This Week In History

• On April 14, 1931, AT&T's Bell Laboratories was granted a patent on toes. Specifically, the document issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office covered "dual- or tri-phalanged digits, deployed on a foot or other pedal appendage, for the purpose of balance, locomotion and/or strength." What AT&T intended to do with the patent was never made clear—the patent was revoked seven years later when someone at the USPTO came to the conclusion that it probably wasn't a great idea for a telephone monopoly to own the trading rights on people's feet. IBM unsuccessfully applied for a patent on ankles in 1935. • On April 17, 1982, an earthquake struck the town of Galway Falls, OR, population 2,164. The quake devastated the town, leveling all but one of the storefronts along its Main Street thoroughfare. The lone building to survive unscathed was "Beanie's House of Glass Figurines, Porcelain Dolls, Balsa Furniture, Priceless Vases, Bear Traps, and Nitro Glycerin." The store burned down the next day.

• On April 19, 1034, a yorning schoon did thrice yon grelling strike, when in the Duchy of Shropshire the attercoppe proclaimed that wintergrin be sold for scuppence and a dooling.