Historical Events  General
Historical Events  General

Did it break during the launch ceremony or stay intact?

MMDE: It didn't break, which meant bad luck

Current: There was no champagne bottle

There's a mystery around the Christening of the Titanic. Many people remember the story of how the champagne bottle didn't break during the launch ceremony. This was significant because traditionally, it meant bad luck, which considering what happened to the Titanic is putting it mildly.

The problem is the story cannot be true because the White Star line, the owners of the ship, did not use champage bottles during the launch ceremony, and in fact the Titanic was never christened at all.

Those who remember the champagne bottle story may be experiencing a Mandela Effect.

Historical Events  General
Nigerian Prince Scam

First appeared?

MMDE: 1830's

Current: 1930's

By now, most people who've been using email for any length of time are aware it can be used as part of a scam attempt to make money. Many of these are in the form of some individual claiming to be able to access a large amount with just a little help from someone on the outside.

They are not addressed to individuals at the start, because they are send in bulk in the hope someone believes them and follows up. At that point, they are personalised because the scammer then develops the con further with their potential victim, leading up to the inevitable point where they ask for money up front so they can get more back.

These are popularly known as the "Nigerian Prince Scam" and are seen as a modern phenomenom, but they actually first appeared in the 1830's.

Historical Events  General

When was it last used?

MMDE: 1877

Current: 1977

Along with the rack, thumbscrews and burning at the stake, people associate the guillotine with medeival punishment and execution methods. Most famously, the guillotine was used in the French Revolution to dispose of that countries monarchy. So when most people are asked to date the last time it was officially used, they come up with years in the 1700 - 1900 range, with a few being aware it was used during the second world war.

The actual year of 1977 comes a such a shock that it's being classed as an MMDE, because the feeling is this is exactly the kind of thing which should be more widely known.

Historical Events  General
Traffic light

When did the first traffic light appear?

MMDE: 1908

Current: 1868

Everybody seems to think it's obvious traffic lights must have appeared after cars, but not so fast. In another "Tech before it's time" instance, it turns out the first working traffic light actually hit the road, so to speak, in 1868 outside the Houses of Parliament in London. It was gas lit, and operated manually by a policeman standing next to it. The trick is to realise there were many horses and carts on the roads then, which had exactly the same needs as motorised vehicles when it came to keeping what had become busy traffic moving.

The first traffic management system, to get technical, was in the form of three policemen standing by the road waving the carriages through. This was in 1722, again in London but this time on London Bridge.

Historical Events  General
Nieuport 16

When did the first air-to-air missiles appear?

MMDE: 1930

Current: 1916

Another "tech before it's time" has appeared, which some are pointing to as an MMDE because it seems it should have been much more widely known, and appears to suddenly have come from nowhere. 

This time it's air-to-air missiles, i.e. fired from one aircraft and aimed at another. Bearing in mind the first airplane was invented by the Wright brothers in 1902, it comes as quite a shock to many to discover the year the missiles first appeared was 1916.

They were called the Le Prieur rocket and were actually designed to be fired at observations balloons and airships, which were prevalent during WW1. Obviously unguided, they were fairly crude by today's standards being not much more than a cardboard tube filled with gunpowder and a sharp, knife-like projectile for penetrating the balloons/airships.

Historical Events  General
Status of Liberty's gold torch

What shape is the flame on the torch?

MMDE: Smooth, rounded, symmetrical pointing straight up

Current: Sharp, unbalanced with flames pointing to the side

People have noticed something different about the flame in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

At first, they couldn't quite place it, but when asked to draw it they drew the torch as having a flame which pointed straight up. It was only when the way it appears today was shown to them that the realised they are experiencing an MMDE, because the flame is unbalanced, with a "finger" shape pointing off to the side.

The torch was replaced in 1986 and is covered in 24K gold.

Historical Events  General
Burning Bra

How many bras were actually burnt?

MMDE: Thousands

Current: Very few

The women's lib movement, which began in the 1960's and saw many protests and rallies, is synonymous with the phrase "Burning Bras", and other variants such as "Burn your bra". 

People are surprised today to hear very few were actually burnt. Sure, there are videos of them being done for the cameras during these rallies, but the idea there was mass outrage and every woman was doing it turns out to be false.

This is a similar MMDE to the HG Wells War of the Worlds radio broadcast. In fact the similarities go even further, because there is strong suspicion the phrase "Burning Bras" was actually concocted by a newspaper at the time, and it caught on as a useful hook to summarise the movement.