10 Things You Didn’t Know Were Older Than Fenway Park
Fenway Park, Major League Baseball’s oldest stadium, might be turning 100 years young but it is far from the oldest thing that guys everywhere hold dear. There are things we take for granted every day that have stood the test of time through years of tireless work and hallowed tradition. So, as the Red Sox and their bevy of rabid fans begin to celebrate the important milestone of their stomping grounds, we look back at some of the things that should’ve received an equally vibrant public celebration for surviving a century.
It’s easy to overlook this staple of modern boxing because the fists in them are moving so fast and furious that the brand is just a bloody blur. Everlast has been in business in The Bronx since 1910, but didn’t start making boxing gloves, headgear and punching bags until 1917, according to The Greater New York Sports Chronology. They actually got their start making swimwear. Maybe their new slogan could be ‘Swim the butterfly, sting like a bee’?
2. The electric car
Today’s hybrids and electric rides might be seen as the car of choice for the hacky-sack playing hippie, but without the very first electric car, we wouldn’t have the dreamy, drool-worthy rides you fantasize about owning someday. One of the oldest known electric cars, the Baker Electric, dates back to 1909 as one of the first convenience cars of its time. Since it didn’t run on traditional gasoline, it required no engine crank and very little upkeep. The electric components of the car came mostly from two men who would become bitter rivals in the industry: George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. We heard their ultimate frisbee games were intense.
This addictive snack treat among sugar addicts and stoners isn’t that much older than Fenway Park. In fact, it’s only about a month older. Nabisco, known back then as the National Biscuit Company, sold the first creme-filled cookie to a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey in March of 1912. It originally sold in two flavors: original and lemon meringue but the famed chocolate and creme concoction outlasted its partner in creme, er, crime. It’s also changed very little over the years, except in 1998 when it officially became a kosher cookie after Nabisco removed pork fat from the recipe. We still like oinking while dunking.
4. Stock car racing
The sport that would become the wildly popular NASCAR also got its start just after the turn of the century. The first stock car race got its first green flag stateside in 1908 in Westchester County, New York featuring 22 cars vying for the checkered flag. The cars in those days only reached a top speed of 75 miles per hour, so it took the winner Louis Strang more than five hours to win in the 32-mile race in his 50-horsepower Isotta Fraschini. Thirty other drivers, however, got a special honor before the race: they all received speeding tickets trying to make it to the race track. Someone must’ve told 5-0 they had kilos of Colombian Bam-Bam under their cars.
5. The Explorers Club
One of man’s manliest activities is venturing to some unknown land and facing the dangers that they don’t know are waiting to embrace them. The famed Explorers Club of New York was founded in 1904 to encourage its members to explore uncharted parts of the globe and fund research and expeditions to help others do the same. They are still in operation to this day and hold a legendary annual dinner that offers everything from fried scorpions to baked maggots to their equally adventurous guests.
It shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that these “curiously strong” mints are more than a hundred years old since the box they come in look straight out of another century. The surprising truth is that they are actually much older than that. The company’s website says they date all the way back to 1780 when Smith & Co. founder Smith Kendon created the powerful peppermints in London. They made their way stateside in 1918 and have been sold to nervous first dates with onion breath ever since.
7. A.1. Steak Sauce
The bottles that contain the tangy cure to a cheap steak without seasoning also looks like one of those containers that’s been sitting in your grandmother’s cupboard since she was a wee girl. So it’s no surprise that this steakhouse staple dates back to 1824.
What’s surprising is that it was actually developed by Henderson William Brand, the private chief to England monarch King George IV, according to the book From Altoids to Zima: The Surprising Stories Behind 125 Brand Names. King George loved it so much that he gave it its name, A.1. Brand tried to market his special sauce when he left the King’s employment and instead had to sell it a friend, W.H. Withall, who turned it into one of America’s and Great Britain’s most popular condiments.
8. Pabst Blue Ribbon
The beer you drink when you’ve got nothing else to drink and nothing else to live for also has quite the storied history. The Pabst Brewing Co. got its start in 1844 in Wisconsin before making the move to Chicago ten years later. It also may be the beer of choice for people who barely have enough change for gas to get them home from the liquor store, but it is quite a high-class brand in China where a single bottle runs $44 each.
9. Mack Trucks
These manliest of massive transport vehicles also have a very long history that, believe it or not, dates all the way back just before the start of the 20th century. The company’s website says that John M. “Jack” Mack and his brothers started designing a new transport truck with heavy duty exteriors and powerful engines. However, their very first vehicle released in 1900 was actually a 20-seat passenger bus, built mainly for sightseeing businesses. The vehicle was turned into a truck eight years later and ran for well over a million miles.
10. The song ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’
It’s hard to imagine a time when a baseball game, whether it’s a major league showdown or a bush league rural team, doesn’t take time in between the seventh inning to belt out this perennial ball club classic. That’s probably because very few people remember the people who wrote it. Songwriters Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer wrote ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame‘ way back in 1908 after Norworth was inspired to pen the lyrics during a New York subway ride where he saw an ad for Polo Grounds, the then-home of the New York Giants. Norworth had never attended a major league game until 1958 when the Brooklyn Dodgers celebrated the 50th anniversary of his song at Ebbets Field with Jack Norworth Day.