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The First

The Story of First Apartment Building in America (and its most famous resident — Mrs. Custer)

THE FIRST PODCAST Apartment living is something we take for granted today, the option for those who can’t afford or don’t desire a private home. But how did this type of living situation become popular in the United States? In mid-19th century New York, people lived in townhouses, boarding houses or tenements. But far-thinking urban planners […]

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The First

The Lost Highway: The Tale of the Lincoln Highway, America’s First Cross Country Road

THE FIRST PODCAST  In 1900, there were about 8,000 registered automobiles in the United States. They were a genuine novelty. Those that attempted to go on ‘road trips’ met with a frustrating reality — there were no drivable roads, no unified road maps, no nation-wide infrastructure of gas stations or amenities. The first automobiles to […]

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Holidays The First

How Electric Light Changed Christmas Forever

‘THE FIRST’ PODCAST The surprisingly rich history of Christmas lights in America. That string of multi-colored Christmas lights wrapped around your tree (or your house) is far more influential to American history than you might think. The first electric Christmas lights debuted in 1882, shortly after the invention of the incandescent light bulb itself, in […]

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The First

The Plant Doctor: The Extraordinary Life Story of George Washington Carver

THE FIRST PODCAST How much do you know about George Washington Carver, the man born into slavery who became America’s most famous botanist in the first half of the 20th century? He didn’t discover the peanut, a legume commonplace in the human diet for thousands of years, nor did he invent peanut butter. What Carver […]

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The First

The Real Housewives of Early America: The Bountiful Tale of the First American Cookbooks

THE FIRST PODCAST The women who produced the first cookbooks ever written for American kitchens. “Over the river and through the woods” into the history of early American cuisine. The first published European cookbooks in the world weren’t meant to enshrine ideal meals but rather to inform a woman of her place in the household […]

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The First

The Unbelievable Life of Benjamin Franklin: A Podcast in Three Parts

Benjamin Franklin helped to create the modern world. His legacy is all around you — from the electricity which powers and illuminates our homes to the ideas that form our system of government. For the past three episodes of The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences (the Bowery Boys spin-off podcast), Greg Young has […]

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The First

The Rebel — Benjamin Franklin: America’s Founding Inventor

THE FIRST PODCAST The story of Benjamin Franklin at the end of his life — at the birth of a new nation. Part Three of The Invention of Benjamin Franklin. Check Part One (Franklin Gothic) and Part Two (Lightning Strikes) to catch up on his extraordinary story! Benjamin Franklin was the most famous American in […]

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The First

Lightning Strikes: The Philadelphia Experiment of Benjamin Franklin

THE FIRST PODCAST How much do you know about one of the most famous scientific experiments in American history? In 1752 Benjamin Franklin and his son William performed a dangerous act of experimentation, conjuring one of nature’s most lethal powers from the air itself. This tale — with the kite and the key — has […]

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The First

The Invention of Benjamin Franklin Part One: Franklin Gothic (1706-1748)

THE FIRST PODCAST   Benjamin Franklin did more in his first forty years than most people do in an entire lifetime. Had he not played a pivotal role in the creation of the United States of America, he still would have been considered an icon in the fields of publishing, science and urban planning. How […]

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The First

A Cabinet of Curiosities Awaits You — The First: Stories of Invention

Tom and Greg are on life-changing adventures this week so no new  episode of the Bowery Boys: New York City History. But there is something awaiting you in the Bowery Boys feed this week — one very New York City-centric episode of The First: Stories of Invention, the Bowery Boys spinoff hosted by Greg Young. With […]

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Health and Living The First

The Secret History of Soft Drinks: A Tale in Four Flavors

THE FIRST PODCAST There is something very, very bizarre about a can of soda.  How did this sugary, bubbly beverage – dark brown, or neon orange, or grape, or whatever color Mountain Dew is – how did THIS become such an influential force in American culture? This is the strange and inconceivable story of how […]

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Podcasts The First

The Devil and the First Broadway Musical (“The Black Crook”)

THE FIRST PODCAST The Black Crook is considered the first-ever Broadway musical, a dizzying, epic-length extravaganza of ballerinas, mechanical sets, lavish costumes and a storyline about the Devil straight out of a twisted hallucination. The show took New York by storm when it debuted on September 12, 1866. This is the story of how this […]

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The First

The First Song Ever Recorded (Was Never Meant To Be Played Back)

THE FIRST PODCAST Imagine if we could hear the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria or Harriet Tubman? Believe it or not, somebody was making audio recordings as far back as the 1850s. Had these techniques been widespread, we might have had the words of those famous people preserved, as well as recordings from the Civil […]

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The First

Josephine Cochrane and her Dazzling Dish-Washing Machine

THE FIRST PODCAST Of the tens of thousands of U.S. patents granted in the 19th century, only a small fraction were held by women. One of those women — Josephine Cochrane — would change the world by solving a simple household problem. While throwing lavish dinner parties in her gracious home in Shelbyville, Illinois, Cochrane […]

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The First

Nikola Tesla and the Wireless World: The Invention of Remote Control

THE FIRST: STORIES OF INVENTIONS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES  The Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla is known as one of the fathers of electricity, the curious genius behind alternating current (AC), the victor in the so-called War of the Currents. But in this episode of The First, starting in the year 1893, Tesla begins conceiving an even grander scheme […]