UC Berkeley was founded 150 years ago. This school, however, isn’t the only thing that began a century and a half ago. With the end of UC Berkeley’s 150th year coming up, we at the Clog have researched a surprising list of things contemporary to the founding of our beloved UC Berkeley.

The first United States parade with floats

Floats are our favorite part of parades to this day, but it wasn’t until Feb. 24, 1868 that a parade in the United States had a float in it. Floats were first introduced in the Middle Ages with decorated wagons, but 1868 was the first year that the tradition crossed over to this century in a parade in Alabama.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was called “Decoration Day” when it was first celebrated in 1868. But “Memorial Day” seems like a more fitting title for the holiday that’s as old as UC Berkeley, since the holiday always feels like the unofficial start of summer (and the end of school).

The 14th Amendment

This all-important amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868. With midterm elections coming up, this timely amendment serves as an important reminder of our civic duty to exercise our right to vote as U.S. citizens. 

The typewriter with the QWERTY keyboard

The QWERTY layout of the keyboard seems to have saturated our lives. If you ever have had to type anything for a class at UC Berkeley, then you have experienced the effect of this invention that was patented in 1868. The keys that you pound away on at this timeless campus were invented around the same time UC Berkeley was!

The patenting of the stapler

A different document-related invention was patented across the pond during 1868. It’s fascinating that the school we go to was created right around the time when the technology to fasten our papers was developed. We’re so grateful that there’s a handy way for us to turn in the 18-page take-home midterm we spent all weekend on!

That year 150 years ago was a momentous one. So many of the things that have an effect on our lives were created back then, and we don’t just mean UC Berkeley. So the next time you see signs pointing out this momentous anniversary, take a second to think back about how much has changed over these past 15 decades. Hopefully, this puts into perspective just how historic this school is and helps you appreciate how UC Berkeley has stood the test of time. 

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected].